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


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Recent Developments on REAL ID

Real ID Resolution Approved
By a voice vote yesterday, the House approved the resolution by Senator Ruth Whitaker, a Republican from Cedarville, that would call for the repeal of the Real I-D Act of 2005. (Today's THV - Little Rock)

Senate Looks into REAL ID
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), the chairman of the Government Management Subcommittee who has introduced legislation to repeal REAL ID, worried that a national ID "makes us less secure by giving us a false sense of security." States such as Idaho and Maine have already rejected the legal mandate to create REAL ID and federal lawmakers have been more earnestly questioning both the practicality and the constitutionality of the program.(Wired)

Senators skeptical of Real ID Act rules
Senators also continued to voice concern about how states would pay for the program, which Homeland Security estimates will cost $23.1 billion over a 10-year period. (CNET News)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Why This Conservative Tennessean Opposes REAL ID:

My Email to My Representatives:

Why This Conservative Tennessean Opposes REAL ID:

1. REAL ID is a de facto national identification card. At least Lamar Alexander, in recent comments, was honest enough to admit this. Has America sacrificed so much for freedom only to create a “papers please” society?

2. REAL ID does an end-run around 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.”

It is unreasonable to give the central government the power (potential) to track individuals in real-time. If the government needs to search the lives of citizens, let it get a search warrant. We should not have to be monitered. Is not this the essence of freedom? REAL ID, and its future additions, will make life subject to the good-will of the government in a software maze of “red light, green light.” This is not freedom.

3. REAL ID reduces God-given rights of the individual to a string of digits, subject to the good-will of software and/or bureaucrats. It makes Americans get “permission” to live and move in the basic functions of society: banking and travel. The permission we need to do this (and more) is God-given. We shouldn’t have to ask permission to be functioning citizens within our own country.

4. REAL ID may require biometrics at the state level or at the federal level. Why should Americans be “booked” like criminals even if they’ve committed no crime?

5. REAL ID compiles personal information into one place. With the ease of internet access, this information is vulnerable to anyone on the globe with the ability to hack.

6. REAL ID is a move towards the centalization of more power. In an age of terror, the country should operate on a philosophy of de-centralizing as much of our lives as possible--so that if an attack handicaps one part of the country, the rest of the country can still function.

7. The burden of proof lies on the promoters of REAL ID: Show us exactly HOW this significantly new and immense power to the government is NOT a threat to freedom. FREEDOMS ARE LOST IN THEORY/PHILOSOPHY LONG BEFORE THEY’RE LOST IN PRACTICE. Conservatives are threatening freedom and promoting “big government” with the REAL ID Act.

8. We should be moving away from an identification society. This kind of atmosphere promotes suspicion and fear. Are Americans innocent until proven guilty, or are we suspicious until properly identified? The presumption of innocence is undermined by REAL ID.

9. Programs like REAL ID never remain static. The private sector will seek to use this identification system as well. One bad application will lead to others. How can we remain an “open” society with this kind of philosophy?

10. Some folks say we already have a national id--Social Security. But if REAL ID is only a lateral move, why are we doing it? We are doing it because it is indeed an increase in the government’s ability to track its citizens. If we’re on the wrong road, the soonest way to progress is to turn around.

We don’t have to do anything stupid. Just because we “can” doesn’t mean we “should.”

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Poor Tim Fulton Takes a Beating

Tim Fulton has an editorial at the Sun-Sentinel of South Florida entitled 'Real ID' program just another freedom taken away.

What interested me was the hits Tim took in the comment section of the editorial by "conservatives." It seems to me that many folks would rather call names than think. We have forgotten our heritage, ignored history, and think only of "now." That is why we are facing "REAL ID."

My comment defending Tim was:
Where do you want to draw the line, folks? Do you want police cameras in your home? Of course not. So drawing the line on government power is not a matter of paranoia. I just think we should draw the line closer to the Constitution and our heritage of freedom.

A national id card does an end-run around the 4th Amendment. If the government wants to search the life of an American, let it get a warrant.

Also, freedoms are lost in theory long before they are lost in practice. I can see where this kind of id program can threaten individual freedom. How it can enforce arbitrary rules from liberal policy-wonks only remains to be seen. We need to fight for our freedoms at the level of theory and philosophy. A national id card is not what our history has been about. We've got to look beyond our noses. And the burden of proof is not the shoulders of someone questioning REAL ID. The burden of proof is on people promoting it. Show me exactly how this is not a threat to freedom or an increase in government power. If it is simply a lateral move, why are we doing it? What is the track-record on programs like this. Hasn't Social Security shown massive "mission-creep?" Ad hominem slurs of "paranoia" show a lack of thinking skills about the issue.

