Despite previous privacy concerns, Pa. will follow federal ID law

After a letter from Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative leaders

After a letter from Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative leaders

Pennsylvania has worked out a deal with the federal Department of Homeland Security to update its IDs to meet federal regulations — known as REAL ID.

The commonwealth’s ID conflicts date back to 2012, when then-Gov. Tom Corbett signed a law preventing federal compliance, calling REAL ID a disaster for privacy rights.

But now, the Legislature’s working to repeal that law.

Lawmakers were spurred into action by something of an ultimatum from the federal government; if Pennsylvania’s IDs didn’t meet standards by Jan. 30, its residents wouldn’t be able to use them to access federal facilities.

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After a letter from Gov. Tom Wolf and legislative leaders, the DHS is giving the commonwealth at least a five-month extension to come up with a legislative fix.

Wolf spokesman JJ Abbott said the fix should be simple: Repeal Corbett’s noncompliance law.

“It was a bipartisan group of leaders who joined the governor in asking for the extension,” Abbott noted. “We are hopeful to work with the Legislature.”

That is a sharp change from 2012.

At the time, the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania strongly opposed REAL ID — largely because it created a national ID database.

Following the passage of Act 38, ACLU spokesman Andy Hoover had said that “if it is ever implemented, that database will be a honeypot for identity thieves.”

Now, Hoover said, the ACLU is “assessing the current state of REAL ID enforcement” and hasn’t taken a definitive stance.

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