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


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I Couldn't Disagree More with Peter Gadiel

"The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise." - Tacitus

Peter Gadiel at Family Security Matters says that the Federal REAL ID Act Does Not Create National Identity Card: That’s a Good Thing.

His post tries to say that the REAL ID Act does not create a national id card that would threaten one's privacy. He says that people like this writer are making false statements like the "moon is made of green cheese" when we say the REAL ID Act is a threat to our American heritage of freedom--except that when I speak, I am harming our security:

It is absolutely necessary that the Federal REAL ID Act of 2005 remain solidly in place for the safety of all Americans. But many forces are at work to dismantle it, using falsehood after falsehood to do so. FSM Contributing Editor Peter Gadiel, president of 9/11 Families for a Secure America, enlightens us.

First of all, I must say that I support the war on terror to protect America. I am a conservative, traditional American who believes we should do what we can to take the fight to the terrorists.

However, if we cease to be American, just what are we trying to protect? Hence, the quote at the top of this post. I'm not ready to stop our noble enterprise of freedom--even in a time of war. We've shed a lot of blood--sacrificing thousands upon thousands of lives in our history to create our country. I'm not ready to throw that heritage away by becoming what we've stood against throughout our history--especially the 20th century.


I am not among the supporters of illegal immigration listed in Mr. Gadiel's post. But why should our default reaction be to create a national id card (a massive step forward in government power) when we've done so little to stop the problem at the border? The Republicans (my party) sat on their hands for years--and now they want to tag me like cattle; book me like a criminal, and track me with biometrics?

Something is seriously wrong.


9/11 was not caused by the lack of a national id card. Period.


Mr. Gadiel also says that the REAL ID Card is not a national id card and is not a threat to one's privacy.

First, I'm not worried about "privacy." I'm concerned about "freedom." Big government folks use the word "privacy" to dismiss the concerns of "privacy groups." Just like many liberals use the word "loop-hole" when there's still a fragment of freedom somewhere they have not yet extingished or regulated.

The freedom at hand is the 4th Amendment in particular and our heritage in general. The REAL ID Act not only has the potential, but the probability, of becoming a "blanket warrant" for the government to use whenever so desired. For the life of me, I don't understand why "conservatives" were the ones to vote the REAL ID Act in! I've always been conservative because I want to preserve and protect our hard-fought protections in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The REAL ID Act does threaten the integrity and dignity of individual rights. Mr. Gadiel says:

The standards that a state has to meet to maintain federal recognition are straightforward and plain common sense.

He then lists several points about REAL ID. I want to respond to just a few:

2. The DMV must keep a digitized copy of the photo that’s on your license. (A digitized photo or a fingerprint guarantees that a single person does not hold multiple licenses obtained with disguises such as beards, different hairstyles, etc.)

I am concerned that this "digitized photograph" is not just a "picture." See my post here about how facial recognition can be used in a database to scan and identify individuals in crowds.

The power of the digital-information age is going to be a real problem for Constitutional rights if we do not get a handle on the applications of information now. Many folks simply think that because we have this technology, we should use it for whatever purposes. Their motto is: "Because We Can, We Should."

3. The license must have a machine readable strip containing such information as the holder’s name, date of birth, eyeglass requirements, etc. REAL ID does NOT require personal information such as blood type, credit history, or other such personal non-driving related matters.

I see no restriction on the biometric information that can be obtained by the REAL ID Act. Unless I am wrong, DNA information has been and may still be "on the table." I would be glad to be proven wrong. But if DNA is still on the table (England is liking the idea) then it won't matter if blood type or other items are listed. As to histories and credit: I believe one is very naive to think that these reports won't eventually be tied to REAL ID in order to "protect" one's identity--which is one "benefit" that Mr. Gadiel lists elsewhere.

The problem with people who support national id cards and biometrics is that they haven't looked backwards in history and don't look forward far enough (with an understanding of human nature and centralized government).

