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Deadline For Saying "No" To National ID

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the vote-quick dept.

Privacy 284

cnet-declan writes "If you don't like the idea of a federalized ID card, you have only have an hour left to let Homeland Security know your thoughts: the deadline to file comments on the Real ID Act is 5:00 pm EDT on Tuesday. Probably the best place to do that is a Web site created by an ad hoc alliance called the Privacy Coalition (they oppose the idea, but if you're a big Real ID fan you can use their site to send adoring comments too). Alternatively, Homeland Security has finally seen fit to give us an email address that you can use to submit comments on the Real ID Act. Send email to oscomments@dhs.gov with 'Docket No. DHS-2006-0030' in the Subject: line. Here's some background on what the Feds are planning."

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Why wait to the last minute to post this? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19041905)

Fuck. It's no wonder Bush won in '04.

International disquiet (2, Interesting)

idkk (414241) | more than 7 years ago | (#19041915)

Is it helpful for non USA citizens to also voice their disquiet?

Re:International disquiet (0, Troll)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19041969)

Is it helpful for non USA citizens to also voice their disquiet?

As a US citizen, I appreciate your concern, but I have to ask:

Why do you care?

Re:International disquiet (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042057)

Well, for a start, I work in the computer industry and that inevitably means I have to visit your country for work now and then.

But, more importantly, a number of countries look to the US for a model of what it means to be free.

Re:International disquiet (5, Insightful)

Fireflymantis (670938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042195)

But, more importantly, a number of countries look to the US for a model of what it means to be free.

Living in the neighboring country to the north of the States, we have a log running tendency to blindly follow in their example. Thus, anything being introduced or changed there, will generally always have a direct impact on our laws and society, and when this isn't the case, the big U.S. corps generally see to it that our parliament gets lobbied into submission.

So that is why it matters to us.

Re:International disquiet (3, Insightful)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042639)

But, more importantly, a number of countries look to the US for a model of what it means to be free.

Six years ago, that would've made me proud.
Now, it kind of makes me really depressed.

Re:International disquiet (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042083)

I think that should be obvious. The more out of control the US becomes, the more it affects the world. All I can say is that it's a good thing there is no extradition treaty between the US and Sweden (or whereever the pirate bay resides)... because even though what they are doing over there is not illegal by their laws, it's not legal in the US and people with a lot of money are angry... hell even without that stuff, you can see what was done! Imagine if there were treaties in place to allow that to happen LEGALLY?

No, there's no question that what happens in the US will have significant ripples into the rest of the world.

Re:International disquiet (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042501)

Many many other countries have a national ID system. If you're from another country and wish to share your experiences with a national ID system, good or bad that's fine. But I don't think the US consolidating the identification process for its citizens is going to really have an external effect on the world.

You should be more worried about the effects the US had on the global market through gray-area industrial subsidies. (if you can go on some random unrelated rant, so can I)

Re:International disquiet (2, Insightful)

Gogo0 (877020) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042511)

You didnt say it, but this is awfully close to blaming the US for most of the world's (current and future) problems.

If another country decides to follow in the US' footsteps, thats their choice. The US isnt foisting this on anyone else. If its a bad idea, then maybe the other countries that adopt it need their citizens to rethink who they elected last time around and not blame the US for their own weird politicians.

Re:International disquiet (2, Insightful)

lordsid (629982) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042809)

You didnt say it, but this is awfully close to blaming the US for most of the world's (current and future) problems.

If another country decides to follow in the US' footsteps, thats their choice. The US isnt foisting this on anyone else. If its a bad idea, then maybe the other countries that adopt it need their citizens to rethink who they elected last time around and not blame the US for their own weird politicians.
You're trying to tell us that the US doesn't force their will on other countries?

Note: When I say US I really mean W's administration, because believe it or not the other 49% of us are half way intelligent. (The implication that voting for W makes you a moron was intentional.)

Re:International disquiet (4, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042159)

I guess he cares because he's British.

In Britain there seems to be no option for registering disgust at our national ID scheme - seems we're getting one and that is that. For all the horrific breaches of privacy and freedom that the Patriot Act etc have brought you over there - at least you do have the right to protest. PLEASE PLEASE DO!!!

If you can regain your freedom, then there's some hope for us over here in Airstrip One - maybe they'll even take down a couple of million cameras - you, know like 25% of them... (sounds like that's a sarcastic exaggeration doesn't it. But it's not, sadly)

Re:International disquiet (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042419)

If I were being naughty, I might suggest that we start blogging about;
How to ruin surveillance devices and ID machines.

You know, if I were bothered by this and thought my vote didn't count because it's run on the same machines made by companies that get these sorts of contracts.

These fricken' fascists. How do I already know that this won't stop crime, government corruption, and scary bad acts that get everyone in a lather?

I think I'm going to take all my discount cards, and start swapping them with strangers.

They've tried multiple times to pass this -- much like their Media Consolidation that Rupert Murdoch wanted.

Our government is made up at least by 70% of sellouts who should be in prison, of anyone were to invade their privacy and find out what they are up to. What use is all this security garbage, if you can't trust your government? None.

Re:International disquiet (1, Troll)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042453)

For all the horrific breaches of privacy and freedom that the Patriot Act etc have brought you over there

Seriously, I haven't noticed any. I know that facts really don't matter, but nothing in my life has changed since the PATRIOT Act was passed.