As a conservative, I believe in limited government. If knowledge is power, increased knowledge is increased power. So, I--for one-- don't think the government needs to know everything there is to know. When the id program grows to include DNA, fingerprints, medical histories, retail purchases, etc.--it will render an immense amount of power of government to control.
I hear people say,"We've already got a national id card, so REAL ID is no big deal.' This is the It's-Already-Bad-So-Let's-Make -It-Worse Fallacy. If the program did not render more power to the government, we wouldn't be doing it.

If things are bad now, then let's work to reverse the problem. If Social Security is being abused by illegal immigrants, then let's privatize the program so it can't be abused. What's yours IS YOURS, in your own account. Social Security was a bad idea to start, and it get's worse every day. Let's not add to the problem with ID schemes.

When S.S. Numbers first came out, the back of the cards said "Not to be used for identification"--or something like that. We all know where that has gone. Are we to trust that REAL ID will remain static?

Where does all this love and trust of government come from all of a sudden on the conservative side? This is amazing.

If we're on the wrong road, the soonest way back is to turn around. And just because we "can" doesn't mean we "should."

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Chertoff Shows His Disdain for Americans Concerned about Their Country

Grant Gross posted an article at ComputerWorld entitled "Chertoff: Security and privacy not at odds...DHS head thinks we shouldn't worry so much about the Real I.D. Act"

If you read the language Mr. Chertoff uses, you can sense his underlying disdain for Americans who are concerned about preserving this good thing called "The American Expirement."

Note the following:
"It's my contention that properly used technology ... actually protects privacy," he said. "We should not allow folks to be captivated by the argument that every time we do something with a computer, it invades privacy."

Here is a straw man argument. Concerned Americans are not worried about a "new use" for a computer. A new use does not necessarily mean a threat to freedom. But a threat to freedom is a threat to freedom, and DHS is planning to use computers to do it.
Chertoff was referring to privacy concerns surrounding the Real ID Act, a law passed by Congress in 2005 that would require states to create machine-readable ID cards containing the name of the holder, the data of birth, a digital photograph and other information.

Articles like this simply throw out the phrase "other information" as an after-thought. But "other information" is indeed the concern of the hour. What "other information" does the government want? Biometrics like DNA, retina scan, fingerprint?

REAL ID supporters tell us that this is not a national id card. But it will work just like one with linked databases and federal access to the information, expanded use of the card, and increased capacities for government abuse. So what's the difference?

Do you see why people are concerned? This game-playing with language is a serious matter. Listen to the Secretary's use of language:
But Chertoff said those raising privacy concerns about the use of IT in the U.S. government's domestic security efforts create a false tension between security and privacy. "This kind of Luddite attitude ... is exactly wrong," he said. "Security and privacy are very much the same type of value. I don't think they're mutually exclusive, they're mutually reinforced."

Preserving America's heritage of freedom is now a "Luddite attitude."
Using double-speak to blurr the problems with a massive increase of government power over individual freedom has become standard.

I worry about folks like Mr. Chertoff.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Your ID card details will be sold to banks

It's a good idea to look around and see what's happening in the world.

Question: How Many Ways Can National ID Be Abused? Let me count the ways...
Banks and other businesses are to be sold access to personal information stored on the Government's ID cards database.

Ministers want to raise hundreds of millions towards the £540million a year cost of running the controversial scheme.

Des Browne, then a Home Office minister, with a card last year
The Government is already facing a backlash over charging people £93 each for an ID card - which will contain 49 different pieces of personal data.

Now ministers are planning to charge companies around 60p a time to check details held on the giant "big brother" database. They hope for up to 770million "verifications" each year.

Read the rest here.

Many folks say, "A national id card won't be so bad..."

The problem really isn't how a national id card could be abused.

The problem is in the thinking that national id cards are a good idea.

Friday, March 9, 2007

A Must Read: REAL ID, False Need (Daytona Beach)

Please read this editorial at the Daytona News-Journal posted today.
Much of the debate over Real ID is focused on cost, Big Brother-intrusions and what amounts to a national identity card -- all valid arguments against the new licenses. It's not government's place to keep tabs on citizens. An all-purpose identification card could be followed next by the requirement, as in most other countries, that individuals carry their papers at all times and present them on demand, with or without reason beyond the all-purpose justification of "security." The card, once just a license to drive (which is all it should be), becomes a required domestic passport. But whether one agrees with those arguments or not, there's a more valid reason to reject the new licenses: The federal government's rationale for Real ID doesn't hold up....

