Bruce Schneier

 
 

Schneier on Security

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May 09, 2005

REAL ID

The United States is getting a national ID card. The REAL ID Act (text of the bill and the Congressional Research Services analysis of the bill) establishes uniform standards for state driver's licenses, effectively creating a national ID card. It's a bad idea, and is going to make us all less safe. It's also very expensive. And it's all happening without any serious debate in Congress.

I've already written about national IDs. I've written about the fallacies of identification as a security tool. I'm not going to repeat myself here, and I urge everyone who is interested to read those two essays (and even this older essay). A national ID is a lousy security trade-off, and everyone needs to understand why.

Aside from those generalities, there are specifics about REAL ID that make for bad security.

The REAL ID Act requires driver's licenses to include a "common machine-readable technology." This will, of course, make identity theft easier. Assume that this information will be collected by bars and other businesses, and that it will be resold to companies like ChoicePoint and Acxiom. It actually doesn't matter how well the states and federal government protect the data on driver's licenses, as there will be parallel commercial databases with the same information.

Even worse, the same specification for RFID chips embedded in passports includes details about embedding RFID chips in driver's licenses. I expect the federal government will require states to do this, with all of the associated security problems (e.g., surreptitious access).

REAL ID requires that driver's licenses contain actual addresses, and no post office boxes. There are no exceptions made for judges or police -- even undercover police officers. This seems like a major unnecessary security risk.

REAL ID also prohibits states from issuing driver's licenses to illegal aliens. This makes no sense, and will only result in these illegal aliens driving without licenses -- which isn't going to help anyone's security. (This is an interesting insecurity, and is a direct result of trying to take a document that is a specific permission to drive an automobile, and turning it into a general identification device.)

REAL ID is expensive. It's an unfunded mandate: the federal government is forcing the states to spend their own money to comply with the act. I've seen estimates that the cost to the states of complying with REAL ID will be $120 million. That's $120 million that can't be spent on actual security.

And the wackiest thing is that none of this is required. In October 2004, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 was signed into law. That law included stronger security measures for driver's licenses, the security measures recommended by the 9/11 Commission Report. That's already done. It's already law.

REAL ID goes way beyond that. It's a huge power-grab by the federal government over the states' systems for issuing driver's licenses.

REAL ID doesn't go into effect until three years after it becomes law, but I expect things to be much worse by then. One of my fears is that this new uniform driver's license will bring a new level of "show me your papers" checks by the government. Already you can't fly without an ID, even though no one has ever explained how that ID check makes airplane terrorism any harder. I have previously written about Secure Flight, another lousy security system that tries to match airline passengers against terrorist watch lists. I've already heard rumblings about requiring states to check identities against "government databases" before issuing driver's licenses. I'm sure Secure Flight will be used for cruise ships, trains, and possibly even subways. Combine REAL ID with Secure Flight and you have an unprecedented system for broad surveillance of the population.

Is there anyone who would feel safer under this kind of police state?

Americans overwhelmingly reject national IDs in general, and there's an enormous amount of opposition to the REAL ID Act. This is from the EPIC page on REAL ID and National IDs:

More than 600 organizations have expressed opposition to the Real ID Act. Only two groups--Coalition for a Secure Driver's License and Numbers USA--support the controversial national ID plan. Organizations such as the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, National Association of Evangelicals, American Library Association, Association for Computing Machinery (pdf), National Council of State Legislatures, American Immigration Lawyers Association (pdf), and National Governors Association are among those against the legislation.

And this site is trying to coordinate individual action against the REAL ID Act, although time is running short. It's already passed in the House, and the Senate votes tomorrow.

If you haven't heard much about REAL ID in the newspapers, that's not an accident. The politics of REAL ID is almost surreal. It was voted down last fall, but has been reintroduced and attached to legislation that funds military actions in Iraq. This is a "must-pass" piece of legislation, which means that there has been no debate on REAL ID. No hearings, no debates in committees, no debates on the floor. Nothing.

Near as I can tell, this whole thing is being pushed by Wisconsin Rep. Sensenbrenner primarily as an anti-immigration measure. The huge insecurities this will cause to everyone else in the United States seem to be collateral damage.

Unfortunately, I think this is a done deal. The legislation REAL ID is attached to must pass, and it will pass. Which means REAL ID will become law. But it can be fought in other ways: via funding, in the courts, etc. Those seriously interested in this issue are invited to attend an EPIC-sponsored event in Washington, DC, on the topic on June 6th. I'll be there.

Posted on May 09, 2005 at 09:06 AM

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference REAL ID:

» Schneier on Real ID from USACM Tech Policy Weblog
Security expert Bruce Schneier has a sobering post on the Real ID Act today: REAL ID The United States is getting a national ID card. The REAL ID Act (text of the bill and the Congressional Research Services analysis of the bill) establishes unif... [Read More]

Tracked on May 9, 2005 09:42 AM

» Schneier on Real ID from Thinking About Technology
For those concerned or otherwise interested in the REAL ID Act...you must read Bruce Schneier's thought-provoking analysis. [Read More]

Tracked on May 9, 2005 10:34 AM

» More perspective on RealID from LUX.ET.UMBRA
More perspective and in-depth analysis from Bruce Schneier on RealID. Definitely a worthwhile read to understand what RealID is about and how it doesn't work from a security analyst's perspective. Via Schneier... [Read More]

Tracked on May 9, 2005 10:46 AM

» Good info about the Real ID Act and why it's bad from Deep Thoughts
This is an issue that all US citizens need to pay strict attention to. We've already lost too many civil rights in the wake of 9/11, and now we're one step closer to being a Police State. Bruce Schneier is a security and privacy expert who maintains... [Read More]

Tracked on May 9, 2005 10:55 AM

» Why you should urge your Senator to vote against REAL ID from Adam Fields weblog
On Tuesday, the Real ID Act comes up for vote in the Senate. It's already passed the House. http://www.unrealid.com/ http://action.eff.org/site/Advocacy?id=119 Senator Durbin's opposing viewpoint: http://aila.org/contentViewer.aspx?bc... [Read More]

Tracked on May 9, 2005 11:14 AM

» UnRealID.com: Fight REALID from HCS and Gen's Pad
Here we go. Check this out for the REALID scam. This was never even debated..nor put on the open floor. It was attached to an Iraq appropriations bill. If REALID is so harmless that even the major conservative bloggers are blindly fawning over it...t... [Read More]

Tracked on May 9, 2005 11:41 AM

» Unreal from Where's Pedro?
Just wanted to urge any of my fellow Americans that care about your privacy to go check out http://www.unrealid.com/ and please, please, if it makes you as mad as it does me, take a moment to let your representatives in... [Read More]

Tracked on May 9, 2005 11:42 AM

» Unreal from Where's Pedro?
Just wanted to urge any of my fellow Americans that care about your privacy to go check out this and please, please, if it makes you as mad as it does me, take a moment to let your representatives in... [Read More]

Tracked on May 9, 2005 11:56 AM

» Schneier on Real ID: A Real Threat from Martin McKeay's Network Security Blog
Schneier on Security: REAL ID Real ID is something to be seriously worried about. Bruce Schneier does a better job of summing up the major points than I could do, so this is mostly just a pointer to his article... [Read More]

Tracked on May 9, 2005 12:32 PM

» REAL ID: U.S. to proceed with National Identification Card from The Information Security News
A new bill could be passed in the U.S. Senate that will standardize identification cards in all 50 states. This basically amounts to the introduction of a national identification card. ... [Read More]

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» Papers Please: Congress Games the Electorate from Orcmid's Lair
A bunch of guys (its usually guys, trust me) are sitting around in a room. They have declared this lofty vision. You know, something about security and safety of the nation and its citizens. ... The pronouncement is passed around enough to the point... [Read More]

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» all the fallen leaves from WIL WHEATON dot NET: Where is my mind?
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» US National ID card (drivers license) from jakob's blog
I believe this to be important reading from schneier.com: "The United States is getting a national ID card."... [Read More]

Tracked on May 9, 2005 04:49 PM

» REAL ID from zoia.org
Un artículo interesante por Bruce Schneier sobre REAL ID, el documento de identidad que, si se aprueba la legislación al respecto, será obligatorio en USA dentro de algún tiempo. Y pensar que desde que tengo uso de razón, en Perú existe el docum... [Read More]

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» Monday, May 9, 2005 from Log: David Chess
Also from Bruce, some bad news: [Read More]

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» A National ID Card from Wake Up
What do you do if the majority of Americans don't want a national ID card? You add it on to a military appropriations bill about which there will be little or no debate, and you call it the REAL ID... [Read More]

Tracked on May 9, 2005 07:59 PM

» Real ID = Reality? from CLAMP Campus Adventures
It’s incredibly important everyone go to this website and submit a fax to their Senators in order to stop this travesty from occurring. ... [Read More]

Tracked on May 9, 2005 11:39 PM

» Last call on Real ID from Philly Future

Real ID is about to happen in the good ol' U. S. of A.

If you aren't yet familiar with the controversial provision that's been lumped in with the appropriations bill due for a vote in the Senate later today, please consider getting informed abo

[Read More]

Tracked on May 10, 2005 12:33 AM

» UnReal ID from the smedley log
Bruce Schneier has a lot more detail on the proposed measure that might help you figure out if this is something you want to have to live with in the U.S. within the next three years... [Read More]

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» Real ID Actとは from Ubicomp+Shopping
CNET.newsが解説。Schneier氏のBlogでも議論。... [Read More]

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» Read This: Schneier on REAL ID. from Privacy Digest: Privacy News (Civil Rights, Encryption, Free Speech, Cryptography)
Read This: Schneier on REAL ID . [Read More]

Tracked on May 10, 2005 09:04 AM

» Schneier on Security: REAL ID from Privacy Digest: Privacy News (Civil Rights, Encryption, Free Speech, Cryptography)
The United States is getting a national ID card. [Read More]

Tracked on May 10, 2005 09:04 AM

» Schneier on RealID from Smart Mobs
Bruce Schneier has published a critique of the RealID plan being considered by the United States. Schneier finds the measure to be flawed, dangerous, and certain to pass. Additionally, UnRealID is a web site aggregating opposition to the measure.... [Read More]

Tracked on May 10, 2005 09:28 AM

» Lowjacking your ass from 100 monkeys typing.
Freedom is slavery What's all the fuss with the Real ID Act about? President Bush is expected to sign an $82 billion military spending bill soon that will, in part, create electronically readable, federally approved ID cards for Americans. The... [Read More]

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» Bruce Schneier's Criticisms of the Real I.D. Act: from The Volokh Conspiracy
Instapundit, Eschaton, D... [Read More]

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» Really Bad ID? from Daily Pundit
Schneier on Security: REAL IDThe United States is getting a national ID card. The REAL ID Act (text of the... [Read More]

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» Life During Wartime from Piece O' Freedom
There's a lot of debate in Congress about creation of a new National ID Card. Wait, scratch that. As Wil Wheaton clearly spells it out, there has been no debate in Congress about a National ID Card, which is being... [Read More]

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» Schneier on RealID from AlwaysRight.org
For those of you that don't know, Bruce Schneier is a computer security/encryption guru that is highly respected in the information security world. He has some major problems with the RealID act that he outlines on his blog. As I stated in my po... [Read More]

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» Walls from pintday.org
On Freedom, Democracy, and the American Way [Read More]

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» Can I See Some ID Please? from i'm just waiting for the robot invasion
I believe that SGN has already commented on it, but It's worth reading what Security Guru Bruce Schneier has to say on the READ ID act that congress is pushing on us.One of my fears is that this new uniform driver's license will bring a new level of "s... [Read More]

Tracked on May 10, 2005 03:34 PM

» Schneier on Security from Zuckervati MissingLinks
The United States is getting a national ID card. The REAL ID Act (text of the bill and the Congressional Research Services analysis of the bill) establishes uniform standards for state driver's licenses, effectively creating a national ID card. It's... [Read More]

Tracked on May 10, 2005 03:55 PM

» REAL ID? from Silicon Valley Redneck
By now, everyone's probably seen at least some reference to Bruce Schneier's commentary on the REAL ID Act, hidden in a military spending bill. [Read More]

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» UnReal ID from Signifying Nothing
There are a few things around the web of interest on the “Real ID” Act today: Orin Kerr thinks Bruce Schneier is overstating his case against the Real ID provisions,although Kerr is unconvinced of the merits of the proposal (þ:... [Read More]

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» Uncle Sam is Watching You from No de Qur'tuba
From RFID passports to RFID National ID cards. This has got to be joke, right? I think I saw this in an episode of the X-Fil... [Read More]

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» Good IDea from Running at the Mouth
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» Bad news about national IDs from Doing Things With Words
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you've probably noticed that I like to talk about why national IDs are bad. Lately, the big push for national IDs has been from WI Representative F. James Sensenbrenner (and, of course, Tom DeLay)... [Read More]

Tracked on May 10, 2005 10:00 PM

» Real ID from Coyote Gulch
Bruce Schneier: "The United States is getting a national ID card. [Read More]

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» Close your eyes, it can't happen here... from Preaching to the Perverted
This should be frightening the hell out of every citizen. Take action to stop it now. Update: Bruce Schneier on the REAL ID act. Why it will cost a lot of money without making any of us safer. [Update via beSpacific]... [Read More]

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» Kitties from Philly Future

TurkeyMonkey -- a well-written, but rarely updated blog -- notes the rise of cat-related websites, and highlights a couple of sites I wasn't aware of, such as -- a well-written, but rarely updated blog -- notes the rise of cat-related websites, and highlights a couple of sites I wasn't aware of, such as [Read More]

Tracked on May 10, 2005 11:25 PM

» 100-0 on HR 1268 from philly
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» Shah of Soapy Detergents from NIF
Today's dose of NIF - News, Interesting & Funny ... It's Wictory Wednesday! [Read More]

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» Real ID from Cynical-C Blog
UnRealID.com is a site with about the new National ID card that will be required in 2008 for any American who wants to do things such as, travel by air or train, open a bank account, or walk into... [Read More]

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» Insecurity For All from Rambling Nonsense
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» Link Roundup: RealID from Technosailor
In light of recent comments about RealID, I thought I’d post some links from the blogosphere: Bruce Schneier says: “It’s a bad idea, and is going to make us all less safe. It’s also very expensive. And it’s all happenin... [Read More]

Tracked on May 11, 2005 12:19 PM

» a black black day from pervasivelight 3.0.1
The Real-ID Bill passed 100-0. Bush is expected to sign it. [Read More]

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» May 11 Links from Desk003's Blog - The Orange Lemonade
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» Your Papers from Randomize
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» Real ID Act Is Our National ID Card; Real Bad, Real Stupid from azoidX
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» Real ID from The View From North Central Idaho
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» REAL ID from My Complex Arrangement
Schneier on Security If you haven't heard much about REAL ID in the newspapers, that's not an accident. The politics of REAL ID is almost surreal. It was voted down last fall, but has been reintroduced and attached to legislation that funds military... [Read More]

Tracked on May 11, 2005 04:33 PM

» Schneier on Security: REAL ID from Sakrata.com
...I suppose a new type of criminal will start hanging out in bars with RFID readers, scanning the hot babes so they can end up back at their place with a gun and some rope after they go home. Best case scenario they'll just be scanned for personal i... [Read More]

Tracked on May 11, 2005 05:23 PM

» National indentity cards are back from Martin Stabe
The UK government's national identity card project was rudely interupted by the general election. No so in the United States, where a bill that would mandate federal minimum standards for state Identity documents — creating a de facto national ID... [Read More]

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» REAL ID, real bad idea from Smarter Stuff
It's too late - the Senate has approved the must-pass, money-for-our-boys-in-Iraq appropriation bill which (be very quiet) included REAL ID, and President Bush is expected to sign it into law. REAL ID effectively creates a national ID card (at least [Read More]

Tracked on May 11, 2005 06:12 PM

» Wonderful from youfailit.net blog
Looks like the US is getting a national ID card. Click that to read Bruce Schneier's comments (note that it was written two days ago), and click here to see what can be done. Also, I found the pit bull ban in Denver to be quite ludicrous as well. [Read More]

Tracked on May 11, 2005 07:24 PM

» National ID Passes from CoolParty.us
100-0. If THIS isn't proof that The Republicans and Democrats have become the same party, I don't know what is. Here is a link to Bruce Schneier's blog where he talks about the National ID Card - Sorry, I mean the REAL ID Nationals standards. ... [Read More]

Tracked on May 11, 2005 08:36 PM

» REAL ID: A Technical Perspective from Greyhame: Law and Law School
By now you have heard of the Real ID Act, provisions of which have been attached to a military spending bill. Basically, it's a national ID card system. Plenty of people have already spent time griping about the bill on... [Read More]

Tracked on May 11, 2005 10:45 PM

» check . . . and mate from The Dark Star Gazette
Back in April, I wrote about the new passport standard and its possible implications for privacy. Well, the other shoe has now dropped... [Read More]

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» REAL ID? from Scalawag Hooch
REAL ID? Real, real, bad. [Read More]

Tracked on May 12, 2005 11:08 AM

» Congress above the law? from Elements of my life
This is serious, folks. The Real ID act is an extremely troubling development in the ongoing power-grab of the current administration. Bruce Schneier has a good analysis of the bill from a security view. Also, Wil Wheaton links to an... [Read More]

Tracked on May 12, 2005 03:08 PM

» REAL ID pitfalls from seattlepi.com Buzzworthy
The controversial REAL ID Act, which sets new, nationwide standards for driver's licenses, is a done deal ... maybe. As the Associated Press and UPI report, the states are balking at the new requirements and may even challenge the law... [Read More]

Tracked on May 12, 2005 05:35 PM

» Real ID a REALLY bad idea from FlatPlanet
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» Real ID Passed the Senate from The World According to Nick
As I've said several times before... I don't like Real ID. I've also talked to Sensenbrenner, and as I've blogged before his reasons for Real ID are pretty unreal. [Read More]

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» Schneier on Security - REAL ID. from Privacy Digest: Privacy News (Civil Rights, Encryption, Free Speech, Cryptography)
REAL ID . [Read More]

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» Schneier on Security - REAL ID. from Privacy Digest: Privacy News (Civil Rights, Encryption, Free Speech, Cryptography)
REAL ID . [Read More]

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» Freedom is Slavery from Minh’s Notes
The United States is getting REAL ID, which will effectively give us a national ID card. What were they thinkin... [Read More]

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» REAL ID a dangerous power grab from Chris Hardie's Weblog
Bruce Schneier has saved future bureaucrats some time and written the core text of the 2015 US Congressional report on the impacts of the REAL ID Act. The report will find that the creation of this national ID card back... [Read More]

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» Schneier on Security - REAL ID. from Privacy Digest: Privacy News (Civil Rights, Encryption, Free Speech, Cryptography)
REAL ID . [Read More]

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» Real ID Program from OffshoreNet
For some time now I've been reading posts, articles, and commentary about the new U.S. ID Card Program called "Real ID" but I hadn't commented myself, until now. My first reaction to this idea is that an illegal cottage industry... [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2005 08:19 PM

» Corporate Drone's Log Entry from directsite.net

The local downtown wireless access project has missed its May 1 launch date, but I'm not having a problem with that. I'm just excitied it's still coming! Apparently getting permission from the state to use the streetlights to host the access boxes is

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» Schneier on Security: REAL ID from Core Dump
Schneier on Security: REAL ID Yet more depressing news about this ill-conceived idea of a “national id.” It makes me so mad! Ugh, just read this article - Bruce makes all the points that I would’ve made myself, if I wasn’t see... [Read More]

Tracked on June 1, 2005 09:32 AM

» Real ID: let the homeland security privacy battle begin from W. David Stephenson blogs on homeland security et al.
( Thanks to the irreplaceable Declan for bringing this to the fore -- please don't leave DC for SF -- we need you there as our eyes and ears! ) I've been preaching for months that one of the most fruitful potential areas for win-win public-private collabo [Read More]

Tracked on June 1, 2005 09:58 AM

» Real ID from CognitiveDissident
Bruce Schneier demolishes the rationale behind the "Real ID" Act in Schneier on Security, noting that "It's a huge power-grab by the federal government over the states' systems for issuing driver's licenses." As with the "Papers, Please" case from last... [Read More]

Tracked on June 6, 2005 11:00 AM

» REAL ID from REAL ID
REAL ID [Read More]

Tracked on June 13, 2005 09:34 PM

» Privacy: Notes from the EPIC Real ID conference from The Minimalist
Last week, EPIC hosted a conference on the recently signed REAL ID Act, which effectively mandates a National ID card. This should make any minimalist nervous, since it will almost certainly mean more databasing of our lives, worse identity theft (sin... [Read More]

Tracked on June 17, 2005 09:21 AM

» Big brother is your big neighbor from The Tragically Unnamed Blog
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» Microsoft, HP Collaborate on Orwellian National ID Program from 8 Ways to Sunday
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» id card just exposes the loonies ? from point-free at woftam
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» REAL ID from Michel Chanentra
REAL ID [Read More]

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REAL ID [Read More]

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» Identity Thief Steals House from Zmetro.com
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Tracked on August 29, 2005 08:39 AM

» Homeland Insecurity from directsite.net
Bruce Schneier has written many posts on his site and at Wired.com about the mismanagement of our homeland security, particularly the ineffectiveness of random interest and intense funding to prevent imagined movie-plot scenarios. He has also predicted th [Read More]

Tracked on September 11, 2005 12:27 AM

» Real ID Act from A Commonplace Book
I keep saying it's getting worse, and then it gets even more worse. I keep thinking, "surely, cooler heads will prevail, here, and this will get scotched, right?" but then stuff like the Real ID Act gets passed, and I'm dumbfounded. Wil Wheaton's got a... [Read More]

Tracked on January 21, 2006 08:57 PM

Comments

welcome to the inevitable. National ID is coming.

