The TSA has posted signs at airports saying that people living in several states will no longer be able to use drivers licenses to clear security effective January 22, 2018.
I wrote two months ago that the government blinked and granted further exceptions to states that were at-risk of having their drivers licenses no longer considered valid for federal purposes including airport security under the REAL ID Act. However I’ve continued to see erroneous news stories talking about drivers licenses being refused at security next month.
Now the TSA finally confirms what I wrote two months ago: “U.S. residents in all states can use old driver’s licenses until Oct. 1, 2020.”
A ‘real ID compliant’ license has to have a person’s full legal name, signature, date of birth, gender, a unique identifying number, home address, and a front-facing photo. There are also specific anti-counterfeiting measures that must be used, and rules on providing the data on the card in a standard machine-readable format.
Prior to issuing a ‘real ID compliant’ license, a state has to require:
- A photo ID (they make you present a photo ID to get a photo ID..) or ID that includes full name and birth date
- Documentation of birth date (usually a birth certificate)
- Proof of legal status (you’re not an illegal alient) and social security number (something you didn’t even have to have when I was born)
- Documentation of your residential address
States are required to share data in a searchable database that the federal government hasn’t built yet, so no state could be technically compliant even though DHS says more than half of states are.
DHS bullies states into complying by threatening to refuse travel to their citizens, but continues to back down. I predicted they would back down before the Presidential election and they did. Now they’ve backed down again.
We can confidently predict that the federal government will back down one month before the next Presidential election, too if states haven’t fully met federal demands by then.
ID checks began as security theater after TWA flight 800, President Clinton asked for things he could announce right away. Airlines used to ask for ID to make sure the person traveling was the one that bought the ticket, solely to restrict the resale market for airfare in order to support revenue management systems that increased the price of travel closer to departure (to prevent people from buying tickets cheap and reselling them as travel dates approached — still undercutting the airline’s price). Now the government does the airline’s work for them, ostensibly for security but a determined terrorist (the TSA has never caught a single one) doesn’t have much problem flying with fake documents.
The ‘security purpose’ of ID checks is to try to force people to fly under their real names, so that those names can be checked against the government’s highly flawed watch and do not fly lists. Anyone on such a list, intent on committing a terrorist act, would simply choose not to fly under their own name.
Those lists of course impose substantial burdens on the right to travel.
- People get added to the ‘do not fly list’ without any due process proceeding
- It’s not necessary to commit any disqualifying acts to be on that list (they’re pre-crime profiling: mere suspicion that someone might do something in the future)
- You cannot confront your accuser
- There’s almost no meaningful and timely redress procedures
TSA now confirms what I wrote in October, that the kabuki theater continues…