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Canadians Wary of 'Enhanced Drivers Licenses' 258

Posted by samzenpus
from the tell-me-everything dept.
Dr.Merkwurdigeliebe writes ""Enhanced drivers licenses such as those to be issued in B.C. will lay the groundwork for a national identity card", federal privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said yesterday. Stoddart said the licenses, touted as an alternative to a passport for the purpose of crossing the U.S. border, closely resemble the Real ID program in the United States. She characterized that program as a way of introducing a "type of national identity card" for Americans."
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Canadians Wary of 'Enhanced Drivers Licenses'

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2008 @05:22AM (#22331314)
    Whould that not be 'wary' instead of 'weary'?
  • by tygerstripes (832644) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @05:30AM (#22331366)
    If a government wants to introduce something like this against opposition, they simply have to make it non-compulsory but inconvenient NOT to adopt the measure.

    You can get about without a passport or driving license, you can purchase goods without using your SmartCard - but why make life so difficult for yourself when, with just a couple of concessionary biometric measures, you can take the easy path?

    There's never any need to convince the masses that something is a good idea; just convince the individual that it's not worth fighting.

    Am I preaching? Hell no. When these things get introduced in the UK I'll grumble like hell and offer my vocal support to anyone who opposes the new identity scheme (whatever guise it eventually takes), but at the end of the day...

    • by nicklott (533496)

      There's never any need to convince the masses that something is a good idea; just convince the individual that it's not worth fighting.

      You're right in principle, but in practice the UK government is not doing that: £293 per person?! [no2id.net] I think that will go a long way to convincing most people that it's worth fighting.

      When these things get introduced in the UK I'll grumble like hell

      Maybe that's all you'll do, but if they introduce ID cards here I for one will be out on the streets, as will at least one leader of a major political party [guardian.co.uk].

    • by Bombula (670389)
      You're right, of course, about how the process really works. But I'm still not completely sold on why national ID is such a terrible idea and why it is such a profound violation of privacy. Is it because it consolidates existing information? If you've done something you don't want the public to know about or you have something, like a diseases, you wish to keep private, well, that information is always out there somewhere, whether at your local county sheriff's department or at your local hostpial.

      Now

      • by bkr1_2k (237627)
        This is a joke right? Why would a National ID make it easier to find out about you? You answered your own question... because it consolidates whatever information they want to gather in one place. Presumably a place that will not charge employers, insurance agencies, whatever, for the right to view that information. Yes most information is available in some form or another now, but people have to dig for it, or pay for it. That alone makes the information less valuable because it costs something to get
  • by Nemilar (173603) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @05:32AM (#22331376) Homepage
    The article says that these are basically standard licenses, but they include RFID chips.

    Is anyone else worried about all these RFID chips that companies and government seem to love putting everywhere? Credit cards? Products? Licenses?

    They do realize that RFID is not secure, right? And that anyone with a few bucks can buy or build an RFID reader and cloner? So basically, the validity of your RFID scan is zero. Anyone who can counterfeit a license today will be able to counterfeit a license tomorrow, as long as they do a little research and invest in some extra equipment. It's a business - those who can't (or don't) adapt will die out, and those who do adapt to to the new market will succeed. But it will not be going away any time soon. RFID does not make anything more secure.
    • by sayfawa (1099071)
      Not that this totally solves the problem, but there are things like this. [rfid-shield.com]
    • by jimboindeutchland (1125659) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @07:00AM (#22331756) Homepage

      It really depends on what you mean by 'secure'.

      I used to work for a company that used RF smart cards as one of their core technologies and you'd be surprised how secure they can be.

      Without going into too much detail, these cards hold a cpu with a bit of memory (up to 1mb last I heard) that require a challenge response type handshake before you can communicate with them. If you don't have the correct card keys on your reader, you can't access the card. And I really mean you CAN'T read it.

      An example of this is when we tested 'rolling' the keys on the cards.

      You can change the keys on the cards and the readers. This is done in a scenario where the organization may be worried that a bad person might have their card/reader keys. It's a bit tricky and quite involved really, which is why organisations may choose not to roll keys or use keys at all.

      We managed to waste a few batches of cards with buggy software that put unexpected keys on the cards. Since we didn't know what keys were on the cards we couldn't read them and you can't really go guessing 1024 byte keys.

