Policy Forum

The U.S. National ID Law at Ten Years

Watch the Event

Join the conversation on Twitter using #CatoEvents. Follow @CatoEvents on Twitter to get future event updates, live streams, and videos from the Cato Institute. If you have questions or need assistance registering for the event, please email our staff at events@​cato.​org.

Date and Time
May 11, 2015 12 - 1:30 PM EDT
1st floor/Wintergarden
Featuring Adam Candeub, Professor of Law and Director of the Intellectual Property, Information and Communications Law Program Michigan State University College of Law; Edward Hasbrouck, Consultant to the Identity Project (Paper​sPlease​.org); Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel/​Policy Advisor American Civil Liberties Union, Washington Legislative Office; moderated by Jim Harper, Senior Fellow, Cato Institute.

In 2005, Congress gave states three years to begin issuing driver’s licenses according to national identification card standards. The REAL ID Act sought to coerce states into using machine‐​readable technology with federally defined data elements in their cards, capturing digital images of identity‐​source documents, and providing other states electronic access to information contained in their motor vehicle databases. Confronted by this unfunded domestic surveillance mandate, state leaders across the country instigated the “REAL ID Rebellion” in 2006.

The Department of Homeland Security has never made good on the REAL ID law’s threat that Transportation Security Administration agents would refuse airport access to travelers from recalcitrant states. But the threat remains, and many states are inching toward putting their residents into the national ID system.

Please join us for a discussion of the prospects for the U.S. national ID law 10 years along, and its incursion on the common law treatment of names.