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Homeland Security Blinks Over REAL ID Act

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Department of Homeland Security has indefinitely lifted its January 1 deadline to allow federal agencies to accept state driver's licenses and ID cards before allowing people to board commercial airplanes or enter federal buildings and nuclear power plants.

The decision to stay the controversial REAL ID Act of 2005 was in response to notifications from 46 of 56 U.S. states and territories that said their state-issued driver's licenses and ID cards will not meet federally mandated security enhancements by the new year.

The law would have required all ID holders under 50 to reapply for licenses with certified birth and marriage certificates. It also sought to require the states to verify the validity of each document.

The law also would have required that states share their Department of Motor Vehicles databases with each other and the federal government, prompting some privacy groups to liken it to the creation of a national ID card.

None of the 50 states met the first deadline for compliance in May 2008, and several adopted resolutions opposing the measure as an intrusion on states' rights and the privacy rights of their citizens.

The agency did not issue a new compliance date but has said that it will continue to work with the states on the issue.

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