If you can regain your freedom...

Again, I haven't lost any freedoms. As for Britain, it sounds like you haven't lost any freedoms either. Privacy while you are in public maybe, but not any freedoms. (Although, as I have never been there, I'm really just speaking out my arse)

Re:International disquiet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19042217)

Is it helpful for non USA citizens to also voice their disquiet?

As a US citizen, I appreciate your concern, but I have to ask:

Why do you care?

Isn't it obvious? The US is powerful. Commercially. Militarily. Culturally. What happens in the US has a big impact on what happens elsewhere, be it by shifting values in media or by pressuring a government to support your latest interest (like stronger IP laws) or just by plain old invasion. The ability of decent, normal US citizens to control your increasingly radical government is of serious importance to us. That's why we care.

Re:International disquiet (1)

ZakMcCracken (753422) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042253)

As an "alien" living in the US for more than 3 years, I would care too!

Re:International disquiet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19042563)

if he's a non US citizen living in the U.S., he should care because he'll have to get a national ID card too. So, yes, it is helpful for non US citizens to voice their opinions.

Re:International disquiet (1)

superbus1929 (1069292) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042711)

Isn't the UK thinking strongly of a Real ID system?

Re:International disquiet (5, Insightful)

idkk (414241) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042725)

I care because freedom is everyone's concern. Your loss of freedom is a negative influence on my freedom.


I care because totalitarianism is insidious. "It's only an ID card" becomes "you have to carry the ID card at all times" becomes "the RFID chip (or whatever) allows us to track you, wherever you are" becomes .... I know not what. And I don't want to know. Let's stop before we start on that road.


I care because the state is our servant, not our master.


And I do not have to tell you good folks that it will be expensive, and it will be insecure, and it will not prevent crime or terror or social disintegration.
I care, becase it won't work - and it is dangerous.

Re:International disquiet (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19041973)

Only if you wish to help push it through. They would claim that it is Al Qaeda in disguise.

Re:International disquiet (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042185)

Is it helpful for non USA citizens to also voice their disquiet?

It'll probably get you added to a terrorist watch list or something... ;-)

No, it can only hurt (1)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042207)

Unfortunately, the American attitude has always been something along the lines of, "If other countries have a problem with it, then we must be doing it right." This is no exception. If other people in the world try to start inserting their opinions into our domestic matters, all it will do is 1) build resentment towards those people, no matter how well-intentioned their opinions were, and 2) push our government to do the exact opposite just to show how little we care about world opinion.

I'm not saying it's right. I wish all decisions like these were made independent of what other people thought, but they're not.

Also, there's the matter of protecting your own. Everyone has the right to complain about their home team. But when others start talking about ways in which your home team sucks, people tend to get defensive of them, even of those people are right and your home team really does suck.

Re:No, it can only hurt (2, Insightful)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042603)

Nobody likes this... save for a few corporate shills that make a living on blogs, pretending that people demand this nonsense.

There is no groundswell of support for these things -- just a Corporate media that downplays the numbers of American's who protest, and fail to mention that one Bus brought all those "concerned citizens" to Florida to prevent the recount in Florida in 2000.

This is just more of the creeping fascism in America. Just like the "No Child Left Behind" just served to profit one testing company, that had a lot of Bush family money in it.

Now this will be used to track protesters. Why do you think that the FBI has Quakers on it's list to spy on and not violent hate groups?

This is getting really ugly. When not dodging investigations into corruption, evil and vote-rigging, our administration finds excuses to extend their power and intrusiveness into our lives. I feel like they are herding us, and by the time everyone wakes up -- there won't be much we can do.

By the way -- I seriously doubt sending an email to HS will do any good. They already bury office supplies in the desert to keep their budget up -- does anyone know any function of that group beyond being a place to give cronies jobs?

Re:International disquiet (1)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042335)

Is it helpful for non USA citizens to also voice their disquiet?
I have my doubts that it's even useful for us USA citizens to voice our disquiet. The people making these decisions have been bought and made up their mind long before us citizens even know about it and I highly doubt a few angry e-mails will change their minds.

Re:International disquiet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19042515)

Yes it's helpful....probably more helpful. It would be most helpful if you are here illegally. the US Government listens more to illegal aliens than its own citizens.

So if it goes through (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19041931)

So if we get a national ID card, will there be any legal basis for overturning the Dept. of Homeland Security's decision?

I'm skeptical... Where is original submitter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19041961)

Posted by kdawson on Tuesday May 08, @04:00PM
If you don't like the idea of a federalized ID card, you have only have an hour left

Generally, /. tends to be several days behind on submissions. That would tell me that this submitter did not somehow immediately submit this with an hour in their entry and have it immediately (under 59 seconds) approved. So, probably the editor updated the entry and posted it at 4PM. Well, that's fine, but why do they leave blatant typographical errors (Jobs telling the industry to "loose" DRM, for example)in articles until the outcry is enough to force a change?

Welcome to Amerikkka +5 insightful (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19041983)

Papers please! +5 informative

Actually I Support A National ID (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19042009)

If you don't like the idea of a federalized ID card,I love how the editors and submitter think that everybody on slashdot should hold the same stance as they do on this issue.

