Archive for the ‘PASS Act’ Category

Extension Is Not The Answer, Napolitano Says

WASHINGTON – Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona, is sympathetic to opponents of Real ID. In fact, she used to be one herself. But she says waiving the law’s requirements, as was done last year, is the wrong way to go.

“One of the reasons we had Real ID and now, Pass ID, is because the 9/11 Commission had a recommendation that we improve the security quality of driver’s licenses. And because Real ID has been rejected by the states, just by granting extension after extension after extension, we’re not getting to the pathway of more secure driver’s licenses.”

Under the current provisions of Real ID, travelers from states not in compliance with the law would, among other things, not be able to use their driver’s licenses as IDs to board commercial flights. That would cause massive travel disruptions during the holiday season, requiring additional screening of virtually all travelers. No one expects that to happen. But like Napolitano, the governors want to see the new law approved, rather than once again extending Real ID’s deadline.

“It appears it could be extended again, but really, you’re putting a Band-Aid on a pretty big open wound,” Quam says. “What the governors have said for a long time is, you need to change the law — the law is flawed.”

But time is running out for a congressional fix, which means a last-minute blanket waiver of Real ID is becoming more and more likely.

Blaming border fence for deaths makes little sense

c/o San Diego Union Times >> ALIPAC

Those immigration activists who oppose more border fencing don’t have to convince us of the folly of trying to solve our immigration problem with nothing more than barbed wire and metal barriers. We’re with them. Unlike those Americans who’d like to simply build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and call it a day, we’ve never been convinced that this was a wise strategy. ::: MORE HERE:::

South Carolina Updates Homeland Security On Federal REAL ID Program

New Mexico’s Senators provide representation on National ID debate

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall today asked the Department of Homeland Security to provide New Mexicans with assurances that their travel plans early in the new year will not be disrupted by a federal law governing drivers’ licenses.

In 2005, Congress passed legislation — called the REAL ID Act — requiring states to tighten requirements related the issuance of drivers’ licenses because they are used as a standard form of identification for a variety of federal purposes, including air travel. While the senators support strengthening the standards governing IDs, they are concerned about a National Governors Association estimate that as many as 36 states – including New Mexico – will not be able to meet the Dec. 31, 2009, deadline to comply with the law.

In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the senators said enforcing the Dec. 31 deadline would cause a significant disruption in air travel. They also pointed out that New Mexico has asked for an extension of the deadline. In their letter, the senators urged DHS to quickly clarify its plans regarding the implementation of the REAL ID Act:

“The Department of Homeland Security has not indicated whether it will grant an extension, despite the fact that a majority of states are unlikely to be in compliance with the REAL ID Act. This is causing a great deal of anxiety for our constituents, who are seeing news reports that they will need a passport in order to fly on a commercial airline after the first of the year. Without assurances from your Department that a passport will not be necessary, many people may alter or cancel their travel plans. This uncertainty may also have a significant economic impact if the residents of non-compliant states decide not to fly or are unable to do so,” Bingaman and Udall wrote.

President Obama has indicated his desire to modify the REAL ID Act through new legislation, called the PASS ID Act, but that proposal has not yet been passed into law.

“While we understand the Administration’s desire to enact the PASS ID Act in lieu of granting an additional extension, the uncertainty surrounding the steps the Department may or may not take if the legislation is not signed into law is creating confusion and raising serious concerns in the many states that are not currently in full compliance with existing law,” Bingaman and Udall wrote.


Full text of letter to DHS Secretary Napolitano:

November 30, 2009

The Honorable Janet Napolitano
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington D.C. 20528

Dear Secretary Napolitano:

We are writing to respectfully request that the Department of Homeland Security provide an extension for states to become materially compliant with the REAL ID Act of 2005. As you know, more than thirty states, including New Mexico, are unlikely to meet the December 31, 2009 deadline. While we understand the Administration’s desire to enact the PASS ID Act in lieu of granting an additional extension, the uncertainty surrounding the steps the Department may or may not take if the legislation is not signed into law is creating confusion and raising serious concerns in the many states that are not currently in full compliance with existing law.

