false sense of security

Why Real ID program offers a false sense of security: A Q&A


Why Real ID program offers a false sense of security: A Q&A
Published: Monday, May 14, 2012, 8:08 AM
By Star-Ledger Staff

Mitsu Yasukawa/The Star-Ledger
A driver license and insurance card are pictured in this file photo. Jim Harper of the Cato Institute discusses by the Real ID program offers a false sense of security in this Q&A.
Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union won an injunction against New Jersey’s TRU-ID program, the state’s version of the federal Real ID secure driver’s license program. Created in the aftermath of 9/11, the law is an attempt to close loopholes that allowed the 9/11 hijackers to acquire U.S. driver’s licenses.
Security and privacy experts say Real ID does little for security, but places personal privacy at risk.
Jim Harper is director of policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, where he is an expert in security and privacy. He spoke last week with Star-Ledger editorial writer Jim Namiotka.
Q. How will Real ID improve our national security?
A. It won’t.
Q. Please explain.
A. The driver’s license isn’t a security tool, and the things that Real ID does would be trivially easy for terrorists or other attackers to avoid. There isn’t a real security value in Real ID.
Q. Why the focus on driver’s licenses?
A. The proponents of Real ID talked about terrorism as the reason for passing the law. Actually, their goal is immigration control. They want a national ID in place that would be used to do a background check on everybody when they start employment. In the future, it could be used to control access to financial services, to control access to health care, or housing, or pharmaceuticals, for example.