The Bottom Line: Real I.D. or real nightmare?

Bottom Line Special Report

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by Michele McCormack

MILWAUKEE -- Back in 2005 and at the recommendation of the 9/11 commission, Congress passed the Real I.D. Act.

It's an effort to verify identification and prevent the theft and fraud that allowed the hi-jackers to board planes on that fateful day that took so many innocent lives.

Real I.D. takes affect in January of 2014. You have the option when you renew your drivers license or state i.d. card to make it Real I.D. compliant, denoted by the star in the corner, .or not.

There's no difference in price; around $35.

Within in the next five years you will need a real I..D. to enter nuclear facilities,  federal buildings and fly, even on commercial airlines.

Privacy experts are concerned about how information gathering will change in years to come and how all that information will be part of a federal database.

"Next generation identification is something that still is in the incubation process," Retired Milwaukee homicide Detective Steven Spingola tells CBS 58. "It's still being developed and until it's fully explained to people, they may not be aware of what is actually going to happen in the next five to ten years."

Spingola says Real I.D. will be invaluable to not only Homeland Security, but local police.

"The idea of fingerprints are going to be like dial telephones. They'll still be used. But  when you talk about iris scans, voice prints, palm scanning, it's going to make law enforcement a data base right now for criminals. But then the problem's going to become how much of this information are we going to store  and what are they going to use it for in later years."

Some citizens are going to court to fight having to get a real I.D.

Kaye Beach of Oklahoma City is one of them.

"It has been in some of our lifetimes, we've had governments turn against citizens  simply for who they were. Not anything they had done wrong." Beach told CBS 58's Michele McCormack, "I think that it is unwise to turn away from that possibility. I think that that's dangerous."
 

Yet at a Milwaukee DMV office recently, McCormack met two women who both had their identities stolen but had very different views about Real I.D.

"I'd much rather have the government have my information than the person who stole my license," said Claire Napper.

But Tylisha Thompson countered,  "I don't like the idea of giving all that to the government because things do happen with the government."

Considering the ever changing face of technology, it is hard to predict where Real I.D. will go.

So, bottom line, shouldn't we ask more questions?

"We may already be a society without privacy," added Detective Spingola, "and not even know it."

The DOT says if you chose not to have a Real I.D., you can use a passport with your license to board a plane.

If you chose Real I.D. you have to bring a passport with you to the DMV or other documentation that proves you are a U.S. Citizen.

When exactly Real I.D. will be required for air travel is not clear.

Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner who came up with Real I.D. declined to be interviewed for this story and the privacy implications with bio metrics.

 

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