Monday, February 27, 2006

The Inevitability Of REAL ID

The REAL ID Act was passed on May 10th, 2005 and supposedly was to take effect in May 2008. Many of us thought we might have a few years in which to fight this new National ID scheme. Those of us who live in Indiana were wrong. REAL ID is here, now and it is seemingly too late to do anything about it. The Indiana BMV has gone ahead and begun implementing the REAL ID Act, imposing an early implementation on the people of Indiana. I wrote on this subject a short while ago in regards to early implementation and wasn't even aware of how far along Indiana had gone down this road of bowing to the Federal Government, now I have a better idea of it and can see that it's a done deal. Living in a state run by a former member of Bush's administration and dominated by neo-conservative Republicans in the legislatures, this anti-liberty scheme was a given from the get go. No-one has even bothered to see take a look at what this means for the people of Indiana, in terms of lost liberties, increased costs, inconvenience and the increased budgetary costs. What concerns me the most is the loss of what small amount of privacy we had.
The licenses themselves will include digital information that cannot be seen but can be scanned by machines to ensure authenticity. Davis said that if the license or photo is tampered with, law enforcement, airport personnel, store clerks or others with the machines would be able to tell.
No privacy. Every Tom, Dick and Harry with a scanner will be able to access your information at a touch. It's rather interesting that no-one bothers to say what their new technologies will include. Magnetic strips? Bar codes? Or a Smart Chip, (otherwise known as RFID technology)?
Everyone involved in this is rather quiet about that and they make finding the information rather difficult. Digimarc, the company that seems to have the monopoly on this talks a lot about digital watermarking, but they also have a patent for Smart Card technology, so why wouldn't they sell that? Answer: They would and likely have sold these cards to Indiana. Come the fall your card will likely be chipped and all pretenses of a right to privacy will be gone with the wind.

Another invasion of privacy comes with the information you will be forced to divulge in order to obtain a license. Social Security numbers, birth certificates, proof of residency and a lot more, all of which have to be certified. The documents are then digitized and stored in a centralised database accessable to ANYONE with the appropriate machinery. That includes law enforcement, government, TSA and anyone else who demands it, including the grade school dropout at your local convenience store and marketing agencies. If these are Smart Cards you won't even have to give your permission to be scanned. Your card could be read when you walk through the door, if a company wished to spend the money.

Did I mention that your information is going to be shared with other states? No biggie? How do you feel about your information being shared with Canada, Mexico and any other country an organisation known as the AAMVA chooses to shares it with? Yep. The "agency" which determines who your information will be given to is not even a government agency. It's a "private" organisation which has been lobbying for years to pass a National ID/Drivers license standards scheme and they are a partner of Digimarc's. Until REAL ID came along it had been held at bay by people who had some respect for the 9th and 10th Amendments to the US Constitution. No longer, the REAL ID Act has forced states to abide by this organizations "Drivers License Agreement", (article 1, sec. 11)(.pdf). Information gathered and stored is to be shared with all signatories of the DLA...that includes Canada and Mexico and anyone else who desires to sign on in the future. I don't trust people at the BMV in Indiana considering the levels of corruption they have shown. Why would I trust Mexican bureaucrats with sensitive information?

The Indiana BMV, by adopting this technology and the REAL ID Act will be breaking state privacy regulations and possibly laws, when they implement this. They state on their website that all information is confidential.
Documents presented to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles for identification purposes will be kept confidential.
How confidential will it be when anyone can scan your card and gain access to the database? I know, there will be protestations proclaiming the safety and confidentiallity of the system, but how will they deny their own words down the road?
Davis said that if the license or photo is tampered with, law enforcement, airport personnel, store clerks or others with the machines would be able to tell.
The silence from people who should be up in arms over this is saddening. "Conservatives"? Absent. Republicrats and Democrats? Silent. Libertarians? Silent. That so many people are willing to accept a National ID card or internal passport is a telling statement as to the current condition of this country. I cannot help but wonder what their reaction will be the next time they are asked to present their state approved, Smart Card "papers"? REAL ID is here, now and inevitable. Thanks to people like the Governor of Indiana, who has no clue about the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution, cowardly legislators at all levels and a complacent public we will now have identification on a par with other socialist countries around the globe.

This entire scheme stinks to high heaven and no-one, politicians, press or public have called for an accounting. Until now. What is being imposed upon the people of Indiana? What are ALL of the particulars? Why is Indiana implementing the REAL ID Act 2 years ahead of the law, while it is still being opposed in courts and by a majority of the governors of the 50 states? Could it be money? Or political favours? And, given the invasive nature of this why aren't the press and other interested parties speaking up? Indiana's motto is "Crossroads of America". Anyone who knows the story of Robert Johnson knows what happens there, too. Someone has made a deal with the devil and we'll have to pay the price.

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GadFlier said...

You get a lot more hits than I do. Feel free to harvest the links from my entry under and let people know that not only is RealID a threat to our freedom, but it offers negative security. A RealID compliant ID will be easier to steal than current low-tech identification cards.

Anonymous said...

My daughter just turned 21, and went into get a new driver's license. She took her social security card with her because the Indiana state web site said that it was an acceptable form of SSN verification. However, when she got there she was told that because her SSN didn't come up on their system, she had to go to the SS Administration office to get a letter verifying her SSN.

Once at the SS Admin (who were actually quite nice), they were shocked that the state did not accept her SS card as verification. Furthermore, to make this who thing even more ridiculous, the SS Administration used her (old) driver's license as verficiation of her identity and then issued her the letter. They also explained that this was happening to EVEYONE who went to the BMV because Indiana's BMV had a glitch in their system that they refused to acknowledge.