I happen to believe Real ID is a very good idea, and that it would make society better.

We already have national IDs in the form of passports, Social Security cards, etc.

I'm all for cracking down on states to make their IDs more secure and lessen counterfeits. I don't believe our privacy would change markedly than what we have today.

Re:Actually I Support A National ID (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19042059)

You sir are an idiot. National ID will be a one stop shop for identity theft. Plain and simple. Please move along.

Re:Actually I Support A National ID (2, Insightful)

hickory-smoked (969938) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042441)

Do you think you're helping?

I would like to hear actual arguments. Research papers. Something that suggests that a national system would be worse or harder to defend from privacy invasion or theft. I'm certainly more than ready to listen to such arguments, but who did you expect to convince with this?

"Oh gee, if some Anonymous Coward dick is going to call me an idiot on Slashdot, I guess I would be a fool to disagree with him..."

Re:Actually I Support A National ID (1)

Schnoogs (1087081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042489)

Just like Passports and Social Security cards have been....oh wait.

Re:Actually I Support A National ID (4, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042193)

Sure... you want to be ID'd where ever you go, automatically, with who knows what information available to the teller, toll both operator, merchant, insurance agent, and anyone who hacks into the system just because you walked close to them and your RFID burped. You want someone to be able to clone your RFID tag and walk through a crime scene a few times, thus "establishing" that you were at the scene of the crime. Sure you do. You're all about being identified, right?

That's why you post anonymously.

Sometimes I wonder if we ought to take a hint from the Spartans.

Re:Actually I Support A National ID (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042311)

"With it or on it"?

Or were you talking about another Spartan hint?

Spartans (1)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042745)

I was thinking of something else.

Re:Actually I Support A National ID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19042763)

Or maybe he posted anonymously because his opinion doesnt match with yours, and he doesnt feel like blowing his karma away for saying what he thinks.

I thought the "amerikkkan" government was supposed to be the evil facist ruler, and the free-thinking rebels on slashdot were the ones that embraced everyone's differing opinions in the spirit of debate.

Im posting anonymous so the opinion police dont kill my karma too.

Re:Actually I Support A National ID (2, Informative)

quantaman (517394) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042719)

If you don't like the idea of a federalized ID card,I love how the editors and submitter think that everybody on slashdot should hold the same stance as they do on this issue.

I happen to believe Real ID is a very good idea, and that it would make society better.

We already have national IDs in the form of passports, Social Security cards, etc.

I'm all for cracking down on states to make their IDs more secure and lessen counterfeits. I don't believe our privacy would change markedly than what we have today.

Verifying someone's identity is a lot tougher then just issuing them a card, in fact it could even backfire by giving people a false confidence in the authenticity of documents that are based on faulty information.

To see the drawbacks of real id I'd take a look at http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/05/real _id_action.html/ [schneier.com] . Schneier knows a lot about these kind of issues and unlike the government he has an excellent track record when it comes to evaluating security systems.

Please sign up here...... (3, Funny)

budword (680846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042031)

to have the NSA and FBI investigate you to find out why you have something to hide.

Re:Please sign up here...... (1)

kennylogins (1092227) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042201)

Exactly.
I mean, GO USA #1!!!oneone11

Re:Please sign up here...... (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042251)

If it helps, I told them that even if I liked the idea, centralizing things was just BAD BAD BAD from an intelligence OR security standpoint.

You know how SSNs are currently such a big target for identity theft? Think about how vulnerable these NON-ENCRYPTED barcodes will be.

As if they care what we think... (0, Troll)

pafein (2979) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042073)

In case you hadn't noticed, this government does not give a rat's butt about the opinion of the citizenry.

Of course they do! (1)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042523)

In case you hadn't noticed, this government does not give a rat's butt about the opinion of the citizenry.
If you loudly disagree with the President, that matters a great deal to them.

It matters so much, they'll even put you on a nice list, so you get extra-special treatment at airports.

Re:Of course they do! (1)

Jimmy King (828214) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042583)

It matters so much, they'll even put you on a nice list, so you get extra-special treatment at airports.
I know I'm going to feel much safer now that I'll be receiving my complimentary bomb check to make sure no terrorists stuffed one into my pockets, luggage, or bodily cavities while I wasn't looking.

No, they listen! They really do! (1)

Palmyst (1065142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042651)

Just speak clearly into the phone. Any phone.

I sent my email (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042087)

and I expect to have my information on the TSA's no fly list:

No on the National ID. Please respect state sovereignty. A national ID may compromise the diversity that makes us a prosperous nation.

You're so right. (2, Interesting)

C10H14N2 (640033) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042387)

With all the damage the existence of the United States Passport has done to our diversity and prosperity...

If everyone went out and got a passport, this would be a non-issue, so that raises the question for me: have those people complaining the loudest about this ever held one? It seems scarcely any different and I don't know many people with valid passports who get entirely big-brother about it. It's just a global reality and not a terribly ominous one at that.

Re:You're so right. (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042545)

But why would we need a passport or ID to deal with federal matters? Does the federal government not trust the states anymore?

Re:You're so right. (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042601)

>If everyone went out and got a passport

Not everyone who will be obligated to get a national ID card is eligible to get a passport.
The passport is expensive, and has a rather time-consuming process involved.