The editorial mentions why the REAL ID Act won't help us--based on the history of the 9/11 attacks. I encourage you to visit the site and follow the rest of the article.

Here's one more quote:

The attacks were preventable -- not with better driver's licenses, not even with such draconian laws as the USA Patriot Act or the domestic surveillance of e-mail and international calls, but with more intelligent, more imaginative, less juvenile intelligence work, and with more modern computer systems and analytical procedures in the nation's premier intelligence agencies. On those counts, the country is still behind. On Real ID's count, the country is rushing toward adoption of a national identification system that is neither necessary nor wise, all the while detracting from more serious vulnerabilities.

Read more here.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Time to drop expensive, unrealistic ID plan (California)

The Mercury News Editorial of San Jose posted this editorial about the REAL ID, national identity card scheme:
The Real ID Act mandating a national ID was rushed through Congress two years ago as part of a military spending bill. There weren't even any hearings on it. Since then, states have balked at the costs, and civil liberties groups have challenged the threats to privacy.

The federal government has yet to answer critics' basic question: Would this expensive and intrusive system even work?

Last week, in finally issuing the regulations, Homeland Security admitted there was no way states could make the original May 2008 deadline. But delaying implementation doesn't solve the core problem.

Several states already have objected to the law and will challenge it as an unfunded mandate. California should join them.

Read more here.

Monday, March 5, 2007

Looking Across the Pond: DNA 'WILL BE STOLEN' FROM ID CARDS

Read the quote below from this article, and think again, as Americans, about the concept of nationa id cards. If you accept this kind of thinking without any hesitation, you had better check up on your common-sense-o-meter and your awareness of what American freedom is all about.

Mr Clarke, who is filmed providing his own genetic sample to Britain’s fast-growing DNA database, raised the idea of merging that database with the ID cards scheme.

“We should all put our DNA on the DNA database, not just to help catch criminals but in the future to be the ultimate biometric key to our identity and all the information held about us on databases,” he said.

Schemes like national identification have histories, contexts, possibilities, and agendas.

They don't grow in isolation--and one bad idea usually deserves another.

Friday, March 2, 2007

More News

Senator Susan Collins Supports National ID - by Cato Institute
Followers of REAL ID know that delaying implementation helps a national ID go forward by giving the companies and organizations that sustain themselves on these kinds of projects time to shake the federal money tree and get this $11 billion surveillance mandate funded.

According to a statement released today by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), states will now have until December 31, 2009 to implement the regulations of the Real ID act.

The Real ID Act implements security features to drivers and identification cards. These standards must be met to allow the card holder to board planes, enter federal buildings and nuclear power plants. States that receive extensions will have to submit proposed timetables for compliance. The regulations include:
Security features that must be incorporated into each card
Verification of information provided by applicants to establish their identity and lawful status in the United States
Physical security standards for locations where licenses and identification cards are issued.

Homeland Security offers details on Real ID
• The Real ID cards must include all drivers' home addresses and other personal information printed on the front and in a two-dimensional barcode on the back. The barcode will not be encrypted because of "operational complexity," which means that businesses like bars and banks that require ID would be capable of scanning and recording customers' home addresses.

• A radio frequency identification (RFID) tag is under consideration. Homeland Security is asking for input on how the licenses could incorporate "RFID-enabled vicinity chip technology, in addition to" the two-dimensional barcode requirement.

• States must submit a plan of how they'll comply with the Real ID Act by October 7, 2007. If they don't, their residents will not be able to use IDs to board planes or enter federal buildings starting on May 11, 2008.

• Homeland Security is considering standardizing a "unique design or color for Real ID licenses," which would effectively create a uniform national ID card.

Thursday's draft regulations arrive amid a groundswell of opposition to the Real ID Act from privacy groups, libertarians and state officials. On Wednesday, the National Governors Association endorsed a bill by Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, that would reduce Homeland Security's power to order states to comply with the law.

ACLU speaks out against Collins' Real ID amendment
The ACLU is speaking out against Susan Collins' amendment to the Real ID act, saying she's not addressing her constituents as Maine has passed an amendment against the Real ID act.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Lamar Alexander on REAL ID.

Lamar Alexander speaks about REAL ID:
We are, after all, for the first time in our history actually creating a national identification card with all the ramifications of that.

