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


Monday, December 31, 2007

The politics of privacy

Declan McCullagh, of CNET News wrote an interesting article entitled "The Politics of Privacy" which recaps major issues of 2007. He includes some remarks about the REAL ID Act:
Also continuing through next year will be a growing controversy over the Real ID Act, which would create the first federal identity card for Americans. In January, Maine became the first state to formally reject the scheme, and a few months later anti-Real ID Act senators had some success with an amendment limiting its future expansion.

But the Department of Homeland Security pressed forward with its regulations, which means that starting on May 11, 2008, residents of noncompliant states won't be able to use their driver's licenses as ID at airports or while entering federal buildings. The next five months will tell whether DHS will actually enforce those rules.
For more information, go here.

LibDems vow to bring down ID card plans

Looking Around the World...

Here is an interesting article about developments in England--a country that's abandoned any sense of dignity for the individual when it comes to a surveillance society. Some are trying to slow down the free-fall:
"Putting British families back in control of their everyday lives will be at the heart of everything we stand for...."

"So let 2008 be the year we bring down the Identity Cards scheme."

Individual privacy under threat in Europe and U.S., report says

The International Herald Tribune has an article entitled Individual privacy under threat in Europe and U.S.
Individual privacy is under threat in the United States and across the European Union as governments introduce sweeping surveillance and information-gathering measures in the name of security and controlling borders, an international rights group has said in a report.
The United States ranks low on the privacy scale:
Both Britain and the United States fell into the lowest-performing group of "endemic surveillance societies."
I always contend that the word privacy needs to be substituted with the word freedom.

I am not against the U.S. listening to overseas calls on suspected terrorists, but such measures are not the only ones implemented. So-called "conservatives" constantly push for national id cards, REAL ID, prolific use of biometrics, and the spread of CCTV. I encourage all Americans to read the 4th Amendment and think about why it was written.

The article notes that...
concern about terrorism, immigration and border security was driving the spread of identity and fingerprinting systems, often without regard to individual privacy.
For more from this article, click here. It tries to end on a positive note.

(Hat Tip to Drudge)

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tester and Baucus vote against national ID card funding

Jami Bond, reporting from KTVQ in Billings, says:
Montana Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester successfully put the brakes on establishing a national ID card.
Such a statement is probably too optimistic, but it is encouraging to see some of our leaders resisting the establishment of REAL ID.

Read more here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Arizona GOP lawmakers vow fight against 3-in-1 license

The mostly Republican mess that is known as REAL ID is yet opposed by some GOP members at the state level. Paul Davenport of the AP reports:
PHOENIX (AP) -- Prominent Republican legislators vowed Tuesday to fight Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano's proposal for a new alternative driver license that could also be used to cross borders to verify eligibility for employment.

The lawmakers called the license proposal an ominous step toward compliance with Real ID, an emerging federal identification requirement that the lawmakers called an infringement on individual liberties and of state sovereignty.

The proposed alternative license would put the state on a track to requiring citizens to carry identification cards with embedded electronic features that could be used as tracking devices, said Republican Sen. Karen Johnson of Mesa, a leading critic of the license plan. "I oppose making our driver license into an identity card."
Good for Karen Johnson

Elsewhere Michael Chertoff, head of DHS, dismisses Americans' concerns by calling them "an ideological discomfort" and saying:
"I have yet to hear a persuasive argument for why it is a good thing for privacy to have driver's licenses that are easily forged or counterfeited."
Apparently, he hasn't been listening very closely.

As for the "ideological discomfort," just call it wistful Constitutionalism. The Constitution and our heritage of freedom is indeed an ideology.

A pretty good one.

I simply wish the Republicans cared more about it.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Republicans Give Liberals Greater Power with REAL ID

Liberals like government power. It's axiomatic. So do Republicans...

When the Republicans passed the REAL ID Act, they gave a great tool to every politician who wants to expand governmental controls over the life of the individual.

For example, certain mayors across the country want to undermine 2nd Amendment rights--and use REAL ID as one tool to do so. Here is what they want to ask the current presidential candidates:
In 2013, the federal "Real ID Act" will go into full effect. In order to get into a federal building or to get on a commercial airplane, all persons will have to show secure identification that is compliant with the Real ID Act. However, unless the law is amended, people would not need to show Real ID-compliant identification to buy guns. Requiring gun purchasers to show Real ID-compliant identification could help prevent sales to persons already prohibited from buying firearms, including felons (who might be able to more easily fake non compliant IDs) and undocumented aliens (who, unless INS has flagged them individually in the background check system, can now buy guns by misrepresenting their status on the background check form). Do you support a change in federal law to require that gun purchasers show Real ID-compliant identification by 2013?
In the name of "common sense" and "fighting crime," how many other aspects of Amercans' lives will be brought under the digital net that politicians want to cast over the individual?

Again, I must ask the following questions:

1. Are we supposed to be a free people?
2. Aren't free people supposed to be innocent until proven guilty?
3. OR, Are free people suspect until properly identified?
4. Will Americans have to "scan in" every transaction of their lives? To what other areas of live can we apply the REAL ID?
5. Is it right to reduce God-given rights to a string of digits?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Arizona to create high-tech driver licenses

From the East Valley Tribune-- Arizona to create high-tech driver licenses:
State Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, said she is “livid’’ that Napolitano promised to have Arizona comply with the Real ID Act and promised to fight the plan despite its voluntary nature.

“The federal government’s going to get all this information,’’ Johnson said.

Laura Keehner, a Homeland Security spokeswoman, said there will not be a national database. Instead, she said, each state will keep its own records containing the additional information.

Keehner said she did not know if personal information such as an individual’s physical features, fingerprints or even retinal scans would be collected, encoded on the card or possibly put onto a computer chip built into the license.

Johnson said it was wrong of Napolitano to sign the agreement with those issues unresolved.

“Who is the governor to say what we are going to do here in Arizona?’’ she said. “She’s only one branch of our state government.’’

Read more here.

I have to say that Laura Keehner--being true to bureaucratic principles-- is disingenuous by saying there will not be a national database.

This is a smokescreen.

All 50 states may indeed maintain "their own" databases...

...but if all 50 states are linked to each other and allow the federal government access to the network...

...the results are the same as having one federal database.

Who are these DHS people?

Monday, December 3, 2007

There is No Longer Any Privacy

David Calder of the BBC posts that "There is no longer any privacy."

Concerning Britain:
"The National Identity Register will hold up to 50 pieces of information," [Dr. David Murakami Wood] said.

"Everything from your national insurance number to your health record to the number of penalty points on your driving licence will be stored there, even information about when you buy a mobile phone."

That mobile phone is also storing a surprising amount of information about you.

From the start of October, the mobile phone companies will have to retain data about who you were calling, when you made the call and where you were when you made it.

And that information won't just be available to the police.
Read more here.

Many "conservatives" want to go down the same road Britain is traveling--a road where the individual is blended into a great digital collective.

They do this because they're not thinking two yards past their own noses. But the effects will be the same (or worse) as if big-government liberals had been in charge.

I agree with John Scott from the above article:
"We should stop and think about where we'll be in five or 10 years time. We should be trying to stop the unthinking proliferation of surveillance systems before it's too late."