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.
THE REPEAL DILEMMA
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:::