May 31, 2005

More Commentaries

Preserve the Republic -- Scrap Real ID, an open letter to Congress

And two from The Libertarian Enterprise:
Repeal the Real ID Act, by Todd Andrew Barnett; and
Not a Good Week by Ron Beatty.

Both of the TLE pieces, although written for a libertarian audience, are excellent for sharing with nonlibertarians you know who don't yet know what's coming with the Real ID Act.

May 30, 2005

Two from Friends

A conspirator of mine, Cat Farmer, has penned a nice diatribe to Hewlett Packard after reading about their contributions to the national ID system. A sample:
Is it good governance to tag and track people like cattle under the guise of protecting their liberties and ensuring their security, or an extemely bad and treacherous joke? When a government seeks to secure the well being of those in power to the detriment of citizens' well being and security, whose government is it - and why should thinking people trust government to safeguard any interests but its own?

And, in his usual fine form, Garry Reed at The Loose Cannon Libertarian wrote a nifty piece as well, titled Regurgitate Real ID!. A bit of Garry's piece as well:
If Americans really wanted Real ID, why did the powercrats have to sneak it past us, buried in a "patriotic" war-fighting and "charitable" tsunami relief spending bill? No, our control freak federalcrats have thrust this down our throats.

It's time to barf it back into the bald-faced lying faces of the Beltway Bolsheviks. If freedom is to be the philosophy of the future, the future starts now.

He also asked to be added to the list of Rebels. Welcome, Garry!

An open letter to Congress

The following link will take you to an impassioned piece written by Elizabeth Cameron and published at

Preserve the Republic - Scrap Real ID: An open letter to Congress

With today being Memorial Day, it is important to think of all the men and women who have served in the military over the years along with what they thought they were trying to defend. Many of those people, including Elizabeth Cameron's father, would react scornfully to the establishment of national identification cards that have the effect of moving this country closer to becoming one where there is no freedom left to defend.

Included in her letter is a choice quote from Benjamin Franklin, one that seemingly shows how he would feel about the Real ID Act if he were with us today:
"He who gives up liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security."

May 29, 2005

Wikipedia acknowledges Real ID Act

I thought I'd pass along the news that Wikipedia now has an entry devoted to the Real ID Act. Since Wikipedia is an open encyclopedia that anyone can edit, this gives us rebels a chance to use this medium to further educate people about the dangers associated with the Real ID Act. The "controversy" section in particular could use a lot of additional meat added to it. I added a link to this site to at least get the ball rolling.

May 28, 2005

Microsoft, HP partner on national ID systems

I was going to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt (yes, go ahead and laugh), but apparently that is not going to be possible. They are clearly active partners with HP:

Microsoft, HP partner on national ID systems
Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft (Profile, Products, Articles) are working together to offer governments national identity systems built on the .Net platform.

The tech giants have been working on a code base that will allow them to offer a set of technology components for functions such as online and offline demographic and biometric data capture, regional verification and registration, and document lifecycle management.

They unveiled their plan to target worldwide governments with the technologies at an event in Geneva on Friday. HP is bringing its hardware and consulting services to the table, while Microsoft is supplying software products such as its Server 2003 Enterprise Edition and BizTalk Server 2004. The companies are tapping partners in the security market, such as biometric technology vendors and public key infrastructure (PKI) providers, to offer specific national identity systems.

(thanks to rockchucker at TCF)

Spying Chips Possible in the New IDs

Federal report warns of RFID misuse is the relatively benign-sounding headline. But look at two statements within the piece (I'll put them in bold in this quote to make that easier):
Radio frequency identification is becoming increasingly popular inside the U.S. government, but agencies have not seriously considered the privacy risks, federal auditors said.

In a report published Friday, the Government Accountability Office said that 13 of the largest federal agencies are already using RFID or plan to use it. But only one of 23 agencies polled by the GAO had identified any legal or privacy issues--even though three admitted RFID would let them track employee movements. ....

