Has Government Gone Too Far? A Closer Look at Real ID 

In 2007, Maine was the first state in the nation to reject the federal real id act. The legislature voted in favor of a resolution to refuse the law, which was passed in 2005 by congress. Today, Maine is complying with the federal law, but at what expense to mainers? Tonight, we continue our report on: Maine, the way life should be – but has government gone too far?TV5’s Central Maine bureau chief Adrienne Bennett joins us now with more on that.Real i-d is a matter of national security – that’s the federal government’s view.But, can government successfully protect everyone? “It is impossible for the government to ensure that everyone is who they say they are.” As executive director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union, Shenna Bellows believes equal protection and privacy, are fundamentals which ensure freedom for everyone.Bellows says the feds stepped over a line to set an example, unfairly targeting Mainers when state officials said they would not comply with real id.Shenna Bellows: “Unfortunately, I think that the real id debate has been characterized by a lot of politics. Maine was the first state to opt out because of the privacy and cost concerns and then the federal government under the Bush administration punished Maine by saying if you don’t implement these real id requirements, you won’t be able to get on planes. Why Hawaii wasn’t subject to the same requirements than the state of Maine is really beyond me. It’s something that I don’t understand.” Responding to the single most devastating act of terrorism on U.S. soil, the September 11 attacks prompted Congress to pass measures that many argue aren’t working. Real id was created with the intention to protect Americans.However, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap encouraged state legislators to pass the law which allowed Maine to refuse to take part.Adrienne Bennett: “Can government, in your opinion successfully protect everyone? Matt Dunlap: “No, absolutely not. I think we’re fools to say that we can.” Matt Dunlap: “You can’t take non-secure documents like birth certificates, which are public record. If you know the person’s name, you can go down to vital records and get a certified copy of their birth certificates. Social security numbers aren’t terribly secure. When you take all these non-secure elements and you put them together, you’re not necessarily building a secure document. “Adrienne Bennett: “So identity doesn’t equal security?” Matt Dunlap: “No, not at all. In fact, one of the arguments has been to the contrary. When you put all this information in one place, you make it easier for identity thieves and terrorists.”Today, Maine along with every other state, is dealing with shifting deadlines and undefined requirements to be in full compliance with real id, a law that’s been in play for four years. There’s new legislation on the table in Washington to convert real id to pass id before the years end. Matt Dunlap: “It’s not real clear how much different this is going to be from real id. With all these changes swirling around, it’s very difficult for anybody to keep on top of what the latest developments are.”Pass id is short for – providing for additional security in states’ identification”.Over the summer department of homeland security secretary janet Napolitano met with U.S. governors calling on congress to act quickly to pass the legislation, citing the bill’s privacy protection provisions, reduced costs and greater flexibility for states, all of which they say would enable standards to be implemented a year ahead of current real id deadline of 2017.