THE MAGAZINE

Driving The Debate on Drivers’ Licenses

By Mary Alice Davidson

Is there any hope of a more secure driver’s license? A white paper from 9/11 Security Solutions, Inc., says “yes.”

It first looks at the ways in which drivers’ licenses have been used by criminals and terrorists, elaborating on the findings of the 9/11 Commission which led Congress to pass the Real ID Act in 2005.

Though states must comply with the requirements of that Act by 2009 if their licenses are to be considered valid IDs in designated federal locations, DHS has only recently issued proposed rules (see related story, page 40), and many states are refusing to comply because the mandate is unfunded and unwieldy.

Given that lack of progress, this white paper looks at what it called the “Essential Elements of Identity Security” that should be incorporated in future licenses.

It calls for a shift to “a multi-layered common data requirement” that includes the person’s full legal name, date of birth, gender, address, and signature—plus a digital photo and a driver’s ID number. Even something as simple as requiring the full legal name, the paper says, will go a long way toward helping law enforcement and other officials verify identities.

The paper further notes that requiring the applicants to provide verification of what they claim as their principal residence can curtail fraud. That wasn’t done in Virginia in 2001 when hijackers applied for cards, notes the paper.

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