      Anyway my point is that these cards ARE secure. It's just that some implementations aren't.

      • by supersat (639745) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @07:14AM (#22331818)
        Yes, RFID cards can be fairly secure, but Homeland Security is mandating EPC Gen2 Class 1 tags in these cards (at least here in Washington). What's wonderful about these tags are that they have ZERO security (besides a 32-bit kill and write password) AND they are designed to be read from a long distance. Gen2 is absolutely the wrong choice for this application. ISO 14443 (which is used by passports and credit cards) makes a hell of a lot more sense since that protocol is designed to be a close-range, contact smartcard replacement.
        • This makes me wonder - how long would it take to brute-force said kill and write passwords? 32 bits isn't that many. You may be able to sneak a rig into a movie theatre and use it to brute-force a few of the passwords, then nuke the ID number. It would make for a pretty entertaining prank.
        • ...they are designed to be read from a long distance. Gen2 is absolutely the wrong choice for this application. ISO 14443 (which is used by passports and credit cards) makes a hell of a lot more sense since that protocol is designed to be a close-range, contact smartcard replacement.

          The want them to be long distance so they can monitor not only who goes in and out of specific buildings, but also who drives along specific sections of a highway. The intrusive state monitoring everything its so called citi

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Dr Caleb (121505)
      It's not the RFID chips that concerns people. Have a look at this article:

      http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/15335286.html [bclocalnews.com]

      "The first is that the pilot project involves transferring a user database on encrypted CD-ROM disks to U.S. authorities so they can check it when people come to the border. With a passport, U.S. border agents rely on information kept in Canada to decide if someone should be admitted."

      So, with the current system, a passport is scanned, and a computer in Canada flags whether they person is
  • by giafly (926567) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @05:35AM (#22331386)
    ... just use a passport. I'm surprised the government hasn't thought of this.
    • I'm Canadian. Thing is... in my opinion getting a passport is a pain. I get it that it's supposed to be difficult for those who aren't entitled to have one to get one, but the process really doesn't support that. I evidently have to go get a specific-sized picture taken, then I have to get someone who's an accountant/pastor/judge/teacher or OTHER PASSPORT HOLDER to sign the back of the photo. Then I fill out a form, get that same someone who signed the photo to put his/her address on it. Finally, I mai
  • Wary, not weary (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 07, 2008 @05:35AM (#22331388)
    "Weary" sounds like the Canadians have had these things for ages, and are sick of them.
    "Wary" means they're distrustful of them, and don't want them to come in.

    The linked article certainly uses "wary" so I assume that's what the /. headline should be too.
  • And will astronauts need to show theirs at NASA before they allow them off the globe?
  • by Seumas (6865) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @05:50AM (#22331462)
    Stop crying you whiny Canadians! In America, we don't worry about such things, as long as we have sports heroes who make $50m/yr that we can still worship and our favorite sit-coms are still on the air and we can still teach our children that the world is 6,000 years old and we can still own machine guns for hunting elk!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by the_womble (580291)
      Bread and circuses, an very old principle.
    • by scottv67 (731709) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @06:59AM (#22331754)
      as long as we have sports heroes who make $50m/yr

      It looks like you are taking a shot at those "sports heroes" with the big salaries. But those athletes with $50M/year salaries are actually a good thing. What do nearly all sports heroes do with their salary? They spend it! Big-name athletes drive expensive cars, they live in huuuuuuge mansions, they eat in expensive restaurants, and they buy lots of "bling". Those expensive cars pay the salaries of the salespeople at the car dealership as well as the mechanics who change the oil. The huuuuge houses provide wages for carpenters, electricians, house keepers, etc. Every $500 dinner tab at a fancy-schmany restaurant pays the wages of wait-staff, cooks, etc. What better way to stimulate the economy and get money into the hands of people who work for a living than to give it to a pro athlete? When was the last time you heard a story about a pro athlete who had millions in the bank? It's very rare. Nearly all of them spend it as fast as it comes in (or faster).

      Giving an athlete $50M/year is like giving hay and water to a cow. The cow doesn't hoard the hay and water in its body. After the cow ingests the hay and water, a number of "calves" can all take a turn at one of the teats. (How's *that* for a Slashdot analogy?)

