July 27, 2006

More Lost Information

The US Navy has once again lost more sensitive information according to a report in the Washington Post. Not once, but twice in the last two months the Navy had laptops with sensitive information "stolen" from their offices. This brings their total up to three times in less than two months. These are supposedly secure sites, and yet the US Navy cannot keep thieves from stealing their stuff.

Add in a laptop containing the information for 12,000 employees of Armstrong World Industries Inc. that an employee of Deloitte & Touche LLP allowed to be stolen and we can see some very strong reasons why REAL ID, data retention and the data mining that will be associated with it are truly bad things where our privacy is concerned.

On a directly related matter Henry Hyde (R-IL) has decided to offer yet another REAL ID stick to states that may think about rejecting REAL ID. Not only would you be disallowed from traveling by air now you would be denied the option of voting. Yep. No REAL ID? Then you get shut out of the electoral and political process, at least that's what Rep. Henry Jekyll Hyde and the Federal Commission on Election Reform want.

U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) responded to criticisms directed at Federal Election Integrity Act of 2006 (H.R. 4844) which would require voters to prove citizenship when registering to vote and to show a current official photo ID when voting at the polls in Federal Elections.

Rep. Hyde stated that, "requiring an official ID to vote presents no greater hardship than people face performing everyday activities. Proof of citizenship or legal status is required when applying for a Social Security card. Also, official photo IDs are required to perform daily tasks such as driving a vehicle, applying for Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, food stamps, boarding airplanes, entering government buildings, registering at school, getting student loans, renting movies, and cashing checks." Rep. Hyde reasons that since citizens are asked to provide valid identification to prevent fraud for these reasons, it should not be too difficult to produce IDs to guard against fraud in the electoral system.

Rep. Hyde further noted that a photo ID requirement was one of the recommendations made by the Federal Commission on Election Reform. In the Commission's report issued in September 2005, the Commission recommended that States require voters to show "REAL ID's" created by the REAL ID Act of 2005.
Other than movie rental and check cashing none of those things even come close to everyday activities for the majority of us. First the REAL ID zealots told us it was about stopping terrorism. Then it was illegals. Now it's voter fraud. Any bets on what the "reasoning" behind REAL ID will be next month?

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July 26, 2006

Cops, Computers And Mis-Identification

Cops in Indiana are facing a dilemma right now. They cannot use the computers in their cars for fear of misidentifying people and making a false arrest. They also cannot make an arrest that might be "legitimate" because of erroneous information flowing from the Indiana BMV.

The Bureau of Motor Vehicles' new glitch-ridden computer system is hindering police across the state, making it difficult for officers to reliably pull up accurate records on drivers.
Police worry most that they might arrest people without cause but also say they are likely to let free those who otherwise might be arrested for driving with a suspended or revoked license.
Officials say the problem, which is related to the hassles Hoosiers have recently faced in license branches, has forced law enforcement agencies in Marion and Hamilton counties to stop using the BMV's computer records alone as the basis for detaining motorists.
If this is happening now, before the full implementation of REAL ID and cross referencing of national and possibly international databases, what can we expect then? How many people will be arrested or killed for misinformation gathered by the "authorities"?

Can you imagine the problems that will occur once a nationwide database is in use? Will we have "No Drive" lists to complement the already corrupt "No Fly Lists"? Will SWAT teams be called out for "routine" traffic stops because of corrupt data or ill trained police? Under REAL ID the chances of death by cop will increase greatly.

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July 23, 2006

Nightmare On Elm Street

"Every town has an Elm Street", so claims infamous horror movie character Freddy Krueger and just as it is in the movies the nightmare of REAL ID is unfolding before the eyes of everyone who cares to look. The Las Vegas Business Press points out in a recent article that getting a Nevada license could well be a nightmare within two years and brings up a number of interesting facts on the matter, such as complete ignorance on REAL ID from the people who will be enforcing it and for whom it was crafted. The threat that a states citizens would not be "allowed" to fly has been held out as a big stick from the get go, but the TSA seems to playing Sgt. Schultz.
TSA spokesman Nico Menendez said Real ID had yet to make it on the radar screen. "I've never heard of it."
The costs alone are going to strain already tight state budgets and, in Nevada's case will force them to bench or abandon programs upon which they have already spent millions of taxpayer dollars. As an unfunded and costly mandate the REAL ID Act is going to be painful.

