Activist: DHS considering outsourcing work for ID law

The Homeland Security Department plans to outsource to a private firm the implementation of a federal law mandating nationwide standards for identification cards, according to a privacy activist who claims to have obtained portions of draft regulations circulated last week.

Homeland Security sent to the White House Office of Management and Budget proposed regulations for the so-called REAL ID Act. The department recommends that a private data aggregator be responsible for key elements of the law's implementation, according to a document posted by Bill Scannell, a spokesman for the Identity Project.

OMB is allowed 90 days to review the draft regulations.

Civil libertarians have cited concerns that REAL ID effectively creates a national ID system. Scannell did not say if Homeland Security recommended a particular vendor, but he claimed that Secretary Michael Chertoff personally ordered a plan to hire a private data aggregator for license and ID card checks.

Homeland Security is granting the right to control our identity to private industry," Scannell wrote on the Web site UnRealID.com. "It will be Identity-Mart Inc."

A Homeland Security spokesman declined to comment on the issue.

Some states already are moving to reject REAL ID. A bill authored by Montana state Rep. Brady Wiseman would direct the state's Justice Department not to implement the law. The proposal has been referred to the state House Judiciary Committee.

According to Wiseman's bill, REAL ID is "inimical to the security of the people of Montana, will cause unneeded expense and inconvenience to those people, and was adopted by the U.S. Congress in violation of the principles of federalism contained in the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution."

A study released last year by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Governors Association estimated that REAL ID will cost states at least $11 billion over the next six years to comply.

Sens. Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii, and John Sununu, R-N.H., introduced legislation at the end of last year to repeal REAL ID. Their bill would have reinstated language from a 2004 intelligence law establishing a rulemaking process for the development of federal standards for driver's licenses and ID cards. Akaka and Sununu, are expected to re-file that proposal in the 110th Congress.

Wiseman's bill would make Montana the first state to opt out of REAL ID. A measure to reject the law almost succeeded in New Hampshire last spring, but it died in the state Senate.

Supporters of that bill cited various concerns about REAL ID, particularly about whether New Hampshire would be forced to return pilot funding it had received to comply with the law. There also was resistance from civil libertarians who argued it would threaten the privacy of New Hampshire residents.

Anti-REAL ID bills are expected in several other states in 2007. State lawmakers approved a resolution at NCSL's annual conference last summer demanding funding from the federal government to comply with the law.

Wiseman said he would be opposed to REAL ID regardless of how much money it will cost states to comply. "No amount of funding is going to make compliance okay for me," he said. "This isn't about money."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.