The Department of Homeland Security has not indicated whether it will grant an extension, despite the fact that a majority of states are unlikely to be in compliance with the REAL ID Act. This is causing a great deal of anxiety for our constituents, who are seeing news reports that they will need a passport in order to fly on a commercial airline after the first of the year. Without assurances from your Department that a passport will not be necessary, many people may alter or cancel their travel plans. This uncertainty may also have a significant economic impact if the residents of non-compliant states decide not to fly or are unable to do so.

The Director of the New Mexico Motor Vehicle Division sent you a request on November 25 to grant the state an extension of the December 31 deadline. We support this request; however, we also ask that if the Department does not intend to provide such an extension, that you issue a public statement as soon as possible to reassure the traveling public that you will work to mitigate the adverse impact of REAL ID.

Thank you for your attention to this matter and for your ongoing efforts to strengthen homeland security.


Jeff Bingaman
U.S. Senator

Tom Udall
U.S. Senator

Source: Senator Tom Udall

by Sheila Dean

Programs attached to laws like the PATRIOT Act, the Real ID Act, and the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative all contain language which expands the government’s powers to demand identity and to track or limit your movement based on “official federal purposes”. The PASS ID Act limits the scope of Real ID’s current determination of federal purpose, but leaves the door wide open for data surveillance through opt-in State based fusion center hubs.

Ordinarily, you have a right to demand accountability for actions which required your consent and finances to search you in these circumstances. Increased demand for identity comes down to demand of a type of ” ID currency” in advance of any potential challenge or threat you may pose from entering federal buildings, banks, and airports where you paid to travel in advance. Challenging the requirements for identity when approached by local and federal authorities gets tricky. For example, I will call a random demand of identity by an authority figure an identity toll. An example of an identity toll is showing your ID to TSA at the airport in order to fly.

If you want to exercise right to refuse or challenge a random identity toll by local or federal authorities, the very least you must do is qualify the request for identity currency. For instance, ask them to self-identify. Write down what type of identity they asked for, get the first and last name of the administrator and/or a badge number. Then the exchange is even and a toll would balance.

The frequency of identity tolls will continue to escalate as long as the legal precedents are tolerated by citizens. 24 state governments recently refused the hefty demands on identity in the Real ID Act. These States punted the regulations along with the expensive price tag back to Washington for repeal or at the very least reconsideration. The Real ID Act to some is a paper zombie, appropriated for in name only and dormant until U.S. immigration policy is dealt with. However, it remains law. It even recently received $60 million in a DHS appropriations bill. An amount which did not differ from 2008’s disbursments for national identity developments. I venture a guess that Legislators behind the PASS ID Act are gambling on States who will file extensions to in order to give a relief quote to identity vendors waiting in the lobby. Since 36 State’s kicked the extension process to the curb it doesn’t look very good for vendor projections.

This is proof citizens realized they reserve the right to deny the unqualified surrender of their identity capital to national security or governed agendas. It is always up to us determine the demand on something as personal as identity.

US citizens stand to lose a great deal more than mere convenience over the matter of national identity cards. A question to clarify: what happens if a fingerprint does not establish my citizenship? Or my birth certificate? Or any other piece of documentation I present to work or attain goods and services?

I lose my recognized rights as a U.S. citizen. People without legitimate US citizenship live in fear of losing their established lives and livelihoods in the event of a federal raid. One could be detained, assets seized for prolonged periods with or without counsel. If a citizen has no control over the documents which interpret their citizenship and their rights at birth, they may lose everything.

Conspicuous public private corporate lobbys tend to put marketing ahead of interpretations of citizenship or privacy. The laws are present to support the market for their technologies or gadgets. This is one contributing reason why repealing legislations, like Real ID, would get $60 million in taxpayer finance. Government contractors have the corner to capitalize on our free and established identity as long as the law will support it.


Vendor profit is a poor excuse to allow bad law to continue. Grassroots abolition coalitions are always forming. Discussions about how to do away with bad laws are ongoing in Washington. There is an unnatural attachment to law in Washington, even treacherous, deeply flawed laws like the Real ID Act.

One question being tossed around by analysts and thinkers in Washington is what will replace a repealed law like Real ID once it is gone?

You might get the picture of panicky politicians fretting about the absence of a rotten tooth in the mouth of a massive bureaucratic beast, which breaks teeth, loses teeth and grows new teeth all the time.

