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The Real ID card: the machine readable you

Barb Dybwad
May 7, 2005
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If only it were some dystopian fiction, but the Senate is slated to pass the Real ID Act next week, which specifies that by 2008 all Americans who want to enjoy privileges such as bank accounts and air travel will be issued what will most likely be RFID-enabled ID cards (Homeland Security hasn't completely decided which machine readable technology they'll use, but they're leaning heavily towards RFID since the chips are already going to be used in our passports). The card will likely take the place of your driver's license and will store at the very minimum your name, birthdate, sex, ID number, a digital photograph and address, with the possibility of additional data such as a fingerprint or retinal scan. State DMVs will be receiving federal funds to hand over their databases, with the goal of making each state's data available to all other states. The House passed the measure on Thursday, and both the Senate and President Bush are expected to sign off on the bill next week. But the real question is, who will be the first to ask to have the chip implanted so they don't have to worry about forgetting their wallet?

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