DHS Secretary Chertoff on REAL ID's "COUNTLESS OTHER" USES.


Friday, December 29, 2006

Plan to Travel Abroad? A Biometric Passport Just for You

If you want to travel, you will soon be "booked" by biometrics:

The U.S. version of the biometric passport (which is also referred to as an "Electronic Passport") will only have digital imaging placed onto the contactless chip, as opposed to the European version. However, the chip used in the U.S. passport will be large enough (64 kilobytes) to allow it to contain additional biometric identifiers should the need arise in the future. The U.S. Department of State began issuing biometric passports to government officials and diplomats in early 2006. It began issuing regular biometic passports at its Colorado Passport Agency on August 14, 2006; though they still expect that nearly all new or renewed passports issued by the department to American citizens will be biometric by the end of 2006, other sources say it won't happen until mid-2007.

Read more here.

US creates terrorist fingerprint database

Can the Constitution Survive in the Age of Terror?

Now, Homeland Security is upgrading from a two-finger to a 10-finger system. In effect, it requires foreign visitors to submit to the kind of extensive fingerprinting usually reserved for criminals. But officials say that collecting all 10 prints ensures compatibility with the FBI database, and increases the investigative utility of the computerized system.

"It makes it sound as though this will have a limited purpose - terrorism, and a limited scope - non-Americans, but the reality is that the system is not going to be so limited," says Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation based in San Francisco. "They will be using it for every kind of law enforcement there is. They will be collecting fingerprints on Americans, and it will be used for every general purpose."

Read more here.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Wall Street Journal on National ID (2/19/05)


This was published after the House passed REAL ID and before the Senate and President took it the rest of the way--into law.

"Aside from the privacy implications of this show-us-your-papers Sensenbrenner approach, and the fact that governors, state legislatures and motor vehicle departments have denounced the bill as expensive and burdensome, there's another reality: Even if the Real ID Act had been in place prior to 9/11, it's unlikely that the license provisions would have prevented the attacks."

"President Bush realizes this and is pushing for a guest-worker program that would help separate people in search of employment from potential terrorists. If the Republican Congress doesn't realize that, perhaps a Presidential veto of the Real ID Act would focus its attention."

The second quote reveals a serious "mis-reading" of President Bush. If only the President had indeed been Republican enough to veto REAL ID.... But here we stand.

Read more here.

NRA on National ID Cards

Frightened, or Free? (February 2002)
Meanwhile, Congress has given the CIA vast new powers and billions of dollars to use them. The CIA can now read secret grand jury testimony without a judge’s prior approval. They want to intercept e-mail without a warrant and more powers to eavesdrop on people.

And the technology exists to pull it all off.

You heard about the cameras and software that captured every fan’s face at last year’s SuperBowl in Tampa. Computers instantly compared each face to those of criminals stored in a database.

Around the country, work is underway on optical technologies that can identify you hundreds of feet away by the color spectrum emitted by your skin, or your body’s unique dimensions, or the "force profiles" of your walking feet, or the speckles in your irises.

Beyond detecting human identity, they’re detecting human intention! Like computers programmed to recognize movement associated with criminal behavior. Another system tracks features of your face and figures out what your expressions mean emotionally! Computers will look at what’s on your face and decide what’s in your heart.

The only people who can stop all of this are you and me. Indeed, the only people who’ve ever drawn the line, by refusing to toe the line, are the patriots like you who stand up and say, NO MORE.

Read more here.

**I cannot find any evidence that the NRA has taken a stand against REAL ID. IF they haven't, they should--to be consistent.**

National ID: An Idea Whose Time Should Never Come

Here's an article from the Cato Institute in 1995:

A National ID System: Big Brother's Solution to Illegal Immigration by John J. Miller and Stephen Moore

The leaders of virtually every libertarian, conservative, and civil liberties organization in America have denounced the computer registry as "misguided and dangerous" (see appendix). Nonetheless, the Clinton administration has endorsed the proposal, as have two key Republicans in Congress. Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), who chair the immigration subcommittees of their respective chambers, are working on legislation to create a registry. Earlier this year Senator Simpson introduced S. 269, which would mandate the creation of a national verification system within eight years. Representative Smith introduced H.R. 1915, which would have a national identification system running in 1999."

I heard one man on cable news say that ever since such ideas were proposed, America has rejected them. So now, after so much time has passed, we should move forward on ideas like REAL ID.

How does the mere passing of time justify any idea?

A lot of blood has been shed to grant us our freedoms, we should not throw them away because we "now" live in "new day" where these ideas "have come into their own."

