REAL ID is reasonable federal standard, not federal intrusion

Andrew Meehan argues in the Salt Lake Tribune that a cut in funding to REAL ID would undo the progress Utah and rest of the states have made, waste $300 million taxpayer dollars and ultimately result in a loss of robust privacy protections that have resulted from REAL ID's implementation.. Click here for the story

Brian Zimmer's Oped on Enforcement in Pennsylvania

In an oped in the Lebanon Daily News, Keeping IDentities Safe President Brian Zimmer  wrote that the entire State of Pennsylvania is going to face the consequences for a 2012 bill that banned the state from complying with the REAL ID Act. Zimmer is responding to a recent editorial written by the bill's champion, State Sen. Mike Folmer, who incorrectly listed other states he claimed passed similar measures. Due to that type of misinformation, Pennsylvania residents are going to face enforcement at federal facilities next month and at airports next year. Click here for the story. 

New Mexico Begins Issuing REAL ID Compliant Driver's Licenses

On Monday, November 14, 2016, the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Department (MVD) started issuing driver's licenses and identification cards that comply with the federal Real ID Act rules. While those who already possess a New Mexico driver's license may opt out upon renewal, in the first week most applicants are seeking a REAL ID compliant driver’s license. To obtain a Real ID license or ID card, applicants must present proof of identity, proof of identity document number, and two proofs of address in person at the MVD.  Predictably,  some residents are still showing up without the required proof of identity and/or residency despite public notices and a thorough online guide.  If you're a New Mexico resident looking to get a REAL ID compliant driver's license from your local MVD, please  click here to know what you need to bring before you arrive. 

Radio Interviews

Maryland Announces New Secure Driver's Licenses, but they're not Meeting Homeland Security Regulations​ 

After the State of Maryland announced that it will begin issuing new high-tech driver's licenses, our Director of Policy wrote in the Baltimore Sun that despite the upgrades, the new design might prevent Maryland residents from boarding airplanes. The licenses will incorporate state of the art anti-counterfeiting features but are missing a key distinction that will make the state fall out of compliance with the REAL ID Act. Click here for the story


Max Bluestein in USA Today

Director of Research Max Bluestein published an April 14, 2015 op ed in USA Today about the risks of fake IDs to our national security. The column, titled "Fake IDs a bigger issue than underage drinking", highlighted the risks of high quality counterfeit U.S. driver's licenses flooding in from China.  Click here to see the story.

Owen McShane, Director of Investigations for the New York DMV, says that many people ordering fake IDs online are finding themselves victims of identity theft. In the video to the left, McShane says that when customers send photos of their real licenses to vendors in order to "verify they aren't law enforcement", their identity information bounces all over the world. Click here to watch the video from CBS6-Albany. 

Keeping IDentities Safe Member Paul Nachman urges Montana to "get with the program" in REAL ID testimony

On April 7, long-time Keeping IDentities member Paul Nachman testified before the Montana House Judiciary Committee in support of S.B. 366, a bill that would bring the state into compliance with the REAL ID Act. In his testimony, Nachman dispelled myths that REAL ID is part of a national ID program, a repeated concern among some Montana lawmakers, as the state would continue to design and issue its own IDs and that no national database exists. Nachman concluded that Montana needs to "get with the program" in order to avoid enforcement. Click here to read Nachman's testimony.

Andrew Meehan in the Oklahoman: Move Forward on REAL ID

The Editorial Board of the Oklahoman wrote a strong piece urging state lawmakers to comply with the REAL ID Act so that their constituents wouldn't need passports to enter military bases starting in October, "the first of many inconveniences should legislators continue to ignore federal law". The editorial cites Keeping IDentities Safe's Andrew Meehan on other reasons Oklahoma needs to get on board with most states in adopting the best practices set back in 2008. Click here for the story.​​


USA Today Editorial: Real ID is about to get real for states
USA Today Editorial Board, 1/8/2016

14 years after 9/11 hijackers had no trouble getting driver's licenses, time to crack down.​
Click here for the story

Recent Videos

Arkansas Began Issuing REAL ID Compliant Licenses

25 revenue offices across the State of Arkansas began issuing REAL ID compliant driver's licenses on October 3. The state is calling its compliant licenses the "Voluntary Enhanced Security Driver's License," not to be confused with Enhanced Driver's Licenses (EDLs) which contain RFID chips and can be used to cross land borders in lieu of a passport. The REAL ID compliant licenses will be optional for Arkansas residents and can be used for identification at federal checkpoints, like TSA and military bases. They will cost $40 or $10 to convert a current, valid driver's license. Click here for the story.​​ 

Brian Zimmer in Breitbart News on Lack of Progress since 9/11

Regarding the progress the country has made in securing our nation against another terrorist attack since the 9/11 attacks, Breitbart News quoted Keeping IDentities Safe President Brian Zimmer on securing our driver's licenses. Zimmer said that Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, “has moved the Real ID Act enforcement forward in states and within the government in a forthright manner. It is a welcome change from the indifference and lassitude of his predecessor. Real ID compliance today has largely been a matter of voluntary compliance by states who understood the importance of secure IDs for public safety and national security." Click here for the story.