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        And thanks to $50 Million salaries, it costs $150 for decent seats at the hockey game. The money to pay them is coming from regular joes anyway. Why not just let the regular joes keep their money?
        • He wasn't talking about the money going back to regular Joes, he was talking about it going to those who work in fancy restaurants and classy car dealerships. Take from the working class, feed it back into the upper class! Yay!! You could just save time and give me your money instead, I'll be upper class in no time!
          • by AGMW (594303)
            You could just save time and give me your money instead, I'll be upper class in no time!

            I think you are making the usual mistake of equating "having money" with "having class".

            Case 1: Britney Spears ... well I assume she at least had a lot of money!

        • by Pope (17780)
          That's why I like going to see AHL teams, in my case The Marlies. Not only do they win more than the Maple Leafs, the hockey's better to watch and the tickets are only $20. Support minor league hockey! :)
      • by pipatron (966506)

        How's *that* for a Slashdot analogy?

        Hm, I don't think I understand. How does all of this relate to a car?

  • by Confused (34234) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @06:19AM (#22331566) Homepage
    Could someone please explain to me, why Americans, Canadians, Brits and Australians are so afraid of a national ID card?

    I live in continental Europe in a country where everyone is expected to be able to identify himself to the police at any time, in a country where there's a central voter register and if you move, you are expected to register yourself with the local town inside of 3 weeks. That sounds like the total police state, doesn't it?

    Lets see how this works out in reality:

    [b]Identify yourself[/b]: Usually any official document with picture is ok, in reality this means in most cases your driving license - issued nationally, your national ID card or your passport (which many people have anyway to get to the sea in summer). As most Americans have a driving license anyway, this wouldn't change a lot of things for a good part of the population. The issuers of the driving licenses might need do a little more work checking the identity to prevent issues to the wrong name or wrong dates - but this wouldn't affect the common people.

    The benefit of having a national ID card on the other hand is, that there's only a small number of documents used commonly and if you have one, you are identified. No more 'Bring 3 types of ID' stuff. You have your driving license, your passport or your ID card, you are set. If those are good enough for the police, they are good enough for everyone else too (eg banks, insurances, airlines).

    As those official documents are quite important, forging those, getting those in wrong names or otherwise messing with them is taken very, very seriously by law enforcement. You don't mess around with your driving license just to get some beer before you should (which wouldn't be a problem anyway, once you get a driving license you're also considered old enough to get alcohol), that would send you quite quickly to jail. This improves the general trust in those documents.

    At the same time identity theft a lot less of a problem here. If you need to identify yourself, you show one of those documents and everyone is happy. Should, for instance, a bank teller have doubts about your documents, you'll just be invited for a coffee while the police quickly drops by to check your documents. If it clear, fine, if it doesn't you're in deep deep trouble. To try getting around with a fake identity, you immediately raise the stakes to the level of a federal crime, which in most cases isn't worth the risk to small time criminals.

    [b]To the police:[/b] So yes, the police may ask you at any time to identify yourself. If not, they can put you in lock-up for some time (similar to the 24 hours available to the American police if one can trust crime shows) to check your identity. In day to day operation, is seems very similar no matter if there's a national ID card scheme or not. If the police doesn't like your face, they can give you a hard time.

    For people without ID, there are some procedures to get identified, but those take time and effort. If you happen to be one of the unfortunates without ID, your ID got lost / stolen / whatever, you do it only once to get a temporary replacement before having the new ones issued.

    [b]Central voter register:[/b] So wherever you live, you are forced to register yourself inside 3 weeks. This is done mainly for the voter register, to have an idea who can vote in what district, for the tax man and for the police who likes to have a total control over the citizens.

    The voter register is a good thing, it makes fraud and manipulation at the time of elections a little harder - you ain't registered officially in the district, you ain't going to vote for it.

    The tax man is unfortunately very unavoidable. No matter if there's a national ID card or not, Mr. Tax man will own you and your data - in Soviet Russia and everywhere else too.

