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

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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.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION:

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.

TERRORISM:

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

A TRUE THREAT:

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

1 comment:

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