A repeal would not simply kill Real ID, it would kill the corporate entitlement check going to an biometrics or ID card vendor. The difference it makes is in the bottom line of those most impacted by the removal of corporate welfare finance.

Washington can simply make new laws tomorrow. That is what they do in Washington – make laws. The biggest difference here should be in who they make the laws for: individual citizens or public-private interests competing for the taxpayer dollar.

One thing you can be sure of, vendor lobbies don’t care about your rights or who you are. You shouldn’t leave something as personal as your identity up to them and their pet legislators. :::LONG WINDING ARTICLE HERE:::

A new Congressional Budget Office Report is available: “CBO estimates that implementing S. 1261 would increase discretionary costs by $123 million over the 2010-2014 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. We estimate that enacting the bill would increase direct spending by $4 million over both the 2010-2014 and 2010-2019 periods. Enacting S. 1261 would have no significant effect on revenues.”


c/o CNET

BTC – Jeff Moss. Defcon man gone HSGAC. PASS ID is still a Real ID. Someone tell Moss…

Q: So, how’s it going on the Homeland Security Advisory Council?

Moss: It’s going pretty well, it’s pretty exciting actually. Recently we did a recommendation, I’m sure you read about it, the homeland security color codes. There are the five color codes. Normally the country is on like yellow or orange. I think we’ve only been to red once. But we’ve never been to the two lowest, blue and green. So the system was up for review. It turns out that the color codes work really well for industry and government. They have procedures in place. They do things automatically when the color codes are changed. It is actually successful for them but for the third group that uses them, civilians, it actually doesn’t work well at all.

Right. We don’t understand it. We’re like, what does it mean? Is it real?

Moss: How does it give us any actionable information? How should we change our behavior based on it? That’s what came out of the report was that it’s very hard for civilians to do anything with it and it causes confusion, and it’s the No. 1 source of ridicule. The system needs to stay because it’s valuable for the other two groups, but it needs to change was the conclusion of the report. So they had a couple of recommendations and one was to just get rid of the two lowest colors because honestly we’ve never been at them; make the new normal orange. Three levels is probably more realistic than having five. The U.K. doesn’t have five either, I think they have three.

The other big thing was if something is happening in New York, you don’t need to raise it for the whole country, so make them more applicable for a geographic location. Localize it more. And then some other recommendations I thought were reasonable were make it a default where the level is automatically lowered if nothing affirmative happens. So the onus is on the officials to constantly justify why it needs to stay at a higher level. They had some other really common-sensical recommendations. You should tell people without revealing any sensitive security information or sources why did it get raised? Why did it get lowered? Is the threat over or is this an ongoing threat that we just now think is less important?

Two (reports) before that we were dealing with the Real ID versus Pass ID debate. (The Bush administration was) trying to create basically a national identity card and when that didn’t happen they created this Real ID standard that would cause all the states to have standardized features on their driver’s licenses. That’s different from an enhanced driver’s license which is used in place of your passport when crossing into Canada or Mexico.They want make it all much more transparent to the public. So if they say we intercepted these people trying to board a plane with these liquids so we’re going to go got a higher level around airports…something like that, instead of a blanket generalization that’s applied to the whole country without explaining when the threat goes away or is mitigated. I know some members of Congress agreed with the report and it was generally really well received. Now the Advisory Council, we all unanimously agreed with it, and now it’s off to the secretary (of Homeland Security). I was expecting a lot more bureaucrat-ese but that report I couldn’t find anything to nitpick with because it make a lot of sense.

You need biometrics (and to) verify the information through approved two other sources. It’s an attempt by the feds to make sure information getting into the DMVs is actually valid and there’s a paper trail there and the information from one state can be easily shared with another state. It seemed fairly reasonable. But then you started looking at some of the provisions and it turns into another one of these giant unfunded mandates from the feds. A lot of the civil libertarians got up in arms over it and I’m not really pleased either. States started to rebel.