    The police might have it a little easier to start up to indulge in their totalitarian police state fantasies if they have a national ID card. But if they don't they just dig into the d
    • by Cheesey (70139) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @06:32AM (#22331618)
      Because the ID card act is really about creating a centralised government database that stores all information about you in one place. Not just personal information either - this would be every electronic record that exists about you, like what you buy and where you travel. Some people think this would be overly intrusive, that it would give too much power to the authorities, and that the data might be stolen or lost. (You might remember some recent news stories about government data being lost: this happens quite often.)

      However, most people do not understand about the database and do not care about the ID cards, so people who think it's a good idea are in luck. I guess we will see the consequences in twenty years time.
      • by rxmd (205533) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @06:42AM (#22331660) Homepage

        Because the ID card act is really about creating a centralised government database that stores all information about you in one place. Not just personal information either - this would be every electronic record that exists about you, like what you buy and where you travel.

        You guys are confusing "creating a database" with "creating a primary key".

        Let's for the sake of the argument assume that the tinfoil hat crowd is right and that the big spidery evil government works as they think it does. If the governments wants to create the database, but doesn't get the ID through legislation, they will create the database anyway and just use some other key, and live with the inconvenience of an occasional duplicate record or even exploit them, e.g. for creating extra voters. Whether the government collects data on everything you buy and everywhere you travel is completely independent of whether there is a national ID.
        • by Cheesey (70139) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @06:56AM (#22331736)
          You are right, but it could be argued that a single primary key into a number of connected databases is the same as a single database. The anti-ID people like to talk about "the database" because that makes the issue easier to understand.

          The problem with current government databases is that they need cleaning up. There are lots of duplicate or inaccurate records, even though supposedly unique keys already exist (e.g. social security numbers, passport numbers). The ID cards act in the UK is at least partly about setting up a framework to reduce that problem: the plan is to interview passport applicants and record their biometrics before assigning them their unique NIR number. The civil service hopes that this will clean up the data, making the database more useful for whatever purposes they have in mind. This process is not cheap, so the ID cards act provides the funding and the "popular mandate" required to go ahead with it. It is hard to see how the data could be cleaned up in any other way. However, some would say that the project is unnecessary, that the £20bn would be better spent elsewhere, and that the eventual goals of the project are questionable.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by johneee (626549)
          Tinfoil hattery aside, there are a lot of people in the government who would love to have everyone + dog in a single database with a single primary key that is indelibly attached to a single person, but perhaps not for the same reasons the tinfoil people think.

          I bring your attention to the following inflamitory, apocryphal, forward I got the other day:

          --

          Actual letter to the Canadian Passport office

          Dear Mr. Minister,

          I'm in the process of renewing my passport, and still cannot believe this.
          How is it t
    • by Ihlosi (895663) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @06:36AM (#22331638)
      I live in continental Europe in a country where everyone is expected to be able to identify himself to the police at any time, in a country where there's a central voter register and if you move, you are expected to register yourself with the local town inside of 3 weeks. That sounds like the total police state, doesn't it?



      The funny thing is: Here in Europe we have ID cards, but we're very rarely asked to present them (I've had to show mine last time to get the birth certificate for my daughter). However, in the countries that seem so proud of not having national ID cards, everyone and their dog wants my ID for all kinds of crap (I'm 30+ years old and still they want to see my ID if I'm buying alcohol. And they wanted to see it when I was accompanying my wife to the federal building where she had to take care of some paperwork. ID necessary to enter what's essentially an office complex, WTF guys ??), forcing me to carry my passport around everywhere I go (which is _very_ annoying as it doesn't fit in a wallet and there's going to be major hassles if it ever gets lost or stolen).

      • The funny thing is: Here in Europe we have ID cards, but we're very rarely asked to present them (I've had to show mine last time to get the birth certificate for my daughter). However, in the countries that seem so proud of not having national ID cards, everyone and their dog wants my ID for all kinds of crap (I'm 30+ years old and still they want to see my ID if I'm buying alcohol. And they wanted to see it when I was accompanying my wife to the federal building where she had to take care of some paperwor

      • by westlake (615356)
        they wanted to see (ID) when I was accompanying my wife to the federal building where she had to take care of some paperwork. ID necessary to enter what's essentially an office complex, WTF guys ??

        What looks like an ordinary office complex to you can have a very different meaning to someone else.

