Saturday, July 30, 2011

Homeland Security sees the light. Or do they?

Originally published 3/7/11 on

Declan Mcullagh of CBS' Tech Talk blog reported that the Department of Homeland Security has extended the deadline for compliance with Real ID, the national ID passed by Congress in 2005, to 2013. Similar reports came from Fox News and CNN. This is good news to anyone who values privacy and recognizes that the Real ID initiative does much to make it easier to track citizens and little to actually stop terrorists.

But I don't know if the reports are true. I receive the press release feed from Homeland Security, and I never saw this release. Declan Mcullagh links to a pdf of the announcement at the Office of the Federal Register site, but the link is dead, and there is no other mention of the site. A search of the DHS website reveals no documents on Real ID mentioning an extension to 2013. 

If the deadline has been extended this is good news - but not really surprising. Several states have flatly refused to comply because of concerns over the initiative. Concerns go beyond privacy. The costs of implementing it are astronomical, the security benefits questionable, and the increase in the governments ability to probe into law abiding citizens lives unbelievable.  It was a bad idea with bad implementation from the start, and it needs to just go away.