Thousands of individuals and sixteen states have already told the federal government to dump the privacy-invasive REAL ID Act, which would standardize drivers' licenses into a national ID and create databases linking the records together. But instead of listening to the public, members of Congress are renewing their efforts to ram the unfunded mandate down everyone's throats. A provision smuggled into the major immigration reform bill would effectively force every American to present a standardized national ID in order to get a job and establish a huge "employment verification" system filled with personal information.
The proposal is set for a floor vote next week -- call your Senators now to stop the national ID expansion.
This bill realizes one of our main fears about REAL ID -- once in place, uses of the IDs and database will inevitably expand to facilitate a wide range of tracking and surveillance activities. Remember, the Social Security number started innocuously enough, but it has become a prerequisite for a host of government services and been co-opted by private companies to create massive databases of personal information.
The proposed employment verification system is bound to contain errors impacting millions of Americans. Combined with inevitable delays implementing REAL ID, the proposed system could present unnecessary hurdles when you apply for a job. It would also make your private information more vulnerable to government misuse, security breaches, and identity theft.
The broader REAL ID's uses get, the harder it becomes to get the Act off the books entirely. Tell your Senators to fix this part of the immigration bill by supporting the Baucus-Tester Amendment (Senate Amendment 1236) and the Grassley-Baucus-Obama Amendment (Amendment 1441).