In at least one case, tho we have an early adopter state which is experiencing crippling of its licensing system because of REAL ID. Alabamastan Alabama is deep into the nightmare already and, given their history they'll just try to ride it out. If this is the future of REAL ID then everyone is in deep kimchee! The Decatur Daily has a decent article on what lies in store for you, should you try to obtain a license in Alabama under REAL ID. Days of lost productivity. Not hours. Days.
Decatur isn't the only office where the lines are long. Athens and Hartselle have problems because of Real I.D. In Athens, people have arrived as early as 5 a.m. to be first in line. The office gives out numbers, and a number above 10 means another day in line.
If 10 customers is the most you can serve in a day, the problem isn't one of staffing (as the report contends), but one of the system being unmanageable at all levels. And if you actually drive for a living your case seems to be a lost cause.
Burnett is a truck driver, and after being processed at Hartselle, he has to go to Huntsville and then to Montgomery for a license to drive his big rig.
Mr. Burnett has to make a 225+ mile trip (one way) in order to obtain the necessary licenses to enable him to work. That equals a great deal of lost time, productivity and money for someone who can likely ill afford any loss.

Another interesting piece of the nightmarish news comes via the Winston-Salem Journal. Given the recent rabid anti-immigrant sentiments in this country, tho this piece isn't surprising to me. Refugee advocates are alerting folks that refugees are being denied access to asylum in the US because of the USA PATRIOT Act and REAL ID. It will likely become much worse as REAL ID comes into full effect, too. "Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses...", not so much, I'm thinking.
Part of the Real ID Act was designed to keep people who had supported terrorist organizations from entering the United States. But the definition used was broad enough to also apply to people in war-torn countries who supplied trivial support to militias and other groups while under threat of injury or death.
Suddenly, you're a terrorist supporter because someone stuck and AK-47 in your face and stole your goats. Of course the author of the REAL ID Act, Herr Sensenbrenner is truly sympathetic to the plight of refugees affected by his bill.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, the Wisconsin Republican who wrote the Real ID Act, said in a written statement at the end of March that he was "sensitive to the plight of persons who are forced by threats of violence to make contributions or otherwise provide material support to terrorist organizations."

Still, Sensenbrenner stressed the need to keep firm definitions that don't allow loopholes for those who have supported terrorists to get into the country.

What a kind and loving "patriot" the man is!

There is a small ray of sunshine, tho. All of the candidates for governor in the state of New Hampshire are opposed to the REAL ID Act. Despite the cowardice of that states legislature all three candidates for the top political post in New Hampshire are on the record as being against REAL ID.

Democratic Gov. John Lynch, Republican Jim Coburn and Libertarian Richard Kahn also believe the state's economy may be hurt by new federal rules that will require passports or other high-tech ID cards for people entering the country after short visits to Canada.
Kahn said the federal law creating a national ID card would "dramatically increasing the power of the central government."

"Nazi Germany and Rwanda have used national ID cards to commit genocide," Kahn said.

At least someone gets it, now if New Hampshire will turn out the cretins who voted down the legislation that would have killed the RID in that state they may have a shot at leading the way for everyone else.

Other stories covering the RID and its effects come from Human Events online, discussing REAL ID and its promotion of globalism. The Casper Star Tribunes report on the headaches it is causing Wyoming and the drive for the use of "Smart Cards" as the standard for REAL ID cards.

Don't just get mad, folks! Get active!

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July 18, 2006

The Shape Of Things To Come

From not-so Great Britain, (via our comrade in arms, Bill St. Claire) comes a glimpse of our future under the REAL ID nightmare we are facing. Henry Porter, a subject of Her Majesty wrote a great piece on the subject of England's National ID card scam and National Identity Register and the lies behind it. If you think this may not have any bearing on the US, you might want to think again. The justifications given by the State are virtually the same that we have heard in the U.S. where the REAL ID Act is concerned. The system is the same and there is zero reason to assume that the US will not utilise REAL ID in the same manner as the Brits.
The government's arguments in favour of ID cards keep shifting, and the hugely expensive project has been sold to the British public on a false prospectus. The government began by saying it would prevent terrorism. When that wasn't tenable, it said it would prevent ID theft. When that didn't work, it said it would prevent benefit fraud and when that didn't work it resorted to claiming that it would help control illegal immigration.
Photographing and digitally ID'ing people as a matter of course is becoming an all too familiar thing in England and here in the US. I stopped by my unfriendly Chase ATM today to get some of my money and there was a camera pointing straight in my face with a new sign saying that the increased security was for my protection. I pulled my ball cap down low, used peripheral vision to complete my transaction and drove off. I'll be using a different bank in the future I think.

The country Mr. Porter describes is just around the corner for us. Britain is, for all intents and purposes the testing grounds for this new police state ID. There can be little doubt that the US is not just watching, but watching closely. So far England, like the US has shown no willingness on the part of the populace to just say no to the surveillance society that is coming.