        Quite some years back now, I had the interesting experience of being a look-alike for a mental patient expected at a clinic which had found temporary lodgings on the ground floor of our county court house. The st

    • Could someone please explain to me, why Americans, Canadians, Brits and Australians are so afraid of a national ID card?

      Because of what it could be used for. What ever happened to all those Jews who used to live on the continent anyway? I know that a lot of them moved to America, Canada, Britain and Australia but they don't seem to have that many relatives back home these days.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by rxmd (205533)

        Because of what it could be used for. What ever happened to all those Jews who used to live on the continent anyway?

        The majority of the Jews killed during the war lived in Eastern Europe and were killed after the conquest by the German Army, which basically just marched in and carted everybody off. Not having an ID card didn't save a lot of lives.

        This is a straw man argument, and a particularly disgusting one.

        I know that a lot of them moved to America, Canada, Britain and Australia

        Those that fit into t

    • by synx (29979) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @06:44AM (#22331668)
      Except that we are not living in continental Europe and we don't expect to give our ID for "any reason whatsoever".

      Lets talk about what Europe does to the gypsies. ID schemes are a form of social control. They require people to do things " a certain way" and live their lives precisely and exactly according to rules.

      Now the situation in this particular article is exactly who gets access to the database, and the whole 10m tracking thing. The biggest problem is one of "mission creep". So if someone can read your ID without you knowing, then anyone could, say a grocery store. Or any institution. Or any individual. What happens if I set up a system where i can tell people near me that they've been near me before. I think they'd get pretty creeped out by that. A great way to stalk someone let me tell you.

      Just because you think ID cards are working out "great" for you, doesn't mean that (a) they are actually working out great and (b) they'd work out "great" here too. The inconviences are not daily, but in the aggregate, all for what benefits?

      - Claimed reduction in "identity theft"
        - this problem is uniquely american for 2 reasons that are solvable without ID cards:
                - Treating the SSN as a secret that only 1 person knows. Easy to solve.
                - Credit card companies are deliberately slack about security. No online pin transactions, no signature verification, etc.
      - Identifying yourself is easier.
          - This is not a real problem people have in their day to day lives. For most people their existing driver's license (or state ID) is sufficient, it has a picture and a signature. Done. Unlike Europeans, American and Canadians don't cross borders often. Being required to extra prove your identity is something that hardly ever happens.

      So to summarize: Streamlining bank sign up processes and fixing bank/credit card company problems for them by giving yourself a easy to track ID doesn't seem like a very good trade off to me.

      Last but not least, I think you are forgetting these IDs are readable at a LONG DISTANCE. You could drive past people and read their IDs. With some data collection, GPS system and mining you can construct a name -> ID number mapping that in theory only the police should have.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Confused (34234)
        > Except that we are not living in continental Europe and we don't expect to give our ID for "any reason whatsoever".

        Yes, that's exactly the strange part. You give the your ID all the time, you have things nearly as good as a national ID (Driving license?), you are already registered in many Big Brother Databases (Income tax? Mobile phone records? Social Security?) and with all this the "I don't have to ID myself"-myth goes on.

        >Last but not least, I think you are forgetting these IDs are readable at a
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gobbo (567674)

      Could someone please explain to me, why ... Canadians ... are so afraid of a national ID card?

      Here in BC, the provincial government subcontracted out some of the management of our provincial health care records to a subsidiary of an American company. This means that we essentially lose sovereignty over those records, through any quasi-totalitarian homeland security intelligence bungle the Americans want to cook up. It is an end-run (intentional or not) around our political protections and sovereign rights.

      If you know many Canucks, you'll know that a certain significant percentage of us are touchy

    • If you read the US Constitution, that nice document the current US government ignores, you will see the seeds of government distrust in the US. Simply put, the Founding Fathers knew that governments become corrupt and they sought to head it off at the start, the Constitution defines the rights the people give to government, not what government gives to the people. It puts strict limits on how the government can act. The states were to be powerful entities in their own right.

      Unfortunately our courts were
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Drall (1006725)
      In the British case, what you're describing doesn't even come close to the level of personal information that the government wants stored on the card and in the national database associated with it.

