By Robert Weiner and Adjanni Ramos
As people are preparing for post-Covid travel, "REAL-ID" is still set for October as mandatory to show TSA before getting on a plane to anywhere. It's a grave danger to privacy. It opens the door to foreign and domestic hacking with DMV in all states' employees accessing multiple personal files.
The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) takes pride in being the foremost State, stating it is "proud to be the first state to be re-certified as compliant with REAL ID." Yet Maryland is a case in point, as documented in our interviews and statements from program leaders we obtained for this article.
The REAL-ID Act was controversial when it was first passed in 2005. As the time gets closer to being required for air travel and more people submit all their documents, it is more alarming. With primary and confidential information now being copied into the massive DMV files for every driver, REAL-ID has turned itself into an invitation for hacking groups and foreign governments.
Both the US House and Senate have repeatedly overlooked the dangerous aspects of volume information seeking by government.
Soon after becoming law, the REAL-ID Act received criticism from both sides of the political aisle. In 2007, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D- VT) said that because REAL-ID was slipped into a bipartisan emergency supplemental bill, it passed unopposed without senators and experts giving input on potential problems. In the Wall Street Journal, Leahy stated it was "more about harassing Mexican illegals."
One of its biggest complaints comes from privacy-rights advocacy groups, including the ACLU, who initiated a lawsuit against the program. The ACLU predicted it would ease access for identity thieves to steal information. They say that the problem of "insider fraud" is "not solved not is it clear there is a solution as the Act is written." (Source: ACLU "Scoreboard" of "problems commonly identified with the Real ID law."
Cyberattacks on state, federal, and corporate databases have proven that nobody is safe. Last year, after hacking private tech-firm, SolarWinds, Russian spies had accessed confidential data belonging to the Treasury Department, the Department of State, the Pentagon, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM), suffered its own data-breach in 2015.
Thousands of companies worldwide have had their information stolen --Target, T-Mobile, Experian -- supposed to protect the credit credit information of a third of all Americans-- and Marriot International's Starwood Hotels. Last year alone, over 250 companies and government agencies across the globe (half in the US) had confidential data held for ransom using some form of Malware.
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