Thursday, May 12, 2005

"Your papers. Show me your Papers!"

Well, this is it. It's over. The fat lady is singing. The lights have been turned out, because the party's over. Congress just passed the REAL ID bill.

I read about the passage on FARK, and moaned aloud. A national ID card? Ah, crap!

I have no problem with parts of the bill. It will establish national standards for obtaining a state ID. No problem there. Prove your identity to get an ID card. Seems straitforward.

But there are a couple of potential problems with the bill. Title I Section 102 of the National ID bill is titled "WAIVER OF LAWS NECESSARY FOR IMPROVEMENT OF BARRIERS AT BORDERS." Section 102 part c, subsection 2 removes judicial review of any action made by the Secretary of The Department of Homeland Security to build a wall between San Diego and Mexico. A wall. In a National ID bill. How in the name of the United States of Jebus can a wall be an aspect of a National ID card?

Right now, the bill restricts this immunity to just this item. But someday, a future DHS Secretary will make a decision and use this bill as his justification. The decision will stand andwe will have elevated DHS to a position above the Legislative Branch and the Judicial Branch, and, by extension, the Exuctive Branch of the government. Can anyone say "secret police?"

The second problem is Section 203, allowing the linking of databases of the States and the Feds. The Federal goverment has wanted to create a database of personal information since 9/11. The two Patriot Acts couldn't get it done, so we have the REAL ID bill. You want to be scared of this? Read The Moderate Voice. He suspects that we will have to show this new machine-readable id card, with all the sensitive data--including your social security number--to cash checks, use a credit card, or any other occaission when you have to show your drivers license. This gives the people who accept them access to this data. When they collect it, they consider is saleable information. So they'll sell your purchases to advertisers, so they can target ads to what you buy. And, since not all employees are honest, someone will steal the social security numbers and credit card information and go off to the races!

And the potential for abuse doesn't end there. If county prosecuters can use the Patriot Act to close Adult book stores, imagine how they can use this.

Finally, the whole bill is not needed. "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," writes Bruce Schneier. He argues that this is a power grab by the government and the first step into a "Show Me Your Papers" police state. (My words, not his.)

I hope they also train the police and clerks who require the ID to click their heels smartly and to use a crisp German accent when they demand, "Show me your papers!"


Blogger LingLing said...

yeah, the fascist state approacheth....and you just know none of this will be of any use.

12:51 PM  

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