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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Column: Starting next year, all AZ IDs are fake IDs

UA students often complain about the new state law requiring drivers’ licenses to be flipped from vertical to horizontal within 30 days of turning 21 before they can be used to purchase booze. The exclusion pertains to liquor stores and club and bar entrance.

What is less discussed is what the horizontal ID will do for you after 2016 — little else, apparently. Arizona is a state whose IDs don’t meet federal “Real ID” guidelines. Starting as soon as January 2016, all drivers’ licenses will be useless to enter a government building or fly out of state.

In short, your Arizona state license will do less than what you need it to.

Established after 9/11, The Real ID Act sets criteria for identification, prohibiting boarding planes and entering federal buildings if said ID doesn’t chalk up.

The concern that Arizona state legislators expressed when they chose to opt out of these Real ID regulations is that the government could be attempting to establish national identification cards, which collect data from every person who holds one. This is an avenue of data mining not unlike Internet activity monitoring and the NSA.

Yet, the Real ID is not the data-mongering monster some fear it to be. The verification process to get the Real ID is just more rigorous in an attempt to make it harder for fraudsters to get fake IDs.

It also requires drivers to update their photos every eight years, an annoying process by anybody’s standards. (Who really wants to wait at the MVD to get their picture taken?)

What is more important to you: the annoyance of updating a “Real ID” to appease the federal government or the restriction of your movement by that same government? Arizona, Maine and Louisiana, whose MVDs have not yet conformed to the law, could have its citizens limited in the ways and distance they might travel.

Freedom of Movement is governed by the Privileges and Immunities Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which states, “The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.”

Should Arizona choose not to buy into Real ID regulations, our rights to travel nationally may be affected in ways not protected by our laws.

In a world without borders, as the Information Age has often been declared, to restrict a person’s movement is wrong to the umpteenth degree.

The obvious workaround is to acquire another form of identification, such as a passport. Around 30-40 percent of Americans currently possess one, and it’s unlikely the same statistic is replicated in each of the states without the correct ID regulations.

Given the obvious limiting factors and the ridiculous claim that a Real ID could put a citizen in any more danger than current data mining on the Internet, what is the real harm?

The only harm is what would come if Arizona does not conform to the Real ID Act.


Kaitlin Libby is a junior studying environmental studies and information science. Follow her on Twitter.

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