Identity Crisis

by Karoli on August 3, 2006 · 7 comments

From today’s newspaper: License ID rules to stiffen in 2008

Like it or not, beginning 2008, 23 million licensed California drivers and 3 million state identification card holders will have to report to the DMV to prove their identity with at least three different documents before they are issued a federally approved state license. Applicants would only have to do this once; renewals could be done by mail.

In May 2005, the House of Representatives approved an $82 billion military spending bill with an attachment that would mandate electronically readable identification cards. Under the Real ID Act, applicants must show up to a DMV branch and provide their birth certificates and another photo identity document such as a passport.

In case you missed the reason I think this is important, it’s because last October I nearly went to jail after inadvertently letting my drivers license expire. Well, I didn’t think I let it expire at the time — I paid my fees and sent in my verification of Social Security Number and forgot about it until I was pulled over by a cop with an attitude who decided I should be treated like a terrorist for not following up when I didn’t receive my renewal stickers.

So I went to court after literally bowing and scraping and bursting into tears in the Social Security office as a last resort, but the DMV had not yet recorded the SSA verification of identity so they were going to convict me of a misdemeanor and refuse the plea bargain. The stern-looking MALE DA couldn’t figure out why I was having so much difficulty. However, they gave me a 10-day reprieve to prove that I was who I claimed I was.

Finally, just one day before that court date, the connection was made, my status as a legal YOU-NITED-STATES citizen was resolved, and when I appeared in court before the FEMALE judge and told the story she waived all the fines and reduced the charge to a fix-it ticket so it wouldn’t appear on my record.

It’s women who will end up screwed by this “REAL ID” act. They change their names. And lots of times they do it more than once. Sometimes they change it when they marry, and then they divorce and take back their old name. (ME) Sometimes they change it when they marry, divorce and remarry, taking on their new husband’s name (ME). Sometimes those things happen in rapid succession so that the Driver’s License changes twice but the Social Security number doesn’t, and without that matchup, you can find yourself in a mucky, muddy, frustrating and identity-robbing mess.

If you are a woman, and haven’t aligned your Social Security number with the name on your Driver’s License and/or Passport, I suggest you start working on it now. Make sure you have documents proving the name on your Social Security Card — a birth certificate is not enough, nor a marriage certificate. You have to have 2 documents proving your old name and your new name, so the marriage certificate is applied to the new; the birth certificate to the old name, meaning you still need one more for each name. Follow that? Read it again and it will start to make sense, at which point you should be afraid for your sanity. :)

Seriously…make sure you don’t have to navigate these waters. Bad enough that we’ll all have to go to the DMV in person for this, so make sure all the names are changed to match real persons.

Update: via Wired News: Hackers Clone E-Passports

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