It does NOT allow police officers to “demand your papers,” unless of course you are involved in a traffic stop, or are questioned in relation to a crime. In other words there’s no requirement to identify yourself to police in any circumstance not already covered by tradition and law.... It does NOT authorize states to obtain information about your credit history, blood type, health history, gun ownership, education, your parents, your travels outside the country, employment, club memberships, or political involvement.

U.S. citizens, in the past, did not have to give police their names if asked "out of the blue." But the Supreme Court recently extinguished that freedom. (I'm working from memory and will have to link to the case later.) That was a shift in our tradition. Now, you must answer if asked "Who are you?" Now, let's think: How is a police officer going to know if you are telling the truth? Biometric cards. This is where these issues will lead.

People may say, "That's never gonna happen." But it has already "happened" that free citizens must identify themselves. It has already happend that drivers' licenses are going biometric. It is happening. The biometrics will indeed point to one's credit history--and medical history when the government takes over the keeping of medical records. Other linkages to personal information will follow. Does Mr. Gadiel really believe that gun control proponents are not going to want gun ownership on a citizen's Complete Personal Profile?

Let me close (as the preachers say): A card (that allows one to bank, fly, and/or enter federal buildings) with personal biometric identifiers linked to every state database that can be accessed with the ease of the internet--is a national id card.

It is not American.

Mr. Gadiel can deny it all he wants.

"The desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise." - Tacitus

Monday, January 29, 2007

Handing Out "Orwell" Awards in Australia

Karen Dearne writes about Orwell Awards at Australian IT.

OUTGOING Human Services Minister Joe Hockey has won the People's Choice Orwell for the "access card - a national ID card in disguise", in the 2006 Big Brother Awards.

"This was a well-deserved win for the relentless campaign of disinformation and doublespeak surrounding the access card project," Mr Wilson said.

Read more of this interesting article here.

Maine: Following the Story

Shaun Waterman writes a story for UPI following up on Maines leadership against the REAL ID Act:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Maine lawmakers voted Thursday to reject proposed federal standards for driver licenses, calling on the U.S. Congress to repeal the Real ID Act which imposes them and setting the stage for a battle of wills with Washington....

The American Civil Liberties Union said similar initiatives were underway in Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming.

Read the rest of this encouraging news here.f

Friday, January 26, 2007

Maine Steps Up Where New Hampshire Fails... Wyoming to Follow Maine's Leadership

Here's an AP story: "Resolution Opposes Federal 'Real ID'" released today.

Members of the House Transportation committee cited both financial and privacy concerns yesterday in passing a resolution that opposes the federal Real I-D Act.

It looks like Wyoming may stand with Maine--where New Hampshire failed to oppose REAL ID. Let's hope the rest of the states are as courageous as Maine...

Read more about it.

It Can Be Done: Maine Lawmakers Take Stand Against Real ID Act

Rhonda Erskine reports:
The Maine House and Senate registered nearly unanimous opposition Thursday to the federal Real ID Act, which requires states to change their drivers' licenses into national IDs linked to a central database.

Read more here, here, here, and here.

God Bless Maine.

Hopefully, other states will be as courageous.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

National ID Cards: A Perspective from Bangladesh

Kazi Mustafa Kamal says there's No option to national ID cards in Bangladesh.

If it [a national id card] is introduced in our country, it will assist the election commission to hold free and fair election, will cooperate with the law enforcing agency in nabbing the criminals and give them access to the government offices. Those who have been demanding early election ignoring the necessity of ID cards they are impractical and want to create state of lawlessness once again. To get rid of the influence of the black money in election and to free the election from the muscle power, there is no second option to ID card.

This kind of talk makes one wonder how civilization has survived these thousands of years without digitizing citizens into virtual people who must conform to the herd?

There is always a better way to massive, centralized power in the hands of a few.

The problem is-- it takes work, personal responsibility, and the belief in freedom.

Lost virtues, these...