We don't ever have to do anything stupid.


  • The Real ID Act Raises Privacy Issues (Morning Edition, May 6, 2005)

  • A Sneaky Approach to the Question of National IDs (All Things Considered, May 4, 2005)

  • Impact of Standardizing License Requirements in U.S. (Day to Day, May 3, 2005)

  • As usual, I disagree with Daniel Schorr. The problem is not that REAL ID is a "half-measure" that may not go far enough.

    I do, however, agree with Schorr that Americans should have had the chance to fight over this bill fair and square.

    The Republicans acted in an under-handed way. And the double-speak of Rep. Sensenbrenner (and other supporters of REAL ID) doesn't help the country.

    So, again I ask: "What's a conservative to do with the Republicans?"

    Conservatives should be conserving all the freedoms in the Bill of Rights--not undermining them.

    Tuesday, December 26, 2006

    The Libertarians Understand

    "With the passing of the bill, states will have to abide by federal standards for providing driver's licenses and I.D. cards to citizens. States will also have to link their citizen databases to federal systems in order obtain funding for the program."

    Read more here.

    I'm not a Libertarian, but I am glad they can see the problems with REAL ID.

    Saturday, December 23, 2006

    Intelligence Gets Too Close and Personal

    "The emerging science of “biometrics”—the use of technology for measuring and analyzing a person’s physiology or behavioral characteristics—is now all the rage in Europe, the United States and elsewhere. It is being employed to develop recognition patterns for virtually every human characteristic.... Is anybody minding the store? Is anybody focusing on what this all means and how public policy-makers will pay at least passing attention to the very serious privacy problems inherent in biometric data gathering? The answer—at least here in Georgia—is yes." - Bob Barr


    A Sampling of Organization that have Opposed Real ID

    REAL ID has gathered a wide range of opponents. And rightfully so.

    What was my party thinking?

    Sensenbrenner: Man of the Year?

    I have nothing personal against Jim Sensenbrenner, but I don't understand why conservatives are so eager to praise a legislator who has worked hard to create a bigger government and undermine the Bill of Rights.

    I believe the GOP has become, on the national level, as "big-government" oriented as the liberal Democratic party. What is conservative about a national identification card with biometrics or RFID linked to a national database?

    Are the conservatives really conservative? Not by this conservative's standard.

    New I.D. proves costly, could lead to fraud

    "The Real I.D. Act creates a uniform standard for a state driver's license by May 2008. Some Georgia lawmakers want to delay the state's compliance with the act. They worry it could cause long lines at driver's license centers, increase costs, and put you at risk for identity theft."

    Read the rest of this short piece here.

    Friday, December 22, 2006

    David Faber Has Collected Interesting Material for CNBC

    Here's some interesting material about the technological society in which we live. Here are some videos of his report.

    The more you know.... the more you know. (Profound enough?)

    Interesting. Entertaining. Educational.


    Free Market News reports that repealing the REAL ID ACT is a possibility.

    Here's a part of the article:

    State governments are also required to share data between themselves so that a person born in one state can have his or her birth certificate electronically verified in another. There's a very real concern that this entire system of electronic verification will be extremely vulnerable to hackers, providing what "Information Week" has called "one-stop-shopping" for identity thieves.

    Given how much the states are already being burdened financially, these technical difficulties may be insurmountable. As things stand now, state governments are expected to comply with the REAL ID Act in less time than it took the Department of Homeland Security to write the initial regulations.

    My hope is that the more Americans know about REAL ID, the less chance it has of becoming a reality in our lives.

    You can help defeat this legislation that undermines the Bill of Rights by going here.

    Wednesday, December 20, 2006

    DNA Database 'Should Include All'

    Here is a real life example of where a biometric world will lead.

    Tony Blair called yesterday for the national DNA database to be expanded to include every citizen.

    He said there should be no limit on the development of the database because it was vital for catching serious criminals.

    Is this where the USA could go?

    What is RFID?

    Of Merchandise and Men...

    Will RFID be used in our new national identification cards (REAL ID)?

    This is an informative video.

    Tuesday, December 19, 2006

    Beware Politician Using the Phrase "Common-Sense

    Sensenbrenner Introduces Terrorist Travel Legislation
    Real ID Act Includes Provisions Dropped from 9/11 Legislation

    "I believe these common-sense provisions that enjoy such strong support among House Members and the American people will receive similar levels of support from the Senate and White House. Consequently, I have resisted requests to load-up the Real ID Act with other provisions so that it will be ready for inclusion in the first must-pass legislation this year and can be enacted in the next few months."

