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


Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Mona Charen: Nothing a Little "Ad Hominem" Can't Fix

I'm trying to figure out what kind of political universe I'm living in when it is the conservatives promoting REAL ID--and national identification in general. Mona Charen posted an article entitled For national ID cards at the usually conservative Townhall.com.
Mention national identity cards, and absolutists on the right and left go into a tizzy. "It'll be like Nazi Germany," say the liberals. "America will be indistinguishable from the Soviet Union," warn the conservatives. This is hysteria.
Nothing like a little ad hominem slap to get your thinking started.

Is Senator Sununu a nut? Is Sen. Joseph Lieberman hysterical? What about the many state legislatures standing opposed?

Is it not concerning that Mona Charen wants to turn private-sector transactions into background checks?
If every person staying in any hotel anywhere in the United States had to produce his national ID, it would be far easier to catch illegal aliens.
I think many conservatives despise illegal immigrants so much (and I oppose illegal immigration), they are ready to trade off our heritage of freedom just to deal with the issue. Apparently such a trade is easier than making tough decisions at the border.

Finally, Charen displays her desire to be more like Europe:
When you travel in Europe, most countries require that you produce your passport in order to stay at a hotel. Information about every guest is reported to the police.

"Information about every guest is reported to the police."

But rest assured, Mona Charen says, national id cards won't create a police state...

This is simply amazing.

(I left a comment at her post. I regret my typographical errors there. Oh well...)

A License to Be a Citizen

The REAL ID Act changes our driver's license--issued by a state for the purpose of driving--into a national license to be a citizen within your own country.

A license to bank.
A license to fly.
A license to visit your own country's Capitol.

It reduces the citizen's rights to a string of digits.

It will also make people live in a software maze of Red Light/Green Light. (I can only imagine all the arbitrary rules legislators will come up with--more easily enforced by a national id; a very, very smart card...)

This is what we fought all our wars for: A Biometric Ball-and-Chain.

Is this what the Constitution is really all about?

Is this what freedom is all about?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Unmasking the REAL ID Act: VIDEO

Here is a video promoting the REAL ID Act. Identity issues for everyone! Freedom is no longer America's principle driving force. Our driving force is now suspicion, fear, and the need to "identify" everyone in society.

I typed this post while watching the video:

Here are key euphemisms:

"MINIMUM STANDARDS" - These "minimum standards" are a giant leap in the wrong direction by using biometrics.

Biometrics "books" every citizen--criminal or not--for the purposes of tracking. Big brother really wants to watch you.

"STATES CHOOSE TO COMPLY:" This "choice" is forced upon life-long citizens who want to function in their own country. But to function, we can no longer be free individuals. REAL ID is reductionistic: reducing citizens in to a computer file--a string of digits--to live in a software maze of "red light/green light."

"WE DON'T HAVE A NATIONAL ID CARD:" "Nobody had any intent of creating a national id card. That is what this act is trying to prevent from happening."


This video continues to promote the "It's Already Bad, So Let's Make It Work" fallacy in the issues of identity.

The issue is more than "privacy." It is freedom from an ever-present central government. Are there no folks talking about 4th Amendment issues? Where is the word "Constitution" in the debate?

"THE GOVERNMENT IS PRETTY SENSITIVE TO THESE ISSUES." So just trust us! We're the government!

This is extortion from the federal government. It will "disadvantage" citizens who don't comply. There is a "stick" to this measure. "Stick" sounds tyrannical to me.

This video is blatant propaganda.

Watch it and learn.

Monday, February 26, 2007

As Bush's ID Plan Was Delayed, Coalition Formed Against It

Spencer S. Hsu and Darryl Fears, of Washingtonpost.com posted this article about REAL ID cards yesterday.

A couple of highlights

While Washington has delayed implementing it, a rebellion against the program has grown. Privacy advocates say the effort could create a de facto national ID card. Meanwhile, state officials charge that complying with federal requirements will cost $11 billion and potentially double fees and waiting times for 245 million Americans whose licenses would have to be reissued starting next year.
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the homeland security panel, said in a statement that Real ID may not provide real security and that it is opposed by states "because it is overly burdensome, possibly unworkable, and may actually increase a terrorist's ability to commit identity theft." (Say it again, Joe. Say it again. -JR)
An unusual and powerful alliance of civil liberties groups and libertarian groups important to the political bases of both parties has also mobilized. They describe Orwellian scenarios in which Real ID integrates nationwide databases storing personal information without adequate security safeguards, and they ask who will own and control access to the system.

"Unusual" is right. I find myself siding with the ACLU, Democrats, and Libertarians in opposition to the REAL ID Act. Maybe such a broad cross-section of folks reacting against a national id card indicates that it really is a bad idea.

