The Real ID Act: Fixing Identity Documents with Duct Tape


In recent years the role of the Department of Motor Vehicles has been transformed from issuing licenses to drive a motor vehicle to issuing government-endorsed photo identification. A driver's license is used not only by the state government, but also by the federal government for boarding airplanes and the issuance of passports. Passports are the de facto photo identification used by foreign governments in the course of international travel. Therefore, there are many security and privacy implications that stem from the issuance of not just the state driver's license but also the breeder documents (the identity documents that are used in creating new identity documents) which are used in the granting of the driver's license. Recently there have been new proposed regulations that aim to increase the security of both the passport and the driver's license. In this paper we discuss these proposed changes, the potential privacy and security problems, as well as policy conflicts between DMV regulations and applicable state and federal laws.


Serge Egelman and Lorrie Faith Cranor. The Real ID Act: Fixing Identity Documents with Duct Tape. I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society, Volume 2, Number 1, Winter 2006, pp. 149-183.

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Lorrie Faith Cranor