On the other hand, I carry mine, and I show it whenever I am asked for ID. It seems to confuse cops sometimes, and it makes private people nervous. People who won't think twice about taking your drivers license in hand, seem to get quite nervous about holding your passport. It's somewhat amusing to watch. Any time I'm asked by an official for ID, I proceed as though I've left the US, and I behave *exactly* as I would when asked for ID abroad. (However, I have never been asked by anyone except customs agents.)

Re:I sent my email (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042553)

I still sort of tepidly back the idea, though not for national security purposes, since that will be a minor effect, if there is any at all. Instead, the safeguards proposed seem to make identity theft more difficult for both con artists and illegal immigrants. (Of course, there's the problem that the state IDs under REAL ID then become even more trusted, and a successfully forged ID then provides even more access.)

However, in the last year, I've started to root for the states, not because I've turned against the idea of a national ID card standard, but rather because I support states' rights more. I would love to see RealID work with all of about eight states, forcing the federal government to back down on the issue since they can't force it. It's time that the states reasserted themselves a bit, and forced Congress and the White House to face up to their limitations.

I fail to see... (4, Interesting)

SilentUrbanFox (689585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042089)

What real harm a national ID can do. I'm not trying to troll, I've just never really "gotten" why a single centralized ID is more dangerous than a large number of different IDs. Would anyone care to explain? Politely and collectedly without resorting to words like "sheeple?"

Re:I fail to see... (1)

Rachel Lucid (964267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042349)

It's called 'security in redundancy'. Y'know, the same reason you backup your important files every week or so.

One flaw in one database of many can't hurt you the way one flaw in one database pretending to be many can.

Re:I fail to see... (5, Insightful)

Baba Ram Dass (1033456) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042361)

The biggest gripe I have about it is the same gripe I have about there being a federal law against marijuana and a federal law *for* abortion: the 10th amendment and the concept of state sovereignty:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people.


What it means is any power not specifically granted to the US federal government in the Constitution is in the jurisdiction of the various states. Issues like abortion and drug prohibition are to be decided by each state; the founders did this for a reason--you could move to the state whose politics most closely matched your own. The more centralized the federal government has become, the less choice we've had in regards to the policies governing us.

(Not to mention that the Real ID won't help us catch terrorists, but I figured that was a given.)

Re:I fail to see... (1, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042673)

"the founders did this for a reason--you could move to the state whose politics most closely matched your own."

What? That doesn't even make any sense. Moving from state to state just didn't happen all that often back then. The founders granted so much power to the states because they were proceeding from the vantage point of allying 13 separate bodies. If they couldn't come to an agreement among the states, there wasn't going to be a United States. They gave the states as much power as they had to to get them to agree to join. Providing our nation with a wide variety of local legal options had nothing to do with it.

Re:I fail to see... (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042443)

What real harm a national ID can do. I'm not trying to troll, I've just never really "gotten" why a single centralized ID is more dangerous than a large number of different IDs.


You know the privacy problem with SSNs? Now imagine if there were one single identifier that was even more frequently used than SSNs.

Now you see one of the problems?

Re:I fail to see... (2, Insightful)

Wordplay (54438) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042547)

The privacy problem with SSNs stems from trying to use the SSN number as a secret, not from the fact that everyone has an SSN.

Re:I fail to see... (4, Informative)

owlnation (858981) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042445)

as a quick summary:

1. It's bureaucratic and expensive.
2. It's open to abuse of power
3. It's only one thing to forge / steal - makes faking your ID and ID theft much simpler
4. It leads to all sorts of data mining privacy issues - one ring to rule them all - get the ID card, get everything else.
5. It's easy to stay outside the system - unless there are regular checkpoints and official stop and searches.

I used to live in Germany and I've seen every single one of these be a problem at some point. Biggest issues are 1. the expense - this is serious money for something that is very ineffective, and 2. the abuse of power - ask anyone who looks Turkish in Germany how often they are stopped and asked for ID. It's pretty much daily in some areas.

That said, there is a huge number of people living illegally in Germany that have no ID, and have been doing so for many years. It is an inconvenience to the law abiding, and no hassle to a criminal, possibly even an advantage.

Easy? (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042779)

5. It's easy to stay outside the system - unless there are regular checkpoints and official stop and searches.

Oh, really? Got any advice for those of us trapped in it?

I might like to own a house someday, and I currently enjoy the ability to rent an apartment -- which you can't do without giving over your SSN so that people can run a credit check on you. I also like having a job, but it's getting impossible to find a job where someone doesn't want your SSN for credit checks, and they have to have it anyway for doing your tax and insurance paperwork. Speaking of which, try driving legally without getting insurance which requires -- you guessed it -- your social security number.

Frankly, I'd really like to know how our own illegal immigrant get by, but hearing more about yours might be handy enough. It would be nice to be able to get "off the grid" without being independantly wealthy and/or breaking laws in the process.

Re:I fail to see... (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042513)

The argument against all ID is that it eventually becomes mandatory. These days we are required to identify ourselves to our governments. This is demeaning as it is too much like stock keeping of people. Every year that goes by people forget about this. They start to think of themselves as belonging to a government instead of the government belonging to them. In the end, we accept requirements being placed on us by the government, and this inevitably leads to dictatorship and fascism.

