The Chicago Tribune talked to ACLU of Illinois Communications and Public Policy Director Ed Yohnka about the Real ID Act - a law which was passed in 2005 in light of 9/11. In an effort to combat terrorism by enforcing air travel restrictions, the Real ID Act requires state-issued identification cards to meet certain criteria. A key requirement mandated by the Real ID Act is birth certificate verification, which Illinois currently does not require. The article approximates that an estimated $3.75 million a year would be needed to implement birth certificate verification and to set up a database to store all of the information, which could be shared across state lines. The ACLU has opposed Real ID, citing a range of concerns including costly administrative burdens on state governments, its ineffectiveness against terrorism, increased security risks and threats to privacy. Ed Yohnka told the Chicago Tribune:
"One of the troubling things is that the system to protect our data will no longer be dependent about what happens here in Illinois," Yohnka said. "What happens in Mississippi or Maine or Montana will be a conduit to get to our data. If hackers can get into those systems, they can get to the national system."
He noted that the state's database of driver's licenses has fought off tens of thousands of improper access attempts. "From a pragmatic point of view, all this furor over something that doesn't provide safety and security is ridiculous," Yohnka said