Missouri to build interface for Real ID

The Homeland Security Department today announced it has awarded $17 million to Missouri's state government to lead the development of a common interface that states will use to verify documents that individuals use to apply for state-issued identification as part of the Real ID program.  

The “verification hub” will act as a central router that states can use to confirm the documentation against other states’ databases, as well as federal document issuing authorities. DHS also announced grants of $1.2 million each to Florida, Indiana, Nevada and Wisconsin to test and implement the initiative.

The Real ID final rule published in January set a minimum standard for state issued identification and requirements for how data is stored and shared between states' department of motor vehicles.  By May 11, 2011, states must have completed the information technology and communication infrastructure necessary for Real ID.

DHS’ Real ID program is meant to implement requirements laid out by the Real ID Act of 2005.

DHS said the system would “be built and governed by the states.” Critics of the REAL ID program have voiced concerns that the program represents movement toward a national ID card.

However, several state legislatures have passed legislation preventing states from spending money on the program, setting up a potential showdown between the federal agency and state governments. That will not happen until Dec. 31,  2009, as DHS granted extensions even to states that were prevented from complying but had implemented their own security measures that coincided with those required by Real ID.

The “verification hub” awards made today were announced as part of $79 million worth of fiscal 2008 REAL ID Demonstration Grants. DHS said it had previously awarded $58 million in Real ID implementation assistance.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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