RFID is a catchall term for a broad array of technologies that includes everything from battery-powered "active" tags, such as those used in highway toll booths, to "passive" RFID tags that measure a fraction of a millimeter in each dimension, not counting the antenna in the device.
Cities tempted by wireless

Agencies already are experimenting with passive RFID technology. Among the list of planned or actual uses: the Department of Defense for tracking shipments; the Department of Homeland Security for immigration and baggage tracking; the State Department for electronic passports; the Department of Veterans Affairs for "audible prescription reading."

In addition, under the Real ID Act, the Department of Homeland Security is responsible for designing a standardized ID card that could be RFID-outfitted.

Now, there's no reason for the government to want them in the pretty new national IDs they're trying to force us into, is there? Anyone want to offer some odds on whether our forthcoming slave-tags will be chipped?

May 27, 2005

Action: Hewlett-Packard National Identity System product queries and complaints

Having read Sunni's post and having a free day on my hands, I decided to take some time to poke the hornet's nest that is the HP National Identity System.

Ironically, HP's privacy policy states:
HP respects the privacy of its customers and is committed to protecting it. As a leader in the world of e-commerce and information technology services, HP also leads the way in the worldwide marketplace in advancing the rights of consumers to have their personal information safeguarded. Through its Privacy Office, HP assures that its global policies and procedures match the highest standards of privacy excellence. Additionally, HP champions consumer privacy rights at conferences and forums in countries around the world.

There's more- follow the link to read it for yourself.

As a customer, investor, and professional colleague, I would like Hewlitt-Packard to know exactly what I think of this. Fortunately, I have many options of which I plan to exercise more than one:

I can provide e-mail feedback regarding
-Investor Relations, or
-Send a Message to the CEO- Mark Hurd

I already spent some time on the phone (see note below) this morning by
-calling HP toll-free at (800) 752-0900,
-then on my own nickel at (650) 857-7166 (Executive Customer Relations),
-then toll free again at (866) 266-7272, and
-then again at Executive Customer Relations.

My goal here was to find someone to ask about the details of the HP National Identity System product. I like to get the facts before I make my formal complaint so that I sound informed and can make specific criticisms. However, I have so far gotten nowhere except to get a very condescending-sounding ECR rep tell me I should send an e-mail to the office of the president at with "CNET security" in the subject field and they would send me something back (it sounded like it would be a canned response). I'm going to go off and do that right after I post this, but since he sounded like he didn't know what the product was that I was talking about, I'm going to send the e-mail with subject line "CNET National Identity System".

If anyone else chooses to act on this news from HP- and I hope you do- I would appreciate it if you would please post your e-mail and any response you receive (no matter how pre-formed or uninformative the response may be) or post the crux of your telephone conversations with any additional feedback opportunities you may uncover in the comments for this post. If you are a customer or investor in Hewlitt-Packard, please be sure to mention that when you register your displeasure. I really would like to see a lot of people work this- the more people- particularly customers/investors- that HP hears from, the more it's going to mean to them that we are not on board with their plan.

Note: When making these sorts of calls, it pays to be courteous yet persistent. Having friends who work in the call-center industry, I can tell you that yelling (particularly at the first few people you talk to who probably don't even work for HP) is not going to do anything but get you accidentally hung up on or (if they are really angry) put on hold while the rep goes on break or something like that. When you call the toll-free number, the person you talk to likely can't do a thing for you and is probably most interested in getting you off the line quickly so that his or her call time metric isn't shot. Wasting this person's time may mean you are taking money out of his or her pocket, and the rep probably doesn't even work for HP let alone have any power to fix this for us. Not too many people are interested in helping someone who is hurting them. But by being polite you can often get someone to divulge a secret number that they don't usually give out or other useful information to get you off the phone quicker. Be sure to have a pen and paper nearby to take down any and all information they give you for future use.

Peeking Behind the Curtain

I apologize for the prolonged absence here. It isn't due to lack of attention or interest, that's for sure! The Rebel team is currently deep into a discussion of tactics, and it's looking pretty certain that what we want to do is going to outstrip Blogger's capabilities. So, rather than add more stuff here that will only need to be exported somewhere else, we're working on our plan. We'll letcha know what we're about as soon as we can -- which may not be all that long now.

