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Kudos for Smitheus and the excellent work on Real ID as a potential wedge issue. This Orwelliian law is both a boon for organized crime and a boondoggle for state governments.

The law is also a red herring designed to deport those ubiquitous "Mexicans." It will not and cannot protect us from terrorists since all of the Sept. 11 hijackers LEGALLY entered this county, no thanks to the idiots at the State Department that issued visas to 15 Saudis that just happened to be on the Terrorist Watch List.

Identity theft is both a huge commercial and criminal enterprise. A cursory search on Google has 17.3 million items on the subject. The fact that our most private and personal information is not only readily available for criminals, but also by the government which has enacted these laws for our own good as the passport file fiasco has demonstrated.

Preventing ID theft is already a multi-billion dollar commerical enterprise, small potatoes when compared to the billions of dollars that theft of personal information drains from the economy.

The crazy thing is that corporate America has been one of the worst enablers of ID theft. Instant credit by phone and Visa debit cards are among some of the favored tools of ID thieves, not to mention unsolicited credit card offers or the deluge of junk mail that senior citizens receive.

One simple way to reduce significantly ID theft is to change some basic policies in our government agencies. For example, in order to receive a registered letter or a package from the Post Office after your letter carrier has left one of those yellow slips in your mail box you have to show ID. However, no ID is required to show in order to fill out a Change of Address form.

From almost every perspective, the 2005 Real ID Act is reprehensible. Its most obnoxious component creates in effect a national ID card by imposing draconian restrictions upon how states may issue drivers licenses. It requires the states to conduct expensive (and essentially impossible) background checks, and create and share databases with extensive personal information for all drivers. It also requires that airline passengers and anyone seeking to enter a federal building in the future must present a Real ID, or face extensive screening and delays.

There's every reason to believe that in the not too distant future, the uses of this nascent national ID card would be extended both in public and private spheres until it became nearly impossible to do without one. Furthermore, the state databases would almost certainly be fed into federal systems, including data-mining programs like Total Information Awareness (or whatever the government is calling its Orwellian program now). It's hard to believe as well that these vast state databases could be kept secure from snoopers and identity-thieves, when so many "low-level" employees will have direct, daily access to them. Real ID is a nightmarishly bad idea.

When I moved to Massachusetts, I was delighted that I could opt to have a random ID number instead of my Social Security number. Every time I show my license, I express thanks that some clerk at a mall is NOT writing down my social because I used a check to pay for that pair of Dockers.

I for one do not to turn the U.S. into the DDR. We do not need to be asked for our papers currently, and one can legally refuse to do so unless being detained by law enforcement.

It does not make one safer and errors can make traveling a nightmare. Last summer, my partner and I went on vacation. United Airlines and its outsourced operators in Mumbai (or wherever in India) screwed up her ticket, getting only half the letters correct in both her first and last name.

I was told by airline personnel at the gate that there was no way to correct the information because the antiquated computer system would delete our reservations before they corrected them. We had no problems traveling to our destination but our problems began on the return leg of the trip as she was taken for additional security screening during each stop of our trip since the boarding pass did not conform to her license.

It was a truly Kafka-esque experience and explaining it was no help to the Mayberry rent a cops employed by DHS. If anything, attempting to explain the discrepancy only heightened the tension and if it occurs in the future, it is best not to speak until spoken to as DHS employees assume you must have something to hide when you volunteer any information.

Today, both the private sector and the government, sometimes the same entity as in the case of the passport fiasco, are incapable of managing our personal information — let alone protect it from potential abuse.

If the main three Presidential contenders still standing can have their passport files looked at by a trainee than imagine how easy it would be if you have a common name.

All Real ID will do is create even bigger data bases with a greater potential for abuse. I am pleased that Obama opposes the law. I agree that this is a potential campaign issue.

IMO, Governor Schweitzer should be the Democrats point person for the subject.  Tying McCain to an unpopular bill that is opposed by his own state is a good place to start.  Still, there is virtually no legitimate reason for the law and it needs to be repealed before we turn into Amerika.

Originally posted to Dirk McQuickly on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 07:28 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Funny you should bring this up (6+ / 0-)

    I just finished reading an article in the travel section of USA Today that says that the three states (Maine, New Hampshire and South Carolina) which have thus far resisted switching to the Homeland Security approved "real id" driver's licenses will be "punished" for non-compliance. The state governments have until March 31 to decide whether or not to comply with the law. After that, if they opt not to  switch over to the newer IDs, their citizens will NOT BE ALLOWED to board commercial flights after May 11.

    WASHINGTON — Millions of residents of three states will soon face tougher and longer screening at airport checkpoints if their governors defy a federal law requiring new, more-secure driver's licenses.

