Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Privacy Government United States Politics

REAL ID In Its Death Throes, Says ACLU 315

Posted by kdawson
from the go-ahead-and-board-that-plane dept.
Dr. Eggman points us to Ars Technica for an article on the ACLU's view of the latest loosening and deadline extensions for REAL ID act compliance by the Department of Homeland Security. The rights organization believes that REAL ID is doomed. "The ACLU, which opposes the plan on civil liberties grounds, says that the many changes made since the Act was passed [in 2005] nearly 'negate the original intent of the program.' 'DHS is essentially whittling Real ID down to nothing... all in the name of denying Real ID is a failure,' said ACLU senior legislative counsel Tim Sparapani. 'Real ID is in its death throes, and any signs of life are just last gasps.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

REAL ID In Its Death Throes, Says ACLU

Comments Filter:
  • by User 956 (568564) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @03:59PM (#21258335) Homepage
    The rights organization believes that REAL ID is doomed.

    Yeah, but they'll just do what they did with CARNIVORE. Wait a few months, change the name, and go about their plans as usual.
    • It's not the same thing. It is a new licensing initiative that would have created a nationwide burden and had no hopes of funding.
  • by garcia (6573) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @04:01PM (#21258347) Homepage
    DHS is at pains to point out that REAL ID is not a national identity card program but a set of regulations that direct states how to create their drivers' licenses and state ID cards. The program mandates digital photos, bar-coded information, and more stringent document checks, and it directs all states to link their databases with one another.

    So with the bar-coded information we can't wipe the readability of the card with a magnet to stop the assholes at bars, liquors stores, etc from scanning us unnecessarily. Digital photos means that everyone's picture will be merged into the database of information shared with everyone else and "more stringent document checks" means that even more information will be in that same database. When all this information is linked how is it not a national ID database again?

    I'm proud of the states that didn't crumble under the pressure of the Federal Government. At least someone out there is willing to tell them to fuck off -- regardless if it was over funding and not privacy implications.
    • by Bryansix (761547)
      The states that complained were the ones who's driver's licenses look like monopoly money. It's these states that make getting a fake ID so easy and contribute to under-age drinking.
      • by FrankieBaby1986 (1035596) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @04:29PM (#21258693)
        I'd say its the drinking age that does the most to contribute to underage drinking.
      • by plague3106 (71849) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @04:36PM (#21258787)
        Why should government be stopping anyone from drinking? That's a job for the parents in my book. It also takes away the "I want to drink because I'm not supposed to" attitude.
        • by Bryansix (761547)
          When I was in college I never had the "I want to drink because I'm not supposed to" attitude. I had the "I want to drink so I'm going to" attitude.
      • by dpilot (134227)
        As a resident of one of the states that fought RealID, my license does NOT look like monopoly money. It has my photo, description, select "identity information", a not-really-bar code, but still machine-readable code on the back, organ donor checkboxes, and some anti-counterfeiting measures similar to those on modern money. (But it's laminated plastic, not simple paper, either.)
        • by Bryansix (761547)
          Which state was this? It sounds like your state wouldn't have had to change very much of anything to become compliant.
      • by rhakka (224319)
        In my state, bars don't even accept out of state ID if you look underage.

        Regardless, a universal ID is not an acceptable price to pay to "fight underage drinking". yes, I know, won't we think of the children! But in this case, I'd rather think of the adults, and what they tend to do with too much consolidation of power.
      • by fm6 (162816)
        And that relates to this thread how?
      • by Lehk228 (705449)
        oh noes underage drinking!? lets deal with actual problems first -- like meth
      • by Sloppy (14984)

        In other words, the states that apparently were already under-funded (for purposes of making pretty-looking ids) were the ones that balked at the Feds requiring them to spend even more money? Gosh, what a shock.

    • by ArcherB (796902) *
      So with the bar-coded information we can't wipe the readability of the card with a magnet to stop the assholes at bars, liquors stores, etc from scanning us unnecessarily. Digital photos means that everyone's picture will be merged into the database of information shared with everyone else and "more stringent document checks" means that even more information will be in that same database. When all this information is linked how is it not a national ID database again?

