What’s in a name: a comparative analysis of the United States’ REAL ID Act and the United Kingdom’s national identity scheme
Jefferson, Karrie Ann
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Since September 11, 2001, many governments have considered developing national identity management systems. Beyond identification, politicians and proponents of these systems have touted such system benefits as combating terrorism, preventing identity theft, facilitating travel, and combating illegal work and benefit fraud. For these reasons, theUnited States and United Kingdom both considered variations of these systems. While the United Kingdom passed the Identity Cards Act of 2006 and spent several years developing a national identity management system before ultimately scrapping the scheme in 2010, theUnited States sought to secure further the existing means of identification—driver’s licenses and identity cards—through the passage of the REAL ID Act. Both measures met with widespread resistance. What does an examination of resistance to nationwide identity management schemes in theUnited States and United Kingdom reveal about the nature of national identity management systems and identity cards, and what does this resistance tell policymakers and security officials who promote such schemes? Through a comparative analysis of the REAL ID Act implementation and the National Identity Scheme, this thesis shows that Anglophone, common-law nations experience the same inhibiting factors, whether or not they attempt to implement a national identity management system or an identity card on a national scale.
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