(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – The ACLU of Nevada has sent a letter to Gov. Jim Gibbons asking him not to approve emergency regulations to bring the state into compliance with the federal Real ID Act.
Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel to the ACLU of Nevada, said the act is an unfunded federal mandate that puts the privacy rights of Nevadans at risk.
“It creates a national identification card that every American will be required to carry in order to fly interstate on commercial airlines, enter government buildings such as courthouses, open a bank account, and more,” he said. “These requirements do little to address critical public safety issues while putting us at greater risk for invasions of privacy and identify theft.”
While he will consider the concerns, Gibbons said today he expects to sign the regulations by the end of the month.
“It has direct impact to the state of Nevada if we don’t move forward with Real ID,” he said.
Gibbons said Nevada’s new drivers’ license complies with Real ID security requirements. It does not contain a computer chip that has raised privacy concerns, he said.
It is not a national identity card, but a new version of a Nevada drivers’ license, Gibbons said.
Tom Jacobs, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, said the emergency regulations needed to comply with Real ID are primarily related to activities behind the DMV counter.
The new license has data on the back in the form of a bar code, but that code has no more personal information than what is on the front of the card that can be read by anyone, he said. The new license does not have any new personal information requirements either, Jacobs said.
Lichtenstein noted that in 2007, the Legislature passed a resolution urging Congress to repeal the Real ID Act.
The Legislative Commission’s Subcommittee to Review Regulations refused to approve the regulations implementing Real ID in late November, recommending instead that emergency regulations be adopted instead.
Lichtenstein said his reading of Nevada law says that Gibbons can address federal mandates only with the approval of the Legislative Commission.
“Nevadans deserve more than last minute decisions that threaten fundamental privacy rights and burden them as taxpayers, he said.