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Washington State To Try RFID Drivers Licenses 153

Posted by kdawson
from the chipped-again dept.
tverbeek tells us about a program the state of Washington has approved, to issue RFID-equipped drivers licenses to facilitate cross-border traffic. The idea is to load the drivers license with information proving citizenship, so that (with Department of Homeland Security approval) the bearer doesn't need to carry a passport — which otherwise will be required to re-enter the US from Canada beginning in 2009. The "enhanced" licenses will require applicants to submit to an in-person interview and to show proof of citizenship. A pilot program in Washington begins January 2008. Officials hope for DHS approval of the program before the Vancouver Olympics in 2010 causes a spike in cross-border traffic.
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Washington State To Try RFID Drivers Licenses

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  • Scary (Score:3, Funny)

    by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @06:29PM (#18481801)
    Friday's announcement comes on the heels of last week's federal checkpoint set up outside of Forks for those driving south on U.S. Route 101, who were required to prove their U.S. citizenship.

    Or what?
    • Re:Scary (Score:5, Informative)

      by voice_of_all_reason (926702) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @06:34PM (#18481841)
      I was curious, so I looked it up myself: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/20 03628279_danny21.html?syndication=rss [nwsource.com]

      Starting at 8 a.m. last Thursday, federal Border Patrol agents blocked the highway outside town. For four hours, every car, truck and bus driving south on Highway 101 was pulled off the road and all passengers questioned. seven undocumented workers, who were shipped to a detention center in Tacoma.

      Carted off 160 miles to not even a jail, but a detention center.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by essence (812715)

        Carted off 160 miles to not even a jail, but a detention center.

        We have detention centers in Australia too. They are full of refugees who try to come to australia via boat without permission. I refuse to call these people 'illegals' because no human being is 'illegal', they are fucken human beings.

        Sad thing is, only a minority of people in Australia feel for the plight of these people. Most 'aussies' are racist, even if they don't admit it (or don't realize it).

        Whats even sadder is that some refug

        • Re:Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheSkyIsPurple (901118) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @07:29PM (#18482185)
          >I refuse to call these people 'illegals' because no human being is 'illegal', they are fucken human beings.

          If they are from somewhere else, they are an alien.
          If they are enterring illegally, they are an illegal alien.
          And it's natural to shorten a long phrase like "illegal alien" to simply "illegal" when the context is clear.

          The person themself is not illegal, but their status in that location is.

          I don't see a problem with calling them illegals.

          Now, treating them as less than human is a whole other ball o' wax.
          • Language tends to dictate action. Not everyone who considers it alright to apply the epithet 'illegal' to individual human beings will be as thoughtful about it as you. Most won't.
            • > Language tends to dictate action

              Sure does... And increasingly the language of political correctness, real or perceived, results in the exact opposite action as intended.
              I see judgement behind how you speak of people using the word illegal... how (true or not), you seem to have lumped an entire group of people together, and assumed motivations behind their actions based on next to no evidence. Using the word itself does not make it an epithet, it's what's behind the word that does.

              But more to the poin
          • If they are from somewhere else, they are an alien. If they are enterring illegally, they are an illegal alien. And it's natural to shorten a long phrase like "illegal alien" to simply "illegal" when the context is clear.

            And for God's sake, calling someone an illegal alien, when they in fact are, does not make someone racist.

            Talk about misuse of a word to further a political agenda.

            "We need to control the flow of illegal aliens into..."

            "RACIST!!"

            WTF??

          • > If they are from somewhere else, they are an alien.
            > If they are enterring illegally, they are an illegal alien.

            How quickly we forgot North America was built by immigration. No wonder it was already inhabited by people who laughed at the concept of ownership of land as ridiculous as trying to own the sky, or the ocean.

            The planet doesn't belong to you -- stop pretending part of it does. You have no more "authority" over it, then the next person. Resorting to guns to backup your "authority" is childi
            • >How quickly we forgot North America was built by immigration.

              Just because they're illegal doesn't make them wrong to be there. You've conflating two separate issues... ones legal disposition with there place in the world.

              >The planet doesn't belong to you -- stop pretending part of it does

              Just try coming into my bedroom to say that. I will damn well pretend I own this part of the world.

              Maybe they had no formal concept of "ownership" of the land, but they certainly had social rules as to who was allo
        • Re:Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

          by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@@@gmail...com> on Sunday March 25, 2007 @08:35PM (#18482587)

          We have detention centers in Australia too. They are full of refugees who try to come to australia via boat without permission. I refuse to call these people 'illegals' because no human being is 'illegal', they are fucken human beings.

