CHICAGO (CBS) — You’ve seen the ads and warning: Get your Real ID by October, or else you won’t be able to get on flights in the United States.
We’ve reported on the long lines and glitches with the system delaying folks trying to get the Real ID. But on Monday, it got even worse – when a computer glitch hit the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.
As CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported, the company behind the glitch gets millions of dollars from taxpayers.
Most of the people Kozlov talked with Monday had been standing in line for about an hour at the Secretary of State’s office at the Thompson Center.
For a while, the line stretched through the food court area – and wasn’t budging.
“Today I have the day off, so I was blessed to have the day off, so I just came here and I get this done. But if this was just a regular, average day, I would not be able to come down here with this line,” said David Rodriguez Jr.
The culprit, according to a Secretary of State’s office representative, was a glitch with the computers that control the cameras that take people’s pictures. An outside vendor – IDEMIA, formerly Morpho USA – has that state contract.
“They do a number of states around the country, so this is something that’s – a lot of states around the country are affected by this,” said Secretary of State’s office spokesman Dave Druker.
It is at least the third time in 13 months that a computer problem has plagued locations Secretary of State’s office driver’s license facilities. Two of them, Druker said, are connected to that same company.
“We’ve had several meetings with our IT people this morning; our driver’s services people; with IDEMIA – and they’re continuing to work on the problem,” Druker said. “I can’t speak for them, but I’m sure they feel as badly as anybody.”
A dig through state contracts found IDEMIA, when it was Morpho USA, has been paid tens of millions of dollars by the state since 2013. From August 2018 to July 2019 alone, taxpayers paid the company almost $8.2 million for its typesetting and picture processing services.
Druker said he does not believe there is a reason to distrust IDEMIA moving forward.
“I don’t think so. I think to the point that you raise about trusting people with information, knock on wood here, but we’ve never had a breach,” he said.
Calls to IDEMIA were not returned Monday afternoon.
Druker said the glitch impacted office morning hours, adding that everything was back up and running around noon.