Also, "Personal information with security safeguards" mean BIOMETRICS, and biometrics means "being booked and tracked like a criminal."

Michael Chertoff's stance on this issue is very frightening. He's not at all making me feel "safe" in my own country. Schemes like biometric, national identification cards are very unsettlling. We should not toss out an entire heritage of freedom in the face of terrorism. If we do that, then I must ask "What are we fighting for? And who is winning the war?"

There is nothing "conservative" about this.

Republican Liberty Caucus of Georgia Supports delaying the Real ID Act

From Chris Farris in Atlanta, Georgia:

The Republican Liberty Caucus of Georgia takes positions in support or opposition to legislation under consideration in the Georgia General Assembly. Our criteria are based on the Liberty Compact we ask all candidates to sign. It states that candidates will work to: restore liberty, shrink government, reduce taxes, abolish programs, and promote the freedom and independence of Georgia citizens.

Read more here.

Friday, February 23, 2007

What's Going on in the World?

Portugal Launches National ID Smart Card
Cardholders can use a personal identification number, or PIN, to authenticate themselves for online services government officials say they plan to offer. Each cardholder’s fingerprints will be stored on the card, which police officers will be allowed to check. Also, the card generates a legally binding digital signature. - CardTechnology

Australian government prepares to introduce de facto universal ID card
The most far-reaching aspect of the scheme is the creation of the first-ever national database of Australian citizens and residents. It will contain high-resolution biometric facial photographs of all cardholders, together with a digitised signature, card number and other personal details, including residential address, date of birth, social security and concessions status, and copies of all documents used as proof of identity. Details of children and other dependants will also be recorded, making the data virtually universal.www.wsws.org

Otter blasts ID bill he co-sponsored
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter spoke out against the Real ID Act of 2005 on Thursday – a bill he co-sponsored when he was a congressman.

Otter described the legislation as a "terrible idea" that came from his own Republican Party, a $39-million boondoggle for the state of Idaho and akin to the original Patriot Act, which he opposed. "This beats it all," he told the City Club of Boise.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter spoke out against the Real ID Act of 2005 on Thursday – a bill he co-sponsored when he was a congressman.

Otter described the legislation as a "terrible idea" that came from his own Republican Party, a $39-million boondoggle for the state of Idaho and akin to the original Patriot Act, which he opposed. "This beats it all," he told the City Club of Boise.
-Betsy Z. Russell, SpokesmanReview.com

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Schneier on Security: CYA Security

Again, Bruce Schneier offers an interesting article on how America is a step behind in security. The title reveals the thesis.
" We might be better off as a nation funding intelligence gathering and Arabic translators, but it's a better re-election strategy to fund something visible but ineffective, like a national ID card or a wall between the U.S. and Mexico."

I am not against building a wall, but a national id card is definitely the wrong way to go.

Regardless, Schneier's article is a worthy contribution to the debate.

Check it out.

National ID Project Moves China To Head Of The Pack In Radio Frequency Technology

Here's an article about technology Powerful Governments love:

China has become the largest market for radio frequency identification technology, or RFID, driven largely by its mass issuance of a contactless smart card as a new identification document, Peter Harrop, chairman of UK-based consulting firm IDTechEx, said today at the opening of his company’s RFID Smart Labels USA conference in Boston. RFID includes all kinds of chips that communicate with readers via radio signals, from tags used to identify merchandise in transit to contactless smart cards and electronic passports.

Read more here.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Tony Blair Reveals the Direction of Biometric ID's

Tony Blair has released an email responding to opponents of biometric national identification cards. He also shows that he will not listen to citizens' concerns---very much like our leaders in the US: Republican or Democrat.

Here are some revealing comments by the Prime Minister, interspersed with thoughts/questions:
...the real benefits for our country and its citizens from ID cards and the National Identity Register, which will contain less information on individuals than the data collected by the average store card, should be delivered for a cost of around £3 a year over its ten-year life.

Nor is Britain alone in believing that biometrics offer a massive opportunity to secure our identities. Firms across the world are already using fingerprint or iris recognition for their staff. France, Italy and Spain are among other European countries already planning to add biometrics to their ID cards. Over 50 countries across the world are developing biometric passports, and all EU countries are proposing to include fingerprint biometrics on their passports.

TRANSLATION: Our society will no longer be a standard-bearer for freedom. It is time to "join the crowd."
If national ID cards do help us counter crime and terrorism, it is, of course, the law-abiding majority who will benefit and whose own liberties will be protected.