The DHS was saying if you don’t have one of these driver’s licenses that is approved you’re not going to be able to fly. So these governors got together and came up with an alternative plan called Pass ID. It removed it from being a state unfunded mandate, reduced the database requirements, reduced some of the ID requirements, made it much more feasible and reasonable, phased in on not such an immediate time table, didn’t seem to have Big Brother issues. DHS is not going to want to go to war with these states. I think there’s a realization you have to come to some compromise and Pass ID seems like a good compromise, but now you’ve got to convince Congress. ::: ENTIRE INTERVIEW HERE:::

NEMA projects PASS Act’s Greenlight by December ’09
c/o NEMA

On June 16, 2009, the “Providing for Additional Security in States’ Identification Act of 2009”(PASS ID) that would repeal and replace the REAL ID Act of 2005 in order to allow all states to fully comply with security measures designed to make ID’s safer was introduced in the Senate.

The bill was introduced by Senator Daniel Akaka (D-HI), a member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, along with seven other co-sponsors, four of which also serve on the committee. The PASS ID Act removes certain provisions of the REAL ID Act including the requirement that State’s share identification information with each other as well as the strict rules governing use of REAL ID compliant identification to board commercial aircraft while keeping other non-controversial requirements. In July, a hearing was held to examine PASS ID legislation and Secretary Napolitano testified on behalf of the Department of Homeland Security.

On July 27, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee ordered the bill reported favorably but
as of this time, no full Senate vote has been scheduled.

Despite Secretary Napolitano communicating directly with Governors through a letter, there remains a stalemate on REAL ID implementation. The Department is reluctant to continue extending the end-of-year deadline, but 13 states stand statutorily prohibited from implementing the program. A majority of states and NGA have endorsed PASS ID. It is the hope of the Secretary to see PASS ID approved by December 31.

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor

The Homeland Security Department is pushing back the deadline by six weeks for states to request an extension to comply with the REAL ID program.

DHS in its January 2008 final rule set an Oct. 11, 2009 target for states request extra time. States now have until Dec. 1 to request more time to comply with the law.

“All states timely filed the required request for extensions and were granted an extension of the compliance date,” DHS states in a Federal Register notice issued today. “DHS has determined that additional time is warranted for states to submit a request for an additional extension.”

States that do not request an extension still must meet the Jan. 1, 2010 deadline to begin issuing driver’s licenses or other identification cards to issue documents, driver’s licenses or other identification cards that meet the security requirements outlined in the REAL ID Act of 2005.

Congress is considering legislation to change REAL ID to PASS ID, which would reduce the cost and to states. The National Governors Association and others have estimated implementing REAL ID could cost as much as $4 billion.

The Senate’s version of the law passed the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, but the House legislation has not gotten out of the Homeland Security Committee.

PASS ID would:

  • Amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to prohibit agencies from accepting state-issued driver’s licenses and personal identification cards unless the state issues such licenses and cards that are materially compliant with the minimum standards of this act;
  • Prohibit persons from being denied boarding a commercial aircraft solely because of failure to present a driver’s license or identification card issued pursuant to this act;
  • Specify a minimum document requirements and issuance standards for such licenses and cards;
  • Direct the DHS secretary to enter into the appropriate aviation security screening database information on persons who have been convicted of using a false driver’s license at an airport; and to establish a state-to-state one driver, one license demonstration program;
  • Establish a State Driver’s License Enhancement Grant Program;
  • Make it unlawful for a person knowingly and without lawful authority to copy or resell information from a driver’s license or identification card.

Pass ID is expected to retain many elements of Real ID, such as requiring a digital photograph, signature and machine-readable features such as a bar code, The Washington Post reported in June. States also will still need to verify applicants’ identities and legal status by checking federal immigration, Social Security and State Department databases. One concern is that states, after footing the bill to set up these national ID programs, may also have to pay ongoing fees to continue accessing these databases (anywhere from five to 50 cents per transaction), Molly Ramsdell, senior policy director of the NCSL’s state-federal relations division, said during Wednesday’s briefing.

But Pass ID would eliminate the need for states to create new databases linked through a national data hub that would allow all states to store and cross-check such information, according to the Post. Pass ID would also cut the requirement that motor vehicle departments verify birth certificates with originating agencies.

If Pass ID becomes law, Homeland Security would have nine months to write new regulations, and states would have five years to reissue all licenses, with completion expected in 2016. (The Real ID program would have achieved this by the end of 2017.) :::MORE HERE:::

In February, the opponents of REAL ID were given a bit of hope when Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that she wanted to repeal the REAL ID Act, the federal government’s failed plan to impose a national identification card through state driver’s licenses. But what has taken place since is no return to sanity, as political machinations have produced a cosmetic makeover called “PASS ID” that has revived the push for a national identification card.

