Napolitano: Scrap REAL ID

She didn’t put it so bluntly, but DHS secretary Janet Napolitano appears ready to scrap the failed national ID program in the REAL ID Act. This is good news.

Is it great news? Not really. Nothing I’m aware of in her public comments reflects awareness of the thoroughgoing weakness of identity-based security or its prohibitive privacy and dollar costs. And she’s looking for an alternative national ID.

“ ‘Enhanced driver’s licenses give confidence that the person holding the card is the person who is supposed to be holding the card, and it’s less elaborate than Real ID,” the Washington Times quotes her saying. Less elaborate? Yes. Reliably secure? Not really. A full-fledged national ID? Eventually.

The point is to get away from national ID systems entirely. It’s not an achievement to produce a national ID that’s less bad than the one that went before. But it is progress.