          There are laws defining how non-citizens are allowed to enter the country. These people have broken those laws. They're illegal immigrants.

          This does not mean they are "illegal people". They are free to leave - and go back to their point of origin - whenever they want.

          Sad thing is, only a minority of people in Australia feel for the plight of these people. Most 'aussies' are racist, even if they don't admit it (or don't realize it).

          Believing in immigration control is not racist, it's sensible.

          If you're so gung-ho about this, can you give me your address ? I want to come over to your house, eat your food and sleep in your bed for a few weeks. Or are you some racist hypocrite who locks his door at night ?

          Whats even sadder is that some refugees have been detained for years on end without being processed. Even sadder still, after years in detention, some get sent back from where they came. There was one case I think where someone was returned to Iran to be subsequently killed by the Iranian government.

          Now, here you actually have something approaching a valid point. The time taken to process these people *is* something that needs to be improved. Of course, if they didn't destroy all the documentation proving who they are, that would expedite the process far more than anything that can be done on Australia's end.

          Detetntion centers need to be abolished. There is no place for them in a free society.

          So how *should* we deal with people who enter the country illegally, that we know nothing about ?

          • by essence (812715)

            There are laws defining how non-citizens are allowed to enter the country. These people have broken those laws. They're illegal immigrants.

            Well actually no. These people are refugees. Under international conventions which australia is signatory to, refugees have the right to seek asylum in Australia.

            They are free to leave - and go back to their point of origin

            Well not always. There is a reason these people left their country. Often it is because they are a political dissident, and fear for their li

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by drsmithy (35869)

              Well actually no. These people are refugees. Under international conventions which australia is signatory to, refugees have the right to seek asylum in Australia.

              No, they're illegal immigrants. If they were refugees and had followed the appropriate procedures for that status to be determined before they arrived, they'd be allowed in.

              People entering the country *might* be refugees. Then again, they might be criminals, smugglers, or simply individuals who had been denied entry in the past for any number

        • by Brickwall (985910)
          Most 'aussies' are racist, even if they don't admit it (or don't realize it).

          I don't think it's racist to be angry at people who come to the fairly successful countries we have built in Canada and Oz, and then want to change the rules to those of their fairly fucked up countries that they were so eager to leave. Why can't we put up Xmas trees in our schools? Because some immigrants are "offended". Well, I'm offended when I see women walking around all covered up, and refusing to take off their veils when

          • by mpe (36238)
            I don't think it's racist to be angry at people who come to the fairly successful countries we have built in Canada and Oz, and then want to change the rules to those of their fairly fucked up countries that they were so eager to leave.

            Locals tend to be offended when it's only tourists with this attitude.

            Why can't we put up Xmas trees in our schools? Because some immigrants are "offended". Well, I'm offended when I see women walking around all covered up, and refusing to take off their veils when, for e
    • With the 'enhanced' system a terrorist need only steal your identification surreptiously or kill you and take your ID, and nobody at the border will stop them! Great plan!
      • by Dog-Cow (21281)
        Border Agents will still want to see photo ID. This would just let them use an RFID reader to pull up the same citizen information that's on a passport. Your scenario would be the same as waving a closed passport at an immigration official and expecting to be passed through.
    • Re:Scary (Score:4, Informative)

      by Frosty Piss (770223) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @06:46PM (#18481939)
      The thing about this is that Forks isn't near any border crossing points, and is in fact in the middle of the Olympic Peninsula. More likely they where trolling for illegals migrant workers. But it really stinks like a "police state" sort of mentality.

      More here: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/20 03628279_danny21.html [nwsource.com]

      • Maybe the people in the government in Washington just got around to watching Dark Angel.

        Now, where's my Jam Pony ID...?
  • What would permanent residents and H1-B types have on their "enhanced" papers in lieu of proof of American citizenship?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      If you're a permanent resident or a H1-B holder you're not am American citizen, so you'd still need to have your passport and green card or whatever a H1-B has.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by maxume (22995)
        H1-B holders have a visa(that is, that's the way their status is documented).
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by The Vulture (248871)
          As I've been told by many pedant border crossing officials (in Toronto), an H-1B is not a visa.

          My immigration attorney actually addressed this situation with me, because he knows that I like to travel, and I mentioned that I'd like to head to San Diego sometime soon. His advice is to carry your I-94 form (which should be stapled in your passport), and you should be fine.

          On Interstate 8, where it's close to the border, they apparently do checks every now and then, especially if they see a broken-down car.