It won't be so bad after things even out within the next 10 years. Perhaps then America will be much safer... and safer for All.

Israel Torres

Posted by: Israel Torres at May 9, 2005 09:44 AM


If I were an abusive husband (or lover) whose spouse had fled, I would expect the real ID to make it a lot easier for me to find her.
- Precision Blogger

Posted by: Precision Blogger at May 9, 2005 10:22 AM


"REAL ID also prohibits states from issuing driver's licenses to illegal aliens. This makes no sense, and will only result in these illegal aliens driving without licenses -- which isn't going to help anyone's security."

Most of them already drive without licenses, so this isn't going to change much. If they could get legitimate US ID, illegal immigrants have that much more reason to come here, because they can blend in that much more, and do so legally. We do not need any more encouragement to add to the one- to three-million immigrants illegally crossing the border every year.

What RealID will do, among other things, is require that documentation (such as birth certificates and Social Security numbers) be checked for authenticity. In addition, the act allows the DHS to provide money grants to states to assist them in implementing the provisions.

But as you mentioned, there is no requirement that the states do this. A passport is just as valid for flying, opening accounts, or filling out an I-9 as would be one of these licenses.

Unlike many people against this, I actually have read text of the act as passed by the House and referred to the Senate. It is far less onerous than many of them claim. And while there are some things that are mildly worrisome to me (the linked databases providing single-point-of-failure for grand access and the possibility of RFID-enabled cards), those are issues that can be dealt with in follow-up legislation.

I really don't see why this is such a problem. A lot of nations -- including those in the free countries of Europe -- have national ID cards. Perhaps someone can put in clear terms why this is such a bad idea, instead of just yelling that it's just another aspect of 1984?

Posted by: Jarrod at May 9, 2005 10:36 AM


Quote: "REAL ID also prohibits states from issuing driver's licenses to illegal aliens. This makes no sense, and will only result in these illegal aliens driving without licenses -- which isn't going to help anyone's security."

This seems to be the same kind of fallacy Bruce is exposing a few paragraphs earlier.

If I can identify someone, who says their intentions aren't evil?

Conversely, if someone doesn't have an American driver's license, who says they don't know how to drive?

People can drive without driver's licenses as it is, and they can drive badly with or without them.

The material costs of national ID cards aren't so bad. The security costs aren't so bad either. As Bruce wrote earlier, identity cannot be stolen, it's systems that can be abused. Everyone's personal data is already out there as it is.

The real cost of a national ID is a psychological one. It used to be, at least in the US, in the beginning, that the government was there for the people. With stuff like national ID it starts to seem more like the people are there for the government, and it becomes easier for people to start seeing themselves as subjects of the state, rather than its free citizens.

It's a mind trick, but then again, it may actually be a useful (and working) mind trick.

Locks do not help us as much as civilized attitudes embedded in everyone's heads. A national ID is a mind trick attempting to influence those attitudes. And it might actually work.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 9, 2005 10:44 AM


"Perhaps someone can put in clear terms why this is such a bad idea, instead of just yelling"

The above poster Jarrod is invited to actually read the blog post and perhaps even follow some of the links.

Posted by: Justin at May 9, 2005 10:48 AM


"Perhaps someone can put in clear terms why this is such a bad idea, instead of just yelling that it's just another aspect of 1984?"

The two links at the beginning of the post, to the essays where I talk about national ID cards in general, do just that. I don't yell, and I don't mention 1984.

Posted by: Bruce Schneier at May 9, 2005 10:58 AM


I thought the House voted this down last week.

Have these folks not seen "Minority Report"?

Glad Mr. Schneier is writing about this. It's like electronic voting machines - "hey hi-tech will solve everything"! "The higher the tech the less it will break!" "The cuttinger the edge the further ahead we'll be!!!"

Posted by: AF at May 9, 2005 11:01 AM


Justin,

I did read the post. I did follow the links, here and elsewhere. I cannot yet find a reason that it's a bad idea that isn't seriously overblown. I've seen suggestions that the linked databases will make ID theft easier, with the many recent examples of massive thefts as examples, except that the examples are all corporate. I've seen complaints that it will require RFID, when all it says is "machine-readable" and where magnetic or 2D barcode readers are cheaper and more reliable.

Has anyone here actually sat down and read the provisions of the act, or is everyone letting others make their opinions for them?

Posted by: Jarrod at May 9, 2005 11:02 AM


Jarrod,

I read the text of the bill. Setting aside the efficacy of RealID in general (and I am not convinced it improves anyone's security) there are several problems with the requirements as defined. Here's one:

Protecting source document information. The Bill requires issuing agencies to retain copies of source documents (those you are required to produce to get the ID) for 7-10 years, however there are no protection requirements for them. The RealID's themselves (and their components) must be protected, but your source documents (birth certificates, SS ID's, naturalization documents, passports, etc.) do not even have the protection that HIPAA grants to medical information.

There are other flaws, which is why this requires debate. It seems prudent to also debate the need for it in the first place.

Posted by: Ralph Broom at May 9, 2005 11:07 AM


Thanks for the heads up, Bruce.

Posted by: Zimbel42 at May 9, 2005 11:07 AM


Giving illegal immigrants a driver's license is bloody wrong. You should not encourage illegal immigration, you discourage it! Handing out driver's licenses encourages it, which is not safe for anybody, the illegal immigrant included. I could care less about higher prices for food or any of the other stupid excuses people give for ignoring (or encouraging) illegal immigration.

Posted by: mjk at May 9, 2005 11:15 AM


"Has anyone here actually sat down and read the provisions of the act, or is everyone letting others make their opinions for them?"

Of couse I read the text of the bill. And I included the link in my essay, so that others can too.

I recommend that people read it. There are other abominations in the bill that I didn't talk about here.

Posted by: Bruce Schneier at May 9, 2005 11:16 AM


@Precision Blogger: I don't quite follow your reasoning: if my spouse fled me, she doesn't have to, nor will immediately change the ID to reflect her new address.

I live in a country where we do have mandatory governement ID. It boils down to the fact that governement has one address which supposedly is in some relation to one's real address. My "official address" is another city 200 kilometers away and people who live (my family) here usually don't know where I live really. I rent a flat (apartament) in another city where I currently live, and I'm not registered as living there, the contact is my entitlement to the place, not the registered address on ID card in my pocket (but this depends, for example to get a land telephone line you need to be registered there). Technically this is a minor violation of the law, but for most of the people I know, the registered address is some form of plationian idea, that becomes reality only when a tax-related paperwork or a draft card arrives. Even on a tax form there are two places: "official address" and address to send mail to. I usually leave the other one empty.

One needs the official address to make official business, like getting a credit line, buy a car. Using the real address in everyday business greatly decreases the chance of the identity theft, since it is more difficult to collect all the credentiuals required.

Posted by: J. Alex Urbanowicz at May 9, 2005 11:33 AM


"I did read the post. I did follow the links, here and elsewhere. I cannot yet find a reason that it's a bad idea that isn't seriously overblown."

Jarrod, I don't care if it isn't as absolutely bad as some of the critics say. If it will cost many tens of millions of dollars to implement X, there had better be a LOT of very GOOD reasons to do it.

Tell me, what's wrong with this thought process: "Hmmm... I think I'll pay $10,000 for this large rock; after all, I can't think of any problems the rock will cause."

Posted by: Anonymous at May 9, 2005 11:38 AM


The National Rifle Association (NRA) also opposes a National ID card.

Posted by: Brian at May 9, 2005 11:40 AM


Utah is planning on producing 2 types of drivers license. One that complies with RealID, one that is just for driving and which explicitly is not for use as an ID. Of course, the latter will be used by many as an ID.

Posted by: wiredog at May 9, 2005 11:40 AM


Bruce:

Your link to the text of the act is dead.

Posted by: Jarrod at May 9, 2005 11:46 AM


A reply to "Posted by: Jarrod at May 9, 2005 10:36 AM":

Quote "I really don't see why this is such a problem. A lot of nations -- including those in the free countries of Europe -- have national ID cards. Perhaps someone can put in clear terms why this is such a bad idea, instead of just yelling that it's just another aspect of 1984?"

I am from one of those free countries in Europe. We have national identity cards. But we also have a strong legal framework for data protection and privacy protection. We don't have silly 'everyone must show id to prove age before they can buy alcohol' laws in bars. The US has no legal framework for data protection, or even just basic privacy legislation. That is why introducing a national ID in this country would be a very different story from Europe, and a true danger to the freedom of society. The US needs to do something about data protection first...

Posted by: Ward at May 9, 2005 12:19 PM


@Bruce:

That $120 mil cost figure strikes me as optimistic. I just don't see how the "average state" can overhaul one of its key processes for less than $3 mil. Google tells me that National Conference of State Legislatures agrees (http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-05-05-dmv-changes_x.htm)
-- they put the tab at $500 mil. Not that the price is the main reason not to do this, but if a realistic assessment is to be made, it'd be nice to have decent numbers about things that are relatively easily estimated. Sigh.

@J. Alex Urbanowicz:

In many (if not all) U.S. states, driver's license holders are legally required to notify the issuer if they move. In my state, such notice must take place within 30 days.

Posted by: Chris Walsh at May 9, 2005 12:24 PM


I agree with Jarod. Let's have the debate about the merits of national ID, without the hype.

And without cloaking it in a measure supposedly designed to limit illegal immigration, buried deep within an appropriations bill.

Please note that people are not risking their lives crossing our borders in the back of semi trucks because of an abundance of driver's licenses. Let's assume that this measure actually did something to prevent immigrants driving, do you really think they wouldn't take a bus to work? Or walk?

This so-called solution has absolutely no relation to the problem. Nothing in this bill passes the test. It doesn't look, walk, or quack like a duck. Calling it a duck doesn't make it one.

Posted by: probitas at May 9, 2005 12:26 PM


Another problem with this bill is its effect on the system of government set forth in Constitution of the United States.

One of the virtues of a federal system of government is that each of the states can choose which system of licensing it wants to use based on the prevailing attitudes of the citizens of those states. Those states with systems that function better will eventually be copied by other states.

In terms of the effects on collateral issues, like immigration, this is exactly what you want to do. If, for example, California chooses to allow illegal immigrants to have licenses because the Legislature believes the benefit to California citizens will outweigh the costs associated with illegal immigration, other similarly situated states will take notice. Texas can watch the California experiment, and if the results are good, it will be easier to implement there. And, if it's a disaster, Texas can avoid doing the same.

The security problem, which is supposedly the main issue, is not a uniquely federal problem. States have traditionally been responsible for providing for the safety and welfare of their own citizens. The federal government was supposed to operate to work in areas traditionally thought to be unsuitable, unsafe, or insane for separate states to regulate. But in this case, the offensive portions of the bill are transparently made to interfere with the power of local governments and not for any purpose related to immigration.

Alas, the politicians are now deaf to the federalism they championed for so many years.

Posted by: Publius at May 9, 2005 12:28 PM


Comparing the text of IRATPA and RealID, I find that there are very, very few differences. Both require specific, identical minimum data be included on the card. Both require cards to be machine-readable. Both require anti-forgery and anti-tampering technology in the cards. Both require that supporting documents be authenticated.

What RealID adds is the linking of the databases; tying of the expiration dates of such cards to the expiration dates of a foreigner's visa; tightens the definition of what is acceptable documentation; the storage of submitted documents for specified periods of time; and the requirement to verify that the applicant is in the country lawfully.

Neither act allows for exceptions of address listings for law enforcement, and yet I don't recall an uproar about it when IRATPA was signed into law. IRATPA does require that regulations "include procedures and requirements to protect the privacy rights of individuals who apply for and hold driver’s licenses and personal identification cards." Every state in the nation already has HIPAA-compliant systems which can be duplicated to protect this information.

Bruce, I respect you greatly in your field, and I do see your points on IDs. I would much rather see things like random screenings, but people complain loudly about being randomly picked out for this when they know they're innocent. Trained personnel can watch for suspicious activities, but such people are accused of racial profiling. However, checking IDs isn't going to go away as a security measure, regardless of its efficacy. Because of this, securing the process to get the IDs in the first place is an important part of the process.

When you were invited to participate in Secure Flight, did you not say that while you disagreed with it, you were taking part to make the best of it that you could? This *is* making the best of a situation that isn't going away.

RealID is, first and foremost, an immigration bill. It's intended to close loopholes and block incentives for people to come to the US illegally. I would like to have seen a provision mandating training of all of the 2000+ additional Border Patrol agents authorized by Congress last year to help better secure the borders, but disincentives for illegal immigration are also high on my list.

Posted by: Jarrod at May 9, 2005 12:33 PM


Thomas was able to help me find the text:

There are 3 versions of Bill Number H.R.418 for the 109th Congress
1 . REAL ID Act of 2005 (Introduced in House)[H.R.418.IH]
2 . REAL ID Act of 2005 (Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by House)[H.R.418.EH]
3 . REAL ID Act of 2005 (Referred to Senate Committee after being Received from House)[H.R.418.RFS]

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:H.R.418:

Posted by: Jason at May 9, 2005 12:38 PM


"Utah is planning on producing 2 types of drivers license. One that complies with RealID, one that is just for driving and which explicitly is not for use as an ID. Of course, the latter will be used by many as an ID."

I just learned that Tenessee has been doing that since 2001. This is an excellent idea.

http://talkleft.com/new_archives/010632.html

Posted by: Bruce Schneier at May 9, 2005 12:43 PM


"That $120 mil cost figure strikes me as optimistic. I just don't see how the "average state" can overhaul one of its key processes for less than $3 mil."

I agree, but it was the only number I found in my research. Thank you for the other number, and the reference. My guess is that it is still too low.

Posted by: Bruce Schneier at May 9, 2005 12:45 PM


"When you were invited to participate in Secure Flight, did you not say that while you disagreed with it, you were taking part to make the best of it that you could? This *is* making the best of a situation that isn't going away."

You make an excellent point, and one that I have been thinking about a lot: if we're stuck with a national ID, how to we make them as good as possible? I think we need to do both, actually. We need to fight a national ID, and we need to answer that question.

I don't have an answer for you, but I hope to write about it soon.

Posted by: Bruce Schneier at May 9, 2005 12:48 PM


@mjk

Illegal immigrants aren't the only non-Americans who need to drive cars in the USA. There are many valid reasons why a given person may need to legally travel to the USA for an extended period and use a car; even if that person has never driven a car back home.

Posted by: Javier Kohen at May 9, 2005 12:58 PM


Bruce, I see you came across the Tennessee implementation. I live in TN and I am a foreigner living here legally. I was issued one of these driving certificates.

There are two problems with it as it stands at the moment.;
1. I automatically get treated as an illegal when I produce this. (Including ridiculously enough at the DMV when I registered my vehicle.) This also makes flying a real pain as the moronic TSA employees equate foreigner with evildoer.

2. If I was here illegally then I would proceed to do everything illegally and I would buy myself some "legal" documentation.

Posted by: Mark at May 9, 2005 01:03 PM


" I've seen complaints that it will require RFID, when all it says is machine-readable"...true, but it gives the Attorney General the authority to determine what tech will be used for that, and multiple sources have reported that he favors RFID.

Posted by: Dennis at May 9, 2005 01:06 PM


I recently moved to North Carolina which has an extremely high number of immigrants from central and South America. As the son of an immigrant, I welcome all people who also wish to share in the potential of the American dream.
While sitting in the DMV (last year) I noticed many Latinos also applying for a driving license and being told that they must have an electric or gas bill as proof of residence! I read later in our local paper that North Carolina was specifically being targeted by immigrants because of its lax identity requirements for obtaining a drivers license. I believe that those requirements are now finally being firmed up.
It seems to me that a consistent set of federal requirements and standards would go a long way to mitigating this type of problem. While you are certainly right about the ‘security’ of this proposal, I don't believe that any act intended to strengthen immigration policies should automatically be interpreted as a “power grab”

Posted by: Andrew Law at May 9, 2005 01:06 PM


J. Alex Urbanowicz, my concern is that credit verifiers like CHoicePoint (and lots of other insecure DBs) will generally have my spouse's Real ID and her current address. The law seems to create a dichotomy: either you're in the FBI witness protection program, or I can easily find you if I know your ID.

If it becomes easy to change real ID numbers over time, I think the total expenditures will be truly useless.
- precision blogger

Posted by: Tobias D. Robison at May 9, 2005 01:32 PM


None of this matters, because our border security is bloody joke.

What we really need is better physical security at our borders, including dual fences, minefields and military patrols.

