Archive for the ‘PASS ID’ Category

A BTC Exclusive

NEWSFLASH – Mainstream, alt-news makers and pundits use a common polarizing tactic known as spin every day. Spin defined for us usually is clearly polemicized reporting from a blogger taking shots at a political stance or action. It’s a line or two at the bottom of some copy. It could be a graph to cast a negative and sundry light on those who espouse an undesired perspective.

Taking any political stand is tough. However, the consistent stand of this snarky blogger is that no form or manifest fashion of anything Real ID should be allowed to move forward without putting a hole in it.

Real ID, if implemented as designed today, would come crushing down on the average American individual for not having the right legal identity tender to do things like travel or enter federal buildings. There has also been significant coverage about the loss and complication of citizens’ privacy from data consolidation, biometrics and RFID tag use.

Lately certain news cretins, left leaning obviates, have gone subtle. What I have observed this week is AlterNet and NPR picking up Real ID and dusting it off in a favorable light. The news voice in support of Real ID in the past has always come from editorial page sledgehammers like Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) himself. This is a strange development after our witness history of support from the social justice NGOs, mostly Democratic and many many federal congressional Democrats sympathetic to public grief over Real ID.

NPR really surprised me with a rather disgusting display of irregular pandering to neo-con defense interests citing that a clause in the Real ID Act was passed to disallow terrorists on US soil.

So far, these rulings have not resulted in detainees’ being released in the United States. But that is only because, at present, the detainees are physically kept outside of the country. In the 2005 Real ID Act, Congress barred aliens who either have been members of terrorist organizations or have received paramilitary training in terrorist camps from entering our nation. Though one judge has tried to order detainees released here regardless, his order was reversed on appeal. Other judges have been hesitant to hold that their power to review detention rulings implies a power to order detainees released, much less released in the United States, in defiance of statutory proscription.


My thoughts immediately jumped to the sheer stupidity and ludicrousness that ANY terrorist, obviously present for the causes of terrorism, would be allowed to be here for, any reason, legally- EVER. Between the FBI, the CIA, the DHS and any other public agency [who may or may not be off the pay-to-fail program] looped into the events leading to 9-11 attacks, there was easily enough intel to root out the terrorists. They simply didn’t heed the call to competence. Real ID doesn’t fix that issue with our government.


Where does NPR’s motivation to report this misinformation come from? The public funds this media, right? Not all the time. The rest of the time it’s the MacArthur Foundation and other Council on Foreign Relations regulars who play patsy to neo-con interests from time to time when it starts to look like the United States is not the manageable, cohesive group which will foster their corporate or globalized interests. FUN FACT: Dick Cheney was once a Director of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Under the subheader, Next They’ll Put a Chip in Your Brain, AlterNet made sure to single out an African American Tea Party member paying negative tribute to his awareness of the incorporation of RFID technology in licenses. They also made sure to illustrate, Nate of the LA Tea Party, wasn’t doing enough for the black race and that he’s clearly guilty of being an Obama apostate. While RFID does have disastrous implications if allowed to move forward without certain vigilance, AlterNet’s bloggers won’t be there to insure you if there’s a massive digital invasion of your life personally. They can go ahead and take shots at the easy targets [Christian “Teabaggers”] because it’s fun to hate. Kool-Aide, anyone?
While AlterNet can get away with making Tea Party people look bad, they are not getting away with a cheap attempt to humiliate away the proliferation of a database state agenda. Alarm over RFID proliferation is simply a sensational head at the top of a monstrous digital privacy boil. A really nasty boil, I might add, that many privacy, technology and civil liberty groups spend their days lancing by outing complicit corporations. The root? Public-private dealmaking over otherwise illegal intel gathering. Americans are being led unwillingly down the inequitable slope where corporations and certain sectors of government feed each others avarice for information, power and of course, money.
So what does this have to do with you? You are present on planet earth so Corporate vampires can make money off of you. Anything else is some sort of weird blasphemy to the likes of Yahoo!, Google, AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, AAMVA, Choicepoint, Lexus Nexis, and any other business that will sell your information for cash.

I’ll go as far as saying that Democrats who don’t find problems with extended surveillance agendas plaguing the US have said, often directly, they have had their identity stolen – what more can they do to us with this license or database agenda?

I have to think about what they might really want. They want security in their government. They want protection from terrorists. Somewhere in the Democratic brain, where government is always the best path to problem solving, they may have said – unfunded mandate bad, extra surveillance as a compromise- OK! Which is why the Supermajority might continue to greenlight the PATRIOT Act and subsequent FISA agendas.