      You're describing a simple piece of identification. The British plans are to store or link 50+ categories of information to the ID, cross-reference these and store them all centrally. Slap on a legal requirement to notify the government of any change in these 50+ piece of information. Add to that that not just go
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gsslay (807818)
      The problem is not the card, but the database that lies behind it.

      Old style European ID schemes simply don't have this to the same degree, nor is there any attempt to cross reference the contents of these database with other repositories of information. The danger is that the ability to tie this information together can and will be abused, not just by the government but by any of the organisations who suddenly make it compulsory for you to share your ID with them before they will have anything to do with y
    • by twakar (128390) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @07:43AM (#22331924) Homepage
      Could someone please explain to me, why Americans, Canadians, Brits and Australians are so afraid of a national ID card?
      I'll tell you I'm afraid of this type of thing/attitude, from a Canadian perspective anyways.

      For me, it doesn't come from fear or mistrust. It's simply a matter of freedom. The freedom to go about my daily life without having to explain my intentions or actions, or to prove that I'm allowed to be wherever I happen to be. Freedom of mobility is guaranteed under the Canadian Constitution.

      I also happen to enjoy the freedom from arbitrary questioning/interrogation. The freedom from being monitored, from having my movements/purchases/actions tracked, perhaps to be used against me by someone in government I may have pissed off at some point in my life.

      If I'm under arrest for suspicion of whatever, then fine. Under the current system I'll have my day in court. And up until now, I still trust my legal system (for the most part). Under a 'papers please' society, I wouldn't trust any member of law enforcement or the judiciary, I would be living in fear. Please try and remember that a government is supposed to be in place to serve the citizenry, not to monitor/track/control. People who through a trusted system of due process are deemed criminal should be monitored, but a free citizen should be under no such magnifying glass.

      I truly fear the day that the freedoms I enjoy now, that my forefathers gave their lives for, will be a distant memory, that can only be discussed via 'approved' texts.

      Even as a Canadian, I'm scared to go to the U.S. for what's it's become. I fear that 1 wrong move, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time could land me in world of pain or trouble.

      Again, the reason I don't want any sort of national ID card is that I simply enjoy my freedom too much, and I will fight to the death to keep it.

      P.S. although not perfect, I do feel that for the most part, at this moment I do live in the freest (sp?) country in the world
      • by mwillems (266506)
        Spot on. We do not, in Canada, need to explain myself to gangs of roaming policemen (remember the East German Vopo's, anyone, the "Volkspolizei", or "people's police"?). And we do not want to go there.

        There are also very practical reasons to push back against these schemes. A few years ago I had my briefcase stolen at a European airport. Everything in it. Passports. Credit cards. Citizenship Certificate. Social Insurance card. Driver's license. *Everything*.

        So then I discovered how wrong the "if you have do
    • by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hoggerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday February 07, 2008 @08:39AM (#22332158) Journal

      Could someone please explain to me, why Americans, Canadians, Brits and Australians are so afraid of a national ID card?

      ...This is done mainly for the voter register, to have an idea who can vote in what district, for the tax man and for the police who likes to have a total control over the citizens.

      You identified the problem. We don't like the police to have a total control over us.
    • he benefit of having a national ID card on the other hand is, that there's only a small number of documents used commonly and if you have one, you are identified. No more 'Bring 3 types of ID' stuff. You have your driving license, your passport or your ID card, you are set. If those are good enough for the police, they are good enough for everyone else too (eg banks, insurances, airlines).
      Most things require proof of ID and 2 forms of proof of address.
    • by autophile (640621)

      That's a whole lot of verbiage which repeats the old argument "If you've done nothing wrong, you've got nothing to be afraid of." I think this has been answered in great detail elsewhere.

      --Rob

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kabocox (199019)
      I live in continental Europe in a country where everyone is expected to be able to identify himself to the police at any time, in a country where there's a central voter register and if you move, you are expected to register yourself with the local town inside of 3 weeks. That sounds like the total police state, doesn't it?

      You just explained why most of the US doesn't want ID cards of any type and how the system/government/police can screw you over if you don't get with their system. It doesn't take an extr
  • by gsslay (807818)
    I know drivers' licences are a very popular route for governments to introduce national ID schemes. Put pity the poor citizen who can't/doesn't drive. Will the end result of these be non-drivers effectively becoming non-citizens?
    • by jibjibjib (889679)
      I agree that this is a problem. I know someone who can't get a driver's license because of a disability, and he already has problems identifying himself to incredibly stupid organisations who seem to forget that not everyone in the country can drive.