HIDDEN ASSUMPTION: Those who resist the idea of national id cards are not going to be considered "law abiding" in their disposition. We now abandon the presumption of innocence. We are guilty until properly identified.
A national ID card system, for example, will prevent the need, as now, to take a whole range of documents to establish our identity. Over time, they will also help improve access to services.

TOTALITARIAN BUT CONVENIENT = GOOD. With planned and open-ended mission-creep.
As I have said, it is clear that if we want to travel abroad, we will soon have no choice but to have a biometric passport.

Yours sincerely,

Tony Blair

When US politicians tell you biometric id cards are "simply" to fight terror and illegal immigration, realize that they are lying.

It's that simple.

***UPDATE (2/21/07)***
Read one UK Conservative's response to Mr. Blair.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Labour will force everyone to give fingerprints at ID card interview centres


Patrick Hennessy, the Political Editor for the Sunday Telegraph, posts an article revealing plans for the English that will
...force all adults to travel miles at their own expense to fingerprint scanning units so their details can go onto an identity card database. From 2009, everyone will have to attend one of 69 "interview centres", whose locations are revealed today for the first time.

This is essentially the same thing my party, the Republican party, is eager to force on the American people.

So I ask myself, "What makes a conservative?"

Answer: Someone who wants to conserve all of the Bill of Rights and the spirit of freedom that has blessed this country with a great heritage. I'm not interested in some Constitutional "loophole" that would "allow" the creation of a national identification card--REAL ID or otherwise.

The trend is already bad enough with Social Security numbers.

It's already bad. Let's not make it worse.

Read more here.

Friday, February 16, 2007



Things are looking more-and-more likely for repeal of the REAL ID Act. The Maine legislature got the ball rolling, and now as many as 34 others states are threatening to pile on.

It's important to note that the resolution of the Maine legislature was limited. They informed the federal government that they weren't going to embed RFID chips in their state driver's licenses. But Maine may go even further before all is said-and-done, because many other states are contemplating more vigorous opposition.

Read the rest of their post here.

As I look through the internet, I see a lot writing against the REAL ID Act.

Does my heart good.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Some States Welcome National ID

Ryan Singel's article Some States Welcome National ID for Wired News contains some revealilng statements that underscore why Americans should oppose REAL ID and/or national id cards.

Singel notes:
Paula Arcioni, the information security officer for New Jersey's Office of Information Technology, envisions the identification cards eventually morphing into smartcards that can be used by the government to help authenticate people and deliver services over the internet.

I thought the purpose of REAL ID was to fight terrorism and restrict illegal immigration. But human nature is predictable. Paula Arcioni's statement shows that whatever "purposes" REAL ID initially had, many more imagined uses are desired--and the law hasn't even been executed yet.
Arcioni, who emphasized she was not speaking on behalf of the state of New Jersey, says what she calls "scope creep" will be welcomed by citizens.

Not by this citizen.

Anyway, digital professional Dan Combs goes on to say:
"Most of the really strong support for Real ID comes from people like me who see the promises in an ID system," Combs said. "Once you get a system like this in place an awful lot of government becomes easier."

And that's the problem.

The other edge of the two-edged sword called convenience is a massive increase the power and size of the government.

The spirit of our American heritage has raised important inconveniences to government for the purpose of limiting government. But it seems that Americans are ready to discard that heritage--not even for the sake of security, but simply for the sake of convenience.

It is interesting to note that many articles discussing the REAL ID Act do not mention the issue of biometrics or concerns over the 4th Amendment (that little addition to the Constitution knows as the Bill of Rights designed to inconvenience government...)

Where are all the conservatives that should be "conserving" all 10 of the Bill of the Rights?........................... (I hear crickets....)

Read the rest of Singel's well-written article here.

Because we can does not mean we should.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

The Other View Point: REAL ID Offers Real Protections to Personal and National Security

The Federation for American Immigration Reform has an article promoting the REAL ID measure.

Fifteen months before the REAL ID Act is scheduled to be fully implemented, a handful of state DMVs, together with fringe groups on the far left and far right, are mounting an all-out offensive to repeal the measure.

It is easier to use labels for ad hominem attacks rather than interact with the concerns real Americans have about national id cards. I am not sure when the article was written, but I would be slow to imply that state legislatures opposing the REAL ID Act are "fringe groups."

Click here for the rest of the article.

Monday, February 5, 2007

REAL ID: What's the Problem? Two Answers and a Challenge

The problem with REAL ID is primarily two-fold:

1. Biometrics: I have a difficult time seeing how biometrics and Constitutional thinking can go together. Are our rights God-given and Constitution-recognized?

