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T oday States feel federal pressures to conform and pay for 18 national ID benchmarks. The "D.O.A." legislation requiring these standards - Real ID - is headed for a repeal. Some States, smarter than others, have rebuffed compliance requests until DHS solidifies a plan. In these straits, PASS ID (S.1261) is being presented as a reasonable alternative for the harsh regulations slapped on States in January of 2008.
PASS ID may have evaded the label of "unfunded mandate", but the fiscal breakdown is the same. States will still pay to construct identity data surveillance hubs to insecurely network government records across the nation. PASS ID knocked off some attributes which originally drove States mad to push out Real ID - massive unfunded mandatory projects to be footed by States. This time States can opt-in and test the programs first. Try it, before you buy it. There is nothing in the newer legislation, S.1261, to stop expenses of digital project scope creep from expanding incrementally for years to come once States are on the hook. Unfortunately, scope creep is a problem currently plaguing existing Real ID digital network management, increasing expenses.
PASS ID has been drowzily accepted by some of its former critics due to the special "national recession discount". One theory on the loss leader acceptance is ignorance about requirements for States to comply with national identity standards. States today do not yet have a full recognition of what Real ID will cost or what is fully required from them to build a national identity data aggregate or infrastructure. Local governments remain hesitant because DHS is still settling matters of how to both afford and competently network the IT behemoth. The plan to "kick the can", started underneath the Bush administration, has eroded DHS credibility to enforce a national ID deadline. States know DHS issued comprehensive blanket waivers on Real ID compliance measures.
This week 8 states
"choked" the compliance game of chicken, some issuing letters defying Real ID regulations going into 2010. That is exactly what was done by States to address the last DHS deadline, March 31st, 2008. Based on previous results, DHS is expected to issue blanket waivers to all 50 States to continue Real ID development.
DHS expects much to occur towards a successful vote on PASS ID between now and December 31st, 2009. If the S.1261 bill passes, it wouldn't necessarily nullify Real ID deadlines, it would simply absorb them. The majority of Real ID practices and standards would then move forward as the PASS Act. Senator Joe Lieberman did his best to get a unanimous YES vote on S.1261 this week. PASS ID opponents are hawkish about DHS Senate members attempts to import the language in an upcoming omnibus appropriations bill.
Pro-national identity advocates favoring Real ID are fighting PASS ID. Their motives may differ from immigration and privacy advocates, but the attack remains the same. PASS ID may suffer a significant minority block for purely political reasons.
Meanwhile, there are little to no reports of widespread identity adversity without the full battery of Real ID regulated ID cards across the United States.
Nonetheless, citizens are urged to continue to speak up now about a national ID card system in America. Please don't allow the rebranding of Real ID as PASS ID to give you more of what you've dreaded all along: identity surveillance.