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California Edges Toward Joining Real ID Revolt 211

Posted by kdawson
from the blinking-every-time dept.
The Department of Homeland Security's Real ID program has a real challenge on its hands from California. DHS had said it will only grant extensions from the Real ID rules taking effect on May 11 to states that apply by March 31 and promise to implement Real ID by 2010. California requested an extension but would not make the latter promise. DHS buckled and said, in effect, "Good enough." Perhaps they realized that trying to slap giant California around is qualitatively different than doing the same to New Hampshire. In another crack in the wall. DHS has granted Montana a waiver it explicitly did not ask for. From Wired: "For a short moment Thursday, millions of Californians were in danger of facing pat-downs at the airport and being blocked from federal buildings come May 11... DHS had said before Thursday it won't grant Real ID extensions to states who don't commit to implementing the rules in the future. That meant Tuesday's letter looked like enough to join California to the small rebellion against the Real ID rules. For Californians that would mean enduring the same fate facing citizens of South Carolina, Maine, Montana, and New Hampshire... [A]fter Threat Level provided Homeland Security spokesman Laura Keehner with the letter, Keehner said California's commitment to thinking about commitment is good enough."
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California Edges Toward Joining Real ID Revolt

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  • by snarfies (115214) on Monday March 24, 2008 @08:12AM (#22843748) Homepage
    Borodin: Do you think they will let me live in Montana?
    Capt. Ramius: I would think they'll let you live wherever you want.
    Borodin: Good. Then I will live in Montana. And I will marry a round American woman, and raise rabbits, and she will cook them for me. And I will have a pick-up truck, or umm... possibly even...a recreational vehicle, and drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?
    Capt. Ramius: Oh yes.
    Borodin: No papers?
    Capt. Ramius: No papers. State-to-state.
  • Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by johnsonav (1098915) on Monday March 24, 2008 @08:12AM (#22843750) Journal
    I wish states would step up and grow a pair more often. It's about time the states remembered their place in our system of checks and balances.
  • by Phoenix666 (184391) on Monday March 24, 2008 @09:01AM (#22844064)
    Congress won't defend the Constitution or Rule of Law anymore. The Supreme Court has been compromised.

    Perhaps the states are our last hope. If California, New York, and just a few of the other big states say no to all the nonsense, the federal government shall have to back down or stage a coup.

    It would be great to see them band together and take a very strong, pro-Constitutionalist stance on RealID, as well as the other recent intrusions on states' rights (I mean it in the Constitutional sense, not the neo-con sense).

    For instance, the deployment of National Guard overseas at the expense of Civil Defense; the National Guard units belong to their respective states and actually answer to the governors, not the President. Or take the Medical Marijuana initiatives that passed all around the country in 2006 and which the Federal Government has been trying to countermand--it's not my issue but the states have the right under the Constitution to regulate such matters within their own borders.

    Maybe, just maybe, if the states lead the way Congress will grow a pair.
  • by drooling-dog (189103) on Monday March 24, 2008 @09:10AM (#22844118)
    This setback for DHS is a very good and important thing. What I'd really like to see, though, is about 100,000 citizens converging on their local airport and taking it back through the sheer weight of their numbers.
  • by Wowsers (1151731) on Monday March 24, 2008 @09:30AM (#22844256) Journal

    Anti-immigrant fervor has grown steadily during the Bush administration, mostly due to the over-investment in foreign workers during the Clinton administration and the economic downturn during the early 2000s. The anger is mostly directed at Mexican and South (and Central) American foreigners who are perceived as coming into the US and stealing jobs from hard working Americans.

    The same might be said for Europe, and currently for the UK who also have a fetish for wanting a "super" biometric ID cards and, more importantly, the all-knowing database behind it. Want to buy something in a store with cash, show us your ID card first. Did you vote for the wrong party, your ID is cancelled and you become a non-person, unable to get state benefits / pension / health-care.

    The governments are very keen on using the pretext of immigration for ID cards etc., but it is they that deliberately open the borders to let anyone in, it is a problem they can control at an instant at no cost. Having people associate proving ID with controlling immigration is a real bonus.

    No, the real reason behind having the ID system is that the government wants to know about YOU, they don't care about the immigrants. Freedom is rapidly dying as people forget (or more likely never taught) what WW2 was all about.

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Monday March 24, 2008 @09:35AM (#22844306) Homepage Journal
    States lost a lot of their rights when they permitted people to choose Senators and ever since then the Federal Government has run over the states...
  • it just struck me....but wouldnt this be the kind of thing people could do, but call their group "anonymous" while they protested it...? /not yet awake
  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DustyShadow (691635) on Monday March 24, 2008 @10:15AM (#22844654) Homepage

    Instead of a band of 13 somewhat diverse colonies where people felt some allegiance just to their neighbours instead of the whole country, we now have national media and increasing cultural homogeny (Red/Blue state issues aside). We might as well reflect that in government.
    That would require amending the U.S. Constitution. I don't see that happening any time soon.
  • by asuffield (111848) <asuffield@suffields.me.uk> on Monday March 24, 2008 @10:16AM (#22844664)

    The same might be said for Europe, and currently for the UK who also have a fetish for wanting a "super" biometric ID cards and, more importantly, the all-knowing database behind it.