Or are our rights to be reduced to a string of digits (very personal body-information) held hostage to the mercy and good will of an extremely powerful central government? (Apply the question to SSN numbers as well...)

2. 4th Amendment issues: Are Americans "innocent until proven guilty" or are they "Guilty until properly identified?"

Challenge: Are there adept bloggers out there that can locate facts on which biometrics companies had been lobbying Congress to pass the REAL ID Act?

Were people like Sensenbrenner lobbied by such companies?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Is the Spirit of 1776 Still Alive? "States Buck Fed Plan For National ID"

CBS News reports that more states are lining up to oppose the REAL ID Act.

(CBS/AP) A revolt against a national driver's license, begun in Maine last month, is quickly spreading to other states.

The Maine Legislature on Jan. 26 overwhelmingly passed a resolution objecting to the Real ID Act of 2005. The federal law sets a national standard for driver's licenses and requires states to link their record-keeping systems to national databases.

Within a week of Maine's action, lawmakers in Georgia, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington state also balked at Real ID. They are expected soon to pass laws or adopt resolutions declining to participate in the federal identification network.

Read more here.

I hoped things like this could happen.

Let's keep the spirit alive...

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Jamie Colby at Fox Turns the Spotlight on REAL ID.

Jamie Colby at Fox News shed some light on the REAL ID act today (Super Bowl Sunday). She correctly calls the upcoming REAL ID licenses NATIONAL ID CARDS.

Her article goes on to say:
The Department of Homeland Security is in charge of the Real ID program — ensuring we all meet the new federal ID standards. To do so, each Real ID will be encoded on a strip in the back with a lot of our personal information. That is where the debate begins, and right now it’s hit about a dozen states hard.

Go to her site and email your thoughts to her about REAL ID.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Eleanor Stables: Getting Real

Eleanor Stables at The American Spectator has a well-written, public policy article entitled Getting Real about the REAL ID Act.

I wrote a letter-to-the-editor in response to her article.

Here it is:

Thank you for your article on the REAL ID Act.

As a conservative, traditional Republican, I have been amazed that it was my party the put the REAL ID Act into law. My concerns are over terms like "minimum security standards," "machine-readable," and "security features."

Knowing how the politicians like to frame the debate, I hear the following:

1. "Minimum security standards" translates as "big step forward in government ability." It is a lot like "common sense" restrictions that never seem to end... If these changes did not make significant strides in the central government's ability to track free citizens, politicians would not push for the changes.

2. "Machine-readable" translates "Easily accessable to anyone in the private or public sector." I hear "identity theft made easy." I also hear, "Breakdown of states' integrity." Everyone's information is potentially accessable with the ease of an internet connection.

3. "Security Standards" means "Biometrics." Republicans sit on their hands when the issue is illegal immigration, yet they want to brand me like cattle and track me with biometrics (or possibly RFID.) When I am finger-printed, DNA-sampled, or retina-scanned, I can never undo that action. Where will the digital information (computer file) containing MY BODY'S INFORMATION go? Will other nation-states have free access to it? Will credit reports be tied to it? My medical records? Where does it end?

In the early days, politicians promised that Social Security numbers were not to be used for identification purposes. But we know where that road led.

Also, the 4th Amendment is at risk. With biometrics/rfid, the government can potentially track Americans in real-time. Why bother with a warrant?

Finally, we are going from "innocent until proven guilty" to "guilty until properly identified." This is not the American so many have sacrificed for. I had thought the Republicans would be more respectful of our heritage.

When the REAL ID passed into law, my first thought was, "The Republicans are betraying us."

I still feel that way.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

REAL ID Backers Scramble to Push REAL ID

Alice Lipowicz, writing for Washington Technology posts a story entitled Note to DHS: speed up Real ID regs

As Maine and other states dig in their heels against the Real ID Act of 2005, Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., called on the Homeland Security Department to move forward quickly to show how the program should be implemented.

Mr. Davis needs to understand that there is nothing Republican about a massive power-grab for the federal government to monitor the lives of free citizens. I am amazed that it is the Republican party that is pushing for these Orwellian measures...

People like Mr. Davis, and others, need to understand that Americans should not be tagged and tracked with biometrics. Is is an affront to anyone who cherishes Constitutional freedoms and the American heritage.

Because we "can" does not mean that we "should."

More Good News: Montana Rejects REAL ID

Montana also steps up to the plate to preserve freedom in the face of the REAL ID Act.

Dan Testa of the New West writes on January 31, 2007:
Applause broke out in the House today after lawmakers passed the second of two bills to deny and nullify a Federal Law which increases the restrictions placed on drivers licenses.

Read more here, here, here, and here.