          --
          • by maxume (22995)
            It's a visa. It just isn't a travel visa, which sort of makes my comment stupid.
            • by synx (29979)
              You are incorrect - Canadians on H1-B status are not required to get a visa. A Visa is a stamp (now a holographic decal the size of an entire page) you get at a US embassy in your home country. Canadians only require proof of their H1-B status, which is essentially just a I94 card.

              The other question is, if you are a Canadian in the US on a H1-B you don't carry your passport with you. So what happens if you get pulled over by one of those? Do you get arrested?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JimBobJoe (2758)
        What would permanent residents and H1-B types have on their "enhanced" papers in lieu of proof of American citizenship?

        Permanent US residents don't need an enhanced license because they already have a Green Card. The Green Card is accepted by Canada for entry and it's accepted by the US for return. (Permanent US residents are, in effect, treated by Canada as if they were US citizens.)

        Non-permanent residents are not treated the same way, and are evaluated by their citizenship and other credential issues--so
      • by JimBobJoe (2758)
        If you're a permanent resident or a H1-B holder you're not am American citizen

        Though this reply sorta contradicts another reply I made to the parent, US Permanent Residents are treated by Canada as if they were American citizens, so it wouldn't be unreasonable for them to have an enhanced license indicating they were a green card holder.

        My contention on that is they don't need it because they already have a green card--which is sufficient for crossing into Canada and back.
    • by Lord Kano (13027)
      What would permanent residents and H1-B types have on their "enhanced" papers in lieu of proof of American citizenship?

      I imagine that they'd already have passports and/or other papers to show their legal status.

      LK
    • by c_forq (924234)
      For going to Canada I think that matters what citizenship you are and what your countries deal with Canada is. I attend a large university in Michigan, and when making trips to Canada I have friends that can't go due to restrictions on their visas or a few can go if we give them about 6 weeks for the Canadian visa application process, and others just need a stamp in their passport or just have to show their passport.
    • Permanent Residents have a Permanent Resident Card (A.K.A. a Green Card or Alien Registration Receipt Card) which is already encoded with all sorts of information, so they don't need any other I.D.. Not even a passport.

      http://travel.state.gov/travel/cbpmc/cbpmc_2223.ht ml [state.gov]
  • by giminy (94188) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @06:34PM (#18481843) Homepage Journal
    I'm moving to Washington State soon. I wonder what their reaction will be when I apply for one of these and during the interview state that I'm a security researcher interested in breaking it. :).

    Reid
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Then one of two things will happen:

      Either your interrogator will be "you better love the USA or else" type of asshole, in which case youll be labeled a traitor.

      Or, your interrogator will be a underpaid, overworked person who could care less. Ill vote for this one.
      • Or, your interrogator will be a underpaid, overworked person who could care less.

        So what does that mean? That the care enough to care less if they wanted? Or that they don't care at all? I don't understand...

        • by hedwards (940851)
          I know what you're getting at, but I think that more likely they could care less, but it would really screw up their nap schedule.

          Believe me, not caring at all about something really takes a lot of energy.
    • by sumdumass (711423)
      I think you better look into it a little more before doing it. Most states have strong laws about creating false IDs or screwing with security measure on it. You could probably get a permit and have your research watched but if you release something to the public that could allow someone to bypass the security, your could be in as much trouble as whoever did it.

      Anyways, Good luck with it. Just don't end up being the next guy that someone is crying about on slashdot because they don't understand your a white
  • Because we know that Canadians and other undesirables who want to visit the USA illegally will find these so hard to fake.
    • by jmv (93421)
      Actually, they won't even bother faking it. They'll just cross the border at one of the many border points that have no officer there. Or they'll cross in the middle of the woods, or by crossing a lake/river, or through an indian reservation... I still haven't figured out why they're pushing these stupid measures. It's bad for the US even economically since Americans can still easily enter Canada, but Canadians have a harder time spending their money in the US. Then again, I'm Canadian, so what do I care...
  • why RFID? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Allison Geode (598914) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @06:40PM (#18481881)
    why can't they just keep a database and have barcodes? wouldn't that be, essentially, the same as this, only less prone to RFID's insecure nature?
  • So if you are a legal citizen entering the country legally, this will track your movements and information.

    If you are not a legal citizen and do not have legal documentation and you are entering the country, this won't affect you. (There are MANY points where entry into the united states is completely unhindered by any enforcement whatsoever - in fact one place has an HONOR system where you are supposed to stop at an unmanned shack and call the authorities and give them your information before continuing...
    • by Lord Kano (13027)
      This sounds a lot like those idiots who get their children fingerprinted and swabbed for DNA at the mall or their child's school, with some sort of warped idea that if their child is kidnapped, having their fingerprints on record will somehow magically return them.

