"The U.S. government's controversial plan to outfit all Americans with uniform electronic identification cards--officially known as Real ID--may be on its deathbed, opponents of the program charged this week.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has long said that starting as soon as May 2008, and definitely after May 2013, it will deny state citizens the right to board planes or enter federal buildings unless they show Real ID-compliant documents.
But on a recent conference call with state officials from across the country, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Richard Barth gave the impression that the agency doesn't plan to punish states that have rejected the rules, according to Timothy Sparapani, senior legislative counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union, and Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap. Barth also reportedly said Homeland Security may push back the deadline until 2015.
"To me, this signals the real end of the Real ID Act because it prevents the government from having any leverage over the states," Sparapani said in a conference call his group organized with reporters Thursday afternoon.
Homeland Security, for its part, vehemently denied any softening of its policy."