    Read the U.S. House of Representative's Committee on the Judiciary page here.

    Blake Wylie on Real ID Act (From May 9, 2005)

    When I pondered the question, "Et tu, GOP?" I was wondering what happened to the party of smaller government. Over the past five years I haven't seen it.

    Read the post here .

    Safety & Security of U.S. Borders/Biometrics (From State Department)

    What is a Biometric?

    A biometric or biometric identifier is an objective measurement of a physical characteristic of an individual which, when captured in a database, can be used to verify the identity or check against other entries in the database. The best known biometric is the fingerprint, but others include facial recognition and iris scans.

    Making Us Safer – International Visitors

    The use of these identifiers is an important link in U.S. national security, because fingerprints taken will be compared with similarly collected fingerprints at US ports of entry under the US-VISIT program. This will verify identity to reduce use of stolen and counterfeit visas, and protect against possible use by terrorists or others who might represent a security risk to the U.S. These two important programs (collecting fingerprints for visa issuance and verifying travelers’ fingerprints when they enter the United States) will make travel to the U.S. safer for legitimate travelers, and also improve safety and national security for all Americans.

    What This Means - Traveling to the U.S.

    For U.S. Visas the chosen biometric identifier method is a digital photo and electronic fingerprints. The two index fingers of a visa applicant are electronically scanned in a quick, inkless process during the consular officer's interview with the applicant. All Embassies and Consulates are now processing fingerprint scans when visa applicants are interviewed for their visa.
    Travel without a Visa - Visa Waiver Program - International travelers who hold passports from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries and who seek to travel to the United States without a visa, should carefully review Visa Waiver program information for eligibility. Each traveler from any of the 27 Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries, regardless of age or passport used, must present an individual machine-readable passport (MRP) in order to enter the United States without a visa. Depending on when the passport was issued, other passport requirements apply. Additionally, if travelers do not meet requirements, they will need to apply for a U.S. visa, and cannot travel on VWP. See Visa Waiver Program for complete details.

    Admission into the U.S.

    - Select US-VISIT to learn more about the Department of Homeland Security US-VISIT program at U.S. ports of entry, which verifies the identity of the traveler using the electronic fingerprint data and digital photographs.
    Applicant Refusal to be Fingerprinted at Visa Interview

    A visa applicant who refuses to be fingerprinted would have his or her visa application denied on the basis that it is incomplete. However, an applicant who then later decided to provide fingerprints would have his or her visa application re-considered without prejudice.

    What is happening? The above methods will be applied to all U.S. citizens via driver's licenses so that we need, in essence, a passport to live in our own country.

    This is what REAL ID is about.

    National ID Cards: New Technologies, Same Bad Idea (From 9/28/01)

    "The bottom line is that mandatory national ID cards aren't going to help us catch many bad guys. While the first responsibility of government is to protect our lives and property, we shouldn't rush into giving up some of our freedoms unnecessarily. We need things that actually matter, not just symbolic gestures. Instead of providing such a meaningful solution, national ID cards will become, at a minimum, an unnecessary nuisance for most citizens. Worse yet, in extreme cases, it could produce massive breaches of individual privacy."

    Read Adam Thierer's article here.

    Thierer notes that (at the time) "the Bush Administration has wisely said national ID cards are not an option..." But the President obviously has changed his mind.

    Americans mull national ID cards

    "A limited national ID card, which would have the name, the address, the Social Security number, the photograph and a print fingerprint or retinal print, matchable to a computer chip, would simply make identity theft impossible. It would eliminate the need for any kind of racial or ethnic profiling," said Dershowitz, a Harvard law professor.

    But one well-known libertarian think tank, Washington's Cato Institute, does not support the concept.

    "The national ID card system is really sort of the ultimate dragnet device," said Tim Lynch, the institute's director of criminal justice studies. "It would require over 250 million Americans to surrender some of their privacy, some of their freedom for a system that I do not think will stop the terrorists from committing acts of violence here against the United States."

    Read CNN's article here.

    The National ID Card That Isn't, Yet (From 1/8/02)

    How well a watchful federal government will actually be able to track its citizens will depend on how many places demand to see your driver's license. Airports already do. So do some supermarkets, if you're buying beer. But what about malls? Movie theaters? Sports stadiums? Banks and their ATMs? If all the places you go demand a swipe to weed out terrorists — and are willing to pay for the technology to do the swiping — then yes, Big Brother could know where you go and what you do while you're there.

    Read Time's article here.