So yes, it's not specifically the fact that this ID is federal that is the problem, but I hope you can see that the abuse of power is easier. More efficient is something people are taught is a good thing. We live by the clock. But when it comes to government, more efficient is the opposite of what you want.

Re:I fail to see... (1)

vitaflo (20507) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042517)

It doesn't add anything that the current ID systems don't already have, and is going to cost over $10 Billion. It's also not going to replace any of the current ID systems. You'll still need a Passport to go overseas for example.

Re:I fail to see... (5, Informative)

jdp (95845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042555)

The basic question is whether any security benefits outweigh the costs in terms of security, identity theft, civil rights, and privacy.

Bruce Schneier and Richard Forno's National ID card a disaster in the making [blogspot.com] discusses some of the many problems with Real ID.

In a nod to states' rights advocates, DHS declares that states are free not to participate in the Real ID system if they choose--but any identification card issued by a state that does not meet Real ID criteria is to be clearly labeled as such, to include "bold lettering" or a "unique design" similar to how many states design driver's licenses for those under 21 years of age. In its own guidance document, the department has proposed branding citizens not possessing a Real ID card in a manner that lets all who see their official state-issued identification know that they're "different," and perhaps potentially dangerous, according to standards established by the federal government. They would become stigmatized, branded, marked, ostracized, segregated. All in the name of protecting the homeland; no wonder this provision appears at the very end of the document.
As does the Wall Street Journal's Real ID Revolt [wsj.com] :

Americans are rational. And in a post-9/11 world, they are willing to trade some freedom and convenience for more security. But it's not at all clear that Real ID will make us safer. Deputizing motor vehicle office clerks, who would be entrusted with sensitive information and access to a national databank, also entails considerable privacy risk. Fraud and security lapses at DMVs today are hardly uncommon. Just last month, a DMV official in North Carolina was arrested in connection with issuing fraudulent drivers licenses. And if the goal is to stop the next Mohammed Atta, it's worth noting that, even under Real ID, people would be permitted to fly with identification other than licenses.
In terms of the concept of National ID in general, Jim Harper describes it well in his excellent (long!) deconstruction of Real ID [smallgovtimes.com] :

U.S. policymakers have long rejected a national ID as inconsistent with American freedom. Ordinary people, it has long been believed, should not have to carry a card as if they are criminal suspects and they should not be asked to account to authorities for their whereabouts or activities.
jon

PS: more on this on the Stop Real ID Now! [blogspot.com] blog.

Re:I fail to see... (3, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042643)

What real harm a national ID can do

The first thing to wrap your head around is that aside from the general issues of your liberty to travel and your privacy, the legislation for the ID contains enabling sections for - as yet - unspecified technologies to be part of the card. The most likely candidate, for quite a few reasons, is RFID, though something with more range might replace that. RFID allows your card to be read without you presenting it. This is a definite escalation from you deciding to show someone your ID in return for, oh, a bottle of wine, or that DVD of Erica Campbell you've been thinking about.

Any such technology creates a number of very bad potentials; someone could walk through a crime scene with a clone of your RFID (trivial to do, by the way) and thus "establish" your presence at the crime, at the time. You might have been home in bed, but your RFID was out being a criminal. You'll be arrested and then your lawyer can sort it out (after you mortgage your home, of course - criminal lawyers don't work on a "work now, pay later" basis. Or they could clone your card and purchase weaponry, using your good name, which they could then use in the commission of a crime. As far as the police are concerned, you bought those weapons. To prove otherwise, you're going to have to locate the fake card. Good luck with that.

Suppose you go like a good citizen to get your card, and the computer is corrupted, or someone was there first, and they say, no, we've already issued the card that matches your information (birthdate, name, SSN, mother's last name, birthplace and date, etc.) You can't get your card. Now you can't partake of any federal service. Yes, that's written right into the RealID act. Got cancer? Poor? Need your meds? Sorry. You're going to die. No federal services. Period. Of course, they're still going to tax you to pay for them.

Another issue is that tracking everything you purchase becomes 100% practical. So what? Well, let me point out that lately, it has been the habit of the legislature, backed up by the Supreme Court, to create and approve ex post facto laws. This class of laws includes those that make things crimes after they were done. The constitution guarantees your immunity to the four types of ex post facto law, but that has been disregarded and from the government's point of view, is irrelevant. They can, and will, jail you for such things. They've been doing so to others for years. Now. Imagine you buy a Playboy magazine. This is tracked. A year later, fundamentalists get laws passed that make purchasing such a magazine a crime - pornography, etc. Now they can come and get you; all it takes is the knowledge that you made the purchase and an ex post facto law.

Because of the unknown, secretive technological component of these cards, the threat to liberty escalates into a serious threat to privacy and security. Either should be enough to halt the program, expose its exact workings, and then allow evaluation on the basis of precisely known parameters. But they're not offering that opportunity. In 20 minutes, the window for even general objections base don what we do know - which is incomplete - closes.

The only redeeming thing at this moment is that they expect the states to bear the burden of the costs, and some states - Montana, Maine - are refusing. I suspect it is entirely budgetary, despite the high sounding words, but I'll take what I can get at this stage of the game.