Meantime, here's an interesting news item from c|net news, from the "Follow-the-Money" department: HP aims to help governments check IDs. First few paragraphs:
Hewlett-Packard plans to launch a product on Friday that helps governments check the digital identity of citizens.

The technology, called the HP National Identity System, is designed to be used in conjunction with a number of Microsoft products, including its .Net line of server, database and middleware programs. The companies plan to jointly develop, market and offer training for the authentication system.

The product can be used to authenticate visitors to government Web sites, to control access to services and manage citizens' online identity, HP said.

In addition, the new product includes technology to make ID documents--such as passports, driver's licenses and identity cards--more secure and "intelligent," the company said. The technology can fulfill new secure ID requirements designed to heighten security at national borders, the company said.

So the coming National ID won't be just in physical space -- they'll be trying to control your online activities, too. And HP and Microsoft are likely just two of the numerous companies that'll be selling us out in creating fascist Amerika.

May 25, 2005

More News and Commentary

Here's a very interesting interview on what the Real ID Act says about standardizing drivers' licenses. It's with a VP of Card Scanning Solutions.

Via the SaltyPig, a bit of tripe pushing the idea that the Real ID doesn't go far enough: This country needs a real national ID card.

I'm hoping to add another post later today -- something of substance on activism. And thanks to a friend, I ought to get some other good graphics up here. We'll see what I can manage with my slowly-healing finger.

May 23, 2005

Good Cartoons/Graphics on Real ID

Russmo, a libertarian cartoonist, has a great one currently at the top of his home page on the Real ID. So does the nice proprietor of Plug Nickel Times. Once I figure out how to handle graphics through Blogger, I'll get 'em up here (I cheated on the one from my other site).

May 20, 2005

Tom Knapp Asks What to Do About "Real ID?"

And he has some answers. You may not be willing or able to go for all of his suggestions (I'm not myself), but odds are good you'll find something here that is useful to you. (Someone please tell me more about these pre-loaded debit cards that can be reloaded on the Internet or at local kiosks.)

NH: Man Without I.D. Vows to Board Flight or Be Jailed

Some New Hampshirites are taking action!

I received an e-mail this week from Kat Dillon alerting me to an upcoming planned act of civil disobedience on 11 June 2005 inspired by the Real ID Act.

Excerpts from the press release:

Russell Kanning of Keene has announced he will approach a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint at Manchester airport on June 11 and refuse to cooperate with the requirement to show ID until he is arrested.

"In a free country," he says, "you do not need the government's permission to travel." "My goal is to visit Independence Hall by flying to Philadelphia, but I will refuse to show identification. Before airport security was federalized in 2001, I was free to do this, but not anymore."

Only two months after the September 11th attacks, the Aviation Security Act federalized airport security nationwide, and granted unprecedented police powers to the TSA. Now, an ID is mandatory to enter an airport, passengers must travel alone past security checkpoints, and random full-body searches in public are considered normal.

Kanning stresses that he will not resist arrest or do anything that might be perceived as physically threatening. He says this act of nonviolent resistance will follow the model laid down by Gandhi, who used peaceful noncooperation to expel the British from India. "We will tell them everything we're going to do ahead of time. We are not going to disrupt the operation of the airport," he says.

But Kanning says the parallels with Gandhi's situation go further than a shared belief in nonviolence. "In South Africa, where Gandhi's protests began, non-whites were required to have a special form of ID to walk in public. To fight against this law, he organized an event to burn these forms of ID."


Kanning says Gandhi's and Fisher's examples inspired him to take similar action against the growing surveillance state. He believes the Real ID amendment passed by the Senate this month will make things even worse. But he says it's important to stay positive. "Our goal is to be able to travel in privacy and end the federalization of airport security. This is only the beginning."

Visit the New Hampshire Underground (described by the correspondent as a group of Freestaters and New Hampshirites working toward freedom) for the complete press release which can be found by scrolling down to the "News" heading in the center column of the page.

