MAINE, USA — As of the first of July, Mainers are now able to purchase a Real ID. It's a new form of identification in the state, organized by the federal government to tighten rules on sanctioned identification.
A database of Real ID's photo won't be used by federal government agencies for widespread searches however, according to Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap.
"Well first of all you have to understand who the infromation belongs to," said Dunlap. "It doesn't belong to the FBI or ICE, nor does it belong to the secretary of state. It actually belongs to the individual citizens who provide the information."
This announcement from Dunlap comes after reports from the New York Times and Washington Post that federal agencies like the FBI and ICE have used facial recognition software to conduct widespread searches in other states.
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Dunlap says he will not allow those agencies to conduct such searches on the Real ID database in Maine, but will work with them if they're searching for a specific person.
"If they have a question about an individual, they're trying to ascertain their identity, yes we would provide that information," said Dunlap.
Real ID's will not be required in Maine until October 2020. Real ID's will be required for residents to do things like board airplanes or enter a federal building.