    Maine, New Hampshire and South Carolina have until March 31 to say whether they plan to comply with the law, which they say is costly and will inconvenience residents by forcing them to get new licenses.

    If the states don't comply, the Homeland Security Department will bar travelers from using those state's licenses and ID cards to board airplanes starting May 11.

    "We are not bluffing," department spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said.

    Maine Gov. John Baldacci has received thousands of e-mails urging him to defy the law, spokesman David Farmer said. But a Feb. 29 letter from Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, warns that not seeking an extension would cause residents "exponential increases in wait times for airport security screening."

    ### snip ###
    Joel Sawyer, a spokesman for South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, said the state has not sought an extension because its licenses are "already very secure."

    The federal law would cost the state $66 million over five years and force residents to wait two hours in line for a new license, Sawyer said. For people who don't fly often, extra airport screening "would be far less bad than the inconvenience of having to wait two hours at a DMV," Sawyer said.

    "When power is unchecked by accountability, injustice and atrocity become commonplace. We, the people, must demand our rights."

    by Lisa Lockwood on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 07:43:50 AM PDT

  •  Real ID CARD wasteful and short-sighted (4+ / 0-)

    Why are  we spending billions on implementing this already obsolescent technology, when the RF chip implant is or should shortly be practical.  Since both great American parties have shown with their votes on the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and Real ID that they are 100% patriotically committed to making America the finest and most advanced police state in the world, why be wasteful and backwards with some kuind of card, when we can have cutting edger implants  embedded in the flesh of every American?

  •  You have both valid and invalid points, though (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina

    overall it is a good diary, even though it's tone grates me I would recommend it. Two points you need to look at here one of which goes off in a direction all it's own, CONTRACT workers. Contract workers and out sourced laborers are the weakness in any system, as opposed to a government or company employee who is vested in there job/career. Like it or not Repugs with their Reagan contracting boondoggle, the are the one's who have exposed us to the greatest degree to security/identity threats.

    As hated as it is, and this is actually written into the Social Security Act that SSN's may not be used as a form of identification, yet it still used as an identifier for you randomly generated DL number, the randomly generated number is just an extra security process. We need to wake up and acknowledge a real situation rather then the surreal situation we perceive. If you think we don't have a nation ID in this country, try to get a job without a Soc Security Card or Tax ID which is the same thing for legal aliens. Maybe we have to look at what exists already then build a new system that only over burdens the old system.

    Words escape me, but deeds are always noticed

    by utopia on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 07:59:33 AM PDT

    •  Two things: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina

      the primary impetus behind privatization has been to permit private corporations to engage in violative behavior that the agents of government are not permitted to engage in.  We see that in the case of the telecoms who have been suborned to violate privacy provisions on behalf of the government.  Others avoid equal contracting provisions with blanket purchase orders.  So, the right to privacy is under siege.

      The principle of equality is also under siege for the simple reason that the principle of equality threatens the power of the elite.  So, like cockroaches fleeing from the light, the elite have been sequestering their interests behind the walls of family foundations, religious institutions and a variety of non-profit think tanks and other eleemosynary institutions.  Identification requirements merely serve to facilitate the segregation of the elite from the hoi poloi.

      To a certain extent, what we are seeing is a backlash against equality.  It's as if the elites have decided that if the people want to be equal, they can all be equally subordinate to the rule makers.

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 08:32:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Since there's no evidence of benefit from (3+ / 0-)

    requiring identification papers, the law is obviously un-constitutional.  As Justice Kennedy explains the rule of law means first that the agents of government have to follow the law, not the people. The people are the source of law and are entitled to enforce it.

    I suggest that the rule of law has three parts. The first is that the law is binding on the government and all of its officials. This may seem a rather self-evident matter, but it’s a proposition that most government officials in most countries do not fully understand. If an administrative agency and an administrator in that agency is charged with giving you a permit, the permit is not given to you as a matter of grace; it’s given to you because you are entitled to it and because it is his or her duty to give it to you.

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 08:15:54 AM PDT

    •  Citizen, this is Thoughtcrime (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina

      Do you advocate disobedience to a direct order of the Ministry of Homeland Security?  This is seditious Thoughtcrime against the Corporate States of Unistar Ameritex.  You will receive a tenner in the Aleutian Rehabilitative Labor Camps immediately.

      •  What I advoate is that Homeland Security (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        marina

        be restructured and broken up into its constituent parts.
        Also, what I advocate is a serious reconsideration of our reliance on electronic information systems.  The electron is an unreliable entity and not just when it's used for tallying our votes.

        Consider, for example, that roaches and rodents are attracted to the plastic coatings of electronic wiring and feast on it whenever they can.  As a result, they not only promote electrical shorts and outages, but the corrosion of the metal conduits.

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Mon Mar 24, 2008 at 08:40:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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