Posted by: JEC at May 9, 2005 01:40 PM


While I don't see the main reason for this ID card, I wouldn't mind it so much if it did not contain my personal information. Why can it not have another number that just proves the card is real, along with my drivers license # to prove that it is me? That makes it two factor authentication and theoretically much more secure, right?

I do not see a reason to have my personal info on the card.

Posted by: Matt Secoske at May 9, 2005 01:44 PM


"None of this matters, because our border security is bloody joke. What we really need is better physical security at our borders, including dual fences, minefields and military patrols."

I'm not convinced that we can secure our nation against terrorism through border controls, just like we can't secure computer network thrrough good firewalls. Remember that terrorists like Timothy McVeigh were born in this country.

Posted by: Bruce Schneier at May 9, 2005 01:50 PM


@Matt

The information databases already exist. You just really need the NID to be associated with your database number.

Unfortunately such as we see with some banking cards. Even though they have all of our information, they still don't know if we speak English when presented at an ATM.

Israel Torres

Posted by: Israel Torres at May 9, 2005 01:54 PM


@Isreal

Thats true, its just a join away from all of our information, as it currently is with our drivers license and card PANs.

I guess what I'm saying is that I do not see why the info needs to be on the card, making it that much easier to get.

Posted by: Matt Secoske at May 9, 2005 02:01 PM


The truth is, we already have de facto national ID cards, in the form of our state driver's licenses. DLs from all 50 states are accepted throughout the nation for identity purposes, including at federal agencies.

It baffles me why a security expert like Bruce cannot see the problem here. It is identical to a PKI system where there are 50 different, independent CAs that all cross certify one another. The problem is that the security is only as strong as the WEAKEST certifier!

Several of the 9/11 hijackers had acquired DLs in Virginia, for example, because it had an especially thriving market in fake IDs due to lax enforcement. This is an inevitable consquence of accepting ID documents from a variety of different issuers each with its own independent policies and validation procedures, and then treating them all equally.

Given the reality of the situation today, with state ID cards being cross certified to form de facto national ID, it seems obvious that rationalizing and harmonizing the requirements for the ID documents can only be a step forward for security.

Above all, hysterical rhetoric about national ID cards and Nazi Germany only serves to cloud the issue. We have national IDs in the U.S. today. They are our state driver's licenses. Accept it and start thinking rationally about how to improve the security over the present hodgepodge of inconsistent requirements and variation in checking procedures. Real ID sounds to me like a step in the right direction.

Posted by: Cypherpunk at May 9, 2005 02:02 PM


@Jarrod-- What does RealID do to prevent illegal immigration (which the bill it is attached to claims to do)?

This is a poor security measure, which does nothing to increase our security, but does enable easier monitoring of our activity, while pushing the costs onto the states.

If in fact the United States wants to go down the path of having a National Identification card (and I'm not convinced we are) let it be *federally funded*, be completely state independent (a true nationally issued, nationally generated ID), and debated in a public forum. You asked why some have characterized this as a "power grab"- I would counter, if it isn't, why was it part of an immigration bill tacked as a rider on a military funding bill? Where I come from, that isn't the way good ideas become law, but is exactly the way that bad ideas slip through the cracks.

Posted by: loyal_citizen at May 9, 2005 02:14 PM


The biggest problem I see is the combination of two forms of ID in one.

In Germany, where I grew up, in essence you have two IDs: A Passport (good for 10 years) and a personal Identification Card (Personalausweis) which includes more detailed information about your person, height, weight etc.

The latter one in Germany was introduced in the early 70s if I remember correctly as an "answer" to the RAF bombings / kidnappings. Did it work? I am not aware that they ever caught any of the terrorists because they were producing an ID.

Legally, you are also required to register yourself at the new address within 3 weeks of moving there, how they check I don't know, but I guess the GEZ (the guys who collect the "radio tax") will surely find a way to track you down, after all it's all about (their) money.

The drivers license though is a completly seperate document. It is only used to show that you are allowed to drive / ride a vehicle and has no expiration date, no address etc. As a form of ID it is pretty much useless (though if you want to get into a bar / club that is 18 and above it'll do, as you don't get one until you're 18).

The only time I can remember that I ever needed to present my ID was to the cops when they stopped my car to make sure that it was mine, and that I didn't jack it (well, what can I say, I look younger than I am :) ).

Posted by: Michael at May 9, 2005 02:16 PM


>>Already you can't fly without an ID
It is possible to fly without ID on commercial airlines, and I have done it. In my case, I misplaced my wallet and passport. I approached passenger check-in (United Premier Executive) and explained the situation and that I needed to make the flight. The helpful lady said "no problem". While I did get SSSS on the boarding pass so I received extra scrutiny, I did fly without ID and I had checked baggage.

Posted by: Johnny Boy at May 9, 2005 02:19 PM


The Timothy McVeigh excuse is next to worthless. Just because our own people can sabotage us doesn't mean that we should leave the borders wide open so that the whole world can sabotage us too.

That's not even taking into account the issue of illegal aliens in general being unwelcome in the country.

Real ID is going to stop 13 states from issuing licenses to illegals; whether that makes us 'safer' is not really the point. The race is on to Do Something about illegal aliens. If the Real ID Act is not the right thing to do, the least that you can do is start supporting effective border patrols and employment enforcement.

It is the failure of all these other things that has brought the Real ID Act to us.

Posted by: Nations without Borders at May 9, 2005 02:19 PM


"None of this matters, because our border security is bloody joke. What we really need is better physical security at our borders, including dual fences, minefields and military patrols."

I suggest to this reader that s/he go drive around the border of the U.S. and see the size of the problem. If that sounds expensive, following that suggestion would cost a hundred times more. Apart from the whole question of a "free nation" inside a cage.

Posted by: TJ at May 9, 2005 02:22 PM


Here's something I don't get:

It is a basic fact that a member of a modern society sometimes needs to identify himself. When I vote, I need to convice the polling official that I am somebody who is on his list of voters. When I buy a house on credit, the lender wants to be sure who he is going to sue if I default. When I borrow books from the library they need to know whom to harrass if the books are not returned.

The "solutions" usually employed to this problem are rather pathetic, based on checking that I know my social security number, my date of birth, or that I possess plausibly looking utility bills bearing the name I claim as mine, or in certain cases that I am able to intercept mail sent to the address some database lists for me. I assume that all who read this will agree that these solutions are pathetic, criminally unreliable and amount to begging for abuse.

A government-sponsored identification device of some kind would seem to be a step forward -- it does not even have to be very effective in order to be a net improvement over the voodoo people practice today. Yet the very thought seem to be anathema to most citizens of countries that do not already issue such devices. Why is that? Is it simply because anything the government does is evil by axiom? I notice that most of the opposision seems to be targeted at the pure idea of government-issued identification rather than at specific flaws of any concrete proposed system.

Bruces's anti-ID essays all seem to boil down to the fact that they are not any help against terrorists. I completely agree that they are not. Herding people into a line simply to have a bored official check that they have _some_ identity is nothing but stupid and pointless.

However, the criticism seems to miss the target entirely. Of course identity cards are not good at keeping terrorists out of your vulnerable-target-of-choice. That's not what they are for! It is not what they are _meant_ to be for. They are meant to help prove one's identity to somebody who has a reason to care who you are (i.e. NOT the bored security screener who does not care a bit who the majority of non-evil people who passes by him are).

It would appear to be a valid criticism of a particular card (or any identifying device) that it does not sufficiently accurately demonstrate the identity of somebody who tries to use it to prove whom he is. But what seems to be the argument here is that government-issued IDs are bad and we don't even need to explain why.

Except passports. Passports somehow seem to be okay.

(For the record, I'm from a European country that does not issue national ID cards other than passports.)

(How the issuing agency would check that the one they are giving a card is actually who the card says he is, is another problem. Me, I got my passport by showing up at the police station and presenting my birth-and-baptism certificates. No questions asked.)

Posted by: Henning Makholm at May 9, 2005 02:27 PM


How long before businesses that check ID are encouraged or required to verify these machine-readable IDs against a central database before they can be accepted? The verification transactions would form a nice audit trail of ones location and activities. Make the ID cards readable by the same POS devices used for credit cards and we already have an extensive, installed infrastructure.

A combination of legistation and financial incentives could make this happen. A couple of scenarios spring to mind.
-Banks and credit card companies could require such checks or claim that a merchant did not perform 'due dilligence' in cases of check or credit card fraud.
-Businesses that are required to check ID for proof of age (e.g. bars, nightclubs, stores selling alcohol or tobacco) could be required by law to validate against the database in order to 'protect our youth by cutting down on fake ID'.

Slippery slope...

OK, going to go and finish wrapping my wallet in tin-foil now...

Posted by: Ted Vinson at May 9, 2005 02:35 PM


@Nations without Borders--
Again, how exactly is this going to help with illegal immigration?

Is your claim that the lack of a legal ID card is going to prevent illegal aliens from coming into the United States, and that American companies, both large and small, are going to ignore that labor pool simply because they don't have one? Unless we as a nation are willing to become MUCH more militant in our law enforcement, this will do little to combat the problem that it claims to fix, and do much more toward harming (through Identity theft, easier tracking, etc.) the lawabiding.

The key thing to understand here is to make the value of the ID card *go DOWN* not up-- if everything depends on one, then the desire to acquire one, legally or not (and they WILL be acquired, forged, etc) will be great, and the black market for one will boom.

One of the things that really irritates me about this bill is that we're going to have a large number of commercial organizations now clamoring for our RealID (just like they ask for our SSN's now), and unlike a SSN, it won't be illegal for them to ask. Welcome to the future.

Posted by: loyal_citizen at May 9, 2005 02:36 PM


@Bruce:

When I made my comment about how it'd be nice to have even half-decent numbers, I was criticizing the administration (which has tended to be wildly optimistic on cost estimates for many things). I was not criticizing you (at all) for reporting their figure. I see now how my remark was not clear in that regard, for which I apologize.

Posted by: Chris Walsh at May 9, 2005 02:36 PM


Bruce, the link to the text of the bill doesn't work for me. I get an error page that says temporary file not found. Apparently the URL was the result of a query at Thomas, but I don't know how to recreate it.

Posted by: orcmid at May 9, 2005 02:48 PM


The text of the bill is here:

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:h.r.00418:

I'll update the post when I get a chance.

Posted by: Bruce Schneier at May 9, 2005 03:19 PM


"Overall, I write meaningless things in a poetic way. Glittering generalities.
Every once in awhile I say something of slight interest to anyone other than myself.
Unfortunately, I am too busy putting my name all over Bruce's blog, trying to increase the hits to my own blog, so no one notices the good comments in the chaff.

Israel Torres
"
Excellent obvservations oh anonymous clone. Sincerely I am very touched by your persistence to follow me around. I mean you really put effort into familiarizing yourself with me. That really means something deep down.

Remember that bruce and his "moderator" would be the only ones to konw your true identity, obviously it bothers them not... such it is.

Israel Torres

Posted by: Israel Torres at May 9, 2005 03:38 PM


The debate is clouded over when people use rhetoric such as "You should not encourage illegal immigration, you discourage it! Handing out driver's licenses encourages it, which is not safe for anybody, the illegal immigrant included" ("mjk" quoted here) passes for legitimate comment.

No one will be "handing out" drivers licenses to illegal immigrants if this legislation fails to pass, nor will it be any easier for illegals to get licenses. Passing it may make it harder for some, but will make it impossible for none.

Posted by: jbl at May 9, 2005 03:42 PM


Jarrod,

If you haven't seen examples of how ID theft has been assisted by government agencies, I could point at the Social Security employee who issued a duplicate SScard to the person who stole my wife's identity. GRanted, not on the massive scale like the recent corporate data losses are, but it's still happening.

And those corporate databases will be getting bigger. Go to a restaurant and get carded? *swipe* thanks for your personal info. Go to the subway? *swipe* all 'citizens' can just swipe and avoid the search. Public event with a dignatary? *swipe* independent security firm now has your info.

It's a bad idea.

Posted by: John at May 9, 2005 03:46 PM


Nobody noted this, but HR418 s202.c.1.C requires every citizen to have a social security account in order to get a driver's license. Wasn't social security originally opt-in? It's a bad investment, at the least.

204.b.1 requires a database of people who have used false drivers' licenses at airports so the security screeners can watch these people. How are they going to be identified? By name? They'd just use a false license, fercrissakes. By some sort of identifying mark? Unless you use fingerprints, you'll get so many false positives that the screeners won't pay attention. And it's possible to fake fingerprints with a valid set that isn't yours and some wood glue.

I can't seem to find USC18 section 1028.a.8, which will be altered according to this bill. Does anyone have it? WAIS Document Retrieval has only subsections 1-7 on 1028.a, and that's a government repository.

Posted by: Chris at May 9, 2005 04:37 PM


"No one will be 'handing out' drivers licenses to illegal immigrants if this legislation fails to pass, nor will it be any easier for illegals to get licenses."

Legislators in several states, California included, have wanted to allow illegals to get driver's licenses using Mexican consulate-issued Matricula Consular cards, which are far less trustworthy than passports. In California's case, they were refusing to allow such licenses to be changed in color or labeling to indicate that they were issued with less-than-ideal documentation, the idea being to allow them to blend in with society, including opening bank accounts and traveling via airliner. This would have been a huge incentive to cross the border. Gov. Schwarzeneggar has been able to veto the bills when they have reached his desk so far, though there have been concerns that legislators would eventually give into his demands and provide the version that he said would be required, forcing him to sign it or lose a great deal of credibility with those lawmakers.

This bill, so long as California went along with it, would prevent that from ever happening, as verification of legal status would be required, and documents verified. Will it prevent all those who want a false but legitimately-issued ID from getting them? No, of course not. It's always a matter of resources. But with such verifications in place, it will make it more difficult to achieve, and more likely for those seeking such to be caught.

"Nobody noted this, but HR418 s202.c.1.C requires every citizen to have a social security account in order to get a driver's license. Wasn't social security originally opt-in?"

Social Security numbers for citizens has been a requirement for years.

Your question about 18USC1028.a.8 is a good one. Perhaps it references a law that is not yet in effect?

Posted by: Jarrod at May 9, 2005 04:50 PM


I used unrealid.com and eff.org to submit my comments to my Senators and I actually received a response.

Senator Feinstein, (or at least her staff's canned answer), seem more interested in making sure the law doesn't go unfunded thereby forcing the states to pay for it then the privacy and security issues involved with a national id.

"Can I see your papers, comrade?"

I've attached her response.
-------------------------------------
Thank you for your letter regarding the "REAL ID Act of 2005"
(H.R. 418). I welcome the opportunity to respond.
As you know, Congressman Sensenbrenner introduced H.R. 418
in the House of Representatives earlier this month, and the bill passed the
House of Representatives on February 10th. Generally, I support the
thrust of the bill, which I am in the process of reviewing. I would hope
that there will be hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee and that we
will follow Senate procedure. I may have some changes to recommend
and believe there needs to be a thorough analysis and discussion of its
provisions.

I believe that the Federal government should have the ability to
issue standards that all state-issued driver's licenses and identification
documents should meet. The issue is how should this be done, phased in
and paid for. And I think that the Senate needs to examine these issues
and help ensure it is not an unfunded mandate on the states.

Finally, I also am a strong supporter of Operation Gatekeeper
and completion of the border fence, which is one of the bill's provisions.

Again, thank you for writing, and please know that I will keep
your comments in mind as the Senate considers this legislation. I hope
you will continue to keep in touch. If you have any further questions
please contact my Washington, D.C. staff at (202) 224-3841.

Posted by: Michael A. Plumlee at May 9, 2005 05:09 PM


You asked why some have characterized this as a "power grab"- I would counter, if it isn't, why was it part of an immigration bill tacked as a rider on a military funding bill? Where I come from, that isn't the way good ideas become law, but is exactly the way that bad ideas slip through the cracks.
@ Loyal_Citizen: this isn't exactly what they taught onSchoolhouse Rock, is it?

Posted by: Anonymous at May 9, 2005 05:13 PM


>You asked why some have characterized this as a
>"power grab"- I would counter, if it isn't, why was
>it part of an immigration bill tacked as a rider on
>a military funding bill?

this is an excellent argument for line item veto

Posted by: Michael A. Plumlee at May 9, 2005 05:21 PM


@Bruce

"I'm not convinced that we can secure our nation against terrorism through border controls, just like we can't secure computer network thrrough good firewalls. Remember that terrorists like Timothy McVeigh were born in this country."

Sorry Buce, but I find this to be a specious argument. Obviously physical border security is not enough just as, in your example, firewalls are not enough.

That being said, just because it's not enough that doesn't mean that we shouldn't do it. There's no magic bullet for securing our nation against terrorism but physical border security is an obvious piece of the solution.

Posted by: JEC at May 9, 2005 07:05 PM


@TJ

"I suggest to this reader that s/he go drive around the border of the U.S. and see the size of the problem. If that sounds expensive, following that suggestion would cost a hundred times more. Apart from the whole question of a "free nation" inside a cage."

So, if I follow your argument here, we shouldn't secure our borders because it's too expensive to do so?

Posted by: Anonymous at May 9, 2005 07:36 PM


I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned it but along with all the other reasons this is a bad idea it is also another example of the federal government overstepping its bounds. Licensing is a power reserved to the states according to the constitution. The feds have no business passing laws in this area. I guess since the politicians in DC have no problem ignoring the 1st, 2nd and 4th amendments then this isnt really a problem for them.

Posted by: anon at May 9, 2005 07:50 PM


In Schneier's book Secrets and Lies, Bruce goes into situations where the truly weakest link in a security chain are not the algorithms or the protocols; it's the people. Not because any of them are malicious. Some of them just want to get the job done. They might let something slide because the person they're dealing with is in a hurry (an above poster mentioned how he flew without an ID). Maybe it's something insignificant, a mistake the ID-holder made, that any human being could make and is easily excuseable. In cases like this, where people handling even the current driver's liscences are lax, that $120 million has gone down the drain.

Many are forgetting that the people who will eventually execute this bill—the airport security personnel, police officers pulling over drivers, and border security officers—are all human beings. From time to time, they will make mistakes. Requiring extra data on the card, and requiring certian verification before printing the card, will not make any of these human beings less human—they will still make mistakes here and there.

With that in mind, I believe a real cost-benefit analysis is in order. It certainly won't happen, but it would be nice if it did. Then we might see what the cost of illegal immigration has been to the country, the cost of terrorism, how much a standardized ID will actually mitigate both costs, and how different a national ID system will actually be from our current one.

Many of the above posts have argued that aside from computer chip identification the ID really isn't that different from a normal driver's liscence system, so we shouldn't be worried. But why bother paying $120 for something that's so similar to what we already have? And ontop of that, why pay $120 for something that will be just as often misused by human beings as current driver's liscences are? A friend of mine was pulled over once for speeding. He didn't have his ID on him, but he had memorized his ID number. He gave that to the cop. The cop had on his computer all the identification information, including the photo. This sounds a lot like the system already in place.

If we're paying a lot of money, shaving off a bit of freedom down the road, and possibly affecting the psychology of the nation, what are we really getting in return?