  • Dan Cofall Show - Brian Zimmer - 10-1-1355:58
  • David Webb - Brian Zimmer - 7-2-13 (3)5:27
  • Jiggy Jaguar - Max Bluestein - 3-10-1410:34
  • Phil Valentine Show - Brian Zimmer - 2-18-138:30
  • Fairness Doctrine - Andrew Meehan - 1-17-13 (smaller)20:51
  • News & Views - Brian Zimmer - 8-27-1218:54

Research Areas

This new report projects potential costs by the end of calendar year 2018 for “once a year” travelers from the estimated 60% of Pennsylvania citizens who do not now possess passports range from a best case of $406 million cost to a worst case of $966 million. The government of Pennsylvania should take necessary legal and process changes to come into compliance with the REAL ID Act without delay. Click here for the report.

After Montana Newspaper Editorial Gets it Really Wrong on REAL ID, Our Director Writes Back

​​After the Missoulian, a Missoula, Montana newspaper, published an anti-REAL ID editorial on March 30, claiming that compliance with the law is too costly, unnecessary, and that it exposes Montanans' private data, our Director and Montana resident Paul Nachman responded with a guest commentary piece. He discredited the misinformation in the paper's objections to REAL ID and noted that if Montana doesn't get on board, its residents will need passports to fly on domestic airliners. Click here for the article.

On Monday, October 3, Louisiana began issuing driver's licenses that are compliant with federal security standards. The new compliant licenses will be an option for Louisiana residents and DMV customers may still opt for a non-compliant license, marked "not for federal identification" or a compliant license marked with a gold star. Both licenses will cost the same but the compliant license can be used to board aircraft and enter secure federal facilities upon enforcement of the REAL ID Act. Click the video to the left for more. 

New Mexico: Governor Martinez Signs REAL ID Legislation​ 

Governor Susana Martinez signed legislation that will allow New Mexico to comply with the REAL ID Act. New Mexico plans to issue compliant licenses by the fall of the this year. The 2005 REAL ID Act prohibits federal agencies from accepting driver's licenses that do not meet standards set by the Department of Homeland Security. Since 2003, New Mexico has issued driver's licenses without requiring proof of lawful status, a key component of the REAL ID standards. The New Mexico legislature passed legislation that allows the state to comply with the REAL ID Act, and allows the state to issue driving authorization cards for applicants who cannot or choose not to provide proof of lawful status. Consistent with the requirements of the REAL ID Act, New Mexico driving authorization cards will have a different appearance than a standard REAL ID license and state on the face of the license, "not for official purposes." Click here for the story

Louisiana Began Issuing REAL ID Compliant Licenses​​

NY DMV Warns that Ordering a Fake ID Could Result in ID Theft

Our Study on the Cost of Non-compliance with REAL ID in Pennsylvania Helps Push State to Standards

Pennsylvania is on the verge of passing legislation to bring the state into compliance with the REAL ID Act of 2005. State legislators passed a law prohibiting Pennsylvania from complying with the federal regulations in 2012, which left PennDOT behind as other states moved forward with the security standards to protect their residents from fraud. However, the mobile news site, Billy Penn, indicates that lawmakers will pass compliance bills within weeks. The article quotes Keeping IDentities Safe President Brian Zimmer on the high cost of non-compliance and mentions our report, indicating a potential cost of $1 billion to Keystone State residents that will have to obtain passports in order to fly on commercial airplanes. Click here for the story. 

CSDL in the News: It's Time for a National Strategy on Fake IDs 
Max Bluestein, Daily Caller Editorial Board, 12/31/2015

There have been many strategic rifts between al-Qaeda and ISIS, but they haven’t split on one operational maxim: get fake IDs to avoid detection. The 9/11 Commission concluded in its final 2004 report that “for terrorists, travel documents are as important as weapons.” That’s because the 9/11 hijackers used over 30 different fraudulent IDs between 18 terrorists to open bank accounts, obtain credit cards, hide from law enforcement, enroll in flight schools, and board the aircraft that took 3,000 lives. Click here for the article.

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New Keeping IDentities Safe Report: REAL ID Compliance in Pennsylvania Could Cost Residents $1 Billion