Feb 26, 2007

REAL ID Update: States Get Five-Year Extension, BUT..

‘every bit as bad as anything George Orwell suggested in 1984.”

--Idaho Governor Butch Otter repudiating the Real ID act that he cosponsored last year while in Congress.

Here is the "But"....the new Federal Fascism office of Homeland Tyranny still intimidates the States to comply to the federalization of their licenses (national ID cards), which establishes the most draconian data-mining program (interstate, Fed, and Mexico and Canada shared) Orwell ever dreamed of (using biometrics and SSN, thus tapping into anyone's financial, legal, credit, and health records at will) contrary to the 10th and 4th amendments, our precious Bill of Rights, of the Constitution, which defines our freedoms from government intrusion and states rights. (See our previous article below for much more).

New West (original post)
By Sharon Fisher, 3-01-07

The good news is that states now don’t have to comply with Real ID regulations until 2013. The bad news is that states will still have to do all the same things that has made more than 30 of themincluding Idahopass or submit legislation protesting the act, which is intended to produce a uniform standard for driver’s licenses.

The new deadline was revealed in a 162-page document issued today by the Department of Homeland Security.

States have been protesting a number of the components of the Real ID act, passed a year ago and originally intended to go into effect in May, 2008. Most notably, they are concerned about the $11 billion cost of implementing the program, but civil liberties issues are also a factor. Even Governor Butch Otter, one of the cosponsors of the bill in Congress, is repudiating it.

In fact, DHS said it had received comments from 48 jurisdictions—46 states, plus American Samoa and the District of Columbia.

In addition to extending the deadline—though people whose licenses expire are supposed to get Real ID-compliant licenses before then—DHS said states should adopt an exception policy for people who, through no fault of their own, didn’t have the appropriate documentation—particularly people born before 1935—and that automatic renewal through venues such as the Internet continue to be allowed, if images of the original documents are kept.

While states no longer have to comply with the Act by May, 2008, they are supposed to submit their certification package by February, 2008—90 days before the May 2008 deadline—and in addition are supposed to “communicate their intent to certify compliance or request an extension” by October, 2007. However, such extensions are only intended to last until December, 2009.

As far as the privacy concerns that some people, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, have expressed, DHS essentially said that people shouldn’t be concerned because such information is all collected by the government anyway. “[N]either the Real ID Act nor these proposed regulations gives the Federal Government any greater access to information than it had before.”

Indeed, much of the security requirements appear to be pushed back down to the states. “Each State will be required to prepare a comprehensive security plan for its DMV offices and driver’s license storage and production facilities, databases, and systems utilized for collecting, disseminating or storing information used in the issuance of REAL ID licenses. As part of this requirement, DHS will require that each State include in its annual certification information as to how the State will protect the privacy of the data collected, used, and maintained in connection with REAL ID, including all the source documents.”

However, DHS has determined that the information should be stored on the back of the card in an unencrypted bar code, which DHS admitted is a security hole. “For example, a bar could scan the 2D barcode to verify that the individual presenting the driver’s license or identification card was 21 or over, and at the same time could conceivably obtain the person’s name and address off the barcode and compile a list of names and addresses of its patrons, which it could subsequently sell or use,” the report explained. “DHS...invites comment on how to provide this access and the protection of the information at the same time.”

DHS also gives its own figures and a breakdown of what it expects costs to be, which is $23 billion. States will incur more than 60% of these costs, DHS said.

Much of the rest of the voluminous report is a painstaking description of the documents that will—and will not—be suitable for identification for a Real ID.

DHS is actively seeking comments on the document. Comments can be faxed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Attention: DHS-TSA Desk Officer, at (202) 395-5806.

The Real ID, which is being opposed by more than 30 states, including Montana, [where is West Virginia--"Mountaineers are always free"?] defines a number of requirements for driver’s licenses, including a digital photo, various features intended to keep it from being duplicated, and could potentially include a radio frequency ID chip. In addition, it requires states to link their record-keeping systems to national databases. People who live in states that do not comply with the act will not be able to use their driver’s licenses for boarding an airplane, entering a federal building, or opening some bank accounts.

[Fair use doctrine used for this post, for educational purposes only].