State Lawmakers Oppose Federal ID Cards

Read this post by Mr. Toast:

"State lawmakers in Montana have introduced legislation that would reject the federal Real ID Act of 2005."

Read more here.

REAL ID in the News...

Lawmakers object to federally approved ID cards:
Lawmakers want Montana to be the first state in the country to say "no" to federally approved ID cards. - The Associated Press, Helena, Mont.

Real delay: Feds, states, Dems and GOP point fingers over ID plan
It wasn't until last year that Congress passed the "Real ID" law, more by hook and by crook than through any coherent process. The legislation was slapped onto an emergency measure granting funding to tsunami victims.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The More You Know...#2

Liska Biometry is another biometrics company in the news.

  • Liska Biometry, Inc. Expects 3rd Quarter Revenues To Exceed $2.5 Million

  • Liska Biometry announces alliance with Brazil's leading ID/smart card company

  • Go to their website and click around.

    The information revolution is now leading a biometrics revolution, and the world is changing right before our iris-scanned eyes.

    Educate yourself.

    Because we "can" doesn't mean we "should."

    Editorial: Privacy-busting national ID won’t make us more secure

    The Washington DC Examiner Newspaper has a good editorial here.

    Tuesday, January 23, 2007

    I Left a Comment Here

    Tim Dees, Editor-in-Chief of Officer.com, wrote an article promoting the virtues of the REAL ID Act. He offers a perspective as a policeman. He said, "Personally, I think REAL ID is a wonderful idea, and only wish Congress had taken it a bit further."

    I was a first to leave a comment there. I also liked what Stuart had to say.

    Check out the discussion .

    Monday, January 22, 2007

    One Bad Idea Usually Leads to Another

    Suzanne Cameron posted an article entitled What To Do About Illegal Aliens – Part II from The Family Security Foundation, Inc.

    While I agree with some points of the article (i.e. the need to stop illegal immigration, etc.), I whole-heartedly disagree with some of the proposed solutions. The article calls for biometrics on Social Security Cards--and further burdens on businesses to be the front line agents against illegal immigration. (We have a role reversal here: Government providing for citizens and private citizens protecting our borders....)

    We should not destroy what America is in the name of defending America. What a contradiction!

    Social Security was a bad idea gone wrong. We need to back away from being a welfare state altogether. Not impose restrictions on hard-fought freedoms by another massive increase in government power over the lives of individuals--in order to "protect" something that needs to go away anyway.

    If we privatize social security completely--allowing citizens to own what they earn--then we don't have to worry about illegals coming in and living off the system.

    But we seem to be stuck in the loop entitled "One Bad Idea Deserves Another."

    When freedom of the individual is disregarded in one area (Social Security), it inevitably is disregarded in another (using biometrics, numbers, and/or RFID to book innocent civilians and track them through a national database.)

    Let's not sell our birthright, America.

    Friday, January 19, 2007

    Retail Conglomerate TJX Reports Customer Info Leak

    Walaika Haskins reports:
    "TJX, parent company of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and other retail chains in several countries, disclosed Wednesday that customer data had been stolen from its computer network. Compromised data includes credit card, debit card, checking, drivers' license and transaction record information. TJX said the scope of the breach has not yet been determined."

    Anticipate more problems with--and reporting of--ID theft.

    ID theft will be used to promote national id cards for the sake of "security." Here's an example from the article at hand:
    The Real ID Act, which became law in May of 2005 as a way to make sure documents submitted for a driver's license are not counterfeit, is a good start, Litan claimed. The bill establishes national standards for state-issued driver's license and ID cards. However, the slow pace of adoption gives identity thieves plenty of time to execute their schemes.

    This is a classic example of "It's Already Bad, So Let's Make It Worse."

    Thursday, January 18, 2007

    The More You Know...

    Want to know more about what biometrics companies have in store for society? Look around.

