NATIONAL 'REAL ID CARD' COMING - WV Says Card Could Cost $100

(01/29/2007)

By Bob Weaver

A West Virginia driverís license could soon cost nearly $100, according to the WV Division of Motor Vehicles.

The federal government's Real ID Act, passed by Congress in 2005, is linked to all driver's license in the USA, but Joseph Cicchirillo of the state's DMV says the state's will likely bear the brunt of the costs, meaning that driverís license fees could soar.

Civil libertarians claim the driver's license amounts to a national ID card, but Bush administration officials say it is not, based on the card being voluntary.

People without cards will likely find it difficult to function.

States have until spring of 2008 to comply with national standards for the new identification cards.

The big-ticket item will be computer technology needed to link the DMV with a national database.

A large amount of data can be stored on the card.

Cicchirillio said the costs will range from $60 million to $100 million in smaller states.

The Real ID has raised concern among some advocacy groups over privacy.

The card is based on preventing terrorism, but some terrorist experts question its value.

The Real ID will have either a bar code or computer chip that can be scanned to access personal data verifying the holderís identity.

Opponents say the bar code could be scanned from a distance, tracking the holder of a card.

Legislation has been introduced in four states opposing the Real ID mandates. All are asking Congress to repeal the law.

Without a Real ID card, you will no longer be able to board airplanes, open bank accounts, enter federal facilities, or apply for any federal benefits, including Social Security.

In charge of the Real ID card is the Department of Homeland Security. The agency plans to outsource Real ID implementation to third-party data aggregators.

Homeland Security is permitted to add additional requirements such as a fingerprint or retinal scan.

The cards will likely be used by public and private concerns to verify identity.


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