...[W]e didn't have the opportunity to say anything about it over here in the Senate. Now, we are not always the wisest people in Washington, DC, but we have half the say. The REAL ID Act came up in the House of Representatives. (Thanks to Mr. Sensenbrenner et al. - JR.)
Fortunately, we have time to stop and think about it, because while the law has been passed, it is not implemented yet.
If I were sitting back in Nashville, I would say: Well, now, Madam Congressman or Mr. Congressman, you are not going to expect me to take 3 or 4 million Tennesseans and run them through the State driver's license offices and find out if they are terrorists or if they are illegally here, or send them back home to grandma's attic and dig up their birth certificates, are you? I mean how many Tennesseans have their birth certificates handy? How many want to go back to the driver's license office and stand in line? That is a lot of people, 3 or 4 million people, and that is only Tennessee. There are over 196 million people with driver's licenses in the United States.
We have a right in America to be skeptical of national identification cards. We love liberty more than anything in this country, and that could infringe on our liberty. We have seen what happened in South Africa when people carried around passports and they were classified based on race, and their lives, their activities, everything about them was regulated that way.

We can think back on Nazi Germany and other totalitarian countries where so much information was on a single card that it gave the Government a good chance to keep up with every single person.

I have changed my mind after 9/11. I believe we need a national identification card of some kind...
(So, my question is answered: Freedom cannot stand in the face of terror... Alexander seems willing to try to do in a nice way what the "Nazis" and "other totalitarians" did.- JR)
Let's think about any privacy issues that might result from a de facto national identification card, and let's even make sure, if we are going to have an identification card, that the idea of using driver's licenses is the best way to do it.

As my last comment, I would underscore the fact that there are a number of States already considering taking the action Maine has already taken, the Senator's State, in passing a resolution rejecting the REAL ID card. Those are Hawaii, Georgia, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Vermont, and Washington State. If the REAL ID card were to go into effect in those States in May, next spring, and they didn't have the REAL ID card, according to the law they can't fly on a commercial airplane. Well, that is going to create a situation I don't think any Member of this Senate wants to see.

Alexander still seems open to biometric Social Security Cards.

The issue is still alive.

Alexander Co-Sponsors Amendment To Delay, Modify "Real ID"

One of our senators, Lamar Alexander, proposes a dely in implementin REAL ID.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) joined several Senate colleagues in introducing legislation to delay the implementation of the 2005 Real ID Act, which he called a “huge unfunded mandate” on the states that will hurt other key programs such as education.

“What do unfunded mandates mean? Higher property taxes. Higher tuition costs. Less funding for higher education so we can stay competitive with China and India,” Mr. Alexander said. “Less money for lower classroom sizes, less money for rewarding teachers – that’s what mandates do.”

“We are, after all, for the first time in the history of a liberty-loving nation, creating a national identification card law-with all the ramifications of that,” Mr. Alexander said.

At least he's honest about this being a national id card.

Funny thing is, Alexander voted for the REAL ID Act.

Read his official statement.

REAL ID Regulations Released

DHS Issues Proposal for States to Enhance Driver’s Licenses

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: REAL ID

Minimum Standards for Driver’s licenses and Identification Cards Acceptable by Federal Agencies for Official Purposes (PDF)

REAL ID Proposed Guidelines: Questions & Answers

Do the proposed regulations require States to collect fingerprints or iris images from drivers?

No. Though States may independently choose to implement biometrics into their driver’s license process, the NPRM does not require a State to collect fingerprints, iris images, or other biometric data in connection with obtaining a license and has no plans to serve as a repository for the face images the states will collect.

My main concern has been biometrics and linked databases. So far so good on the biometrics...

It remains to be seen how often we will have to flash this REAL ID in order to live and move and have our being...

Sophia Cope: "The Wrong Way to Fix REAL ID"

Sophia Cope of the Center for Democracy and Technology has submitted a post entitled The Wrong Way to Fix REAL ID.

She notes that Susan Colling (R-Maine) has submitted an "amendment (S. 563) to the 9/11 recommendations bill (S. 4)...." that seeks to address the issue.
CDT commends Senator Collins for wanting the DHS regulations to “include procedures and requirements to protect the Federal and State constitutional rights, civil liberties, and privacy rights of individuals.” However, this shifts responsibility for resolving the REAL ID controversy from Congress to a federal agency. The REAL ID Act itself is inherently flawed: for example, it mandates the creation of a nationwide electronic network for the sharing of personal information, and the retention of copies of highly sensitive documents (such as birth certificates, social security cards, passports, and utility bills); and it does not address the use of the new cards or the collection of personal information. The REAL ID Act also contains no mention of “privacy” anywhere in the statute. It is inappropriate to expect administrative regulations to make up for these statutory deficiencies.

Ms. Cope has other good points about this issue. Check them out here.