26 Jul 2022


DHS and the REAL ID Act

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Academic level: Master’s

Paper type: Essay (Any Type)

Words: 423

Pages: 1

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The enactment of the REAL ID Act can trace its origins from 2005, and its purpose was to modify United States federal law to allow the introduction of set standards when identification documents were issued. This sets minimum security standards for driving licenses and identification cards and goes further to prohibit federal agencies from accepting identifications that does not meet these requirements especially for official purposes. Before any government agency can amend any law or regulation, they are required to issue a public notice referred to in a notice of proposed rulemaking. This process allows for public participation wherein they submit their opinions or comments on the matter and the respective government agency gives a response. In this particular case, the Department of Homeland Security was the agency in question, and this paper seeks to analyze how it addressed one of the categories of comments that were submitted by the public (Putnam, 2016).

The Department of Homeland Security organized the entire over 21,000 comments it received into 13 categories. One these categories addressed the threat to privacy of the state residents. The concerns were over the privacy of Department of Motor Vehicle employees who had to undergo background checks with the fear that requirements of the Act would not adhere to provisions of the Driver Privacy Protection Act. Others asserted that the regulations violated the federal privacy and security principles. There were also concerns raising regarding to the fact there would be no privacy protection leading to discrimination of ethnic minorities and immigrants (Eyre, 2011).

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The Department of Homeland Security responded to the threat to privacy concerns by reassuring its citizens that the act only allowed minimal information to be printed on the card. Another proposed safeguard would be the requirement by the state to establish a security plan that would protect all collected personal information to be used in conjunction with their privacy and security best practices policy.

The proposed measures do not adequately address the issues raised because the collected data will be centralized which will make personal information vulnerable to hackers. Furthermore, the identification cards contained information about one’s race giving the government access to one’s movements and transactions. Information like this is very valuable to corporations and government and can be easily exploited (Eyre, 2011). The REAL ID Act is intended to prevent terrorists from abusing the system we have in place when seeking asylum. However, if adopted in its current format, it will be at the expense of privacy and create loops in the justice systems by increasing cases of exposing racial and ethnic profiling of law-abiding citizens. In this sense the rule is defective (Putnam, 2016).


Eyre, W. (2011).  The Real ID Act: Privacy and government surveillance . El Paso: LFB Scholarly Pub 

Putnam, T. L. (2016). Courts without borders: Law, politics, and U.S. extraterritoriality . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 17). DHS and the REAL ID Act.


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