    Here is the FxAlert System:

    FxAlert is a face recognition product for video surveillance which allows automatic identification against a list of registered person stored in database. It is designed and optimized for applications related to Identification that performs 1 to N facial recognition. To allow for scalability, high performance and high availability even with huge image databases, FxAlert deploys the client-server architecture, one single Watch-list Station can connect with multiple Tracking Stations to speed up the lookup process.

    FxAlert can be run on any standard PC workstation hardware. Processor, RAM and hard disk requirements are moderate. While hardware requirements for any Tracking Station machine depend on the number of cameras operated at this machine only, requirements for a Watchlist Station depend on the overall number of video streams operated by the system and the rate of face images incident on each video stream. Normally, 4 faces per second can be processed per video stream against a watch list of 100,000 people.

    FxAlert can:
  • Continuous identification of faces in video streams from one or more cameras at different locations against a watch list.

  • Results of identifications (alerts) are stored into the database, where they can be extracted for post processing.

  • Watchlist administration: creation and administration of personal data, whose extent is configurable, and biometric data within the database.

  • Graphical user interfaces (GUI’s) for alert visualization and administration, watchlist administration, and FxAlert system monitoring.

  • Operation of the system can be made traceable by means of configurable, comprehensive logging facilities.

  • Support of any common Database system.

  • Read more here.

    I'll be posting information on these new systems that threaten our the freedoms--supposedly protected by the Bill of Rights. Companies like RCG are creating these systems. Here is some of what RCG has planned:

    Already a leader in the Asia Pacific region, RCG now plans aggressive expansion into different parts of the world with its all-in-one biometrics and RFID applications.

    RCG solutions can be applied to a number of vertical industries such as aviation, healthcare, logistics and real estate; RCG products are innovative in design and provide flexible multi-factor authentication to further enhance security. We offer tailor-made solutions to our customers because we understand each customer has different security needs.

    At RCG, we have also implemented an aggressive growth strategy with a clear focus on developing new businesses. Our strength as both a biometric and RFID application solutions provider is the key to our continuous success.

    These companies are concerned about making money. Freedom doesn't matter. Their motto must be "Because We Can, We Should."

    I say, "We don't have to do anything stupid."

    The latest threat to freedom is a national ID program

    George Smith, executive director of the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine, writes the following in the Morning Sentinel:

    The Real ID is a real problem, a real assault on freedom and privacy, a real multibillion-dollar boondoggle, and a real bureaucratic nightmare.

    Read the entire article here.

    Wednesday, January 17, 2007

    A Bill to Repeal Title II of the REAL ID ACT

    A Bill to Repeal Title II of the REAL ID ACT.

    Some Key Text:

    (G) Shall not permit the transmission of any personally identifiable information except for in encrypted format...

    (I) Shall not permit private entities to scan the information contained on the face of a license, or in the machine readable component of the license, and resell, share or trade that information with any other third parties....

    (J) Shall not preempt state privacy laws....

    And much more....

    I wish more of the citizenry took these issues seriously.

    I wish we could back away completely from a surveillance society...

    Again, we don't have to do anything stupid...

    Latest News/Events

    Go to the Electronic Privacy Information Center to get the Latest News/Events. The headlines are:




  • The page also has a good section entitled "History of National Identification Cards."

    Check it out!

    Monday, January 15, 2007

    The National ID Debate, Part II - Cato@Liberty

    Jim Harper posted an article about the government putting a magnetic strip of information on the back of Social Security Cards.


    Read more here.

    Also: A never-ending source of amazement is how the government says one thing and means another (i.e. doublespeak, lying, etc.). Here's an example:
    “It is the policy of the United States that the Social Security card shall not be used as a national identification card.”
    We're pretty much there with SSN Numbers, aren't we?

    Some use this as a reason to promote national id--"since we're 'there' already..." But this is the "It's-Already-Bad-So-Let's-Make-It-Worse Fallacy.

    I say we don't have to do anything stupid...

    When Citizens Say, "I've Got Nothing to Hide."

