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The REAL ID Act: The facts

National Identification Acts passed in the U.S. and UK subsequent to 9/11 have been extensively altered due to concerns related to personal privacy. Thus, the current version of the REAL ID Act in the U.S. and changes to requirements for National Identity Cards for citizens in the UK have undergone significant changes since proposed. Read this article to know more.

The REAL ID Act of 2005

The REAL ID Act, passed in 2005, sets regulations to establish specific additions to driver’s licences and non-driver ID cards
(REAL ID cards requiring a photo ID system) and immigration issues believed to be related to terrorism. It was further ruled that verifiable drivers licences or ID cards would be required to board a commercial airplane, government building or nuclear facility. In addition, the Act established: - New laws related to visas for temporary workers, nurses and Australian citizens - Funds for border security research - Rules for bonds issued on behalf of aliens awaiting trial - More stringent laws regarding asylum and deportation for terrorist activities - The ability to nullify laws preventing barriers from being constructed at US borders Set to go into effect in May of 2008, by April 2008, all the 50 US states had applied for extensions to be compliant with state ID cards, or had been granted extensions unsolicited.

Reactions and change

Subsequent debate ensued due to resistance from numerous states. The documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security presenting the final rule focused on requiring federally acceptable driver’s licences and ID cards for the original three situations established in 2005. Full compliance was to be required as of May 11, 2011. However, the Homeland Security Secretary extended the deadline by 20 months to January of 2013.

Citizens identification troubles in the U.S. and the UK

Both the U.S. and the UK have recently struggled with attempts to require all citizens to possess national ID cards. In the UK, a new plan of action on Civil Liberties, established by the new government as of 2010, repealed the required National ID Cards even as they were beginning to be issued. However, this only applied to UK citizens, and citizens of other countries living in the UK were still required to obtain them. While both countries have stated that they are acting to limit their original laws related to civil liberties and identification due to a commitment to listen to the will of the people, some, including the Identity Project in the U.S., have doubted this as the primary motivation. Instead, they suggest that changes and extensions have more to do with the concern that these acts, as originally proposed, would result in protests and refusals to comply, and most importantly be demonstrated at the ballot box.

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