Real ID Act to Get First Court Test Next Week

Case will test REAL ID asylum law, says the World Peace Herald. Here are the first two paragraphs of the story:
"A federal court is scheduled next week to hear the first case in which the Bush administration is using controversial provisions of the newly minted REAL ID Act that limit the right of appeal for people refused asylum.

"Ablavi Malm, 51, was ordered deported to Togo because her appeal invoking the protection of anti-torture statutes was filed 20 days late, according to her lawyer, Morton Sklar of the World Organization for Human Rights USA."

And, farther into the article:
"[T]he law removes the right of would-be refugees to file petitions under habeas corpus -- a legal doctrine regarding whether a person is being held legally.

"The Department of Justice, in papers filed Tuesday, said the law means the courts cannot hear Malm's appeal.

"'This is a very long standing and carefully preserved right,' Sklar said of habeas corpus. 'It is a last resort to ensure that fundamental rights are not eliminated by administrative fiat.'"

Ah, but isn't that what's been happening here in the USSA for years now?

Another news item, from the Vermont Guardian: SurREAL ID: New drivers' licenses may mean loss of privacy. An excerpt from the middle of this good story:
"George Orwell's totalitarian 'Big Brother' is exactly the image to which pundits and critics compare the Real ID Act.

"Robert Dreyfuss, contributing editor to The Nation and Mother Jones, calls it 'a step toward a chilling, privacy-violating national ID card system that could one day have Americans being asked, Nazi-style, to "show us your papers" wherever they go.'

"That's not so far-fetched, says Jeff Weaver, chief of staff for Rep. Bernie Sanders, one of only 58 House members to turn thumbs down on the measure.

"'There is a real concern on a lot of people's part that this is the first step toward a national ID card,' said Weaver. 'To the extent that you create a federally mandated standardized driver’s license process, you are certainly moving in that direction.'

"Aside from the cost to states to comply with Real ID requirements -- a figure the National Conference of State Legislatures puts at about $700 million -- Weaver said Sanders' concerns center on technology currently being introduced in U.S. passports, which will include a remotely readable chip that delivers information to electronic scanners anytime the bearer passes through a reader."

Last for now, I just discovered a May 9 Findlaw commentary that's still worth reading: The REAL ID Act: How It Violates U.S. Treaty Obligations, Insults International Law, Undermines Our Security, and Betrays Eleanor Roosevelt's Legacy. Upon reading that title, I expected the Eleanor Roosevelt angle to be silly, but I actually found it to be one of the best points of the commentary:
"As Eleanor Roosevelt said, 'One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.'"

May 19, 2005

Burn Your License

Thanks to Mary Lou Seymour of Rational Review News for pointing this one (and several others) out to me: Burn Your License. Author Annalee Newitz starts out strong and just keeps rolling:
"During the Vietnam War, people protested the draft and U.S. policy in Vietnam by burning draft cards. It was a symbolic gesture -- a way of refusing to be counted as a citizen willing to fight a morally dubious battle, a way to avoid becoming a statistic in the graveyards of the cold war.

"As of last week, we have a new card to burn. I'm talking about the new driver's licenses and ID cards ushered into existence by the passage of Rep. James Sensenbrenner's Real ID Act, which zoomed through the House and Senate without debate by piggybacking on an appropriations bill."

A great activism idea, with a fine American tradition behind it too!

News and Graphics

They Really Are Watching You, by Mark Morford of the San Francisco Chronicle
Real ID Act mostly helps identity thieves, editorial in the Mercury News (if you aren't registered there, BugMeNot can get you in)
Your Papers Please, Komrade, an open letter to the New Hampshire Congressthugs who voted for the Real ID Act, by Carl Bussjaeger

Yesterday, I learned that James Sensenbrenner, the Wisconsin Representative responsible for pushing this National ID on us, isn't content to rest there. He has another bill working its way through Congress, which if passed would make all U.S. citizens either government snitches, or criminals in jail. If you'd like to learn more about this, please read What the hell is wrong with James Sensenbrenner? at my other web site. He's single-handedly on a crusade to turn the U.S.A. into the USSA -- and he appears to be succeeding. The people who voted for this tyrant need to be educated, badly. Anyway, after making that post, I received this in email, with the invitation to "distribute freely":

Uber Fascist

Please do not hotlink to my server; copy the graphic and upload it to yours if you want to use it on your site. The only source I have for the graphic is, which is still under construction. If that's an indication of things to come, though, all I can say is, "Bring it on!" :-)

May 18, 2005

Who Is Pushing Real ID?