I'll try to give it a go. (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042671)

First off, for this discussion keep these three things in mind:

      1. History seems to repeat itself.
      2. As an intelligent, rational, thinking, sentient species, we understand cause and effect and learn from our mistakes (debatable-see #1 above).
      3. "A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step."

Historically we see too many examples of a "National I.D." system being abused by government to control it's own population as the primary focus after having been sold as a 'protect us from our outside enemies' measure to the population.

Add in our (USA's) major focus at our comparitively recent founding of freedom, liberty, and pursuit of happiness
and our percieved rights and freedoms as individuals, and our deep-rooted distrust of a strong central authority.

Now add in the 'mark of the beast' religious aspect into the mix.

Put this together and you have the stereotypical, generic U.S.American's attitude.

Now at the risk of Godwin's Law:

*scene unfolds in 1944 Germany: man in black uniform with the twin lightningbolt insignia and the Death's Head emblem arrogantly confronts a small group of pedestrians*

SS officer: "I will examine your papers now, please"

Hope this helps.

...open your eyes. (3, Insightful)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042701)

1. The 4th Amendment states you have a right "to be secure in your papers". That means squat if, by looking at one card for any reason, a gov't bureaucrat can pull up darn near ANYTHING about you. Does your participation in Social Security really have anything to do with being pulled over for speeding? Are your travel records really necessary for borrowing a book from the library? Does pulling health records really need cross-linking with when you got a driver's license? Is your credit rating really needed to board an airplane?

2. Sure, they'll promise to only use relevant data appropriately. Right. Governments do not have a good history of using such pervasive data without oppression (up to and including genocide).

3. The more ID is needed to function in society, the more valuable IDs become. A national ID becomes a one-stop-shop for ID theft. Crack one card, and I become you.

4. Without the national ID, you can't participate in government. You can't enter a courthouse, visit your Congressman, etc. because you won't be able to even enter the building - no ID, no entry.

5. Ultimately a national ID is a license to exist. No license shown on demand? You're detained until your ID is found, one is created, or you get removed from society. The fact that you exist means nothing; no card, no you.

6. Corrupted data screws you over. Your file gets marked "deceased"? You're officially dead, and no amount of "but I'm standing here ranting at you!" won't help. At least with diverse cards & databases you can argue "8 out of 9 government databases say I'm still alive; please correct yours!"

7. Pervasiveness. No card, you can't function. Without that one centralized ID card, which you don't get unless everything is in order, you can't drive, fly, ride, vote, own property, get married, file suit, work, ... YOU CAN'T EVEN BUY BEER!

Reagan (5, Interesting)

proficiovera (1099145) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042091)

When the idea of national ID cards were suggested to Reagan it was received negatively. He responded by sarcastically suggesting tattooing bar codes on everybody's heads. That killed the issue during his administration.

Re:Reagan (2, Interesting)

Bearpaw (13080) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042693)

I don't remember Reagan making a barcode tattoos crack about National ID cards, but it'd be interesting if he did. That could be taken as a reference to Revelations 13:16-17 ...

16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
17 and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Deadline For Saying "Yes" To National ID (0, Flamebait)

blacklint (985235) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042103)

That would also be the Deadline For Saying "Yes" To National ID, wouldn't it? News (look at the top of the page... "news for nerds") about voting shouldn't say tell you how to vote, should it?

Has there ever been a better time... (0, Troll)

TheLazySci-FiAuthor (1089561) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042109)

...to invoke Al Gore's inspiring leadership in leading us in our succession from the unjust and intolerant union from whence we sprang.

Mexico and Japan both join me in pleading, "Mr. Gore, Lead us to freedom! Lead us to that glorious future that only the great country of Mexiforniapan can offer!"

Re:Has there ever been a better time... (1)

TheLazySci-FiAuthor (1089561) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042675)

Hmm, obviously someone doesn't like sushi-burritos...actually, that's not too surprising.

Unnecessary (4, Funny)

Tx (96709) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042119)

...you have only have an hour left to let Homeland Security know your thoughts

Considering the amount of surveillance they now carry out on US citizens, I suspect the already know your thoughts.

And if you're not being watched now, you will be if you sign that petition, you troublemaker.

Please raise your hands... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19042125)

... if you think that public comment will have ANY impact whatsoever on the ultimate decision.

Those of you with your hands up .... wanna buy a bridge?

They are soliciting public comment because they have to. Not because they are going to pay attention.

Re:Please raise your hands... (1)

Lockejaw (955650) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042415)

I'm commenting on it -- if nothing else, at least nobody can tell me, "you should have said something about it." When this goes through, we can say it did so in spite of criticism. In countries where the people believe they live in a democracy, they are rather sensitive about government actions which are contrary to the will of the people.

Not raising hand, but ... (1)

finalrain (244855) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042653)

This stuff does go into the public record, and oh what fun it will be to show my hypothetical offspring my comments on Real ID. "See, kids. This is why we don't live in America anymore, and daddy can't get a passport." ;)

That, and it will help cancel out some ignorant comments I made to the feds (still available on the internet somewhere) about the plausibility of downloading movies over the internet.

