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ID theft undermining integrated terror watch lists

Computerworld reports that despite the government’s recent efforts to integrate dozens of terrorist watch list databases, terrorists may still be slipping through major cracks in homeland defenses by stealing identities and using computers to create fraudulent travel documents.

Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia), a self-proclaimed “card-carrying civil libertarian,” said the nature of the vulnerabilities has led her and others to rethink the issue of national ID cards.

However, Keith Kiser, chairman of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, said a national ID card is not needed and would probably require additional IT infrastructure currently not in place. Instead, Kiser argued that the IT infrastructure used throughout state motor vehicle departments to verify identities and issue valid driver’s licenses should be enhanced and standardized.

Lawmakers and federal homeland security experts argued in favor of wider deployment of biometric technologies and standardization of driver’s licenses throughout the country. Currently, 21 states don’t require proof of legal residence to get a driver’s license. In addition, there are 240 variations of driver’s licenses used throughout the 50 states. California and New Mexico also issue valid driver’s licenses to noncitizens, and Arizona is debating the issue. Chairman of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, Keith Kiser, said:

I don’t disagree that a biometric identifier is a great place to be and we should be trying to get there. But we [conducted] a two-year study of biometrics and our conclusion at this point is that although biometrics work great on a one-to-one match, it’s awfully hard to find a technology that works on a one-to-300 million match, which is what we really need to [have] to have an effective biometric identifier.

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