The PASS ID Act (S. 1261) seeks to make many of the same ineffectual, dangerous changes the REAL ID Act attempted to impose. Fundamentally, PASS ID operates on the same flawed premise of REAL ID — that requiring various “identity documents” (and storing that information in databases for later access) will magically make state drivers’ licenses more legitimate, which will in turn improve national security.

Proponents seem to be blind to the systemic impotence of such an identification card scheme. Individuals originally motivated to obtain and use fake IDs will instead use fake identity documents to procure “real” drivers’ licenses. PASS ID creates new risks — it calls for the scanning and storage of copies of applicants’ identity documents (birth certificates, visas, etc.). These documents will be stored in databases that will become leaky honeypots of sensitive personal data, prime targets for malicious identity thieves or otherwise accessible by individuals authorized to obtain documents from the database. Despite some alterations to the scheme, PASS ID is still bad for privacy in many of the same ways the REAL ID was. And proponents of the national ID effort seem blissfully unaware of the creepy implications of a “papers please” mentality that may grow from the issuance of mandatory federal identification cards. Despite token provisions that claim to give states the freedom to issue non-federal identification cards, the card will be mandatory for most — the PASS ID Act seeks to require everyone to show the federally recognized ID for “any official purpose,” including boarding a plane or entering a federal building.

At the moment, health care reform is commanding tremendous attention and effort on the hill, so the PASS ID Act seems to be on the backburner for now. But after the August recess, anything can happen. So stay tuned for more about PASS ID and critical opportunities to flag your opposition to this flawed national ID scheme.

BTC Editorial

I’ve noticed the amount of coverage that passes as news about Real ID and national identity, my own angles included is actually editorial. That’s why I don’t print Numbers USA’s longwinded and desperate comment tirades on this blog. Everything currently on the news market about Real ID is editorialized.
The important question to ask is, why?
As Real ID news complies with current national news trends; he who has the dollars is buying the news. Secure ID Coalition can beat the drum all day long, but it won’t change the actual number of States from 25 opposed to 13. The corporate press and Washington can say the number of States opposed to Real ID is 13 instead of 50% of the United States. It doesn’t changes the fact that Governors signed off on bills from the ground up through 2 chambers of State government which established their policy and legal application of how to not handle Real ID. If you merely rebrand it PASS ID and continue Real ID on the books, the States will punt your sorry game back to your court doorsteps, just like it has done over a year’s time.
Maintaining Real ID as hubris to save Sensenbrenner fiscal loss and embarassment, and others like him, is really a bad championship for the identity of every adult American. We here at Beat The Chip, represent a voice who will carefully explain truth to the powers, without apology, who have underestimated exactly how personal this is. The Senate and Congress can repackage Real ID 10 times, as they have – once people know what is wrong with what you are doing THEY ARE GOING TO STOP YOU FROM DOING IT.
Someone, maybe several, is going to lose their seat for attempting to shove Real ID down our throats 2 and 3 forms over. The U.S. government has simply gotten it wrong this time. We are not the only countrymen on this planet who have a big problem with a national ID card process.
We know what national identity is about.
National identity has not much if anything at all to do with security according to varied sources. There’s not a hint of moderation about Real ID. It works exclusively in the favor of a select few businesses, who are continually asking for permission to continue with an agenda to create identity that goes against both democracy and a constitutional republic. They are overly attached to the RFID technology as a consequence.
Case in point, regulations inclusive of RFID technology which are unsafe and insecure as part of the continuance of the Real ID Act sing the symptomatic problems with the PASS Act. The information trade is a huge boom, if businesses can glean your information for no extra costs from RFID tag trails and then sell this information idefinitely as their property, it’s better than slavery for them. Specifically, if you don’t protest and you don’t know about it. As usual, those who know security believe they know what’s best for Americans as long as it means that it profits them.
They aren’t just wrong this time; their hands will be tied behind their backs again and again for insisting against the gentleness of the American people. The same people who have been repeatedly betrayed by their immediate government. There is none left to trust among the 3 branches, so they must either stop what they are doing or be replaced. It’s entropy.