The real reason we're in this bind right now is that we didn't make a huge stink about it a few years back when Congress and the Executive Branch were playing their games. Admittedly, if I (or anyone else who had known about it) had gotten on the evening news and made a bazillion websites about it, something actually could have been done about it when we had a chance. My bad.

I don't see how it's a bad thing to speak up now just because we didn't speak up loudly enough back when it might have made a difference.

You terrorists (2, Funny)

packetmon (977047) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042155)

Its obvious that anyone expressing their discontent with this new ID is affiliated with Al-Qaeda (© 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 ONI/CIA/DISA). On a serious note though, with all of the data breaches, etc., what's the worst that could happen. This place has gone to hell in a handbasket since 2000. I see no reason to avoid it lest I want to be thrown on the no fly list because I didn't want this card... S'what will end up happening like it or not...

Great Idea ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19042235)

This is a great idea, I am all for it. It's about time we had a secure National ID.

Need help writing a letter / more info? (4, Informative)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042237)

If you are rushing, check out the EFF's page on the Real ID act [eff.org] . They have a summary and a sample letter. Join them while you are there!

Before you have your day, consider the alternative (4, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042247)

If there is no national id card, then what will happen is that a "virtual" national id card will be created. It could take a number of forms, from collecting drivers license ID information from the states, to building biometric databases.

The thing is "Papers, please" is a quaint, obsolete phrase. In fact the problem is not people looking at your ID, the problem is that event being recorded in a database to produce a picture of your movements.

If there were a national id that was secure and could be validated without hooking up to a national database, there would actually be less government intrusion into our privacy than if they data mine information from drivers databases and track you secretly.

Re:Before you have your day, consider the alternat (2, Informative)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042491)

If there is no national id card, then what will happen is that a "virtual" national id card will be created. It could take a number of forms, from collecting drivers license ID information from the states, to building biometric databases.
Do you mean something like the Total Information Awareness [wikipedia.org] program?

The giant unified database of all our electronic records ( bank, phone records, internet logs, credit card purchases, medical records, court records, magazine subscriptions etc. etc. ) was officially killed in 2003, but what happened is that all of the separate functions were farmed out to smaller, separate programs. Wikipedia says "An unknown number of TIA's functions have been merged under the codename 'Topsail'."

Why is it so bad? (0, Troll)

Koookiemonster (1099467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042269)

What makes the national ID bad is that it's been designed by an intelligent being, instead of using an evolutionary design model.

The card is a mcguffin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19042273)

A centralized biometric database is the real intent; a totalitarian regimes wet dream.

30 seconds for a life time. (1)

Howitzer86 (964585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042297)

I emailed NO to the Real ID. It took less than a minute.

Datamining email addresses (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19042325)

Is it kind of sad when you are afraid to submit an email in fear of being added to some kind of database of people who don't want this? As an American it makes me kinda sad when in this day of data gathering and mining, it's worrisome to voice ones opinion.

I for one ... (0, Redundant)

srobert (4099) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042365)

Let me be the first to say that I for one ...

If this passes (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042433)

Would it be required to carry it at all times? If not then it's not such a problem, just stuff it in the closet till your next vacation then just use it as you would a passport. Perhaps I'm missing something here.

Re:If this passes (1)

TomorrowPlusX (571956) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042753)

It seems fairly obvious that the people who are pushing for this are the type to demand that all citizens carry it at all times.

This ain't a free country, any more. And it wasn't those shifty democrats who did it, either.

My response bounced.... (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042451)

Subject: DHS-2006-0030 Comments
Sent: Tue, 8 May 2007 16:38:33 -0400

did not reach the following recipient(s):

moscomments@dhs.gov on Tue, 8 May 2007 16:28:26 -0400
The e-mail account does not exist at the organization this message
was sent to. Check the e-mail address, or contact the recipient
directly to find out the correct address.

Re:My response bounced.... (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042499)

The typo in the "moscomments" was in my copying and formating to the post here (adding in the little formating...)

As someone who works on police RMS systems (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19042487)

at various levels from Mayberry, PD, up to the federal forces for some large government sites, I get a kick at the conspiracy angle of this.

Seriously, don't worry about any big-brother like data mining at this point. These guys cant find a big fat "CLICK HERE DUMMY" icon on their desktop.

None of the interfaces ever work. Dickheads constantly change protocols for whatever internal political reasons they have. XML is the latest flavor of the week, so now *everything* has to be XML-'ed up.

What you would really want is a system at the federal level. There's so much beurocracy at the federal level, it's truly mind-numbing. The system would never work the way you guys think it would.

Your local PD may be really on-the-ball, and have a good IT guy, and are definately much more "in-touch" than many federal agents I've worked with.

Re:As someone who works on police RMS systems (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042817)

It's not the cops you have to worry about.

It's the vendors.

Since 9/11, people in the commercial data mining business have been selling the wares to various police and intelligence agencies. So systems that were supposed to tell companies who to send catalogs for mixed nuts to and who to send catalogs for guns and ammo are not being used to put people on the watch list.

Federal money has gone to states to develop "fusion centers" (google "law enforcement fusion center") which collect intelligence data on citizens from both government criminal and administrative databases as well as private commercial databases. Naturally the money passes right through the hands of local officials into a few connected vendors (the same folks who were involved in purging voter rolls in FL of felons I might add).