Posted by: Montag at May 9, 2005 07:54 PM


Positively identifying and linking a person to some 'number' can really only be done with DNA. Photos don't work, and neither do fingerprints or eye scans - they both can be altered or simulated.

See Majority Report, the movie, for the nightmare that DNA ID will cause in the long run.

I'm very sceptical that the good outcomes of a national ID with the proposed technology won't be overcome by the bad outcomes, including identity theft - which scares me a lot.

Posted by: JimPortlandOR at May 9, 2005 09:00 PM


As for the idea of drivers licenses for illegal aliens, about 3 years ago I had a couple of men working in my yard. They took off so that one could get his drivers license. Then the next week he would drive so that his partnet could get his license. They drive anyway. Supposedly they have insurance, but in California there are many without insurance. It assures nothing except that one can cram for the written test, a no-brainer, and that one can drive. If the point is to stop terrorists crossing the border, then it is a dumb idea, passed into law instead of thinking of how to do something real. Ahmed XX just flies into some Central American city, puts on native dress, he studied enough Spanish to get by, and hires a "coyote" to smuggle him across the border. His buddies who arrived the same way, hold the "coyote's" family hostage until old Ahmed XX confirms his arrival. Tell me it isn't already happening.
CBS

Posted by: Cbsimkins at May 9, 2005 09:48 PM


This is what happens when you try to bring this message to a younger audience that's more concerned about how Real ID will help them get into bars without any hassle.

http://www.livejournal.com/community/ljdemocrats/1720532.html

Posted by: tony at May 10, 2005 12:36 AM


Jarrod wrote:
"I really don't see why this is such a problem. A lot of nations -- including those in the free countries of Europe -- have national ID cards. Perhaps someone can put in clear terms why this is such a bad idea, instead of just yelling that it's just another aspect of 1984?"

Yes Jarrod you are right European countries have national Id cards. But we have two cards a driver licence and a national ID card. You don't need to learn how to drive to get an ID.

Also these cards doesn't help US against terrorism neither against illegal immigration. Just read the some news papers in UK and you'll see how illegal immigration is an issue in this country and how UK have hard time fighting against terrorism (specialy in Ireland).


Posted by: fred at May 10, 2005 01:11 AM


"Social Security numbers for citizens has been a requirement for years."

They certainly weren't a requirement when I lived in the U.S. a few years ago. A tax ID, if you earn any income, yes. But not a social security number.

Posted by: Curt Sampson at May 10, 2005 01:34 AM


It's not about security.

It's not about security.

It's not about security.

It's about control.

But if sattelite TV cards are being hacked and duplicated, these will too. It will just cost the perps some more than a driver's license today. I'm pretty sure not a lot more, though. And since it's the ultimate in identification, it will be trusted more, so the perp with the hacked RealID card will feel more safe from capture. So it is about security after all.

-- Arik

Posted by: Arik at May 10, 2005 01:47 AM


"Sensenbrenner", burner of senses.
How fitting...

Posted by: egeltje at May 10, 2005 02:15 AM


@Tobias: You really didnt't understood what I wrote.

Quote: "My concern is that credit verifiers like ChoicePoint (and lots of other insecure DBs) will generally have my spouse's Real ID and her current address. The law seems to create a dichotomy: either you're in the FBI witness protection program, or I can easily find you if I know your ID."

You are missing a point. Assuming the fleeing wife scenario - I don't quite get why a fleeing wife or anyone else really would give a current address to any credit verification company.

I remind - I live in a country with mandatory governement ID (and strict data privacy) law. When I applied to credit card I had to give them my official address. They send me CC statements to another place that has no relation with the place I live. I could set my bank to deliver them to me electronically as PDF and this would make the mailing address irrelevant at all. The same with another bank statements.

To sum up: when there is mandatory ID and mandatory registered address, you give the registered address to do business, and not necessarily the real address.

Posted by: J. Alex Urbanowicz at May 10, 2005 02:56 AM


@egeltje: "Sensenbrenner" --> burner of scythes.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 10, 2005 06:16 AM


Like it or not, a national ID system is the only way of getting control of immigration and borders. To do so, however, requires splitting the ID card and the identification database. In that way falsification would require corrupting the database which would be easier to guard against than myriad individual cards.

This is a tradeoff. It has always been recognized as so, since it was proposed. Specifically, if you think that this would be so injurious to civil rights, why was it the principal proposal of the commission headed by the late Barbara Jordan in the early 90s. There was no greater proponent and guardian of civil rights for all than Ms. Jordan.

Turning drivers licenses into ID cards is the stupidest of many stupid ideas which have been proposed to get to ID cards without calling them ID cards and reflects yet again the moral and intellectual bankrupcy of Republicans. Either do the thing right or admit that immigration cannot be controlled.

Posted by: Eli Rabett at May 10, 2005 08:32 AM


It is interesting how much stiff opposition any National ID proposal in the US creates. More than 70 comments and dozens of references in just one day, hardly any article of Bruce's creates so much discussion. Why is that so? Maybe Bruce is right and national ID is a bad idea (although many countries have it and people there simply aren't bothered by such a supposedly repressive measure), but why is there so much more opposition to national ID than, say, to
* Patriot Act
* Massive restrictions on lawful demonstrations for "security" reasons
* passenger data databases
* finger printing of foreigners
* no-fly-lists
* imprisonment of foreigners or "enemy combattants" without trial
* Systematic torture in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, deportation of prisoners to countries like Syria to have them tortured there
* Longtime imprisonment for consumers of illegal drugs
* Criminalization of oral and anal sex (abolished only in 2003 by the supreme court!)
* Life sentences for minor offences under "Three strikes and you are out" laws
* etc. etc.?
Please think a moment about that. The USA is nowadays one of the most repressive among democratic societies. It has the highest prison population of any country in history. If you oppose power abuse and government oppression, there are a lot of other things to direct your energy against than that old hat the national ID.

Could it be that Americans need the ID discussion in order to prove themselves how free they still are, while their civil liberties are being eroded at an ever faster pace with almost nobody paying attention?

Posted by: piglet at May 10, 2005 09:35 AM


A few corrections on your post, piglet...

First of all, the no-fly lists have existed for many years. They were just much smaller.

Sodomy laws were overturned by the Supreme Court, but most states had either done away with them, or else simply were not enforcing them.

While I cannot speak for most states, the concept of a 25-to-life sentence for a minor crime in California is a myth perpetrated by those who would like to see that law overturned. Both prosecutors and judges have, and always have had, authority to block a 'third-strike' trial/conviction.

Posted by: Jarrod at May 10, 2005 09:46 AM


Turning driver's licences into a national ID is counter to Role Based Access Control...

...as suggested by this government body - http://csrc.nist.gov/rbac/

Granted, RBAC is usually positioned as part of "computer security", but the model here should be the same. Drivers' licences should show that you are an accredited driver - nothing more. In an ideal world, it would not even reveal your identity, only that you are sufficiently trained to drive a vehicle on a public roadway, and that you are authorized to drive the vehicle you currently control.

This also means that you can revoke a driver's licence without revoking an identity statement. If a driver's licence is a de facto national ID, does this make it harder to revoke the driving credentials because of the side effects in other systems?

If you want a National ID, then put through a law titled "For the Creation of a National ID", and debate the benefits and costs - both monetary and to society - of that.

The process as it is happening is so far away from that model, it's actually hard to provide constructive criticism.

Posted by: C Smith at May 10, 2005 09:47 AM


The most likely impact on illegal/undocumented immigrants is that they drive without a license and insurance. All legal drivers will fund their driving with higher insurance premiums.

The next most likely scenario is that undocumented immigrants will purchase Mexican or other national drivers licenses and an International drivers license translation of said license. As the US is a signatory to the UN driving compact, the foreign licenses must be accepted for driving in the US or else our citizens will be unable to drive outside the US.

So in addition to the standard pack of identification being sold to undocumented immigrants, add two more docs -- a Mexican drivers license and an International drivers license.

Highways aren't any more safer and the US isn't any more safer.

Posted by: Timothy at May 10, 2005 09:56 AM


"What RealID will do, among other things, is require that documentation (such as birth certificates and Social Security numbers) be checked for authenticity."

That's a bogus argument for REAL ID. I had friends in college who acquired *real, legitimate* driver licenses by using a sibling's birth certificate. Here's how it works:

0. Prerequisite: you have an older sibling, or other person who is willing to lend you their documentation for illicit purposes. (You want to pass for 21+ in the college version of this scam.)
1. You get your older sibling's birth cert.
2. Go to the state DMV.
3. Tell them you lost your license and need a new copy.
4. The DMV checks the documents you're providing, verifies that they are legitimate, and issues a new license with the other person's information and your picture.
5. Go to your local bar. When asked for ID, present your *REAL ID*, which has a *REAL* mag-strip/barcode/RFID/whatever and will validate.

It's a version of identity theft in which you have the "victim's" permission...

Posted by: Nobody at May 10, 2005 10:16 AM


I'd be curious as to what level of underground protest activity springs up to render Real ID a farce.

I could see some bars collecting drivers licenses to swipe at the bar and then changing the encoded information without the customers knowledge.

With all the anti-government organizations and thousands of sympathetic individuals running around, this wouldn't be hard to implement. Most of the positions with access to drivers licenses are low wage, low skilled positions that almost anyone who can pass a drug test can get.

I recall a number of people swapping grocery cards to protect their privacy.

Also, a secondary market might arise reselling valid drivers licenses from recently deceased individuals. As there is no requirement to notify DMV of deaths, secondary licenses are a way of gaining a temporary identity, until the license expires or the associated SSAN is listed as deceased and compared.

With overdependence on technology for security, both of these scenarios blow a big gaping hole in the "benefits of Real ID".

Posted by: Timothy at May 10, 2005 10:25 AM


@Jarrod:"First of all, the no-fly lists have existed for many years. They were just much smaller." I don't see how that corrects what I said. My point is that *other countries don't have no-fly-lists".

"Sodomy laws were overturned by the Supreme Court". I wrote that. Again, my point is that no other "free people" would allow the government to dictate them how to practice sex, at least not in the 21st century.

"While I cannot speak for most states, the concept of a 25-to-life sentence for a minor crime in California is a myth perpetrated by those who would like to see that law overturned." No, it's not a myth. The whole point of the law is to be able to hand down life sentences in cases where the crime committed doesn't warrant such a severe punishment. This is a travesty of justice that, in my country, would be overturned by the courts within 5 minutes.

Posted by: piglet at May 10, 2005 10:25 AM


Here's a quiz. Which democratic countries have recently introduced imprisonment without trial for terrorist suspects, and which of them have a national ID? Answer:

- The USA, Britain and Canada. Britain even declared the state of emergency and opted out of the European Human Rights Convention to suspend habeas corpus. That's right, Britain is under Emergency since 2001!
- None of those countries has a national ID but whenever it is proposed, passions go high. Sure, allowing the government to imprison without judicial process is nothing against the outrageously despotic idea of carrying an ID card. That's what freedom really is about!

Posted by: piglet at May 10, 2005 10:40 AM


america is the modern rome, and just like the original it transitioned from a republican form of government to a dynastic, authoritarian empire. the cognitive dissonance i see in so many of the previous posts is the posters' failure to appreciate that the america they were taught about in school when they were young no longer exists. america was a set of principles, most but not all enshrined in our constitution and bill of rights, and we have permitted our government to discard these principles for expediency, leaving only the hollow words still on the books to mock us. we have already lost the immigration battle because just like the original romans, we lost our collective identity, our self perception as americans in favor of the new hyphenated shards, and we lost the collective will to protect what was ours. it's every man for himself in our corporate theocracy, and you can still protect your privacy after realid like i do, mostly with advanced techniques involving passive-aggression and cash.

Posted by: another_bruce at May 10, 2005 12:09 PM


@Bruce, very nice article. Let's hope it does some good. Perhaps it's time to fire up your own grass-roots lobby, similar to moveon.org?

Speaking of IDs, I know someone who recently flew into Canada and had nothing more than a basic Drivers License. Believe it or not it was fairly easy to move through Immigration both directions. I obviously can not reveal how/why this worked, but suffice it to say a national ID would make things more interesting but certainly not more difficult to travel (without proper ID). Even senior TSA agents do not seem to realize that access to a "definitive list" or other "trusted" information can actually work both ways -- for or against them...so I'm in absolute agreement with your assessment about the security trade-offs.

@piglet
Excellent points. I like your suggestion that we should move ahead, not backwards, but this type of thinking runs counter to the Christian Right-wing party that most now say has influence over the Senate, House and White House. Like any fanatical branch of any religion, the Christian Right is stepping in to drive the US backwards in time; we hear that judges are told how to vote, women are told they will lose liberties, children are force-fed strict values, etc. Take a look at Kansas for a sense of what could happen to the whole country...first any opposition is “demonized” and discredited until they flee. Then “mock trials” are held to legitimize the decline of civilization. For example, the Kansas state school board has now demanded scientists must justify evolution in court or have it removed from school instruction. Ironically there is no comparable disclaimer or proof required for the bible.

It's sad to think that the settlers escaped religious persecution by sailing to North America and here we are witnessing the Christian Right trying to tag and persecute Americans...anyway, I guess it all comes down to the fact that the US will become increasingly unattractive to citizens, let alone illegal immigrants, not because of a national ID program but because of fundamentalist religious values eroding democracy and destroying freedoms.

My point is not to pick on America, or any particular nation-state, as much as think about universal human rights in a more global and historic context. For example when people point to England as an example of justice, I try not forget that the English are credited by Amnesty International with originating the concept of concentration camps (suspected criminals, and sometimes convicted ones, were corralled and left to die on barges on the Thames). Bad security that cloaks human rights violations is just that, regardless of the flag draped over the coffins.

Posted by: Davi Ottenheimer at May 10, 2005 12:39 PM


@J. Alex Urbanowicz
I remind - I live in a country with mandatory governement ID (and strict data privacy) law.
------

Unfortunately here in the US we don't have strict data privacy laws. The collector of the information owns it not the person who's information it is.

Posted by: Michael A. Plumlee at May 10, 2005 01:05 PM


"I like your suggestion that we should move ahead, not backwards" - I'm not aware of having suggested that... anyway. Your remark, Davi, about the christian right forcing their views and values on the nation and thus endangering civil liberty is correct. I would mention the new Florida (?) law requiring medical personnel to report on the sex behavior of youngsters. Incredible, and until recently unimaginable anywhere west of Tehran. For the moment, the law has been suspended by the courts.

So many people are capable of getting in a rage because of a relatively minor issue such as ID, while at the same time gross injustices are happening, the checks and balances that once were invented to protect against abuse of power are not working any more, civil liberties are scrapped on a daily basis. And there are still people who think the requirement to show ID when boarding a plane is the worst assault on liberty since 1776.

(As a parenthesis, I recently read Gore Vidal. He writes that the assault on liberty started in the 1960s. So slavery, segregation, internment of the Japanese etc. were not so bad after all, what really killed American liberty was - you guessed it! - the federal government's hunger for ID).

"Cognitiva dissonance", that's an accurate description, thanks another_bruce!

Posted by: piglet at May 10, 2005 01:07 PM


Unfortunately the U.S. doesn't have a rational debate about identification, security, and data privacy. Since we don't and won't, I say:

* we should be doing away with the social security number, not further embedding it into our systems (Unlike other data it often serves both to identify and authenticate the person, which violates good security logic.)
* the implementation of Real ID should be flexible. The Federal govt. has guidelines for e-authentication that agencies are in the process of implementing, but that seems to be a separate line of discussion/development from Real ID. It's going to be expensive to implement both; we ought to be doing them logically.
* RealID ought to include restrictions on the state databases, including provisions for audit trails and transaction logs, encryption of data, provision for review and access.

Posted by: Bill Harshaw at May 10, 2005 04:15 PM


@piglet

You said "Again, my point is that no other "free people" would allow the government to dictate them how to practice sex, at least not in the 21st century."

I took that to mean that the US is having trouble adjusting to the present century, and instead is backpedaling towards the culture/habits of the 19th or earlier.

I've heard it put another way: the US has more in common now with Nigeria and Russia (corporate fraud intermingled with public service and policies focused on religious and social intolerance instead of justice and economic freedoms) than any of the more modern nations in the world.

Incidentally, here is a laugh from the Onion and CraigsList (two bastions of American freedom) regarding the Amish:
http://www.craigslist.com/about/onion.party.html

Posted by: Davi Ottenheimer at May 10, 2005 06:01 PM


UPDATE: The bill was passed, 100-0.

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050510/ap_on_go_co/us_iraq_spending

Various Congressional members are touting this as a sound decision for helping the war efforts... and there's barely any mention of the RealID aspect of the vote.

Now what?

Posted by: Anonymous at May 10, 2005 06:38 PM


"we shouldn't secure our borders because it's too expensive to do so?"
No, because it's impossible to do so.

"allow the government to dictate them how to practice sex, at least not in the 21st century"
They didn't. These laws were passed decades ago and remained on the books only because almost nobody knew they existed. Had there been widespread public knowledge of these laws, they probably would have been repealed in short order. Perhaps the solution to this problem is as easy as requiring all laws to come up for reapproval every so often (10 years maybe, to avoid swamping the system) so the voice of the people can be heard.

My personal preference for stopping theft of personal information is to simply stick electrical tape over the barcode and refuse to remove it except for the police. Of course, I also refuse to let anyone take it out of my sight. If a bar, for instance, won't let me in because they can't steal my private data, then they're just costing themselves business. I haven't finished reading the bill yet, but I can foresee only 2 provisions that would raise issues with this: RFID and forbidding obscuring the barcode. If RFID is an issue, then perhaps there is some way to make a transparent RFID-blocking container for these licenses. If obscuring the barcode is banned, I plan to do it anyway, because I can remove the tape before handing the card to an official capable of punishing me.

Posted by: Quadro at May 10, 2005 08:13 PM


Jarrod: I live in Calif., and while the option to prosecute, or nor, under three strikes law is the option of the DA's office, it is not a myth that people are going to prison for minor offenses.

It may not be automatic, but that, in it's way, makes it worse, because it is capricious. It has also been used to manufacture a basis (by interpreting a single act as multiple felonies) to put someone away for life, because the prosecutor felt this was, "in the public interest".

Given the nature of our prisons, and the huge (both in absolute, and relative numbers) of people we keep in them, combined with lack of discretion on the part of judges; by way of mandatory sentencing laws, like the Three Strikes provision, defending liberty in the US because the abuses aren't mandatory, but rather optional, seems a tad slim.

Esp. since one of the abominations Bruce didn't mention was the carte blanche this law gives to the Secretary of Homeland Security to set aside any law he thinks interferes with protecting the border; such actions to be immune from judicial review.

TK

(yes, I have read the text of the law).

