Real ID: 1984 Is Now

Real ID Requirements Go Into Effect Today

Beginning today, the state of Florida is implementing some of the requirements of the Real ID Act of 2005, making the process for obtaining a drivers' license, or renewing an existing one, far more cumbersome for all drivers, and an impossible gauntlet for far too many Floridians. Citizens of Florida must now present substantial additional documentation to prove who they are, as well as incur increased costs to pay for the new ID cards; longer lines and wait times can also be expected. Real ID mandates that all states have compliant identification cards consistent with federal regulations, as well as requiring that all Americans' private information be held in a massive government database accessible to state and federal officials -- the cost and security of which is yet unknown.

"Personal data such as social security numbers, birth certificates and other personal information is now less secure as a result of the nationwide database imposed by Congress," said Howard Simon, ACLU of Florida Executive Director. "Floridians will be punished for the knee-jerk reaction by lawmakers in creating the deeply flawed Real ID Act."

"The Florida Legislature didn't have the spine to stand up to Congress -- as 11 other states did -- and refuse to implement the Real ID Act. As a result, legislators have put the privacy of Floridians' personal data in peril. We will be asking Congress and the Florida Legislature to take action to repeal Real ID and protect the privacy of our eighteen million residents."

The Real ID Act of 2005 was hastily passed by Congress in the wake of the 9/11 Commission recommendations, without the proper assessment of cost, security, and logistics of implementation. Real ID requires the creation of a massive interlinked government database. The combination of this interlinked database coupled with the requirement that each DMV store copies of every birth certificate and other documents presented to it will create a one-stop shop for identity thieves.

Additionally, in the wake of several years of especially devastating hurricanes, Floridians may see similar problems that were seen in Louisiana post-Katrina, where many people have lost their birth certificates and other forms of identification. Complying with this law will be even more burdensome for those citizens.

"The citizens of Florida must now bear the burden for DHS's flawed Real ID policy," added Timothy Sparapani, ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel. "Real ID was bad policy when enacted in 2005, and yet it continues to move forward in a few states under the illusory promise that it will increase national security. But what DHS fails to acknowledge is the loss of personal security that comes as well. Individuals' most personal information is now required, and that data will be housed in a massive federal database that will be a prime target for identity theft. That loss of personal security endangers, rather than enhances, national security, because it facilitates the theft of Floridians' identities by terrorists and criminals. The ACLU calls on Congress to repeal Real ID and restore the American values of privacy, security, and state sovereignty and innovation."

More information on Real ID can be found at