      People do that so in a worst case scenario, they can identify their child's remains.

      Most people have never thought about it, most likely because it is a horrible thing to think about, but not knowing that the body that the police just found is you
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Seumas (6865)

        People do that so in a worst case scenario, they can identify their child's remains.

        That isn't the reason the parents do it. These services are done in shopping malls and grade schools and they are promoted as ways to keep your child safe. Not identify your child after they've been raped, murdered and then chopped up. People just don't put any though into it and they honestly believe that by giving the government a record of their child's biometric information they will somehow receive increased safety out of it.

        • by Lord Kano (13027)
          That isn't the reason the parents do it. These services are done in shopping malls and grade schools and they are promoted as ways to keep your child safe. Not identify your child after they've been raped, murdered and then chopped up.

          Because you can't have a sign up that say that. Reasonably intelligent people know that this won't keep their kids safe. Reasonably intelligent people know that it's a way to identify the remains. I concede that it's quite debatable, how many people out there are stupid, but i
    • by sumdumass (711423)

      (There are MANY points where entry into the united states is completely unhindered by any enforcement whatsoever - in fact one place has an HONOR system where you are supposed to stop at an unmanned shack and call the authorities and give them your information before continuing... and sometimes they don't even answer the phone!).

      You do exactly as your suggest. If your one of these illegals (terrorist/whatever) coming into the states, you will feel reasonable comfortable in large crowded passages were you

    • You're damn right and if poeple can't accept it, we, or they, are all doomed. you're damn right, period. And im not being cynic or anything im serious, I live in canada and from an outsider point of view, this seems totally abusive from the government to me... The poeple should be the ones deciding and in power, but we allow ourselves to be rules by some rich ass politicians who do not really care about providing some truth, just mass manipulation... this is sad times for humanity.
  • Counterfeit drivers licenses for 'Olympics visitors' to use to enter the US in
    3....
    2....
    1....

    • Counterfeit drivers licenses for 'Olympics visitors' to use to enter the US in

      You are aware that Vancouver is in British Columbia, Canada, right?
      • by Mikkeles (698461)
        'You are aware that Vancouver is in British Columbia, Canada, right?'

        There is also one in Washington state [wikipedia.org], although it is a very much smaller city.

      • It looks as if you have misinterpreted the OP's post. I do believe he meant to say that visitors to the Vancouver Olympics may be able to purchase phony Washington State licenses in B.C., for the purposes of illegally entering the US.

        I think it's more likely that there will be problem with illegals entering Canada from the US than rather than the other way around. Though from what i understand about the new enforcement capabilities of border guards on sides, illegal crossings are far less likely to happen
        • I actually realized that after I posted my comment, but since /. doesn't let you delete or edit them once you make them, it was too late then.

          Note to self: Don't make /. posts right after waking up from a nap.
  • I've never understood the problem with just getting a passport to cross the border.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by value_added (719364)
      I've never understood the problem with just getting a passport to cross the border.

      I think this program is targetted more specifically at cross-border car travellers. That said, here's a few reasons:

      1. Most Americans will never travel outside the state they live in let alone outside the country, and see little use in obtaining one, notwithstanding the general native distrust of things associated with federal government.
      2. The passport application requires submission of original documentation. Most America
      • by Maniakes (216039)
        I didn't get a drivers license until after I finished college, so I did use my passport to get into bars for a while and nobody batted an eyelash. Of course, this was in a small college town which one could bike across in about 15 minutes without breaking a sweat, so people without drivers licenses were probably much more common there than in most of the US.
  • by Kaenneth (82978) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @07:16PM (#18482121) Homepage Journal
    This will help security how?

    The Unibomber and Oklahoma City bombers were US Citizens, the 9/11 attackers had real, not forged documents, the vast majority of illegal immigrants are probably nice folks... since when does lack of proper ID portend terror?

    If someone is planning a complex plot to attack the US, they probably won't let it fail because a key member has a badly forged ID card.
    • The security organisations get their power (and money for toys) through fear. They need to keep the fear alive and they can do that by coming up with new security measures at airports/borders/whatever. These all help to build the perception that there is a dangerous world full of hippies/commies/rag-heads/$MONSTER_OF_THE DECADE.

      Also, being politically driven, these organisations must pander to perceptions rather than reality. They respond to, and help fan, the perceived external threat rather than deal to t

    • This will help security how?