One Click to Take Action (1)

journalistguy (398433) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042527)

You can use this link http://ws.collactive.com/points/point?id=mNM2eWNGH VVv [collactive.com] to head straight to the ACLU's talking points and a one click way to submit comments here.[/URL] Clicking the "Act Now' button will allow you to email your comments directly to the Department of Homeland Security, bypassing the ridiculously difficult-to-use regulations.gov website.

If they were REALLY serious about stopping (0, Flamebait)

night_flyer (453866) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042591)

terrorists they would FIX THE BORDER!

What's the big deal? (0)

nenya (557317) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042605)

Not sure what all the fuss is here. Has anyone actually read the proposed regulation? They aren't creating a national ID database. They're simply changing the requirements for state-issued ID that federal agencies can accept for official purposes. The new requirements would be:
- full name
- gender
- date of birth
- issue/expiration dates
- unique license or ID number (not your Social Security Number)
- permanent residence
- signature
- picture
- machine-readability
- counterfeit protection measures

The regulation would also require all state databases of qualifying IDs to be accessible by other state databases.

Frankly, my current drivers license has all of those things already. No one is talking about creating a federal national identification database. Such a thing is nowhere in the proposed regulation. The regulation doesn't even require the states to issue such ID cards. Congress couldn't pass such a law if it wanted to. States are entirely free to issue non-REAL ID licenses and identifications. The only drawback is that federal agencies won't accept them as official IDs. Which doesn't really matter, because they'll always accept a passport, and you can get one of those without a drivers license anyways.

Why does everyone have their panties in a bunch? Both Slashdot and BoingBoing have been going apeshit about this for weeks now, but it just looks paranoid. The proposed regulation would not enable identity tracing with any greater degree of ease than currently exists.

Relax, people.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Control Group (105494) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042759)

They aren't creating a national ID database.
[snip]
The regulation would also require all state databases of qualifying IDs to be accessible by other state databases.

These two statements are mutually exclusive. Insofar as there will not be one single, physical data store holding all the information, I suppose it's technically correct to say it won't be a national ID database.

But if a person in one state can issue a single query against all the "separate" databases to pull a result set from everywhere in the country at the same time, my professional opinion as a DBA is that it sure as hell is a single database. And that's the goal of making sure all the state databases are accessible from every state and talk the same language.

We already have a national ID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19042661)

It's called a Social Security number. What's the difference? This one just might have a photo attached.

Public Health Implications (1)

PM Guy (944790) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042669)

I have been working for several years under a grant from the federal government to improve health care provider access to critical information about people's health records. The largest problem we run into is trying to uniquely identify a patient and correctly match it to people's health information, which can be dispersed across many institutions. The potential benefits to public health of a Federal ID are astounding, especially when you look at the under served and public health population. Likewise, the amount of money governments and institutions are pouring into solving this problem is outrageous. As a country, we are pouring money down the drain trying to save this, and are actually increasing the risk of privacy theft. "Master Patient Indexes" are being built in every state to collect demographic data and try to match and de-duplicate records. This is completely unnecessary if there were a federal ID in place.

Stairway to an Orwellian Nightmare (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19042691)

I'd really rather not be required to have such a thing. While I would love to see small government I can accept that may not be entirely reasonable in the current political climate. What I cannot accept is the implementation of the REAL ID Act. It's every argument what was levied against social security numbers times ten.

We gain what from the REAL ID Act? I false sense of security? Higher taxes? A shorter climb to an Orwellian nightmare? All of the above I'm afraid. The vice outweighs the virtue.

Already have one...two even. (1)

multimediavt (965608) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042749)

Umm, last I checked every American citizen that legally has a job in the U.S. already has a "federalized ID card". It's called your Social Security Card. Also, if you travel outside the U.S. at all you have *two* federalized IDs in the Social Security Card and your passport (which has RFID).

Now, someone please explain to me why this ID would be any more of a big deal. I'm at a loss here. I read the draft spec. There's nothing in there that I can see that isn't already being done at a state level with personal information. They are just going to make it a national database.

Re:Already have one...two even. (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042813)

Umm, last I checked every American citizen that legally has a job in the U.S. already has a "federalized ID card". It's called your Social Security Card.


A social security card is not an ID card.

Also, if you travel outside the U.S. at all you have *two* federalized IDs in the Social Security Card and your passport (which has RFID).


True, foreign travel requires you to get a passport. Very few Americans, proportionately, have passports, because Americans don't tend to leave America.

As something from a country with a mandatory ID... (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042757)

...lemme tell you where it leads to.

In my country it's mandatory to carry a (real, state issued) ID wherever you go. No matter what, when a cop stops you and asks for your ID, you have to be able to prove that you're you. And they can do that whenever, whereever and for whatever reason they want. Failure to comply results in an arrest.

If you want that, don't write. It's what you'll get.

This is a sham (1)

k1e0x (1040314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042761)

They already passed it.

It's a done deal.. why bother asking us now. I dont trust them and I think they just want to get all these PRO letters so they can ram them at us and say "SEE you want this!"

I dont want it and if you try to give it to me you will see my answer.

Federal Watch List (1)

Cemu (968469) | more than 7 years ago | (#19042807)

Did anyone else feel that they were going to be put on a federal watch list if they filled out the form on that .gov website?
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