Posted by: Terry Karney at May 10, 2005 08:16 PM


@Davi: I'd put it differently. Americans have a reputation of cherishing individual freedom and treating government power by default with suspicion; that's how they usually describe themselves. Given that, I find it amazing how much government intrusion they are ready to swallow. The "sodomy" laws abolished in 2003 are just one telling example. They were not only discriminating against gays, in fact, those laws in some cases outlawed oral and anal sex, regardless the circumstances. It should be obvious that this is simply not the business of the government. It's hard to imagine any European parliament passing such laws, and even less any European court letting them stand. (*)

Yet four of the supreme court judges opposed overturning the law. They said that the states had every right to interfere in the sexual life of their citizens, and they could even prohibit adultery and masturbation if they liked. And worse, it seems that about half the American people share that view. They say the courts have no business defending citizens' individual freedom against the power of the state (or if you prefer, against the rule of the majority). And the same people are convinced to live in "the land of the free". "Cognitive dissonance"!


(*) The german constitution states very clearly, in its first articles:
"1. Human dignity shall be inviolable. To respect and protect it shall be the duty of all state authority. The German people therefore acknowledge inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of justice in the world. The following basic rights shall bind the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary as directly applicable law.
2. Every person shall have the right to free development of his personality insofar as he does not violate the rights of others or offend against the constitutional order or the moral law."

Posted by: piglet at May 10, 2005 08:43 PM


@Quadro: In addition to my last post, two remarks. First, several state legislatures didn't repeal the laws because they didn't want to. They could have, but they chose not to. Second, the real point here is not that those laws are outdated but that there must be constitutional limits to the power of the state. Even a democratic majority is not entitled to impose its will on the minority. Even if the majority doesn't like gays, or jews, or leather fetishists, or communists, or whatever, they have no right to infringe upon the liberties of those who don't share their view. The courts are there to protect individual rights, and it is worrying that they are being insulted for fulfilling their noble task (if they fulfill it).

Posted by: piglet at May 10, 2005 08:59 PM


I suggest that our nation tries this first as a pilot study, limiting the Real ID to all government employees, from the President of the US to the city dogcatcher, thus including all IRS employees, judges, district attorneys, police officers, and corrections officers, to mention a few. Give the pilot study a test period of perhaps five years. If it works like the government hopes, and avoids the pitfalls critics warn about, then the people the government is there to serve and protect can be brought into the system.

Compulsory participation by government employees would be mandated, but I cannot imagine any reason a government employee could have for refusing to volunteer for the pilot study.

Posted by: Roy Owens at May 10, 2005 09:58 PM


Terry:

I also live in California, and there was a lot of time spent last fall debunking the "life sentence for a piece of pizza" myth. (That one, Jerry Williams, was sentenced to six years in prison because the judge dismissed a prior strike in his consideration, and I think Williams is actually out of prison now.) Prosecutors in California have used discretion somewhere between 20% to 40% of the time; judges use it more than a quarter of the time, and are far more likely to use it if the offense is minor, or if there is no prior conviction history of violence or weapons use.

As to the lack of judicial review, I will admit that this part troubles me somewhat, but I see the reasoning for it. And Congress may actually have the right to block this kind of review, under Article III, Section 2. Kind of depends on how one sees the wording, and how the courts handle traditional understanding of balance of power.

Posted by: Anonymous at May 10, 2005 11:00 PM


"Prosecutors in California have used discretion somewhere between 20% to 40% of the time; judges use it more than a quarter of the time, and are far more likely to use it if the offense is minor, or if there is no prior conviction history of violence or weapons use." Watch the wording: they are "likely" - but not certain! - *not to condemn people to a life in prison for minor and nonviolent offenses*. Let's add that the likelihood is of course greater if the offender can afford a good defense.

In a civilized country, governed by the rule of law, the punishment is always in proportion with the gravity of the offense. What happens nowadays in California and other US states is arbitrariness, perversion of justice. A backslide to barbarianism.

Posted by: piglet at May 10, 2005 11:54 PM


NO REAL I.D. Enough is enough, I am a honorably discharged, served 4 years veteran.
REVOLUTION REVOLUTION REVOLUTION NOW!!!!!!!!
NO TALK ACTION ACTION ACTION


SUA SPONTE

GOVERMENT HAS POWER ONLY AT OUR CONSENT

IT IS TIME TO TAKE IT ALL BACK


HOWEVER NECESSARY

Posted by: robert at May 11, 2005 07:56 AM


J. Alex: "I don't quite follow your reasoning: if my spouse fled me, she doesn't have to, nor will immediately change the ID to reflect her new address."

In the state I currently live in, one must correct the address within 30 days. To ensure that it is valid and correct, your ID/License is mailed to you. Even if you lost yours, even if you are heading out of the country for a vacation. The actual licenses are manufactured by a contractor, even though state employees take your picture.

In this state, as well as the last one I lived in, if your insurance is cancelled, your driving license gets cancelled as well. Since I pay my insurance monthly, and electronically at the last minute, I get about 10 letters per year from the State Driving License office notifying me that my license is about to be suspended. I then have to call up the insurance company and have them fax a copy of the insurance to them. This insurance company is very fast at complying with the law, but rather slow at processing renewals.

Why is this an issue? Let me give you a denial of service example: Let us presume that my spouse is fleeing me for whatever reason. I could cancel my insurance policy, or just fail to pay for the current one. I could sign up for a new policy with a new insurer (to maintain mine) and leave off my spouse (we're now separated, you know). As a result, her driving license gets suspended, and as the letter I get about 10x per year informs me, it will be confiscated should I fail to surrender it on time. Next time she tries to board an aircraft, or enter a courthouse, or some other government controlled facility, it gets taken away from her.

So because this "Real ID" is not just a driving license, but an identity document that everyone will be looking at/demanding, I can get her's revoked because it is being used for a purpose for which it was not designed to be used, namely proof that I/her/you am/are legally allowed to drive.

Posted by: Anonymouse at May 11, 2005 09:54 AM


I remember when Billary was in office and SHE proposed a socialized healthcare program. Under her plan every citizen would get a National Healthcare Card to use to pay for health services. As a right-wing conspirator I was so opposed to this plan that I nearly got fired for being so vocal against it at the office place. The problem, as I saw it, was that this was just the first step toward a National ID card. If you'd told me then that 10 years later my fellow repubs would be pushing for REAL ID I'd have laughed in your face. Now, all I can do is hang my head and shudder with fear. This is just unREAL. And all my fellow right-wing conspirators are applauding Bush's efforts to make us safer. It's just surREAL, is what it is.

Posted by: GaryO at May 11, 2005 11:18 AM


Anon: "As to the lack of judicial review, I will admit that this part troubles me somewhat, but I see the reasoning for it"

Not to read too much into this, but the implication is you think the reasoning is justified (esp. as you say it troubles you somewhat).

It troubles me, a lot. That single clause, more than any other (combined with your later statement implying you think such an exclusion from the courts... which reading is not consonant with either the writings in the Federalist papers, nor a tad more than 200 years of precidential jurisprudence, to be acceptable, from a very narrow interpretation of the article (and honestly, I can't see it. For reference:

Section. 2.
Clause 1: The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;--to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;--to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;--to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;--to Controversies between two or more States;--between a State and Citizens of another State; between Citizens of different States, --between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

Clause 2: In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

Clause 3: The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.


Now, you may have meant to say the power to establish courts gives the Congress the power to limit them, but even so the specific powers given to the Supreme Court extend precisely to the powers granted to the SecHomDef in this bit of legislation. That office has been given absolute liberty to ignore any, and all, laws under the rubric of securing the borders.

There are no limits to his power. One may argue that such abuses won't be committed, but the door is open.

Some improvement to our security.

TK

Posted by: Terry Karney at May 11, 2005 11:21 AM


Here in California we have several legislators who seem to be unclear on which country they represent. They keep trying to give DLs to illegal aliens. There are similar people in other states.

See:

Yet another attempt by Gil Cedillo to keep illegal aliens driving
http://lonewacko.com/blog/archives/003071.html

"California legislators ask Mexican Senate to intervene [in driver's licenses for illegal aliens]
http://lonewacko.com/blog/archives/001957.html

U.S. code 18 U.S.C. 953
http://lonewacko.com/blog/archives/002116.html

If we didn't have people who sometimes act like they're Mexican agents things like this wouldn't be necessary. I'm not a big fan of REAL ID, but I'm even less a fan of letting "liberals" and ethnic demagogues decide to give out DLs to anyone who shows up.

Posted by: The Lonewacko Blog at May 11, 2005 11:58 AM


Oh, but a National ID card can be a useful security tool. That's the problem. For example, I use an electronic card to get into my workplace. Without it, the doors to the building won't even open. And who decides which doors are opened? Whoever issued the card. There are some doors that my card won't open. And what would happen to someone who got caught in the building without the proper access card? They'd be arrested. What if they only followed me into the building looking for a restroom? What if they were just lost and needed help in finding their way? It wouldn't matter. They'd be held until the authorities arrived and their innocence was proven.

Now, let's make this a National ID card. In order to enforce it's use, absolute, draconian measures would be needed. You want to purchase something at the store? You better have your card. In fact, with some biometric included, the card could be required before you could even swipe your debit card to pay for gas. In fact, why require two cards? Let's just use one card - put your financial data on it as well. Oh, we could deal with fraud easily enough - make the card reader a thumbprint reader instead. Store the digital equivalent on your card and require a match at the checkout before funds are transferred. Yes, it could still be hacked, but with a little education and enforcement the risks could be minimized. Debit card use today carries certain risks.

But back to my workplace analogy. How would you get into the country? By presenting your card. How would you get into your workplace? By presenting your card. Who determines which doors are opened by the card? The entity that issued the card in the first place. What if I get caught without my card EVEN IF I'M NOT BREAKING THE LAW? What if I just accidentally stumbled into the wrong location? What if I just needed to relieve myself? It wouldn't matter. I'd be arrested and held until my innocence was proven. Guilty until proven innocent?

And keep in mind, they don't have to enforce it's use now. Just get everyone to agree to carry it. World terrorism being what it is, another attack will eventually hit close enough to home to make people incensed that the use of the card isn't being enforced. Then we'll all just lay down and take it again. Even without an attack, introduce the card to this generation and the next generation to come won't think twice about conforming to its use. Look at social security.

Does this not sound like a bad idea, now?

Posted by: Gary-O at May 11, 2005 12:16 PM


I've started a blog to track stories about RealID. Please check it out and email suggestions:
http://realIDsucks.blogspot.com/
- precision blogger.

Posted by: Tobias D. Robison at May 11, 2005 01:10 PM


I am in favor of a 'National ID Card'. Why? Because I am annoyed at having to go to different dumb-ass DMV's every time I move to a new state, with their arbitrary rules and tests, etc. It is time to move into the 21st Century people! Yes, we are all going to be identifiable. So what? I don't care if it makes me more 'secure'; I care if it makes my life more CONVENIENT. Which it will.

Posted by: Snarky at May 11, 2005 01:38 PM


I checked out the last link, and he had a post about REAL ID's effect on those poor undocumented immigrants who we all need to be here. Awww.

All of you who are opposed to REAL ID on privacy grounds should concentrate your efforts on minimizing the impact of those who support illegal immigration.

Without them, REAL ID would have much less support.

Posted by: The Lonewacko Blog at May 11, 2005 01:39 PM


Again, I ask where all these cries were when the provisions for the driver's licenses were passed into law in 2004 as part of IRATPA.

Terry:

Allow me to clarify my view. The California Coastal Commission has been able to block the completion of the border fence along about three miles (some say five miles) of the US-Mexico border. They have done this through their own legal power over the California coastline, as well as state and federal legal action. The reasoning is that the border should be protected, and states should not be allowed to get in the way, and I can agree with that to some extent. This is an attempt to allow the fence to be finished without the CCC interfering once more.

As to the exception point, the second sentence in Clause 2 reads, "In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make." One possible reading of this allows Congress to make exceptions as to what the Supreme Court can review, because if the Supreme Court cannot review it, then all tribunals inferior to that court are barred from reviewing it.

This provision does make me uneasy, because the one branch which I believe consistently does (for the most part) the right thing is the judicial branch. I wouldn't trust a lifetime appointment to president or congressperson, but the judges are, for the most part, carefully vetted by president and Senate, and actually do interpret the law and Constitution as they are bound by oath to do, whatever the complainers on both sides of the aisle may think. I don't always agree with the decisions, but I doubt most of them have any real political agenda, and so I feel comfortable with the current system, with the 2-3 layers of appellate review, filtering out the laws that should not be.

So, in summary, I understand *why* it was worded that way, and I can see the *logic* used in removing judicial review. However, I do not agree that it is the case that the judicial branch should be removed from the picture, nor do I believe that the tradition of the judicial branch will completely block attempts to get a review. I am wondering, though, what the ultimate technical interpretation will be.

Posted by: Jarrod at May 11, 2005 01:57 PM


You know, I thought we had an ID -- it's called a passport. Get one and use it to travel between states. *That* would be the answer. A driver's license is for driving. A passport is for travel. Why don't we call a spade a spade and say "no travel without identification papers, your passport is your identification papers"?

Land of the free, indeed...

-S

Posted by: Sebastian at May 11, 2005 02:47 PM


Citizens of my home state, SC, hit the roof when some idiot politician thought that he could raise a load of quick cash by selling our driver's licenses to a marketing firm. Within two days the deal was nixed. Amazing what can happen when clear heads know what scam foggy ones are trying to pull.

Posted by: Morgan at May 11, 2005 02:55 PM


I agree that this is a terrible bill. However, I don't think a national ID system is a bad idea. Let me explain. Unfortunately, we already have a broken, insecure and badly abused national ID system -- the Social Security Number. Using SSN and Driver's Licenses as ID systems is bad, bad, bad. There are little or no regulations governing how these data can be used and this results in the current state of things: with your name and SSN, an identity thief can wreak havoc on your life.

With a simple, secure, and open architecture for individual ID's, then we, as citizens, could take power over how our identities are used and disseminated for things like insurance forms, employment applications, credit applications, etc. Unfortunately, the need to positively identify and track an individual for these purposes is a stone cold part of daily life.

Rather than reject outright the notion of any form of national ID (which, implicitly, is a vote for the current broken system of SSN as national ID) we should be actively working towards an architecture that actually works and provides safeguards for our personal information, while at the same time making application processes easier and more streamlined. Frankly, it makes me fume that I have to fill out my personal and insurance information every time I go to any medical professional. Why can't I enter a PIN number or password into a secured touch pad and automatically authorize the download of my information automatically? Enabling this sort of ability (through verifiable, safe and secure means) would be moving forward, not backward.

Posted by: Scott Brown at May 11, 2005 03:10 PM


Re: the "It's a version of identity theft in which you have the "victim's" permission..." drivers' license bit, that doesn't work everywhere. The last time I needed a new license (lost mine), I just went into the office, told them who I was, gave them my number, and they printed up a new one that said it was a duplicate. It had the original picture (kind of disappointed about that; it was a crappy pic).

So, would REAL mean that the cops wouldn't seize my license when they give me a ticket? I hate trying to cash checks with a speeding ticket...

Hey, I'm a sucky driver. Which is something when you consider how many "above average" drivers there are.

Posted by: Poochner at May 11, 2005 03:41 PM


Vee must heff order!

Homeland, Homeland uber alles!....

Posted by: BaRbArIaN at May 11, 2005 03:58 PM


I disagree with Bruce on this point: issuing driver's licenses to illegal aliens is as ridiculous as issuing guest server credentials to hackers found on your network. I believe in strongly securing our borders *AND* strongly reforming and streamlining the queue time for the *legal* immigration process.

Also, as far as "unfunded mandates" go, I wouldn't feel any better about the federal government even borrowing more money to pay for this as I will knowing it is being funded from my state sales tax. A waste of money is a waste of money.

Ditto on the comment by Arik that this is about control, not security. The fascists have taken over control of both major parties. They may differ in which thought-crimes they want to create and prosecute, but they are both cut from the same authoritarian, control-freak cloth.

For those who are touting their own country's more evolved notion of freedom, any suggestions on where a liberty-loving Texan should be seeking a transfer?

Posted by: Richard Tallent at May 11, 2005 04:29 PM


"several state legislatures didn't repeal the laws because they didn't want to. They could have, but they chose not to"
The state legislatures are not the same as the people. They may have been elected by the people, but that doesn't guarantee that their votes are at all in line with public opinion. How many people, to use the obvious example, would vote for REAL ID?

"there must be constitutional limits to the power of the state. Even a democratic majority is not entitled to impose its will on the minority."
It's called the Bill of Rights, and we need to pay more attention to it. And yes, I am a conservative, but not one of those Religious Right fundamentalist jerks. In fact, I find myself agreeing more and more with the Libertarians. I'll probably wind up voting for the Libertarian candidate in this fall's election for governor (New Jersey), since I know my vote won't matter. If only there was some way to get rid of the fundamentalists...

Posted by: Quadro at May 11, 2005 06:00 PM


LET ME ZEE YURR PAPERZ!

Posted by: adolf at May 11, 2005 06:43 PM


@Quadro: "The state legislatures are not the same as the people. They may have been elected by the people, but that doesn't guarantee that their votes are at all in line with public opinion."
Yes, but even those fundamentalists you are talking about were the majority,
they shouldn't be allowed to impose their values on the minority. What is worrying is that judges who uphold the Bill of Rights are often accused of dismissing "the will of the people". This is especially paradox in the country that kind of invented the whole idea of checks and balances and individual freedom.

Posted by: piglet at May 11, 2005 07:48 PM


As an Army brat, I had a military dependents' ID for most of my life. That's basically the same as federally distributed ID, and I never saw anything wrong with it. Sure, identification may not solve all of our security issues, but it can't hurt. And as for the illegal immigrants, we should be hunting them down and executing them. We have enough problems helping our own citizens make a living to be worrying about them.

Posted by: Okami36 at May 11, 2005 08:19 PM


Can someone tell me for sure that this part of the appropriations bill actually passed? I'm confused at this:

4/18/2005:
S.AMDT.429 Amendment SA 429 proposed by Senator Isakson. (consideration: CR S3793)
To establish and rapidly implement regulations for State driver's license and identification document security standards, to prevent terrorists from abusing the asylum laws of the United States, to unify terrorism-related grounds for inadmissibility and removal, and to ensure expeditious construction of the San Diego border fence.

4/20/2005:
S.AMDT.429 Proposed amendment SA 429 withdrawn in Senate.

Does thie mean it was withdrawn from the Bill or withdrawn from being "considered?"

Link here:

http://www.congress.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:HR01268:@@@L&summ2=m&#summary

Posted by: mephisto_kur at May 11, 2005 08:55 PM


Have you morons read the AAMVA license standards lately? Have a weird looking barcode on your state license or ID? It's AAMVA compliant...we already have this shiat...IT'S NOT NEW.

Deal.

Posted by: Jay at May 11, 2005 10:02 PM


I thought the House voted this down last week.

Have these folks not seen "Minority Report"?

Glad Mr. Schneier is writing about this. It's like electronic voting machines - "hey hi-tech will solve everything"! "The higher the tech the less it will break!" "The cuttinger the edge the further ahead we'll be!!!"

