Archive for the ‘Security’ Category
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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.
To promote safety and cut red tape, state-by-state licenses should be replaced by federally issued ones. Pro or con? [MORE]
Isn’t greater security important? Doesn’t a set of national standards set a minimum bar for security, bringing nationwide compliance up to at least a tolerable level? Aren’t standards — especially for something as important as security — good things?
effectiveness: As Governor Schweitzer points out in the above-linked interview, most of the identified 9/11 hijackers would have qualified to be issued an ID under the requirements of the REAL ID Act.privacy: Among other issues of privacy, this Act aims to create a national database, available to many federal and state agencies, tracking personally identifying information about carriers of REAL ID compliant identification cards — which could also contribute to increased risk of identity fraud.risks: Some of the requirements of the Act may actually increase security risks, rather than reducing them. This is a common problem with broadly applied standards enacted by people (like Congress) who have no security expertise. Among the problems is the mandate for RFID chips in your wallet — a source of security vulnerability about which I’ve already written, in What to do about RFID chips in your wallet.legality: The law created by the passage of the REAL ID Act may itself be illegal. Specifically, it has been argued that it is unconstitutional, violating the 10th Amendment. [MORE]
Drivers license rejection anger policy’s critics
Susan Carroll, Houston Chronicle
New citizenship rules for Texas licenses lead to misfortune, complications
“I have always maintained my legal status,” Mehmood said. “It’s not fair to people who want to live here and follow the law.”–Adeel Mehmood, University of Houston alumni
Three months after the policy took effect, critics are pointing to a growing list of cases involving legal immigrants who have been significantly delayed or outright rejected in efforts to get or renew licenses despite being authorized to live and work legally in the U.S.
“I have always maintained my legal status,” Mehmood said. “It’s not fair to people who want to live here and follow the law.”
Under the policy change, only applicants who have documents showing they have permission to stay in the U.S. for at least six months are eligible for Texas drivers’ licenses. But immigration attorneys are reporting that people who meet that criteria but are unable to produce documents required by the Department of Public Safety to prove their legal status are still being turned away.
For example, Mehmood said he was rejected by DPS after being told his letter from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services granting him asylum wasn’t specifically listed on DPS’ list of acceptable forms. [MORE]