FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Babette Josephs
Josephs helps send Real ID prohibition to governor
HARRISBURG, April 3 – The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has sent legislation to the governor that would prohibit the Commonwealth from implementing the federal Real ID Act.
Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Phila., voted for S.B. 354, along with a majority of the House (189-5).
"This bill is about civil rights and privacy for every Pennsylvanian," Josephs said. "As a federal law, Real ID is not well thought out and poses a dangerous threat to identity theft and privacy."
Real ID was enacted by the federal government in 2005 to require states – at their own cost – to implement national standards for driver's licenses and photo identification cards. This includes linking information on Pennsylvania's citizens to a national database, which would be accessible by many entities and could make it easier for personal information to be stolen, sold or used for a purpose other than that for which Real ID was intended.
“Real ID is nothing less than a national identification card forced on the citizens and paid for by the states. It makes us all vulnerable to identity theft. It violates our privacy and exposes addresses which must be kept confidential to protect potential crime victims. I don't care who is keeping the database, it will be a target for hackers and the privacy risk is too great.
"The way to fight terrorism is through hard, intensive investigative work by law enforcement agencies that are set up to cooperate with each other. Until this is effectuated, we will all be vulnerable, Real ID or not,” Josephs said.
The bill also would give the governor and attorney general the authority to file a legal challenge against the federal law, if they decide it is warranted.
Josephs said she believes the threat that residents would no longer be able to use their driver's license as identification for airports and federal buildings is an idle one, since federal authorities have already postponed the implementation deadline three times, most recently until Jan. 15, 2013. Critics of Real ID say that Pennsylvania’s participation in the rejection of this scheme might be its death knell, because it is the largest of the 16 states to refuse to implement this ill-conceived law.