      Incidentally, a real national ID card would completely solve this problem.

      • by CrazyJim1 (809850)
        Interesting. My state has a program where you can get an ID card if you don't drive. I just assumed they all did. My political website www.voteandnews.com was going to use drivers licences to determine if you are old enough to vote. I think that is a bad idea. Anyone have an idea of what I should use if I want to register people to have one login to one unique voter?
      • by synx (29979) on Thursday February 07, 2008 @06:58AM (#22331748)
        The problem is already solved. DMVs also issue "state ID" which is valid for all purposes that a drivers license is used for.

        A national ID doesn't solve any particular problem people have on a day to day basis.

        I can tell you what a national ID will make worse: identity theft. Oh but wait you say - a national ID is highly verified and impossible to duplicate or forge. Never say never - a national ID will have forgeries. Except since everyone "knows" that a ID is not forgeable, those who will be the unfortunate victim of identity thefts won't be able to get off the hook.

        A similar situation has happened recently. Newer model cars with immobilizers are "unstealable" - until they are not. There is a good Wired article about this:

        http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.08/carkey.html [wired.com]

        a choice quote:

        "Since you reportedly can account for all the vehicle keys, the forensic information suggests that the loss did not occur as reported," the company wrote to Wassef, denying his claim. The barely hidden subtext: Wassef was lying."

        Now imagine instead of cars we're talking about your identity. If your ID is not forgeable, then anything done with your ID tagged to it is clearly done by you. Now imagine these RFID IDs are in fact trivial to clone with the right equipment... now what?

        In the end, what problem are we solving? I keep on hearing in the US the Real ID solves the issue of multiple drivers licenses from multiple states. But if that hole was plugged would it prevent terrorism? Probably not I'm thinking. Then what problem would it really help with? Tracking down and punishing people for trivial crimes will end up being the #1 application of these things.

        • by gsslay (807818)

          The problem is already solved. DMVs also issue "state ID" which is valid for all purposes that a drivers license is used for.

          But if it isn't a drivers licence, will it perform the function of the "Enhanced Driver's Licence" proposed in the article? You can get many ID cards of many sorts from many places. If my "State ID" is adequate, will my library card also do?

          Or will there be a "Non-driver's Enhanced Driver's Licence"? In which case, let us pretend no longer. You don't have a driver's licence, you have a national ID card that optionally and additionally operates as a driver's licence.

      • by Dunbal (464142)
        Incidentally, a real national ID card would completely solve this problem.

        Not only that but nowadays there really is no excuse to not have ONE and ONLY one document that identifies you. Different agencies can use the same document to determine if you are licensed or not (via a flag in a database), and any other relevant information (blood type, known medical conditions, criminal record, credit history, etc). Then it's just a case of controlling who has access to which database. Your do
  • "Enhanced drivers licenses such as those to be issued in B.C. will lay the groundwork for a national identity card"... She characterized that program as a way of introducing a "type of national identity card" for Americans."

    I'm sorry, but when did the US annex British Columbia?

    OK, I will admit that as a Canadian I have insisted over the years that Canadians are part of America too (as are Mexicans and all residents of Central and South America), the word "America"

  • The "leaders" of the free world have been given instructions to implement ID cards by... 2020 or so.

     
  • Luckily, I don't drive.
  • Never, ever, trust the word "enhanced."

    This word is used whenever the person selling you something that he claims in better in some nebulous way that he can't quite describe in detail. The speaker is almost certainly hiding the fact that either 1. there is nothing actually better about the "enhanced" thing, or 2. the "enhanced" thing is actually worse in some way.

    The next time someone tells you something is "enhanced" ask him exactly HOW it's better. Details!
  • Within a relatively short span of time the United States [wikipedia.org], the United Kingdom [wikipedia.org] and now Canada have tried to push national identity cards that would be required for all citizens to move about and use government services. I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, but this feels extremely fishy. Taking off the conspiracy theory hat for a moment, perhaps this is a coincidence: the state of technology is global, and may have caused techies in three governments to reach similar, parallel conclusions about what sort

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