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


Monday, March 31, 2008

Why REAL ID Is Not "Just a Secure Driver's License."

REAL ID is a lot more than "just a secure card."

It is an entire system of card, scanners, records, and access by government officials. In short, it is a platform for increasing control and regulation over the individual. Such schemes would be used by politicians for an avalanche of regulation.

Some bureaucrats are trying to convince us that REAL ID is a simple change with no long term affects. They blogand say things like:
"Is REAL ID a threat to privacy? There are critics who will say so. But, these same critics can’t and won’t tell you precisely how REAL ID threatens privacy. There’s a reason for that. They have no evidence."
So I left a comment at this blog and said the following:


I have reason and evidence to oppose REAL ID.

I find it ironic for some to say that the government can protect our records without incident. Our presidential candidates may have something contrary to say, having had their passport records hacked by people contracted to work for the government. “But,” I hear proponents of REAL ID saying, “we’ll be really, really good at it, ok? Just trust us.”

This is not very reassuring.

Concerning identity theft... Have we ever stopped to think that maybe--just maybe--we should not have reduced our lives to a nine-digit number? We created the problem and then howl about it. Surely we can put our American ingenuity to work and think of ways to empower the individual’s control over his person and papers. That would be better than reducing our rights and identities to a card--which is then placed squarely in the hands of bureaucrats.

This power play leaves the government holding all the cards... with the citizen risking all the bets.

We have the evidence of what our leaders are actually saying about REAL ID. One leader has said there can be “countless other uses” for REAL ID.

Countless other uses.

Countless times to be scanned by “machine-readable technology” in the transactions of our daily lives. Scanned and recorded for the benefit of government. Living in a REAL ID maze of red light-green light is not freedom.

Why shouldn’t we be concerned about this?

REAL ID creates an infrastructure for increasing regulation. The problem isn’t just the collection of inert information. It’s about the real-time, digital use of that information by the government over against the individual citizen.

As a conservative, I also happen to believe in the 4th Amendment. We ought not let the government make the 4th Amendment obsolete through “countless” scannings of citizens by “machine readable technology” every time we turn around. If the government needs to search a citizen’s person or papers, let it get a search warrant. Otherwise, the government should leave free citizens alone. REAL ID proponents essentially want to skirt the inconvenience of probable cause and search warrants. Instead, we get to hear “Your REAL ID, please” for countless other purposes.

You see, the privacy we need is privacy from the government--until and unless there is probable cause of wrongdoing. It’s called playing by the Constitutional rules. I know it sounds strange.

True, we cannot “go back to a simpler day.” But we are creative and smart enough to carry our heritage of freedom with us--even as technology advances. Technological advances are no excuse to abandon the Constitutional concept of limited government. Technology does not require statism.

History provides evidence. Programs like REAL ID never remain “minimal.” For example, Social Security cards were introduced with the promise that they would not be used for identification purposes. Wow.

REAL ID “security” standards will not remain “minimal” either. We are putting all our identity eggs into one federal basket. How long until we see the inherent “risks” of this and then “require” the use of biometrics--for our “protection” and “convenience?” How long before DHS or Congress can no longer resist the lobbying of biometrics companies?

And who owns the biometrics of the individual anyway? The citizen or the government? We haven’t even had that debate.

There is a lot to discuss about this road called REAL ID... before we jump over the edge like lemmings.

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