      I'm not trying to be a troll here, but...
  • by Nightlily (140378) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @04:03PM (#21258375) Homepage Journal
    Real ID isn't dying because of privacy concerns. I think (at least in Michigan), it's about the cost for the states. States were ok with the plan until it hit them that it cost them money. Also let's consider the fact the states were asked to basically implement Real ID after they spent tons of money on homeland security.
  • Real ID is in its death throes, and any signs of life are just last gasps.

    Didn't Cheney say the same thing about the insurgency in Iraq a couple years ago?

  • It's a shame. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kabocox (199019) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @04:09PM (#21258439)
    There are things that I think that the ACLU should fight. This isn't one of them though. RealID will never really go away. What it'll become is a federal requirement for the next incarnation of state DLs having to match a federal data standard. This is generally a good thing. What the really big up roar with the current RealID is that many states have gone their own way with having bar codes or digital information on their DLs, but only that state's systems can read the info off the card, and no one is willing to spend additional money just to conform to a federal standard. The main idea behind RealID is that you could have any of the 50 state's DL and they'd all "just work" in each other's and the federal computer system. Making "just work" would require lots of effort and money though.

    Let's be honest there is no additional privacy problems with RealID. If you are in a position to be stopped and asked for State or Federal ID by a state or federal government official for government services, then you are either going to provide that information in a verbal or written form to those federal, state, or city officials or you won't be receiving that government service that you wanted. If you wanted to access a "controlled access area", then you could be "detained" while those government officials make sure that you aren't on any most wanted list, have outstanding warrants or on any special watch for lists.

    If the government is hunting for you, they know your name and last known address. RealID was supposed to make it trivial to swipe a DL through a reader so all that DL info could be auto populated rather than manually entered. This is supposed to be a the huge privacy concern needing ACLU attention?
    • Re:It's a shame. (Score:5, Informative)

      by nilbog (732352) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @04:18PM (#21258545) Homepage Journal
      No, that's not what its for. Clearly you have been mislead.

      "Under REAL ID, the government would have easy access to an incredible amount of personal data stored in one national database (or, according to the DHS description, 56 State and Territory databases, each of which can access all of the others)."

      The senator from New Mexico (I believe it was New Mexico anyway) said that the ultimate goal is to track everything. Every time you buy something, even with cash, it will be entered into the national database. 7Eleven will require you to swipe your card for purchasing gas, a snickers bar, or explosives from their terrorist discount bin.

      Real ID IS bad news. It has severe privacy implications. Please research before commenting. The quote above is from here [epic.org].

      The purpose of a driver's license is to show and prove proficiency in driving, not anything else. It is not meant as a defacto identification card or anything else. It is a license to drive, period.

      The fourth amendment guarantees us security of papers. How can we have security of papers if all of our information is stored in every government database across the entire union? That sounds like the opposite of security of papers. We can refuse to show our papers, but it won't matter because the government will already have them.
      • by kabocox (199019)
        The purpose of a driver's license is to show and prove proficiency in driving, not anything else. It is not meant as a defacto identification card or anything else. It is a license to drive, period.

        Do you write checks or use credit cards? Usually, you are required to show your DL at the same time. That state government issued DL is the only ID that businesses have of verifying who you actually are. I'm sure that folks don't want the DL or the SSN used as a form of ID other than just between the individual a
        • by masdog (794316)
          Credit Cards? Are you kidding? Unless I'm making a big ticket purchase, I am never asked to show an ID when using my credit card. My girlfriend even has "Ask For ID" written in the signature panel, and its rare that someone even checks.
        • by cromar (1103585)
          ...but that's not how our world works.

          That doesn't make it a good thing.
        • by cdrguru (88047)
          Not really. When I can get a note from a non-governmental agency that tells the state ID bureau "Nevermind your rules, give this person an ID." it means there are no requirements and any fake ID is just as good as the state-issued one.

