Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Will The Real ID Please Stand Up? Please Stand Up. Please Stand Up.

Hey Interwebs!  Happy New Year!  I know it's been a while since I posted in here and hopefully that all changes today.

Today I'm going to veer into something slightly political.  I've been know to do so on things that are tech related and this one kinda fits the bill.

Have you ever heard of the REAL ID Act?  If you didn't click that link here's the short version:
The REAL ID Act of 2005, Pub.L. 109–13, 119 Stat. 302, enacted May 11, 2005, was an Act of Congress that modified U.S. federal law pertaining to security, authentication, and issuance procedures standards for the state driver's licenses and identification (ID) cards, as well as various immigration issues pertaining to terrorism.

So what's that got to do with us?  And by "us" I mean the US Virgin Islands.  Well, we're required to be part of that initiative.  The REAL ID initiative would sync up our driver's license records with a federal database and thus allow us to keep using local driver's licenses to travel between states and territories.  It's now 2016 and it seems like we're starting from scratch again.  This is a problem because now we have just 2 years to get on board.  Originally, this needed to be implemented by January 10th, so yeah,we got an extension.
They'll fix that tool tip eventually.

Where was the ball dropped?  Your guess is as good as mine.  I've only kept an eye on it since I became more entrenched in information technology.  But I can tell you where the latest effort fell off.  It was 2011 and a company named BizVI was contracted to do the work.  The company submitted a 3 year scope of work.  Oh, it should also be noted that the last administration's second term started in 2011.  I think you see where I'm going with this.  Fast forward to 2014; new administration and a former BMV Director (who was very disaffected by the previous administration) pretty much boots BIZVI from the project.

Okay, fine.  Things like this happen in the public sector all the time (unfortunately).  If BMV wasn't happy with the work it's their prerogative to terminate the agreement and find somebody else...except that's not what happened.  They simply reverted to the old system and the story ended there.  Heck, people even raved at how speedy the BMV had become!

Where do we go from here?  Well here's where I'm concerned.  Remember when I said we have 2 years to get on board?  Well the article has this pleasant line in it:
According to BMV  Director Lawrence Olive, there are problems with the software, developed by a company named BIZVI, that need to be rectified before implementation.

Wait! WHAT?!  I thought....I dunno.  Are they still on the project or are they off?  Are they trying to use what BIZVI left behind without BIZVI?  At the moment nobody's saying and that makes me nervous because 2 years is when the campaign for the next administration begins.  If it's one thing I've learned from the public sector it's that an administration change is a great excuse for not getting stuff done.