The enhanced driver's license: collateral gains or collateral damage?
Clark, James M.
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On a day-to-day basis, security to most Americans means proving their identity by producing a valid government-issued identification document (ID)most commonly a drivers license. For this reason, terrorists on September 11, 2001, (9/11) placed high value on drivers licenses as a mean to mask preparatory activities leading up to their attack. Congress, as a result, enacted several measures, culminating in the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), adopted June 1, 2009. The WHTI requires all citizens to show proof of identity while crossing U.S. land, sea, and recently some air borders between Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. To facilitate the initiative, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expanded on such ongoing ID initiatives as NEXUS, FAST, and SENTRI and adopted a number of different ID solutions, including passport card (PASS Card), Enhanced Drivers License (EDL), Global Entry and the Enhanced Tribal Card while considering others beyond the costly passport to facilitate commerce, trade, and tourism with Border States. All WHTI IDs employ vicinity-read radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, which has raised privacy concerns. This thesis seeks to join the ongoing civil liberties vs. national security debate through a case study of the EDL on both technological and legal grounds.
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