Moderate and even extreme left can understand when an agenda could lead to totalitarian behavior, but they often are not as sensitized at times to how that plays out in America. This is, unfortunately, in stark contrast to millions of Americans who are in between and outside of this 2 party system. There has been a general lack of sensitivity over issues made certain are problematic for civil liberty with the ’06 crop of Democrats. They were not necessarily the first to see what was wrong with the Real ID Act until a bunch of Republicans snuck it in without asking them first. Then it was: “How dare you ask for money!! That’s an unfunded mandate!!”

That was until 36 states and almost 5 years later the federal government was told to go pound sand until they can get the plan for average American identity right.


What the American people are left with is another food fight, but this time to save face over what was obviously a bad idea as the Real ID Act. Real ID has become a herald of 10th Amendment actions – nullification. States might think Real ID looks okay but they just couldn’t get the nasty taste out of their mouth, no matter the incentive.

Real ID is headed for a repeal. No matter what they throw at the likes of me or anyone who defends themselves from individual intrusion it won’t ever make Real ID a good and decent law for the benefit of the people.
You simply can’t polish a turd.

Richard Esguerra, for EFF

As 2009 draws to a close, we’re inching ever deeper into the corner that Congress painted us into by passing Real ID under the table in 2005. (Recall that Real ID is the failed, Bush-era attempt to turn state drivers licenses into national ID cards by forcing states to collect and store licensee data in databases, and refusing to accept non-compliant IDs for federal purposes, like boarding a plane or entering a federal building.

The official deadline for states to comply with the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) final Real ID rule is December 31, 2009, and an estimated 36 states will not be in compliance by then, leading to some ambiguity for many citizens. For example, will residents of Montana be able to board planes in January 2010 with only a driver’s license (a state-supplied, technically non-compliant document) and without a passport (an identity document issued by the federal government)?

Past history strongly suggests that DHS will issue last-minute waivers to states that have not amped up their drivers licenses to adhere to Real ID. Early in 2008, states that actively opposed Real ID received waivers from DHS, nominally marking the states as “compliant” despite strongly-stated opposition to ever implementing Real ID.

But waiting in the wings is PASS ID, a bill that attempts to grease the wheels by offering money to the states to implement ID changes. Despite having the appearances of reform, PASS ID essentially echoes Real ID in threatening citizens’ personal privacy without actually justifying its impact on improving security. For this reason, PASS ID is not popular — privacy advocates refuse to support the bill because it still creates a national ID system. It still mandates the scanning and storage of applicants’ critical identity documents (birth certificates, visas, etc.), which 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. And on the other side, short-sighted surveillance hawks are unhappy with the bill because they support the privacy violations architected into the provisions of the original Real ID Act.

As such, advocates of PASS ID are publicly wringing their hands over the deadline in order to encourage Congress to approve the PASS ID Act before the end of the year. But the fracas over health reform is suffocating any chance for meaningful debate about the merits of PASS ID before the Dec. 31st deadline.

A pragmatic analysis should show that Real ID is dead. To date, 24 states have enacted resolutions or binding legislation prohibiting participation in Real ID, and the varied, desperate efforts to reanimate it are misguided. Whether the states or the federal government signs the invoice, the cost ultimately falls to taxpayers, who should be troubled that neither Real ID nor PASS ID is likely to fulfill the stated goal of stopping terrorists from obtaining identity documents. (Just this week, noted security expert Bruce Schneier linked to a report about government investigators successfully using fake identity documents to obtain high-tech “e-passports,” which were then used to buy plane tickets, and board flights — the point being that a fancy, “secure” identity document doesn’t stop individuals from exploiting a weak bureaucracy.)

On the other hand, the resulting databases filled with scanned identity documents will create tantalizing targets for identity thieves and headaches for people whose digital documents are pilfered; and a national ID system will invite mission creep from the government as well as private entities like credit reporting agencies and advertisers. It’s high time for reason to replace the reflexive defense of a failed scheme. Congress should repeal Real ID for real and seek more inspired, protective solutions to identity document security.

BTC – It’s time to beat Real ID like a cheap Christmas pin˜ata.
Since the “deadline” *cough-cough* is approaching 12/31/09, yelling into your megaphones today will clear the path for the repeal effort you want tomorrow.

The following are action alerts listed for pan- partisan interests. Promote these alerts to your friends, relatives and “frenemies”. Repost this on DIGG, Yahoo! Buzz, Facebook, MySpace, to tweet and re-tweet to those you know. You can use the convenient +SHARE icon at the bottom of this blog entry to get started.



For Conservative Tastes:

REAL ID is scheduled to go into effect on January 1. The good news is that it may be repealed by then. The bad news is that it may be replaced by something worse, the PASS ID.