Posted by: AF at May 9, 2005 11:01 AM


It's bleeding edge ....
. the more we will bleed

Posted by: Ian at May 11, 2005 11:37 PM


@piglet
This article might be what you are referring to:
http://story.news.yahoo.com/s/thenation/20050530mcgarvey&printer=1

"Late last October Dr. W. David Hager, a prominent obstetrician-gynecologist and Bush Administration appointee to the Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), took to the pulpit as the featured speaker at a morning service. [...] For Hager, those moral and ethical issues all appear to revolve around sex: In both his medical practice and his advisory role at the FDA, his ardent evangelical piety anchors his staunch opposition to emergency contraception, abortion and premarital sex. Through his six books--which include such titles as Stress and the Woman's Body and As Jesus Cared for Women, self-help tomes that interweave syrupy Christian spirituality with paternalistic advice on women's health and relationships--he has established himself as a leading conservative Christian voice on women's health and sexuality. And because of his warm relationship with the Bush Administration, Hager has had the opportunity to see his ideas influence federal policy.

Posted by: Davi Ottenheimer at May 12, 2005 01:43 AM


"Have you morons read the AAMVA license standards lately? Have a weird looking barcode on your state license or ID? It's AAMVA compliant...we already have this shiat...IT'S NOT NEW.

Deal.

Posted by: Jay at May 11, 2005 10:02 PM"

Well My state drivers license has a magnetic strip that the first thing I did was erase with a magnet :-) The problem with our Government is that when they finally get around to implementing something especially technology wise it is already outdated by a year or so at the very minimum. RSA 200 encryption has already been cracked. The government wants to know your every move, without the Real ID you will not be able to have a bank account, have a license, enter any government building, on the plus side you might not be able to pay taxes then! But I am sure much much more will be monitored in the name of "Security" and to be honest with you if I were in our governement I'd be really paranoid right now too since they make all these grand decisions and go about the world doing what they please. When is the last time they called you up and said "Hey I think we should vote this way what do you htink?" Never have they called you. I am sure most don't even care or pay attention to what the constituents think. You see the next thing after the real ID is getting rid of money and everything will be electronic. The problem with that is there may be one or two possibly three senators and/or congress men that can fully use a computer. I don't want people like that making decisions about computer technology when they don't have a clue and are going to rely on somebody else for answers about it, since they don't know much how can they honestly evaluate a person they are getting answers from about it?

We go around the world spreading democracy yet we are here getting our rights infringed upon in the name of security? Who's security? The governments security, if they would just stop cruising around the world imposing the ideas they have on oother nations and getting involved where they should not get involved, I'm sure many more other countries wouldn't think so badly about us! Personally I'm not afraid of terrorists, let them come at me, I don't care, I can defend myself! If they really wanted to do a number on this country they would have demolished all the oil and gas fields offshore in the gulf of mexico. those fields are not protected whatsoever you can take a boat and tie off to any one of 5500 platforms and do whatever you want. Most wells are satelite wells away from the production platforms so nobody would see you dive down and plant explosives around the caison! Did I mention the 500,000 miles of pipeline in the gulf of mexico and yes you can actually get gps locates on where they are exactly too :-). I know I dove on those platforms and others like it around the world for 16 years! You see during all these terrorist attacks the only oil fields that were really hammered were the ones in Kuwait. Notice no bombs dropped on the great northern fields in Iraq? Just a note as well we have not forgotten afghanistan either. that is a fight for oil too, the land on the border of Iran that uzbekistan turkministan and kazakhastan so desperately need to run a major pipeline through to get that huge oil field north of Afghanistan producing! That was why Russia was there fighting they needed that mile strip of land for the pipeline, It's all in the name of the Rich, Power and Oil! Your government wants the Rich to stay Rich and the Poor to stay poor and this way they can monitor your every move so they know if you are getting too Rich for the liking!

Good Luck everyone it's do or die time!

J

Posted by: JAFO at May 12, 2005 05:55 AM


Read ID is technically inferior compared to other countries' ID-card schemes
1. Address information is useless. It changes too often
2. Binding to a driver's license is totally wacko
3. It is an off-line thing. Both #1 and #2 could easily (by certain parties) be derived from on-line databases
4. It is a one-way security-device-only. In the EU such cards have PKI for e-government service access. Simple to add

Posted by: Anders R at May 12, 2005 06:14 AM


Althought this system has flaws (as pointed by Anders R), I think it's better than nothing.

I don't know if the author has ever traveled outside the US, but here (in the world, _everywhere_) you need an state issued ID to do a number of things. For example, getting a driver's license.

And know what? It's OK, if you are not illegal, or didn't commit any kind of crime, nobody is gonna bother you. I don't think anyone's privacy (i.e: giving his name and address) is more important than my safeness.

Posted by: David G at May 12, 2005 08:14 AM


I don't understand what all the fuss is. With this new national ID system, we'll be able to prevent all terrorism just like in other countries that have a national ID system -- you know, like Afghanistan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, etc.

Posted by: Scott W. at May 12, 2005 10:07 AM


Uses of ID-cards in Sweden

I really object to the idea that you should have to give your identity to merchants (unless you buy a gun or something that may need registration).

But the fact is that in Sweden you often have to show your ID in order to use a payment card! The reason for that is that PIN-code terminals and smart(er) cards have been slow to take up. The US legislators should leave that to the banks to fix and not violate citizens' privacy.

Without over-usage, a national ID, at least based on the 40-50 years of Swedish experiences, is a really useful thing.

I don't think that the buildup of government data will increase much as SSNs already are in use. Didn't the US got "famous" for information gathering already in the 50's? It is really controlling access to such data that has proven to be hard.

Posted by: Anders R at May 12, 2005 10:09 AM


We already arrest convicted sex offenders who fail to register address changes, and you can see what a great deal of help that has been. Now we can arrest anyone who is suspicious enough to not report where they live! I feel safer already.

Posted by: Mike in Michigan at May 12, 2005 10:21 AM


Welcome to 1984 ! The bill passed, and not only did it "pass," but it passed with 100% of the vote in the Senate.

There was no stopping this thing! WTF?? Big Brother is ALIVE and KICKIN' and what can we do?

I honestly wanna know: What can we do?

I have my own idea: VOTE THEM ALL OUT! But that's just me.

Posted by: Votem at May 12, 2005 12:02 PM


Wow. Standards for IDs. Oh woe is me. Every other civilized country in the entire world has a standardized ID. But some genius with a computer and a blog thinks he knows better than everyone else. Cry. Then get over it and look into more important things.

Posted by: JP at May 12, 2005 02:06 PM


I have flown twice without ID domestically in the last 6 months. The only consequence was that I had to get a super duper search and skipped the 45min long line. I support John Gilmore in his efforts but I am perhaps a little confused by the fact that I was allowed to pass. Do they distinquish between "hippie troublemaker" and "dude who lost his wallet" ?

Posted by: noah at May 12, 2005 07:14 PM


PORKY THE ID CARD MUST DIE. This idea is nothing but a pork-o-rama for the congressmen proponents and their resident special interested parties who hope no one notices. Everything the states will be saddled with here will be filled by a couple of contractors who are backing the porksters. Everything they say this program will do is already in place if we simply BRING OUR BANKING AND TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS UP TO WORLD STANDARD.

The US is the only country that allows you to open a bank account with international money transfer capability, or to travel internationally (north or south) with only a silly local drivers license. The problem isn't the drivers license, its the FCC and FDIC acceptance of it as ID.

REAL ID should only be the passport. It already screens everyone for everything. Every country issues them. We distribute them quickly throughout the US - system works great. Don't have it? No entry, no fly, no banking, no exceptions. Welcome to how the rest of the developed world has already dealt with this challenge long ago.

American banking standards are a joke abroad. It is well known that we let any clown with cash from anything open a bank account in this country. Go to a foreign bank with your drivers license and watch them laugh.

We all need to tell these proponents to shut up about another, more-government-because-you-need-protection program, and ask for the passport.

Problem solved.

Posted by: Jonathan Warren at May 12, 2005 07:16 PM


I think REAL-ID as it stands isn't all that good, but it could be. We do need national identification cards, but those cards should be pkcs-11 tokens. If everyone was issued a public cert and the goverment ran or licensed someone to run the CA we could make the current form of identification (random group of personal facts) no longer identification. The only reason why the bad guys want your SSN and other random personal facts is that in this insane world those are used to identifiy you. Further each citizien should be allowed to use their own form of pcks11 token. This way people that want the super expensive biometrics can have it, while the people that like the simple mag strip cards can use those. Currently we have all the down falls a bad id system with none of the protections that a good id system can provide. If somone figures our your priviate info, well shoot your self as there is no way to recover. If we had a good system you could just invalidate that key and get reissued a new one. Someone compremises the database no problem CRL to the rescue. The we could make the system volentary, but then the FDIC should not protect transactions for people that did not use a pck11 token. This could also be used to make a huge dent in spam. If everyone as a token then we can all send signed emails. Guess what the spammers have to sign the mail so we can drag them out and beat them Or they can choose not to sign the mail and then we just /dev/null all that mail. What information is kept about you, by who and for what is another question. The facts are until we devalue our private information it will be a target by thieves.

Posted by: SomeGuy at May 12, 2005 07:44 PM


So I agree that REAL ID is an absolutely terrible idea (it combines the worst security aspects of national and state IDs) it really isn't clear to me that a national ID card does not make identification more reliable as well as realizing significant economic savings by standardization.

In particular while I agree that using one ID system introduces a common point of high value failure it also economiclly feasible to invest a great deal more in the ID system. If one ID replaces n IDs you can make the ID cost roughly about the sum of the costs of all those other IDs. If one national ID replaced all our driver's liscensces, passports, credit cards and so forth it could afford more sophisticated safegaurds than any of the former IDs individually.

So while REAL ID seems to introduce the single point of failure without benefitting from economies of scale it seems perfectly possible that at some point in the future the increased safety provided by cryptographic smart card features, biometrics, and other possible features would outweigh the safety disadvantages of one point of attack. Furthermore the amount of resources spent to verify the card holder at issuance or for replacement could be similarily increased.

Furthermore it seems to me that our current system already has the problem of a single point of attack insofar as is relevant to terror. I let my drivers liscensce expire and prove my identity entierly via my passport. I have never had to produce any other ID for airline flights or other government related authentication. I have no doubt I could get a credit card or SSN number with a passport plus some easy to aquire items (bills to your address in that name etc..).

So while one wouldn't want to implement a system like REAL ID, or any system that hasn't already gone through some extensive real world testing. It seems at least possible that the increased resources availible by combining IDs could be used to more than outweigh any disadvantges, especially since the relevant ID systems already suffer from many of the purported disadvantages.

Posted by: logicnazi at May 12, 2005 07:52 PM


"REAL"ID?
This morning there was a knock on the door, "Police, Open up!" I opened the door and was promptly asked if my roommate were here. "Why yes!", I exclaimed. "John, someone is here for you!", I yelled. Then almost as he made his way from the back he was wisked away by the officers.

You see last night I was on my way home from the bar, and since im not 21 I borrowed Johns REALID to get in. On my way home I was pulled over by a police man. I hurried away on foot and was delighted that the officer did not keep chase. Hmm I wonder what the Police wants with John?

Posted by: REdOG at May 12, 2005 08:34 PM


Bruce-

Usually I like your stuff, but this article seems to have more than a bit of prejudgement in it. Some points:

-You ask us to assume bars and other businesses will routinely run ID's through the scanner, *and keep that info* (you don't explicitly say that but the next assumption implies it), and sell that info to aggregators like ChoicePoint.

Well, OK. But how about if I ask you to assume businesses *won't* keep or resell ID data?

-You also assume RFID will be on the card. OK, assume it's not.

-I grant your point about law officers, judges, etc. But if we reverse the assumptions above this reduces their risk quite a bit.

-You ask whether the refusal of REAL ID to illegal aliens helps our security. Again I reverse the question: does it *hurt* our security?

So I ask - does reversing these key assumptions change your stance on the issue at all? Right now these assumptions are not specified in the bill. Even if it passes as-is, the next logical ste would be to pass another bill (at either federal or state level) closing these loopholes.


Personally I think machine-readable IDs could work well and be useful in many areas of our lives, with two additional specifications. The first would read: "No party other than the US government shall store data from the machine-readable component of the REAL ID without written consent of the ID's owner. This could be enforced technologically via several methods.

The second spec I'd like to see is: "Government may not store an audit trail of ID usage for any individual without a court-approved warrant." I don't feel the .gov should be able to just call up my NID# in their DB and see a list of places I've been recently.

I'd like to see the machine readable bits of the card used as an authenticator only: the card is swiped through the machine which connects to some .gov computer which spits back only a 'valid' or 'not valid' message. Possibly this could be combined with some other bit of biometric data for two-factor ID. But in its barest form the merchant (or whomever) zips the card through the slot, sees the green light, and compares the picture on the card with a look at your face. Done.

Posted by: Bryan at May 12, 2005 08:53 PM


"But how about if I ask you to assume businesses *won't* keep or resell ID data?"
A foolish assumption - at least some will keep and sell ID information unless all are forbidden from doing so.

"What is worrying is that judges who uphold the Bill of Rights are often accused of dismissing "the will of the people". This is especially paradox in the country that kind of invented the whole idea of checks and balances and individual freedom."
Quite true - I believe most Americans take their freedom for granted (witness consistently low voter turnout) which is why we should remember what Thomas Jefferson said:

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."

Posted by: Quadro at May 12, 2005 09:42 PM


What is that about bars running IDs through scanners? In the countries which do have national ID requirements, this doesn't happen. They may look at the ID to check that you are 18, that's it. Banks may be required to keep a copy of the ID to prove that they checked the customer's identity, but then it is absolutely forbidden to resell the data. As far as I know, German passport or ID numbers don't appear in any commercial databases.

@Quadro: Good quote, but don't believe it. The streams of blood since 9/11 haven't refreshed any trees, I'm afraid.


Posted by: piglet at May 12, 2005 10:05 PM


I can safely say REAL ID is probably yet another example of a good idea implemented poorly and improperly by the government.

Posted by: Just An Obnoxious Twit at May 12, 2005 10:31 PM


A number of folks have asked about the constitutionality of this bill. While I'm no constitutional scholar, I think it might be section 202(a)(1): the federal government isn't requiring states to implement the card, they're just refusing to accept any non-conforming card for any federal purpose.

Posted by: anonymous at May 13, 2005 12:19 AM


Fixing illegal immigration with a National ID card is like fixing a leaky pipe with a mop. If you *really* want to stop illegal immigration, go after the people who are hiring the illegals, and remove the incentive for illegal immigrants to come in the first place. But that's not a feasible idea, because Tyson Foods and Wal-Mart and the produce industry and all the big moneymakers are dependent on cheap-ass labor.

If you think REAL ID has anything to do with illegal immigrants, congratulations -- you've been suckered...

--R.J.

Posted by: Robert Jung at May 13, 2005 02:43 AM


I took a closer look at the actual bill, and my Washington state driver's license. Using the SWIPE tool downloadable at (http://turbulence.org/Works/swipe/barcode.html), I decoded the 2D 'PDF417' barcode on the back of my drivers license. Here's what the bill requires, followed by whether it's in the barcode:

1. Full legal name. NO
2. Date of birth. YES
3. Gender. YES
4. Driver's license or ID number. YES
5. Digital photograph. NO
6. Residence address. YES
7. Signature. NO
8. Tamper/duplication prevention measure. NO

Now the bill doesn't seem specific on this account, but it seems to me that if you swipe the barcode on the back and get an image of the front for items 1, 5, and 7, you've got everything the bill requires of the card itself.

So is Washington already compliant? I suspect they are when it comes to the card itself, and I can't say for sure about the other stuff like verification and database linking.

In fact, there are only a few states which don't already have machine-readable drivers license/ID cards. Check out this map: (http://www.intellicheck.com/support/manuals/C-Link%20Map.pdf)

and this device for reading cards: (http://www.intellicheck.com/products/IDC1400.asp)

Hmph. When it comes to the card itself, I suspect most people reading this already have one! I've had this DL and barcode for 4+ years now, and no one has ever swiped it through a barcode reader. So what does this law *really* change again?

Posted by: Bryan at May 13, 2005 03:42 AM


Nothing new, really. back in 1940's it used to be called "Ausweiss" :D

Posted by: Anonymous Coward at May 13, 2005 03:47 AM


I just happen to be personal friends with the Borg Queen and she thinks it is a great idea. Now we can all be a little closer to the collective. It's a good thing that I didn't have to swipe my card before sending this message, although I see it coming to that if we don't turn this insanity around! This bill is nothing compared to the bionic chips that will be implanted in us in the future. This is the type of bill that starts civil wars. Where do I sign up?

Posted by: Alvin Tree at May 13, 2005 03:47 PM


Bryan wrote: So what does this law *really* change again?

The big change is the centralized linkages of all databases into one national database, that is under the control of a single unelected official - Secretary of Homeland Defense.

Another big change will be that the Secretary has full disgression to mandate any additional biometric data that he may deem appropriate such as finger prints, retinal scan, DNA markers. Get ready to go stand in a line to give your finger prints.

Also radio frequency devices are already being talked about so you need not be inconvenienced to swipe your card. Readers that you may not know exist will be tracking your every move. The satellite GPS id's are already being used for tracking military personnel.

Heavy penalties could be put in place by the Secretary (and will be) for being found without your ID card on your person. This can be done with his current authority, without any further discussion or vote on the subject.

Of course, you don't have to be a genius to figure out the next step in this scenario. We already are hearing from politicians demanding that no one without an ID chip be allowed to buy or sell anything. This chip is undoubtedly going to see the ID card used for these purposes first.

Hello AMERIKA. Goodbye Constitution. Wake up folks.

Posted by: Doctor Al at May 13, 2005 11:18 PM


Doctor Al,

You're making assumptions not borne out in the text of the bill.

1) Please show how this bill is unconstitutional.

2) 'one national database under control of Homeland Defense Secretary'. Look again - individual state DMV db's become linked, one can query another. They are still under control of the states. 46 states are already linked in just this manner.

3) RFID. I don't get why everyone is jumping to this conclusion. The law says nothing about it. The majority of licenses issued have barcodes (1D or 2D), meaning that's what the majority of states are geared up to use. Smart money is on them continuing to use just that, rather than spending big bucks to upgrade to RFID over clear objections by many. Bottom line, RFID is possible under this law but far from probable. Satellite GPS ID's? Who are you kidding?

4) DHS Secretary able to mandate additional constraints. Re-read Section 206, also 202(a)(2). The DHS Scty has authority to issue regulations & set standards *under* this law (if it becomes law). He will be able to regulate *how* the bill is carried out (size of photo, color of card, things like that) but he will not be able to add new mandates to the law. Unless I missed something major (point to it please!) he will NOT be able to add to the list of minimum document requirements found at section 202(b).

So again I ask, what has really changed? Well, your state will keep digital or paper copies of whatever documents you bring to DMV on the day you get your license. That's probably new in a lot of states. States will actually look up your SSN to see if it's valid.

Unless I'm missing something drastic, there aren't many real changes to status quo in the RealID sections of this bill. Is there a barcode on the back of your license? Was your picture taken with a digital camera? If yes, you probably already have a REAL ID.

Posted by: Bryan at May 14, 2005 12:32 PM


Al, some stuff I forgot in my last post-

What politicians are demanding nothing bought or sold without REAL ID? Let me know, I'd love to help shorten their careers.

