Residents of nine states — Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington — may need to use a passport or some other government-approved identification unless their driver’s licenses are changed by next year. Other states have been granted extensions while they prepare to comply with the requirement.
Signs have been placed near checkpoints in some airports to notify passengers of the changing requirements.
“This doesn’t mean that people will be told, ‘Hey, you can’t fly,’” a TSA spokesman said on Wednesday. “You’ll just have to have another form of ID.”
Some states have raised privacy concerns, saying the ID requirements may produce information on individuals that can be compiled in a national database. “This is a game of intimidation being played out between Congress and the federal government and state governments, with ordinary citizens being squeezed in the middle,” Edward Hasbrouck of the Identity Project, a privacy advocate, told the New York Times in December.
The REAL ID Act was based on recommendations of the 9/11 Commission to guard against terrorist attacks. Proponents say more stringent IDs may also ward off fraud and identity theft.