One of my first thoughts upon hearing that more than 600 organizations are opposed to Real ID was, "Well then who supports it?" I suspect that it might be useful to understand who is driving this effort and what they are arguing.

Some preliminary findings:

Smart Card Alliance

Coalition for a Secure Driver's License

Numbers USA

And let us not forget that Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle has been offering his company's software to the government free to run a nationalized ID program.

I'll be compiling a summary of the interests these organizations (and any others that come to my attenction) have in pushing the Real ID. That may give us some pointers on how to effectively oppose their efforts.

Please post any links you find documenting any other organizations supporting Real ID in the comments section for this post.

TwoThree More Resources

Claire Wolfe pegs the impact of the Real ID Act for freedom-minded individuals who refuse to submit to a national ID in a recent Backwoods Home Magazine column: We're All Illegal Aliens Now.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) has a page on its web site devoted to Real ID news and commentary. Scroll down to view the "news items", which is still being updated.

Strike the Root has a piece by Jonathan David Morris: Real ID: A License to Kill.

If you've taken to dropping in regularly, you've probably noticed two new contributors listed to the right. We've several ideas for making this site better, and although all of us have day jobs, we'd like to start implementing at least a few of them soon. Stay tuned!

May 17, 2005

Good Summary of Problems with the Real ID Act

William Statler has written an easy to read overview explaining why the Real ID Act is so bad: Real ID - Real Problems.

More tomorrow -- I'm nursing a bad cut on a finger and have typed too much today already.

May 16, 2005

Brief News Roundup

Real ID Act spurs real concerns, Florida Today, 5/13. What's most noteworthy about this piece is the ignorance displayed by some of the individuals quoted in it.

Real ID Act has problems, editorial in The Olympian, 5/15. Good glimpse of how the driver's license bureaucracy will bloat, and bog down, as well as a solid criticism of how the Real ID Act was foisted upon this country.

Last, from the "Know Your Enemy" department: Real ID: Security for our communities and our nation, commentary published 5/16 in the Augusta Free Press, by Congressvermin Bob Goodlatte. This piece of tripe is worth quoting from:
"This is by no means a national ID card. .... Additionally, 11 states do not even require license applicants to provide proof of legal presence. The Real ID Act simply provides uniform requirements for states when issuing one of the most commonly used forms of identification."

It would seem that Goodlatte doesn't know enough history to realize that the states were intended to be "50 experiments in freedom", meaning they had wide latitude to do as they wished. It even says so, right in the Constitution; it's the Tenth Amendment, Congressman.

The Augusta Free Press (the motto of which is "Our Only Agenda is the Truth") includes an eddress for Goodlatte, as well as one for letters to the editor. I encourage individuals -- especially those "represented" by Goodlatte in Virginia -- to write to editors when they see coverage of the Real ID Act. In cases like Goodlatte's commentary and the Florida Today drivel, the erroneous information (and missing information) should be briefly and respectfully corrected. In cases like The Olympian's good coverage, letters should be supportive and encouraging of more work along similar lines.

Getting the ugly reality of the Real ID act out in front of the public is important, particularly since it was so furtively passed. An informal educational campaign of letter-writing to your local newspapers, plus national ones, is an excellent way to inform the public, and to keep the mainstream media's feet to the fire on this issue.

May 15, 2005

More Recommended Reading

National Security Advisor Fields Questions on Real ID, satire by Kirsten at Crackers Central
Wake Up, America!, by Lady Liberty.