          What is happening in Illinois is the local Mexican embassy/consulate office can give you a little card that says you don't have to present any other proof of who you are because there isn't any other proof. The Secretary of State's office has decided to accept this and issue
        • by nilbog (732352)
          Businesses are not allowed to require an ID to accept credit card transactions. Despite what you might think.

      • by compro01 (777531)
        The purpose of a driver's license is to show and prove proficiency in driving, not anything else. It is not meant as a defacto identification card or anything else. It is a license to drive, period.

        in most cases, it's a 2-in-1 card. it serves are both a license to drive and as government-issued identifacation. you can get a non-license "state ID card".

        here in Saskatchewan, we have our ID card and our actual driver's license is a small sheet of cardstock-like paper that we get a new one of every year and a
    • Re:It's a shame. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @04:18PM (#21258557)
      RealID did nothing beneficial, but made it real easy for the feds to watch your movements.

      How?

      Make it a federal requirement for everything.

      Alcohol? Scan.
      Cigarettes? Scan.
      Bank transactions? Scan.
      Anything they want a scan done on, they just ram through a federal law to require a scan of your RealID.

      What purpose does this serve? Security? Gimme a freaking break. It does nothing but needlessly invade the privacy of every citizen of this country while providing ZERO security whatsoever.

      It's a program that needs to die and STAY DEAD. Lest you be required to present your RealID any time a cop asks or risk arrest (federal requirements for travel between states you know, commerce clause and whatnot...)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by schwit1 (797399)
      "Let's be honest there is no additional privacy problems with RealID." The government wants to share data with Mexico, Europe and Canada and you don't consider that a privacy problem? The government want to eventually get RFID into DLs and you don't consider that a privacy problem? Let me guess, you are from North Korea or the former East Germany?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by stevedcc (1000313) *

        "Let's be honest there is no additional privacy problems with RealID." The government wants to share data with Mexico, Europe and Canada and you don't consider that a privacy problem? The government want to eventually get RFID into DLs and you don't consider that a privacy problem? Let me guess, you are from North Korea or the former East Germany?

        Excuse me, but Europe actually has data privacy laws, unlike the USA. If your data DID get over here, at least the law prevents it being used for any purpose other than the one for which it was legitemately obtained. Whereas when MY data was given ILLEGALY to the American government because I got on a plane to the US, it had no protection at all.

  • Identification is only as good as the people screening it. You can standardize driver's license standards all over the place, but in the end, if the guy who is supposed to be scrutinizing the id isn't paying attention or is typically lackadaisical, the id is worthless. It's a mechanism in any formulaic Hollywood movie, but it happens to be true. When was the last time a sales clerk bothered to look on the back of your credit card for a signature, or compare it to the one written on the slip/screen?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Credit signatures aren't for identification; you're saying you agree to the contract of the card (when you sign the card) and that you won't charge back the purchase (when you sign the receipt). That's a very general view, but you can do more research.
  • Cheers to the ACLU (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Maestro485 (1166937) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @04:16PM (#21258521)
    It's sometimes easy to forget about the work that organizations such as the ACLU do. I doubt most citizens are even aware of the kind of things that the ACLU actively fights for.

    Organizations like these should be applauded for their work. We need more people willing to do this kind of thing.
  • Do the rest of us have FAKE IDs?

    Wish that'd happened 20 years ago when I could really use one. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Real ID will not be stopped and it is yet another infringement on our rights by the gov't. Add it to the ever-growing list of violations:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by opening mail, caging demonstrators and banning books like America Deceived (book) [iuniverse.com] from Amazon.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns during Katrina.
    They violate the 4th Amendment by conducting warrant-less wiretaps.
    They violate the 5th and 6th Amendment by suspending habeas corpus.
    They violate the 8th Amendment by torturing
    • by PitaBred (632671)
      I just looked into the book in your link... the moron can't even denigrate Italians with correct spelling (they ain't "whops"), the second page can't figure out the correct homonym of "flair" to use (hint: it's not "flare") along with exceptionally ham-fisted attempts at "shocking" dialogue and all the most popular black-helicopter conspiracy theories (the gummint did 9/11! We faked the moon landings!), yet this is somehow supposed to be a serious book of some sort? And that's all just in the first two pag
  • by gillbates (106458) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @04:26PM (#21258655) Homepage Journal

    That all of the 9/11 terrorists had valid ID's

    Granted, there might be some benefits to a unified ID across the 50 states, but combating terrorism isn't one of them. Instead, we should be asking if the other so-called benefits are worth the privacy invation and expansion of the Federal government that this program would entail.