And where do you get the idea that any federal official will have ability to fine a citizen for not carrying his ID? I didn't see it in the bill.

Posted by: Bryan at May 14, 2005 12:40 PM


Bryan, I think that you are as concerned about the preservation of our constitutional liberty as I. You spent the time to put forth a lengthy response to my post and I thank you for it.

It is not difficult to see how you have missed the most severe powers being usurped in this bill. There is virtually nothing being said in the press and the worst nightmare has been hidden in the REAL ID Act which is in turn hidden in a "must-pass" appropriations measure for troops in Iraq and tsunami relief, kind of like Chinese boxes.

Section 102 of H.R. 418 ... would prohibit judicial review of a waiver decision or action by the Secretary and bar judicially ordered compensation or injunction or other remedy for damages alleged to result from any such decision or action.

Prohibit judicial review? Congress has crafted a completely unprecedented provision that guts the principle of judicial review by granting the [unelected] DHS secretary complete and total immunity from the courts. The implications for the system of checks and balances if Congress actually invokes this provision are about as profound as it gets. (1)

Now to be sure, the above is pertaining to building barriers and roads along the border, it is part of the fullcourt press toward tyranny. Oregonian Rep. Earl Blumenauer said on the floor yesterday in this regard:
If this provision, the waiver of all laws necessary for quote improvements of barriers at the border was to become law, the Secretary of Homeland Security could give a contract to his political cronies that had no safety standards, using 12-year-old illegal immigrants to do the labor, run it through the site of a Native American burial ground, kill bald eagles in the process, and pollute the drinking water of neighboring communities. And under the provisions of this act, no member of Congress, no citizen could do anything about it because you waive all judicial review. (2)

There are unconstitutional limitations on judicial review of immigration decisions, requirements for state IDs to meet SHD requirements or be ineligible (10th amendment), demands that citizens produce the ID to enter federal jurisdictions (like flying, maintaining a passport or entering federal lands - which is most of America)...
This post is getting long so I'll break it up to answer your other questions.

All it takes to lose our liberty is for good men to do nothing. Once lost, you cannot vote it back.

1. http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20050509-4886.html?78567&90124

2. http://www.prospect.org/weblog/archives/2005/02/index.html#005461

Posted by: Anonymous at May 14, 2005 03:22 PM


Anonymous/Doctor Al,

(I'm a little confused but I think you're the same person?)

Yes I am concerned about Congress passing laws which exempt themselves from judicial review. To be honest I had only examined Section II of the bill, not the others. Right now I can't take a deeper look because Thomas is down for maintenance.

First let me say that your concerns with the bill as a rider, and your Section I concerns, are a whole new area of the discussion. These concerns are very much different than the hue-and-cry recently raised over ID cards. My point has basically been that most Americans already do have REAL ID; Section II of the law basically sets in cement what was already calcified into daily practice. So all the fears about high costs, business keeping your ID info on file, "Papers Please!", etc should be assuaged by our existing experience.

I'm concerned about the *possible* Constitutional issues you raise, but not very. First I see that the scope is quite limited, and second I'd be surprised if the exemption itself would pass a judicial review. Is this really the first time any federal law has included such a clause?

Sticking riders on bills ('must pass' or otherwise) is a long tradition in our legislature and I wouldn't presume to judge whether its a good thing or a bad thing over the long run. Give me a few hours and a few beers with my Rep. or Senator, let us talk it over, and I'll get back to you!

What's bugging everyone is a law about their ID cards, even though no one seems able to point out what has changed. A law which will in all likelihood be modified by more laws later on (encoding the digital information, restricting business' ability to save ID data, etc). The response has been emotionally visceral, and has come mostly from people who don't seem to have much understanding of how ID cards already work in our society. I guess the thing that alarms me the most is how everyone jumps to the *worst possible* conclusions immediately!

Posted by: Bryan at May 14, 2005 07:18 PM


"-You ask us to assume bars and other businesses will routinely run ID's through the scanner, *and keep that info* (you don't explicitly say that but the next assumption implies it), and sell that info to aggregators like ChoicePoint.

"Well, OK. But how about if I ask you to assume businesses *won't* keep or resell ID data?"

I suppose you can, but I really truly believe in the capitalist system much more than I believe in socialism. And that's especially true in a capitalist country.

ID capture happens today, sporatically. I see it in hotels, and I see it in some bars. In the U.S., data is owned by the collector. Unlike Europe, we have no strong data protection and privacy laws. If a business scans my data, they can do what they want with it.

You can assume that businesses will act counter to their financial interests and not keep and resell the data, but I think it's much smarter to bet on capitalism and self-interest.

That data represents a potential profit center to those businesses. Collecting and compiling that data represents a potential profit center to data brokers like Choicepoint. To assume that this kind of data sale won't happen is naive at best.

Honestly, socialism failed. Capitalism won. Get used to it.

Posted by: Bruce Schneierq at May 15, 2005 12:27 AM


"ID capture happens today, sporatically. I see it in hotels, and I see it in some bars." That's bad. I wouldn't want my data to be captured just because I had a beer in a bar. But this doesn't explain in which sense Real ID makes things worse. If this ID abuse happens already, and is perfectly legal, isn't your opposition to Real ID beside the point? If all of you in this forum and elsewhere who think Real ID is the end of civilization were on the barricades to demand "strong data protection and privacy laws", don't you think you would win the battle?

Posted by: piglet at May 15, 2005 12:14 PM


"All it takes to lose our liberty is for good men to do nothing. Once lost, you cannot vote it back." (Anonymous)

Once again, it strikes me to read such solemn declamations on the occasion of such a relatively minor issue as driver's license standardization, given the much more serious attacks on liberty to which there is hardly any opposition. Nobody responded to my question (from May 10, 2005 09:35 AM): Could it be that Americans need the ID discussion in order to prove themselves how free they still are, while their civil liberties are being eroded at an ever faster pace with almost nobody paying attention?

Posted by: Piglet at May 15, 2005 12:25 PM


piglet: I most certainly agree that the tree is not being refreshed - and in my opinion, only half of the requirement is being satisfied. Certainly patriots are dying, nearly every day, whether those who serve in the military (US or otherwise), civilians, or even (to those who view our terrorists as freedom fighters) insurgents, but how many tyrants? Fine, a few (e.g. Saddam) have died or been captured, but I think the real problem is here in the US. This country is being taken over by intolerant, bigoted fundamentalists, and the public doesn't seem to care. I'm talking, of course, about the Religious Right, and I believe they are the ones responsible for REAL ID, in their quest to return America to the 1950s, in this case by getting rid of illegal immigrants. To be honest, I don't like illegals taking our jobs by breaking our laws, but I realize that they've become a vital part of the economy. Racism and witch hunts never solved anything.

Posted by: Quadro at May 15, 2005 06:42 PM


The republic is crumbling under attack from alien forces. Democracy is threatened as the leader plays on the people's paranoia. Amid the confusion it is suddenly unclear whether the state is in more danger from insurgents, or from the leader himself.

Here's the soltution:
http://film.guardian.co.uk/cannes2005/story/0,15927,1484795,00.html

Posted by: piglet at May 15, 2005 07:00 PM


That was fiction, this is reality:
"'Obviously, intelligence agents have an incentive to hide the use of unlawful methods," says Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). "On the other hand, when they use rendition and torture as a threat, it's undeniable that they benefit, in some sense, from the fact that people know that intelligence agents are willing to act unlawfully. They benefit from the fact that people understand the threat and believe it to be credible."

And the threats have been received. In an affidavit filed with an ACLU court challenge to section 215 of the Patriot Act, Nazih Hassan, president of the Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor in Michigan, describes this new climate. Membership and attendance are down, donations are way down, board members have resigned - Hassan says his members avoid doing anything that could get their names on lists. One member testified anonymously that he has "stopped speaking out on political and social issues" because he doesn't want to draw attention to himself."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,3604,1483801,00.html

Posted by: Anonymous at May 15, 2005 07:14 PM


"Bruce Schneierg" -

(Side note - it's impossible to tell if this is the real Bruce - though I doubt it.)

Actually I don't assume REAL ID will affect ID capture by businesses one way or the other. I merely ask everyone else (including the real Bruce) to stop making such an assumption.

Although it's true that I've had what looks like a REAL ID for 4+ years now, and no one other than my employer has captured information from it. As I've already pointed out, the system is pretty much up & running in 46 states already, the capture machines exist ... and I've yet to see a business using it. If business wants the data they have other ways of getting it - primarily by asking, as supermarket loyalty cards show.

Further, I'm no lawyer, but I suspect that business would have a hard time forcing a buyer to submit to ID capture, machine-assisted or no. I suspect that as soon as business tried such a thing, we'd see new legislation limiting their ability to do such things without customer consent.

Finally, consider the impact of laws like California 1386 (mandatory notification of all customers if customer data may have leaked). This alone will cause a lot of companies to reconsider capturing information which could easily turn into a huge liability for them.

Posted by: Bryan at May 15, 2005 09:56 PM


Quick question...

Bruce said in the CRYPTO-GRAM that "...the U.S. has no data protection law..." and that any commercial entity which gets your private data can re-sell it. I'm not sure this is so.

First off, there's the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. § 552a. IANAL but so far as I understand, the Privacy Act limits those who can access and store personally identifying information, and requires them to adhere to strict guidelines for safeguarding that information.

Second, I think many individual states have laws in the state code which also limit access to these data and proscribe punishments for failure to follow the rules. Virginia is one such state--I know because I just got done with a protracted struggle with the state administration after a liquor store clerk recorded by social security number off my driver's license!

So, my questions to Bruce are:
1. Is the Privacy Act simply not applicable to this situation? If not, why not?
2. If it is applicable, are the safeguards it puts in place sufficient to prevent abuse of the REAL ID Act?
3. To what extent does the REAL ID Act override or complicate existing STATE laws designed to protect privacy?

Thanks in advance!

Posted by: cadfael at May 16, 2005 07:57 AM


Re: Real ID.
First, you havent done yr homework. All states (2 at present - TENN & UT) will issue "Not for Fed ID: drivers licenses to anyone they wish - they are printed "Portrait" instd of "Landscape".
Yes, those using these licenses will be regarded as (& treated as) illegals-maybe that will encourage them to leave the US, & wait their turn.
It is a safe bet that this program when implemented May 2008 wil make life more difficult for the illegals among us. End of story. The vast majority of US Voters heave a sigh of relief (83% see Immig. as the #1 problem).
The US joins Belgium, and now the UK (after a 60 year gap), with Photo/thumbprint/electrnc ID Card. Thank God.

Posted by: alan truelove at May 16, 2005 01:46 PM


I only heard about this tonight while working. I am troubled due to the sweeping national database of personal information this will create. I realize that my information exists out there in general already, however, I am disturbed by the fact that if things such as the retinal scan or fingerprints are added as requirements then in my mind(while this may sound a tad extreme) is one more step in the path this country seems to be taking toward a socialist state. On a slightly different note when the events of 9/11 were still fresh and Bush was declaring war on terror, I was seeing our president declare war on a formless enemy. I fear that the government is trying to play magician and have us watching the attack on terror while passing legislation that will give the government the power it has sought all along. I fear also that while it is well past 1984 orwell may only have been off by a matter of years.

Posted by: monty at May 17, 2005 12:45 AM


"I fear that the government is trying to play magician and have us watching the attack on terror while passing legislation that will give the government the power it has sought all along." Wake up, friend. This happened already, it's called PATRIOT act. Never heard of that?

Posted by: Anonymous at May 17, 2005 09:18 AM


I've deleted the abusive drive-by rant about illegal aliens. I'll delete any more that appear, so if you've come here just to grace us with your strong opinions on that subject, please save us both the trouble. Thank you.

Posted by: Moderator at May 17, 2005 04:36 PM


New Jersey prints portrait licenses for their brilliant restricted "Cinderella" licenses, and these are perfectly acceptable as ID at the airport (I've seen people use them) and presumable for other federal purposes.

Interesting note: A friend whose father immigrated from the UK (many years ago) and is not a US citizen told me that noncitizens are required to turn their heads to one side (I forget which), showing their ear on the picture on new NJ digital licenses to indicate that they are not citizens.

Posted by: Quadro at May 18, 2005 05:10 PM


I've written a short article explaining the major features of the Real ID Act, and some of the problems:

http://web.newsguy.com/whoareyou/Real-ID.htm

I've tried to stick to facts and avoid "rabble-rousing" language.

One important fact: the link provided above by Bruce Schneier to H.R.418 is NOT the final version of the bill that was signed into law. There have been some important changes (the states may issue non-complying "not for federal ID" licenses; law-waivers concerning the border barrier are now subject to *some* judicial review; etc).

I've done the best I can, but I sure wish an expert on Constitutional law would analyze the restrictions on judicial review of border-barrier decrees, becasue I don't understand this well.

Posted by: Bill Statler at May 18, 2005 09:23 PM


READ REVELATION 13 !

Posted by: richard at May 19, 2005 09:53 PM


The mark of the beast is sunday worship invented, without Biblical authority, by the Roman Catholic Church. Ask any bishop/priest. The mark of the beast is not an ID card.

Posted by: paul at May 19, 2005 09:56 PM


Real I.D. is a Farce

When you renew your driver's license, who authenticates your proof of identity? What document forensics training did they get? In the state of New Jersey, we have six point system where certain types of bearer-specific documents are given 1 to 3 points each. When I presented my Louisiana Birth Certificate to a cute, shy twenty-something reading a book behind the counter at the Division of Motor Vehicles, she looked at it and said, `WOW' (emphasis added) `its so big!' I asked if she had ever seen a Louisiana Birth Certificate before and she said, `in the two years i've worked here, no.' After handing her a credit union cash deposit receipt, she held it up to the light and handed it back to me after a quick glance. Then I presented my social security card and she slid it back across the counter to me after another quick glance. I was impressed with her ability to conduct a diligent forensics exam of my three forms of I.D. before taking my picture and giving me a `Real I.D.'

When did a `Real Driver's License' ever force a driver to drive under the speed limit? I have nine points on my driver's license and one hell of a heavy foot to prove it. And I earned every point I got. An accomplishment not possible without a `Real Driver's License!'

New Jersey has a lot of financial institutions - banks, savings and loans, credit unions, and a multitude of investment firms offering savings accounts, each of which generate and give you a statement, every time you make a deposit. My credit union has only a few thousand members, and its not even located in the county inwhich I went to renew my driver's license. I wonder what authentication template she compared my barely legible cash deposit receipt against? When asked, she confessed that she never heard of my credit union.

To authenticate a twenty, fifty, or hundred dollar bill, one can hold it up to a light and look for the verticle bar imbeded to the side of the off centered portrait. In examining my social security card, she didn't even pick it up off the counter before sliding it back to me.

So much for `Real I.D.'

Now how many people think an alcoholic with a `Real I.D.' is going to stop driving under the influence because they're carrying a `Real I.D.' in their pocket? Convince just one of the 40,000 motorists in this country who are going to lose their lives over the next twelve months on America's highways that the `Real I.D.' is going to diminsh the carnage on our highways, or spare one of them a trip to an early grave.

The terrorist highjackers which gave us 9/11, couldn't have done it without a `Real Visa' issued by the Departments of State and Immigration and Naturalization Service. With government talent like those staffing our Department of State and I.N.S., who needs terrorists?

You people are nuts. In America, stupidity remains God given, and in this country its constitutionally protected!!!

Posted by: mike P. at May 20, 2005 01:57 AM


If you search for HR 418 "REAL ID ACT OF 2005" it is still in committee, or something. Instead, it seems to have been attached to other legislation, and passed as Public Law 109-13, which has been signed by President Bush. See: P.L. 109-13.

Posted by: Harold Eugene Johnson at May 20, 2005 02:52 AM


I don't know which scares me more. The Real ID or the lacking information on what consequences occour if for some reason this Real ID card is not on my persons, forgotten on say, my kitchen table at home.

This is insane. I feel like I went to bed and just awoke to some new universe created during slumber.

Posted by: RNS at May 20, 2005 11:02 AM


They'll be implanting them in you by 2012. Using real ID is like using dirt to clean your car. It doesn't solve any problems, in fact it only makes them worse.

Posted by: MP at May 22, 2005 05:12 AM


www.worldnewsstand.net.
Specifically: http://www.wealth4freedom.com/truth/travel_rights.htm
******
http://www.wealth4freedom.com/law/Travel.htm
******
http://www.wealth4freedom.com/law/license.htm
******
http://www.outlawslegal.com/drivingindex.htm
******
http://www.outlawslegal.com/
******
Also, getting back to the REAL ID ACT OF 2005 -- or Public Law 109-13 -- we need a change in the way legislation is introduced in the Senate. Currently, legislation that does not have any hope of being passed -- can be attached to another piece of legislation -- which will pass, like the war funds legislation (100-0). What we need -- is one bill -- one vote. If the legislation can not stand alone, it should fail.

Posted by: Harold Eugene Johnson at May 22, 2005 12:19 PM


mike P,

While your concerns over the average DMV worker's ability to authenticate documents are apt, your condemnation of REAL ID is off base.

REAL ID may not /solve/ the problems you mentioned, but it will improve document verification somewhat, since it mandates that the identifying documents be digitally scanned. That means that these docs can be re-scrutinized later on if there is any dougt about their legitimacy. Additionally REAL ID mandates that merely looking at the SSID isn't enough; DMV will need to connect to SSA and verify that the number and name on the card do exist as a legitimate SSA account.

So you've actually pointed out two of the problems REAL ID helps to resolve, rather than problems with REAL ID itself. And I have no idea why you mentioned speeding tickets and points, or drunk drivers, or lowering the number of accidents on roads. These are side issues at best.

Posted by: Bryan at May 24, 2005 07:21 PM


Correct me if I'm wrong, but I checked out Thomas and it appears that President Bush signed the fifth revision of HR 1268 into law. The Real ID Act is absent from this version. The "Public Print" (which I'm assuming means the final, public version?) of the law appears to be missing the Real ID Act while the fourth and fifth revisions of the bill clearly show that it was struck out. Public Law No. 109-13, which is what H.R. 1268 became, is not available online yet so I don't really have a way to check out what it's actually looking like right now.

What I'm trying to say is that this is what I've found out so far. I found this revelation curious yet I don't want to get my hopes up that it's "crisis averted" for now or anything. After reading much of what's been written about the Real ID Act and seeing as to how almost no one else mentions this discrepency between the versions of the bill, I'm quite afraid that I missed something here. I'd honestly like to know if I'm not getting this right.

Here are the six versions of the bill:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c109:H.R.1268:

Here is the fourth revision, in which Real ID does not appear for the first time:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c109:4:./temp/~c109rkO05J::

Here is the fifth revision/"Public Print" of the bill:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c109:5:./temp/~c109Oz4Kku::

There is presently a sixth revision of the bill to be found here:
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/D?c109:6:./temp/~c109rkO05J::

This sixth version in fact contains the Real ID Act.
It is listed as "Enrolled as Agreed to or Passed by Both House and Senate." What does this mean? I'm very new at this, so I don't know all the terminology quite yet.