For General civil libertarians, or Left leaning palettes: ACLU’s

Take Action! Oppose PASS ID, the Real ID revival in the Senate

PASS ID would impose the United States’ first-ever national identity card system. It would enable restrictions on who can travel, enable increased surveillance of travel and purchasing habits, burden religious minorities, and it fails in its mission to make driver’s licenses secure.

Call your Senators today and tell them to oppose PASS ID (S. 1261), Sen. Akaka’s “Real ID-Lite”!

Click here to take action. Learn more about the problems with PASS ID here. Read the ACLU’s press release on PASS ID here.

For Moderates – or independent adventurers : 5-11 Campaign’s Action Alert + Grassroots Netroots Alliance

The PASS Act is an attempt to continue policies of identity surveillance present in the Real ID Act. The PASS Act would allow Real ID regulations and policies to continue, mandating RFID and biometrics technologies, which have been repeatedly proven to be insecure and inappropriate for identity. The PASS Act does not in fact repeal the Real ID Act. It simply changes the name and a few of the regulations so it can continue move forward over laws established to stop Real ID by 25 States.

Please tell your local and federal officials to vote NO on the PASS Act and that you will not accept a substitution for the Real ID Act when it should justly be repealed.


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

8 States set to choke Real ID deadline game of “chicken”

BTC Exclusive
Today States feel federal pressures to conform and pay for 18 national ID benchmarks. The “D.O.A.” legislation requiring these standards- Real ID – is headed for a repeal. Some States, smarter than others, have rebuffed compliance requests until DHS solidifies a plan. In these straits, PASS ID (S.1261) is being presented as a reasonable alternative for the harsh regulations slapped on States in January of 2008.
PASS ID may have evaded the label of “unfunded mandate”, but the fiscal breakdown is the same. States will still pay to construct identity data surveillance hubs to insecurely network government records across the nation. PASS ID knocked off some attributes which originally drove States mad to push out Real ID – massive unfunded mandatory projects to be footed by States. This time States can opt-in and test the programs first. Try it, before you buy it. There is nothing in the newer legislation, S.1261, to stop expenses of digital project scope creep from expanding incrementally for years to come once States are on the hook. Unfortunately, scope creep is a problem currently plaguing existing Real ID digital network management, increasing expenses.
PASS ID has been drowzily accepted by some of its former critics due to the special “national recession discount”. One theory on the loss leader acceptance is ignorance about requirements for States to comply with national identity standards. States today do not yet have a full recognition of what Real ID will cost or what is fully required from them to build a national identity data aggregate or infrastructure. Local governments remain hesitant because DHS is still settling matters of how to both afford and competently network the IT behemoth. The plan to “kick the can”, started underneath the Bush administration, has eroded DHS credibility to enforce a national ID deadline. States know DHS issued comprehensive blanket waivers on Real ID compliance measures.
This week 8 states “choked” the compliance game of chicken, some issuing letters defying Real ID regulations going into 2010. That is exactly what was done by States to address the last DHS deadline, March 31st, 2008. Based on previous results, DHS is expected to issue blanket waivers to all 50 States to continue Real ID development.
DHS expects much to occur towards a successful vote on PASS ID between now and December 31st, 2009. If the S.1261 bill passes, it wouldn’t necessarily nullify Real ID deadlines, it would simply absorb them. The majority of Real ID practices and standards would then move forward as the PASS Act. Senator Joe Lieberman did his best to get a unanimous YES vote on S.1261 this week. PASS ID opponents are hawkish about DHS Senate members attempts to import the language in an upcoming omnibus appropriations bill.
Pro-national identity advocates favoring Real ID are fighting PASS ID. Their motives may differ from immigration and privacy advocates, but the attack remains the same. PASS ID may suffer a significant minority block for purely political reasons.
Meanwhile, there are little to no reports of widespread identity adversity without the full battery of Real ID regulated ID cards across the United States.
Nonetheless, citizens are urged to continue to speak up now about a national ID card system in America. Please don’t allow the rebranding of Real ID as PASS ID to give you more of what you’ve dreaded all along: identity surveillance. :::TAKE ACTION HERE:::

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

BTC – It’s either kick the can or repeal it the correct way.

Congress appears increasingly unlikely to repeal a sweeping driver’s license law by the end of the year, which may force the Homeland Security Department to grant blanket waivers to states unable or unwilling to issue licenses that meet federal security standards.

Without the waivers or a congressional repeal, the Real ID law goes into effect Jan. 1. Officials across the country fear that would set off a situation that could include a requirement that tens of thousands of airline passengers go through secondary screening at airports every day.

Senate Democrats have been unable to get an agreement from Republicans to bring legislation to the floor that would repeal Real ID, which many federal and state officials say is unworkable and some consider an unfunded mandate from Washington.