Preliminary Thoughts on Rebelling

So, we're rebelling against the coming NID (national ID) ... what exactly does that mean? To me, it means a helluva lot more than saying, "Sign me up!" and posting a cool graphic on one's web site, and then going back to the daily trudge of one's life. The U.S. Congress and President Bush have, in making the Real ID Act law, thoroughly gutted liberty in this country -- to say nothing of privacy.

While the law will not come into full effect until 2008 (at present writing), look for elements of it to start being implemented much sooner. Don't count on the state governments to continue their tepid protestations -- after all, their primary concern is primarily that Real ID is an unfunded mandate. If the federal government starts tossing them money, I predict most states' politicians will be only too happy to comply.

If we want to keep this country free of national IDs that are required for any travel within the country, or to transact any sort of business, we, the people must take action against it. How do we do that?

There are many ways. I'll be exploring them in more depth in the future, but for now, it's helpful to think about the possibilities. First, there's loud, public opposition, such as this web site and its affiliated Rebels; there's also quiet, under-the-radar screen activism possibilities; others may choose to work within the system to bring it down; and last, others may choose education as their form of activism -- writing about what's coming, and why it's wrong, so that more people understand what's at stake and may become moved to become activists themselves. (For a more fully-fleshed take on three of these four ideas, see Claire Wolfe's book The Freedom Outlaw's Handbook [the link goes to my review of it], and The Claire Files Forum for an ongoing discussion of these methods and much more.)

Then, think about how important this is to you. Are you willing to die rather than carry a NID? Are you willing to radically restructure your life so that you can live outside the "official" U.S. system -- possibly foregoing the nice house, a traditional job, banking and credit as you know it, relatively free travel (although it bears mentioning that commercial airlines already require a photo ID to board a plane, claiming that some law requires that while not bringing forth a copy of the law for individuals to see)?

Think about others who might be affected by your decision -- spouse, children, elderly family members, friends. Are they willing to bear some (perhaps a lot) of unpleasant consequences of your chosen course? Are you willing to bear the loss of support from some, maybe all, of these people in your life? (You'll almost certainly meet new friends, but that can be small consolation at best if your marriage ends over your activism.)

If, after pondering these questions, all you're willing to do right now is post an anti-NID graphic on your web site, your support is still welcome. Every voice raised in opposition is important. I recommend that you choose from the graphics from the Liberty Round Table's No-NID project and link back to it.

For those of you who are willing to take further action, this is the place to be. We'll be exploring these questions, and many more related to them, as we go. We're just getting started here -- and your input is welcome.

May 14, 2005

Recommended Reading; and How to Join the Rebellion

Several great pieces against the Real ID have come to my attention:

Open Letter to President Bush on the Signing of the Real ID Act, Bill St. Clair
A rant by Elias Alias, originally posted to the Liberty Round Table discussion list, and published at The Claire Files forum
Stay Angry about the Real ID Act, Claire Wolfe
To Hell with All the Bastards, Arthur Silber
The End of America: May 10, 2005, The Liberty Crew at JPFO
Real ID, by security expert Bruce Schneier (an excellent resource in general)
A Police State?, Ron Beatty at The Libertarian Enterprise

If you know of other worthwhile essays on this specific topic, please point me to them in the comments for this post. I'd also like to point visitors to a book on national ID edited by Carl Watner: National Identification Systems: Essays in Opposition. Contributors to it include Carl Watner, Claire Wolfe, Patty Neil, Simon Davies, and yours truly (I do not profit monetarily from sales of the book).

If you'd like to add your blog or web site to the Real ID rebellion, please post a notice to that effect in the comments of the first entry here. I'll add folks to the blogroll as quickly as possible.

May 13, 2005

The Real ID Rebellion Begins!

Thank you, Bill St. Clair, for spelling things out so clearly. Thank you, David Codrea, for the suggestion. Thank you, Claire Wolfe, for the motivation.

While I get some things together behind the scenes to flesh out this space, I invite anyone interested in signing on to visit the Liberty Round Table's outdated project page for our National ID protest. From there one can find various graphics and a good sound clip. That project is under renovation too.