      It's not intended to help security - it's intended to make the lives of thousands of WA state residents that cross the border daily much, much easier. (Especially when the traffic levels spike in 2010 - the residents won't be impeded by the touristas.) Heck, it'll make my life easier. I used to go to Van or the Lower Mainland 2-3 times a year, but had to give it up because of the hassle. I'll be applying for one as soon as I can.

      • by cmarkn (31706)
        I don't see how it makes your life any easier. The only difference is that you have to produce a state government-issued document instead of a federal government-issued document. Either way, you still have to stop and wait for the border guard to ask for "your papers, please".
      • by mpe (36238)
        It's not intended to help security - it's intended to make the lives of thousands of WA state residents that cross the border daily much, much easier

        Which is probably a tiny proportion of the people living there who wish to drive. Why should they pay the cost of more expensive driving documents. When those who wish to drive to Canada already have the option of simply getting a passport.
  • by FirstTimeCaller (521493) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @07:27PM (#18482171)
    First they want to tax internet purchases, now they want to put RFID tags on my license. I think our legislators are hopped up on too much StarBucks... I liked it better when they didn't do anything.
  • Like teh subject says.
  • What a nasty hack (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    It seems that the underlying problem is that the US passport system is not meeting the needs of the citizens of Washington. I wonder why Washington feels the need to solve this problem by tacking additional functionality on a system that is meant to ensure that one is capable of operating a vehicle instead of directly addressing whatever shortcomings exist with the passport system.
    • by terrymr (316118)
      I don't know ... even more puzzling is the requirement to produce a drivers license when writing a check in a store.
  • -goes to buy anti-rfid wallet- (http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/security/8cdd/)
  • Already approved? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Rentiak (835443) on Sunday March 25, 2007 @09:15PM (#18482823) Homepage
    According to this CNN article, the initiative appears to already have been approved by DHS.

    "The pilot project, signed into law by Gov. Chris Gregoire and formally approved by (DHS Secretary) Chertoff on Friday"

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/TRAVEL/03/24/border.crossi ng.ap/index.html?eref=rss_topstories [cnn.com]
  • worthless (Score:3, Interesting)

    by deblau (68023) <slashdot.25.flickboy@spamgourmet.com> on Sunday March 25, 2007 @09:16PM (#18482835) Journal

    The idea is to load the drivers license with information proving citizenship
    Driver's licenses are not authentication, they are evidence of a license to drive on State roads. They were not designed to satisfy strong authentication [wikipedia.org] protocols. They can only properly be used* once a person has been authenticated in other ways**. To see how massively ineffective they are at authentication, see here [msn.com].

    For the love of all that is right in the world, stop trying to use them for more than they were designed.

    * By used, I mean to offer evidence to the person 'using' it that the possessor has permission to drive on the roads. It's only evidence, it's not conclusive. Using it for other things (e.g. checking age at a bar) is foolish.

    ** For instance, checking the car's registration against the DMV database to see if the driver's name, address, tags, and VIN line up.

  • washington just made it easier for id thieves to steal your info from your wallet without you taking it out
  • show proof of citizenship

    Well, and I thought it's the state's job to know about a person whether (s)he's a citizen or not. If I show a whatever ID they issued I expect them to know my status and be that ID enough proof of my citizenship. Enormous amounts of tax payers' money is spent of countless forms of identification methods and cards issues, on systems storing these information, so use the damn thing.
     
  • ... so I'd like to point out (speaking as a citizen of Washington state) that our governor is a Democrat, as is the majority in both houses of our legislature.

    Just wanted to be sure there was some equal opportunity finger pointing. I must admit I'm not really much of a fan of Madam Governor.
    • by synx (29979)
      Whatever, as a non left or right person, I ask you - why has the US turned in to the soviet union? Remember the movie "The Hunt for Red October" where the first mate was talking about defecting to America and thinking how amazing it would be to drive state to state without papers.

      While there isn't border checkpoints between states yet, it doesn't seem so far fetched does it?

      On the subject of the DHS non-border checks, what happens to those who are unable to prove their legal status in the US because they d
  • Amero Currency [amerocurrency.com] and a North American Union, and the North American Superhighway [worldnetdaily.com].
  • Makes me so happy I could just sh*t. They are already holding preliminary public meetings on where to set up the free speech pens and the like. One can only imagine the non-public planning. It overlaps with the state fair which is a big thing in Minnesota so I can envision the SWAT snipers on the roof of the dairy barn.

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