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ALA Signs Letters To House and Senate In Support Real ID Repeal

ALA signs on to letters to the House and Senate expressing support for efforts to repeal the REAL ID Act of 2005

As of March 1, 2007, the proposed legislation to repeal Real ID (H.R. 1117, T. Allen and S. 717, D. Akaka), has been referred to Committee. The ALA opposed the REAL ID Act (P.L. 109-13) in 2005 and supports current efforts for its repeal. The Act creates a de facto national ID and, because most individuals use drivers licenses to apply for library cards, increases opportunity to access library use records, threatening individuals’ free expression and access to ideas, as well as, the right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought. The legislation also presents opportunity for mining individual library user records across states.

The Act requires standardization of drivers licenses and increased data elements, to be shared across states, with common machine-readable technology, and results in the accumulation of large amounts of personal data on individuals that could be used for unintended purposes such as profiling and identify theft, especially since the privacy safeguards are generally considered to be inadequate.

Several states have opposed the Act. Most recently, Maine passed a non-binding resolution stating the legislature refuses to implement the Act and asks Congress to repeal it. Their main reasons are cost ($185 million) and “compromising privacy.” Montana, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Washington have similar legislation pending.

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Jacob Roberts is the communications specialist for the ALA Washington Office.

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