    Exactly why are my Federal tax dollars being used for this sort of thing, when it seems perfectly clear that my state government is already perfectly capable of issuing ID? The implications that someone is a terrorist if they can't produce the "satisfactory" identification document is a Constitutional problem, not a law enforcement issue.

    Besides, what would an elderly father in law - who can't legally drive - do? Should he really be denied seeing his daughter married because he can't produce the ID to board a plane? This bill assumes (incorrectly) that everyone has an ID. That's not the way it's supposed to work.

    • by cdrguru (88047) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @04:39PM (#21258809) Homepage
      1. States issue photo IDs already to people that do not drive.

      2. The problem is exactly that the states are issuing VALID ID to anyone. In Chicago, for example, you can get a driver's license or state ID with a birth certificate or passport. Or, if you happen to not have either one of those, you can get a note from the Mexican embassy saying in effect to give this person an ID with no further verificattion. Yes indeed, Illinois does recognize the authority of the Mexican embassy to determine ID requirements for the state.

      Please tell me the difference between my drawing a driver's license with a crayon and using it and what Illinois is doing. I don't see any difference at all.

      If the states are going to issue an ID in any name with no proof this pretty much means the ID has no value. Of course people are going to abuse the system. Why can't I have three driver's licenses in different names under this sort of system? Why should teens pay for fake ID when they can get a "real" one from the state?

      The reason behind the Federal rules is to put a stop to the states that are issuing ID with no rules whatsoever.
    • Granted, there might be some benefits to a unified ID across the 50 states, but combating terrorism isn't one of them.

      The lack of unified ID is one of the things that makes data mining less effective. Devil's advocate, if we had an actual national ID, it would be easier to notice of for example, someone was taking flight lessons in Nebraska, buying a bunch of fertilizer in Iowa, and holds a rapidly accruing bank account in Missouri. Because currently, any investigation of one of those events is going to more or less end at that state's database.

    • by Skapare (16644)

      That all of the 9/11 terrorists had valid ID's

      The whole point of the REAL ID program was that the IDs the terrorists did have did not enable sufficient tracking to figure out that they were terrorists. REAL ID is not about establishing IDs for the very first time. It is not about establishing more IDs. It's not about assuming someone is a terrorist because they lack an ID. It is about establishing IDs that work together to allow more tracking.

      If you want to knock down the whole REAL ID program, plea

  • More anarchy, crime, terrorism, fear... or stronger government. There's probably a third way around this that involves smaller nations with fewer rules, but that's for political theorists, not technical writers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cromar (1103585)
      More anarchy, crime, terrorism, fear... or stronger government.

      Our government perpetrates more anarchy, crime, terrorism, and fear than any "enemy combatants."

      ...but that's for political theorists, not technical writers.

      No, its not for political theorists. It is for the governed to decide how they will be governed. You don't need a degree in Political Science to know the difference between right and wrong.
    • More anarchy, crime, terrorism, fear... or stronger government.

      or a restoration of the concept of innocent until proven guilty, trust of the public, and personal moral choice without any real fallout despite what fearmongers spout off about anarchy, crime, and terrorism.

      funny, but the crime rates were fine before invasive policies were introduced, and they will be fine after they're repealed, assuming we dont (or haven't already) fall into fascism.

      You see, I don't suspect my neighbors, and when i see someo

    • by rhakka (224319)
      How about, not being a complete coward, accepting that life has some risk, and moving on?

      Do we really need a babysitter watching over us every step of our lives?