    I have heard several people say, "Well, I've got nothing to hide," when concerns over national id cards are expressed.

    Here's a dozen of things I hear when people make such a statement:

    1. "I have no concept of history."
    2. "I don't understand the spirit of the Constitution."
    3. "I have no regard for America's heritage of freedom."
    4. "I don't value the blood shed in generations past fighting totalitarianism in other parts of the world."
    5. "I trust government as inherently good with no possiblity of going wrong."
    6. "I have little self-worth."
    7. "I'll let our leaders do nothing to stop illegal immigration, but it's fine for me to be 'tagged.'"
    8. "I like being monitored wherever I go."
    9. "I want to be booked like a criminal--even without having committed a crime."
    10. "I've never read the 4th Amendment."
    11. "Let's not do the hard work or make tough decisions to root out terror. Just sell out freedom for security..."
    12. "The Constitution cannot stand in the Age of Terror."
    13. "I want identity theft to be easier by centralizing my life's information." (A baker's dozen :)

    Real ID database to be outsourced?

    Michael Hampton says that the database on American citizens for the REAL ID Act will be "outsourced." I don't know enough to believe or disbelieve all the news about REAL ID, but "the more you know" (as the public "service" announcements used to say), the more you can follow-up.

    Here is a quote from Hampton:

    What does this all mean? Quite simply, this is the outsourcing of our Constitutional rights. It means that all privacy protections on our drivers licence data will be removed once the DMV sends your data to the private corporation.

    Read more here.

    Whatever happens, REAL ID is a bad idea from the start.

    ID Difficulties in the UK

    Tom Espiner (ZDNet UK) has posted an article about ID difficulties in the United Kingdom.

    Here are a couple of highlights:

    "The UK government's ID cards scheme has attracted heavy criticism from a senior Liberal Democrat MP, following the publication last month of an official report into a pilot biometrics programme.

    Nick Clegg MP, the Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, said that the official study on trials of iris-recognition equipment at airports had highlighted major failures in the technology. Clegg warned that this is further evidence that the ID cards scheme is "doomed to failure".

    "Yet again the government has tried to bury another piece of bad news about its doomed identity cards project," Clegg told eGov Monitor."

    Check out the rest here.

    Friday, January 12, 2007

    GOVEXEC.COM - Activist: DHS considering Outsourcing Work for ID Law

    Here's an interesting article (January 11, 2007) written by Michael Martinez at GOVEXEC.COM about where the REAL ID mess is leading us.

    Read the total article here.

    A couple of highlights:

    The Homeland Security Department plans to outsource to a private firm the implementation of a federal law mandating nationwide standards for identification cards, according to a privacy activist who claims to have obtained portions of draft regulations circulated last week.

    Homeland Security is granting the right to control our identity to private industry," Scannell wrote on the Web site UnRealID.com. "It will be Identity-Mart Inc."

    Martinez also notes interesting developments in Montana to stop compliance with the REAL ID requirements.

    UK Details Plans For National ID Smart Card

    "On Dec 19, 2006, the UK govt. delivered to its Parliament a sketch of a smart card-based national ID (identity card) that could finally be carried by 60 million citizens of Britain & other foreign nationals staying in England. " - LinkSnoop.com

    Read more about it here.

    Thursday, January 11, 2007

    Why the 'Real ID' Act is a real mess

    Anita Ramasastry wrote an article in August of 2005 entitled "Why the 'Real ID' Act is a Real Mess."

    Here's a couple of quotes:

    "Unlike the USA Patriot Act and other politically sensitive pieces of legislation, Real ID has not made many headlines. Last fall, it was voted down. But then it was reintroduced, and tacked onto the 2005 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Defense, the Global War on Terror and Tsunami Relief. (Real ID hence superseded conflicting portions of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004.)

    It would have been a serious political liability for a congressperson to vote against funding for the war on terror and tsunami relief. So it is not surprising that there were no debates, hearings or public vettings of the act.