Even if Real ID was in fact stricken from the final version of the bill, I understand that it's only a matter of time before that incompetent fascist Sensenbrenner tries to push it through again.

Posted by: Seth at May 30, 2005 04:30 PM


Nevermind, it turns out that the "Enrolled..." version of the bill is the one actually signed into law. Hello national ID card!

Posted by: Seth at June 1, 2005 03:21 PM


One word

bias

Posted by: Pissed off reader at June 3, 2005 02:28 PM


It is a counterproductive stand to say that this is going to improve anyones security given the emphatic points illustrated in you prolific writing.
Therefore, if we could only have a person like yourself or with at least some of your logic, steer this problem out into the ocean where it belongs, that would help out a lot.
great piece!
Take Care

Posted by: Brian Advice Maloney at June 15, 2005 10:43 PM


REAL ID will be a REAL PAIN for my mother and my son. My mother is a fit 80 years old and her birth certificate was destroyed in a fire 60 years ago. It took years for her to get Social Security and now she won't be able to renew her drivers license. My son was born in Germany at Frankfurt General when I was stationed there in the military with my family so he has no birth certificate and the State Dept. can't produce his Certificate of Birth Abroad, which caused me to be denied VA education benefits (based on dependants). My son looks like his mother (Hispanic) and lives in San Antonio. I can just image the descrimination he is going to face when he can't get a regular drivers license because he can't produce a birth certificate and looks like an immigrant. Thanks IDIOTS in Congress! Criminals and terrorists won't have any trouble getting fake ID's. Like gun control, only honest people will be affected by this legislation.

Posted by: Sam at June 16, 2005 01:51 PM


i would hope that we would consider the effects of this national ID. i must admit that having this ID will help protect us in some level but who will protect us from our own government? this real ID is one of the ways to take control over the people in our nation. the worst part is that most americans do not have the sense to even care to ask questions...

Posted by: Carlos at June 23, 2005 11:48 PM


Unfortunately all these folks that pushed these laws were voted in by a society that assumes that these individuals are the watchdogs of their best interests. That's not reality, does burdening society with additional expenses/taxation for the purpose creating the realm of a utopian society where everything is going to be alright "now", is not reality. Does making a society, with a so-called 12 million illegal immigrants, more accountable through stringent identification criterias resolve some of the internal problems of this country that includes a decline in the middle income bracket, and a bigger gap between the poor and the rich, "No" it will probably contribute to an increase in crime that will arise from desperate folks that will be barred from participating in the normal everyday rat race. Think of all the people that probably have contributed to the Social Security system that might never be able to collect, or the father or mother that can no longer drive legally " and have children to feed". We don't need more laws, has anybody ever sat down and looked at the current laws that exist from your local county to the federal level, slowly the redefining of the word "Freedom" has taken place and as the naive as we are, we never said a word, one day you will be afraid to say a "word". This government was based on "by the people and for the people" let's take it back!!I guess my government is going to be considerate enough to no longer require that I maintain my Passport to re-enter the country? since my license will verify my true identity...no because it will 100.00 that will be lost in revenues???

Posted by: Ray at June 27, 2005 09:31 PM


Great Blog!
I agree with your annalysis regarding Real ID. As a citizen of the United States, I cherish the values of liberty, free speech, and the fact that we are not a dictorial police state. However with the recent passage of the USA PATRIOT ACT and Real ID, we are becoming a surveillance society with every move watched by the federal government. Worse about REAL ID it makes it harder to seek asylum in US and makes even US citizens prove they are citizens. I fail to see why you need to prove you are a citizen if, for instance, you were driving in the US since 1970 and DMV has already gave you several driver licenses. Now suddely, instead of the simple process of renewing the license, you have to prove to them you reside as a citizen. I also do not like the idea that DOJ and DHS are going to spy on citizens. This is because REAL ID makes DMV turn over all information on customers to them.

How hard for people to get driver's licenses when this goes into effect. What if the birth certificate was destroyed in a fire or crime? What if you are a legitimate citizen but for some reason you cannot gather the right documentation? This makes it harder for good, peaceful citizens to get a license.
I also hate the idea of the readable technology embedded in these cards!
Privacy gone! A surveillance society with less safety!

Posted by: Ashley Bramlett at July 30, 2005 05:10 PM


Great Blog!

Posted by: andy at October 13, 2005 06:22 PM


please tell me email id

Posted by: sania mirza at November 14, 2005 07:34 AM


The Real ID act will really be fun when the feds get us all chipped under the the new "bipartisan" healthcare bill (S. 1272 "Health Technology to Enhance Quality Act") proposed by Bill Frist and Hillary Clinton and co-sponsored by 12 other senators.

Posted by: lmiesse at November 20, 2005 04:27 PM


All this stuff you talk about is true.And I like ever thing you talk about.Do you have anymore stuff about this.

Posted by: freddie at January 17, 2006 10:22 AM


National Security ?

What about my personal security ?

I am living in a city that is number one on the FBI List of " Overall Crime " for the 5th year in a row." Phoenix, Arizona "

Some of the people at work and in my apartment complex are real scary.

I know all of them have phony names and I.D.

We have created a " Safe Haven " for criminals of the world.

National Security ? Ha !

Posted by: Scared In Phoenix,Az at January 20, 2006 09:45 PM


"And it's all happening without any serious debate in Congress."

Probably the most pertinent quote to take from this blog entry...

Posted by: Stop Hurting America at January 25, 2006 10:16 PM


Terrorists will love state Confidential Address Programs administered by various states.

Posted by: Barbara at February 21, 2006 03:56 PM


every thing seems to be going electronic thats how every body gets all the info they need to copy someone identity this is just another wasted effort and money that U.S. citizens will pay for

Posted by: Fordman at February 24, 2006 10:49 AM


can kids have sex??? if soooo why???

Posted by: Angel at February 28, 2006 12:45 PM


You can fly without ID. If you dont have ID they will scan you, check your shoes do a pat down etc and let you go on the plane according to www.papersplease.org

Posted by: Garfileld at March 26, 2006 12:59 AM


New Hampshire (the "Live Free or Die" state) is, at this point, the only state resisting REAL-ID. We have a bill working its way through the legislature at the moment which will, if passed, simply opt us out of REAL-ID. Details are at http://freestateblogs.net and http://granitestateid.com

Posted by: Denis Goddard at April 26, 2006 03:21 PM


New Hampshire (the "Live Free or Die" state) is, at this point, the only state resisting REAL-ID. We have a bill working its way through the legislature at the moment which will, if passed, simply opt us out of REAL-ID. Details are at http://freestateblogs.net and http://granitestateid.com

Posted by: Denis Goddard at April 26, 2006 03:22 PM


We want to buy identity card making machine for our employees in organisation.

If you are having this product, please send us the literature immediately.

Thanks.

A.S. Rajput

Posted by: A.S. Rajput at May 13, 2006 12:08 PM


I wanted to add that Hisham Anwar got the highest score in the CISSP in 1998.
I have interviewed him and he is surely the top ten security experts in the US.
Look him up at trackme@gmail.com

Posted by: Brad Boniski at June 3, 2006 10:54 PM


I think I would like to make a webpage where we can post all of our information. If I am forced to submit to this government scam then why not set my self up and post the same dam information on the internet.
What would that do to there minds, if millions of Americans choose to post the Real ID on the net for the whole world to have.
Why are we so scared and protective of this stupid information anyway.
Do you think this could shutdown their system?
I think so.
As long as you are protective of this information they win.

Posted by: Jay Stiff at June 26, 2006 11:42 PM


Maybe I should build a reader, stand outside the congress entrance, then publish everything its read on the internet (in Chinese).

Posted by: Ticked Off at June 29, 2006 09:52 PM


Why don't they just get it over with and have us stand in line and get the dam thing injected. While were at it why don't we toss in social profiling wouldn't want to be with the wrong people would ya, Hmmm! The movie Gattaca best describes the continued possibilities of this scenario. Isn’t that just digressing in history to Hitler’s ideas?

Posted by: Chris at July 7, 2006 11:48 AM


If you are not going to engage in the regulated privelege of operating a motor vehicle,the purchasing of alcohol or cigarettes there is no law compeling you to get a photo id. Entering into a federal building or traveling by airplane is not a regulated activity which you need permmission to do how can they compel a man to get an id to enter a federal building or travel on a plane. In Massachusetts you are required to identify yourself to a police officer when asked, the requirement makes no mention of producing a photo id. there is no law requiring a photo id just for the sake of having one.

Posted by: george at July 16, 2006 09:04 AM


"You asked why some have characterized this as a "power grab"- I would counter, if it isn't, why was it part of an immigration bill tacked as a rider on a military funding bill? Where I come from, that isn't the way good ideas become law, but is exactly the way that bad ideas slip through the cracks."

welcome to the Potomac two step.....thats how most everything gets done around here. Its all about re-election.

This blog has some interesting reading. REAL ID and other identification applications run by your states and the feds already share all drivers license information between them. In fact NAFTA included mexico and canada in that data transfer.

Doesnt matter what security application is applied there will always be someone who thinks its the mark of the beast and will be against it, but as soon as something happens to them they are the first to say why didnt the government protect me? And then they will call their lawyer.

I also saw where people are saying that their state is "trying" to pass legislation that will let them "opt" out. The feds will just cut your highway funds. Since you dont want your governement handout cut your elected officials will not pass the bill. But they will submit the bill just so it looks like they are against it....that way you will vote them back in office because you thought they stood up for you.

Posted by: Anonymous at August 1, 2006 02:24 PM


"This is because REAL ID makes DMV turn over all information on customers to them."

Ashley, the DMV's are the ones calling for REAL ID. Not ther other way around.

Posted by: Anonymous at August 1, 2006 02:35 PM


666 its no going to work with me fuck bush am going back to my country dom rep fuck all of you if you like that idea of the real id

Posted by: Anonymous at August 12, 2006 10:01 PM


We are in the presence of a new form of world dictatorship being created. It is not much different then Hitler's rise to power. Its a game plan for global economical control.

This may sound a little out their. But I have had the pleasure of consulting close business associates/friends of the our current leader. I eventually resigned my services in 2000 do to certain things I saw happening and now I lead a very humble life style. I picked my humanity, my integrity over greed.

Their basic game plan;

1. The first is to have political control over or unification with the worlds most powerful governments.

2. Is to control most the world natural resources and major traveling industry's ( Airlines, Shipping, etc. )

3. Is to manipulate the use of war to justify the actions of depriving people of their rights. In the name of national safety and security. Another main use of terrorism is a way to justify wars that are solely intended to acquire control of other countries natural resources that do not wish to be part of the new world order. Terrorism is in the control/influence of the New World Order.

4. Is to create a world military and police force which will eventually be used to strip civilians of their person firearms. World gun control agenda. They will use the fear terrorism to justly this action. And for any civilian in America who is wishing to posses a weapon they will make the registration process a very difficult .

5. To extend police power. In America to extend a police officers power beyond state boundaries.

6. Is to create national ID programs throughout the world and eventually one world ID program. They will say this is for your protection and safety of the people and the world. It will help prevent criminal activity.

The problem is how can you intrust any government with your safety when all governments have serious corruption, illegal activity within them? You cant. A government must first eliminate its own corruption before it can ever even consider any type of regulation of the people.

For example's;

The America, Israel, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, China, Great Britain, and plus many more countries have their own organized crime organizations that deal in drug trafficking, world slave trade, child pornography, etc. High ranking governmental officials in all these countries are part of this illegal activity that is going on. They are receiving funds and other services for ignoring these forms of criminal activity.

It all stems from excessive greed. They have realized no one country can control the world. But if you can unite people through their greed one group can manipulate the world economy and eventually establishing a form of global control over all countries.

Capitalism is a dangerous game and without limitations its greed will enslave us all.

For example:

We as American's are not truly free. For our government agency's implement laws/regulations/standards restricting how we live, what type of work we do, or how we do our work.

A president can commit a crime, even murder, then turn around and pardon himself for his Haines crimes. But we commit the same crimes we are imprisoned or executed for our actions. Politicians put themselves above the law there by creating a form of dictatorship. For the law must apply to everyone. To put any person or group above the law is to in fact create a dictatorship.

Americas democratic government is a dictatorship that hides behind the allusion of a free society.

For when you allow politicians to stay in office indefinitely without term regulations you are creating a recipe for disaster. For the longer they stay in their positions the more power the gain and the greedier they become. The more abuses of the law they will commit. For they manipulate the laws for their own needs and then they make us believe it is for the betterment of the society. It is a game of greed, lust, power and Capitalism. They are the puppet masters and we are their puppets. And as long as they can keep us separated, afraid, fighting among each other, they have won.

For only by uniting together may we stop such injustices and abuses of power. " For united we stand and divided we shall fall" For the individual or small groups, they only fear the unification of a large majority of the people.

So, it is up to each of us to decide wether we wish to ignore the problems and have are rights striped from us to the point we become slaves in our own countries.

Or do we talk to each other, gather together and stand as one to defend the freedoms our forefathers put their lives on the line fighting for.

I personally would rather stand, defend my rights and fight if necessary. Rather then grovel if fear and become enslaved by the new world order.

I have seen their greed, their evil and I know them better they know themselves.

So, I warn you. This is only the beginning. Unite my friends, my brothers and sisters before you have no freedoms left to defend.

Sincerely,

Christian Wylder

Posted by: Christian Wylder at September 21, 2006 11:51 AM


The " NEW WORLD ORDER "

We are in the mists of a new form of world dictatorship being created. It is not much different then Hitler's rise to power. Its a game plan for global economical control.

This may sound a little out their. But I have had the pleasure of consulting close business associates/friends of our current leader. I eventually resigned my services in 2000 do to certain things I saw happening after the election and now I lead a very humble life style. I picked my humanity, my integrity over greed.

Their basic game plan;

1. The first is to have political control over or unification with the worlds most powerful governments.

2. Is to control the worlds currency. They were responsible for the creation of the euro.

3. Is to control most the worlds natural resources and major traveling industry's ( Airlines, Shipping, etc. )

3. Is to manipulate the use of war to justify the actions of depriving people of their rights. In the name of national safety and security. But the main use of terrorism is a way to justify hostile actions that are solely intended to acquire control of other countries natural resources that do not wish to be part of the new world order. Terrorism is in the control/influence of the New World Order.

4. Is to create a world military and police force which will eventually be used to strip civilians of their person firearms. World gun control agenda. They will use the fear of terrorism to justly this action. And for any civilian in America who is wishing to posses a weapon they will make the registration process a very difficult one.

5. To extend police power. In America to extend a police officers power beyond state boundaries.

6. Is to create national ID programs throughout the world and eventually one world ID program. They will say this is for your protection and safety of the people and the world. It will help prevent criminal activity.

The problem is how can you intrust any government with your safety when all governments have serious corruption, illegal activity within them? You cant. A government must first eliminate its own corruption before it can ever even consider any type of regulation of the people.

For example's;

The America, Israel, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, China, Great Britain, and plus many more countries have their own organized crime organizations that deal in drug trafficking, world slave trade, child pornography, etc. There are high ranking governmental officials in all these countries that are part of this illegal activity. They are receiving money and other services for ignoring these forms of criminal activity.

It all stems from excessive greed. They have realized no one country can control the world. But if you can unite people through their greed one group can manipulate the world economy and eventually establishing a form of global control over all countries.

Capitalism is a dangerous game and without limitations its greed will enslave us all.

This secret global unification concept has been in operation since the early 1950's. It was realized that all countries would one day have to eventually unite under one centralized governmental organization. It concept was started by some of the world oldest, wealthiest political family's and America became one of their major starting grounds. For he who controls the United Nations can eventually control the world. But they realized they world also have to political control of some of the worlds most powerful governments. That is why their plan was initiated in America and the creation of special new governmental agencies was created. The CIA, NSA, etc. was the first to be established.

This is not about enslaving one group of people, it is about securing their financial future. They just want to be able to control the one governmental agency that will have control over the world. That is why they named the New World Order. It is a organized agenda, but it is not perfect. They knew they could not do this overnight. That it would take approximately 50 - 80 years to establish this new form of global control. They do this for their children, their grandchildren and their family name. It all stems from greed and the lust of ultimate power. These people are never satisfied with what they have, enough is never enough.

We are in the midst of the most important time of the New World Order agenda and our freedoms from this point on will slowly disappear over the decades to come.

There is two way Americans can protect their freedoms.

1. Implement a constitutional amendment that requires term limitations on government officials. Especially Congressmen and Senators.

For example: Lower Senators terms form 6 years to 4 years and raise Congressmen terms from 2 years to 4 years. And restrict them to two terms total in either. That they can not spend more then eight years in either of these elected position combined.

Laws will also need to be established stopping elected official from creating or owning their own Non-Profit organizations while they are in office. Most corrupt Congressmen and Senators have their own charities they own or are a board member of or are a paid consultant for. They use Non-profits to filter (launder) illegal money (bribes). Then they are paid an enormous wage or consulting fee by the charity for their services. It is a discrete way to take a bribe.

2. Is to form community and national community's. To join together as one voice to defend our rights. Otherwise wake up one morning wondering what if...


As American's we are not truly free. For our government agency's implement laws/regulations/standards restricting how we live, what type of work we do, or how we do our work.

A president can commit a crime, even murder, then turn around and pardon himself for his Haines crimes. But we commit the same crimes we are imprisoned or executed for our actions. Politicians put themselves above the law there by creating a form of dictatorship. For the law must apply to everyone. To put any person or group above the law is to in fact create a dictatorship.

Americas democratic government is a dictatorship that hides behind the allusion of a free society.

For when we allow politicians to stay in office indefinitely without term regulations we are creating a recipe for disaster. For the longer they stay in their positions the more power the gain and the greedier they become. The more abuses of the law they will commit. For they manipulate the laws for their own needs and then they make us believe it is for the betterment of the society. It is a game of greed, lust and power. They are the puppet masters and we are their puppets. And as long as they can keep us separated, afraid, fighting among each other, they have won.

For only by uniting together may we stop such injustices and abuses of power. " For united we stand and divided we shall fall" For the individual or small groups, they only fear the unification of a large majority of the people.

People ignored Hitler and you see what happened to the world... Do not ignore what is happening, unless you wish to be eventually beaten in the streets, imprisoned for speaking your mind, or killed for fighting for your rights. This is not a game, it is your life and the life of your children, your grandchildren at stake.

So, it is up to each of us to decide wether we wish to ignore the problems and have are rights striped from us to the point we become slaves in our own countries.

Or do we talk to each other, gather together and stand as one to defend the freedoms our forefathers put their lives on the line fighting for.

I personally would rather stand, defend my rights and fight if necessary. Rather then grovel if fear and become enslaved by the new world order.

I have seen their greed, their evil, their lust for more and I know them better they know themselves.

So, I warn you. This is only the beginning. Unite my friends, my brothers and sisters before you have no freedoms left to defend.

For I am just a voice in the darkness. It will take us all to stop the New World Order from completing its agenda........

It seems like something out of a movie, or a bad dream, the sad thing is what I tell you is so very true that I wish it was a dream......

May God and Creation have mercy on us all.

Sincerely,

Christian Wylder

Posted by: Anonymous at September 21, 2006 09:37 PM


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