      If so, go to jail. They watch pretty close in there. You can even get put in solitary if you're that scared. Let the rest of us live, please. Thanks!
  • I don't understand exactly how such IDs would be a violation of our privacy. We already have such identification. The key distinction is that it's a scattered mess of documentation, spread across a driver's license, passport, social security card and who knows what else? How exactly is conveniently condensing all that information onto a single card an invasion of privacy?

    Most of the rest of the world already uses similar ID cards in one form or another and I've seen no issues. This proposed card simply take
    • by 0123456 (636235)
      "Most of the rest of the world already uses similar ID cards in one form or another and I've seen no issues."

      Tell that to the Jews in Nazi Germany.

      I had no ID card in the UK (though the NuLabour fascists are trying to impose them), and I have no ID card here in Canada. Why should Americans want ID cards? What benefit will they provide to Americans, as opposed to authoritarian American governments?

      Let's suppose, for example, that Bush declares martial law and decides to declare all Muslims 'enemy combatants'
  • by PHAEDRU5 (213667) <instascreed@gmai l . com> on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @05:02PM (#21259141) Homepage
    The Feds want a 1984-style system of ID for citizens, but will do almost nothing about the flood of illegals coming across the Southern border.

    The states are refusing to comply on the ID card, and are enforcing border controls.

    This is a fascinating inversion of control.
  • This all comes down to bad marketing on behalf of the DHS. With the proper ad campaigns, people would be less apprehensive.

    Fade in of serious-looking woman.

    "To stop people from making fake IDs, we called them "Real IDs."

    "With Real ID, we can easily track minorities and other poor people. Anyone we can't track can be easily deported.

    "With Real ID, you know when someone shows you a Real ID, it's a real ID. It's in the name."

    Cut to Real ID logo.
  • When the legislation for the Real ID Act was crafted back in 2005, it was the same language that was passed by the House in 2004 concerning intel reform. It was known as the 9/11 Implementation Act of 2004 (HR10). One of the clauses required states to sign the Driver License Agreement (DLA) [wikipedia.org] which states had to share their driver license databases not only between the states but also jurisdictions in Canada and Mexico. The Real ID Act language was crafted by bureaucrats within the American Association of Mot [aamva.org]
    • DLA is a good idea, as long as the data stays in the country. I don't trust Mexico with my info either.

      The portions of RealID relating to positive identification before the issuance of a license or ID card need to stay, too. It's just way too easy to get them now with falsified information.

      Basically, I'd like to have enough to prevent fraud. But of course, the statists wrote the bill and wanted a lot more than just that.
  • by oliphaunt (124016) on Tuesday November 06, 2007 @08:01PM (#21261261) Homepage
    It is official; ACLU now confirms: RealID is dying

    One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered RealID community when DOJ confirmed that RealID market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all state government ID programs. Coming close on the heels of a recent Homeland Security survey which plainly states that RealID has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. RealID is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Immigration and Customs comprehensive identification test.

    You don't need to be a Brownie to predict RealID's future. The hand writing is on the wall: RealID faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for RealID because RealID is dying. Things are looking very bad for RealID. As many of us are already aware, RealID continues to lose market share. Fake passports and imitations flow like a river of blood.

    The Department of Justice is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its DC managing political stooges. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time DOJ water-carriers Monica Goodling and Alberto Gonzales only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: RealID is dying.

    Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

    RealID leader Mike Chertoff states that there are 100 states which plan to use RealID. How many users of RealID are there? Let's see. The number of RealID versus other ID posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 100/5 = 20 RealID users. RealID posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of other ID posts. Therefore there are about 10 users of RealID. A recent article put RealID at about 80 percent of the overall ID market. Therefore there is only one actual RealID user. This is consistent with the number of RealID Usenet posts.

    All major surveys show that RealID proponents have steadily declined in market share. RealID is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If RealID is to survive at all it will be among National Security Theatre dilettante dabblers. RealID continues to decay. Nothing short of a cockeyed miracle could save RealID from its fate at this point in time. For all practical purposes, RealID is dead.

    Fact: RealID is dying

Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists. -- John Kenneth Galbraith

Working...