    Hearings might have revealed that Real ID is going to create many headaches and nightmares for U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents and state governments, which already labor under an unfunded mandate."

    She offers some ideas to remedy the problems this terrible law will create. I think the best thing we can do is to back away from the underlying concepts of REAL ID altogether.

    Read the rest of the article here.

    Wednesday, January 10, 2007

    Food services Don't Need My ID To Serve Me

    Martin McKeay observes a disturbing trend in the marketplace. Please read the entire article here. Note a couple of quotes below:

    "This is a disturbing trend I've been hearing more and more lately: bars and restaurants are asking for ID's and/or storing your ID information in their database before they'll serve you. This is a trend that has to be nipped in the bud before smart criminals start taking advantage of this well intentioned but misguided attempt at safeguarding food service profits. The potential for abuse, either by simply stealing ID's or the databases containing the recorded data is too tempting to remain unexploited for long."

    "As a consumer, it's your responsibility to keep your private information private. It's not appropriate for any business to want to physically hold your ID while you wait to be seated or are dining. If a restaurant has that little trust and respect for their customers, they shouldn't be in business. The risk of having your identity stolen is not worth giving up private information when you could just walk down the street to the next bar. We, as consumers, need to understand that our information should not be stored any more than absolutely necessary, since every instance of that storage represents another potential avenue for compromise. But you have to say 'no' and let business owners know it's not okay to ask to have your ID."

    Tuesday, January 9, 2007

    New Mexico is Saying "No!"

    A blog called Mexico New posts some good news about Senator Michael Sanchez and Rep. Ken Martinez. They are saying no to REAL ID.

    Read about their resolution.

    Jim Babka Offers Some Hope: The REAL ID Act is in REAL trouble.

    "I just learned some exciting things during a conference call with one our coalitions. The REAL ID Act is in REAL trouble. We're going to have a lot more details to share, probably later this month, but let's add to the trouble by sending the new Congress another blast on this one.

    For those reading this who don't know, the REAL ID Act is a law Congress passed that will eventually impose a national ID card on the American people. This ID card would have many features of an internal passport, like the old police states of Europe used to have, and it will also impose tremendous new burdens and slow-downs on you every time you have to go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles. One of the worst features of these cards is likely to be RFID chips that will allow the government (and others) to track you electronically.

    We strongly believe this is a law that must be repealed. We also believe it can be. The new Congress hasn't heard from us yet on this one. So let's make the first noise they hear on this issue a LOUD ONE. Please send a message to Congress right now demanding the repeal of the REAL ID Act. You can do so HERE "
    Babka's organization has more info. I'm not in total agreement with everything they say, but this is a battle anyone with a strand of American thinking can fight.

    Biometrics and REAL ID are "on the face of it" contrary to what America has been about. - JR

    Friday, January 5, 2007

    "It Won't Work" - Bruce Schneier

    "[M]y primary objection isn't the totalitarian potential of national IDs, nor the likelihood that they'll create a whole immense new class of social and economic dislocations. Nor is it the opportunities they will create for colossal boondoggles by government contractors. My objection to the national ID card, at least for the purposes of this essay, is much simpler: It won't work. It won't make us more secure."

    Read Bruce Schneier's complete essay "A National ID Card Wouldn't Make Us Safer" here.

    I am troubled by every other problem Mr. Schneier mentioned--on top of the fact that we've done it all for nothing.

    My hope is that we can maintain faith in freedom and fight terrorism at the same time.

    Many folks don't think it's possible...

    But I do.

    Wednesday, January 3, 2007

    Schneier on Security

    Here's a good article that pops up on most Google searches about REAL ID. The article was posted May 9, 2005. Here's the introduction to Bruce Schneier:
    "Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist and author. Described by The Economist as a "security guru," Schneier is best known as a refreshingly candid and lucid security critic and commentator. When people want to know how security really works, they turn to Schneier."

    Go to his site here.