230 years ago some of our ancestors fought a war to free ourselves from the British Monarchy and government. Today we are closer than ever to emulating that very same country and having an ever present Big Brother police state imposed upon us by our "elected Representatives" via the REAL ID Act. The fact that so few care enough, (including many neo-libertarians and their talk radio gurus) to fight this points up the inevitability of things. England represents the Shape of Things To Come.
You will be required to attend an enrollment centre with some form of identifying material - bank statements, credit cards, driving licence or birth certificate, who knows what. Then you will be fingerprinted, photographed and the iris in your eye will be measured. You will give the authorities 49 pieces of information about yourself. If you don't, you may be fined up to £2,500. Additional fines of up to £2,500 may be levied every time you fail to comply.

If you fail to inform the police or Home Office when you lose your card, or if it becomes defective, you face a fine of up to £1,000. If you find someone else's card and do not immediately hand it in, you may have committed a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment for up to two years, or a fine, or both. And you will be fined £1,000 if you fail to inform the NIR of any change of address. You will also be expected to tell the authorities your previous addresses. Truly the government will be able to say with all the menace of the underworld enforcer: "We know where you live."

If you don't inform the register of significant changes to your personal life, or any errors they have made, you will face a fine of up to £1,000. Astonishingly, you may also face a fine if you fail to submit to being reinterviewed, rephotographed, refingerprinted and rescanned.

Is this the America you wish to live in? It's not the one I wish to live in, nor is it the one my ancestors fought to free from English tyranny. Folks, our time is running out to stop the REAL ID Act and its supporters. If it isn't stopped this country will end up exactly as England is now. A camera in every doorway and on every corner. Demands to show your papers when you do something as simple as enter a building. Forced submission to photographs in order to conduct business and so many more violations of your basic rights to privacy and to travel unmolested. If this is the type of police state you wish to live in, then do nothing. If you wish to live free, as the Founders of this country are said to have wished for us then get off your asses and stop this travesty before it's too late.

In the U.S. we have us, The REAL ID Rebellion. Help us grow the concept and spread the message. In the UK we have kindred spirits in the form of NO2ID. Freedom is contagious, folks...get infected and spread it. It's the only disease worth having.

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Crossposted from UnCivil Defence.

July 11, 2006

Government Keeps Losing Information

Yes, the federal government that expects us to trust it on Real ID keeps letting information on federal employees slip through its fingers. Here's the latest: Navy probes data leak on 100,000 sailors, Marines. First two paragraphs:
The Navy said on Friday that it was trying to determine how personal information on more than 100,000 Navy and Marine Corp aviators and air crew wound up on a publicly available Web site for more than six months.

In a fresh case of private information on military personnel being compromised, the full names and social security numbers of both active and reserve members appeared on the Naval Safety Center Web site (not working at press time) last December.

If these data breaches aren't enough to get people thinking about Real ID, I'm not sure if anything is. Each one of these security lapses ought to be talked up with family and friends, letters written to major newspapers, etc., always pointing out that this is the same government that's pushing Real ID on us.

Thanks to Pagan Vigil for bringing the story to my attention.

July 06, 2006

Wisconsin Takes A Lead in The War

On May 30th, 2006 Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle signed Assembly Bill 290 into law. Now Wisconsin Act 482 is the law of the land in the Badger State and it outlaws requiring the implantation of microchips in individuals.

AN ACT to create 146.25 of the statutes; relating to: prohibiting the required implanting of a microchip in an individual
and providing a penalty.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in
senate and assembly, do enact as follows:
SECTION 1. 146.25 of the statutes is created to read:
146.25 Required implanting of microchip prohibited.
(1) No person may require an individual to undergo
the implanting of a microchip.
(2) Any person who violates sub. (1) may be required
to forfeit not more than $10,000. Each day of continued
violation constitutes a separate offense.
The RFID Journal, (an RFID Industry organ) reported on the matter back in May and the bill was signed into law on May 30th. Kudos to the folks in Wisconsin for having the fortitude to stop mandatory implantations in their state. While this doesn't seem to be related directly to REAL ID it is a logical growth for the "Secure ID" fanatics behind RID. What is more secure than an implanted chip? And if it is already mandatory for you to carry a card how great a leap will it be to require an implant? At least Wisconsin has taken steps to see that this doesn't occur. James Sensenbrenner must be spinning in his seat over this one.

The RFID Journal also reported that the California Assembly's Transportation committee approved SB 433, a bill that will place a 3 year moratorium on using RFID chips in California Drivers Licenses. Unfortunately this bill, if implemented will sunset on Jan 1st, 2010 even if their Governor signs it.

I do have to wonder how this will run, given its conflict with REAL ID, which is slated to take effect in '08. Regardless, these are steps in a right direction. Taking away some of the technology manages to throw a monkey wrench into REAL ID implementation. If individual states manage to enact laws which serve to hobble the RID Act then all the citizens of these states will benefit.

Props to Kat Dillon for posting a story on RFID that set me off on this trail.

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