    Monday, December 18, 2006

    Is the REAL ID Act on "Borrowed Time?" Let's Hope So.

    From the ACLU:

    "The Real ID Act is living on borrowed time; no act that repugnant to our Constitutional rights, burdensome to America’s drivers, and costly to taxpayers can or should be implemented," said Timothy Sparapani, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. "We urge lawmakers to demand explicit protections when they consider how to best restore the privacy and freedoms lost under Real ID, or else the Department of Homeland Security will likely again fail to protect Americans' privacy and civil liberties."

    Read the rest here.

    Senator John E. Sununu on REAL ID

    Read what Senator John Sununu of New Hampshire says about REAL ID:
    The flaws of REAL ID are fundamental, and are slowly being realized by observers across the country. First, the law ignores a basic state right to determine standards and eligibility for issuing a driver’s license....

    Second, the bill creates a de facto national ID and raises serious privacy concerns by requiring all states to have similar license features, and to be connected to a national database which will contain personal information on all drivers including name, address, Social Security number, and photo. This system also carries the potential unintended consequence of establishing a “gold standard” for fraudulent activity.....

    Third, this system will impose billions of dollars in new costs on states....

    Read the entire column here.

    I've always been a conservative Republican, but my problem with the party is as follows:

    1. The Republicans have abandoned the concept of limited government in pushing through this national id card legislation. I figured it would be ACLU types--and other liberals-- who push to establish something like this. I am surprised at this and feel betrayed by the Republicans on this issue.

    2. REAL ID threatens the 4th Amendment: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    With biometrics/RFID and the speed of the internet, the government can by-pass the 4th Amendment approaching real-time surveillance (constant searching) of the American people. The 4th Amendment is a good thing. We should keep it as a guiding principle of government. Not by-pass it with legal loopholes and incredible technologies. I am amazed the conservatives are not trying to conserve this freedom. All the talking conservatives I hear say nothing about REAL ID or they just shrug their shoulders. They say people with cell phone cameras violate privacy all the time. But the fact is people with cell phone cameras don't have the authority and abilities of government. Let's think, people!

    3. One thing leads to another: Life, and governments, are dynamic. When Social Security numbers were initially required, there was a "promise" that it should never be used for identification purposes. Just thinking through the list of items in my life today that are attached to this number, I can list: I9 Forms to employee, driver's license, mortgage account, bank account, utilities, home phone, cell phone, medical bills, hunting licenses, and credit score. What else is attached to this number and subject to a Google search--let alone to a government agency search?

    The government is already big enough. It doesn't need more.

    4. "It's already bad, so let's make it worse." I hear this kind of statement regularly: Hey, we've already got the social security number as an ID number. The "bubble" is already popped, so we may as well go ahead with national id. But going further down the wrong road is not progress. We don't have to do anything stupid. We can choose to turn around.

    5. "It's not that big a deal." If the REAL ID didn't make a difference toward more power centralized in Washington, they wouldn't do it. The national id card removes obstacles and makes it easier for surveillance of Americans. It is a big deal because it makes a big difference. Lawmakers who buy into surveillance of some will have to buy into surveillance of all--just to be fair.

    6. The Republicans did almost NOTHING on illegal immigration: Their laziness to jump on the issue and deal with the problem in the real, physical world (i.e. border) is now an excuse for a massive increase in power over Americans? There is a disconnect here. They do nothing to stop the law-breakers, but they want to come and "tag" me. I smell hypocrisy.

    7. The biometrics companies are eager to make money. When I hear their representatives talking about their products, I see people eager to make a buck by disregarding America's heritage of freedom. Thanks folks.

    None of these concerns are based on fringe thinking. Truly, our Founders would be horrified at what we have done with the heritage handed down. The spirit of 1776 is long gone. I hope we can get it back. The question is "Do we still believe in Freedom--even in an age of terror and illegal immigration?"

    Will we work to solve the problems at hand or cave into a wish-list of a power-desiring government (Republicans)?

    Consider some of the articles below:

    ACLU Lauds Akaka-Sununu Real ID Fix Bill, Says Additional Privacy and Civil Liberties Safeguards Still Needed
    Analysis: Dems plan overhaul of Real ID

    Georgia lawmakers gear up to oppose national ID requirements

    Legislators in Georgia and elsewhere are rebelling against the federal mandates contained in the act. State Sen. Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg) says the act's requirements are an invasion of privacy, could open the door to identity fraud and will cost Georgia taxpayers as much as $85 million to implement.

    More here.

    Stand with Mitch Seabaugh on this issue!