    It's fairly well known in the UK that the ID card is just a political front for MI5 and the police force's desire to build a fingerprint database of everybody in the country. Nobody wants the cards, they just want to work around the recently passed laws that prohibited them from collecting DNA and fingerprints of people who aren't criminals, and they've seized on the idea of creating an ID card as an excuse to write new laws that will let them.

    I doubt they even care whether the project succeeds in producing an ID card (it's currently failing, spectacularly - after three years of funding they've started collecting the fees and writing down your names, but there is no card, no database, no fingerprint collection, and no firm plan for when or even how they are going to do anything other than collect more fees; they are still wrangling with the contractors about who is going to be responsible for working out the plans for these various parts). The important part for them is that the laws will still be on the books, so they can escape from the recently imposed restrictions, even if there never is any card.
  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Monday March 24, 2008 @10:18AM (#22844680) Homepage
    I find it interesting that the states are refusing to implement REAL ID, but the state's representatives voted for it. So who are they representing if their state is willing to flat-out refuse a law? This is a very serious breakdown of representation. It is absolute confirmation that the representative democracy is not working.

    The other aspect of all this is that while Slashdotters are praising the states for standing-up for civil rights, the reality is that the states are fighting REAL ID because of funding issues, not because of civil rights issues. If the government tied federal funding of schools (or highways, or parks, or somethng) to the implementation of REAL ID, then the states would quietly fall-in line.
  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Panaflex (13191) <convivialdingo&yahoo,com> on Monday March 24, 2008 @10:26AM (#22844754)
    If Cali had a pair they'd let this date slip without a word... TSA would hit the wall, DHS would get no respect.

    You want to kill a law? Then ignore it.
  • Re:Good (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DustyShadow (691635) on Monday March 24, 2008 @10:56AM (#22845020) Homepage
    Only the Supreme Court can interpret the Constitution. Not us and definitely not the Executive branch. The federal government can do only what the Constitution allows it to do. That power is quite limited. Any other powers are left to the states.
  • by Sandbags (964742) on Monday March 24, 2008 @10:59AM (#22845040) Journal
    The states do have their own soverign rights. Many of them fought against changing driking laws to 21, many against manditory seat belt laws, many against multiple speed limit changes. Fact is, all the federal government has to do is wave federal highway money in front of them (or threaten to take it away) and the states will bend and take it in the ass. They have over and over and over again...

    Facts:
    - The Real-ID system will be at least as secure (if not more) than the best existing state ID system in place currently. Sure, it will be a big target, but it will also be closely guarded by top security people since it's such a public issue. Access will be restricted to public sector netowrks, not open to the public or common hacking attacks, just like the ATM network and existing police and DMV systems. It will be monitored constantly. Do you think South Carolina has a top notch FBI security team monitoring access to THEIR systems? I can tell you as someone who knows a few former programmers at the for SC state who wrote that system, NO IT CERTAINLY DOES NOT! there have even been breakins at DMV offices where PC, printer, and blank IDs have been stolen since the system requires no direct connection to a secure validation network in order to print IDs.

    - Currently, all you have to do if you loose your license in one state is move to another and apply for a licesne there. Too many DUI's? just move and reset. Under Federally issued ID, this will not be possible, and states can protect themselves from repeat bad drivers (driving is a privelidge, not a right, and if you abuse it, we have the right to take it away and make sure you can't get it back, even if you move). This will lower insurance costs across the board.

    - Few people in security (professional residential, even bartenders) can be expected to know how to spot fake IDs from every state (There are over 200 legal forms of ID circulating in america). With a single secure ID, we don't have to even look for fake info, we can swipe it, compare a computer screen to information on the ID, and compare the picture to the person, even use a biometric scan as further confirmation. RFID may not be secure, and it may only take a few days for someone to crack the chip in the ID and distribute hardware and software to edit it, but cracking the text printed on the ID will be much tougher. The state of CT has one of the hardest to forge IDs I've ever seen, and I've not seen them all. If REAL-ID takes even a handfull of their tricks, you won't see a lot of these faked (especially if it becomes a federal crime to do so, not a local misdemeanor!)

    - Anyone with a valid or fake ID today can sneak into just about any federal building. Real ID will make this more, not less, secure, as fakes will be easier to spot, and real ones that are invalid will be harder to get.

    - yes, you information will be accessible by more agencies and organizations than ever before. Most of this will still require a warrent unless it's for entering say a speeding ticket. Your financial information will not be tied to this ID, only your address, ID number, and a few minor details about you. It's no more secure of insecure than your current drivers license, which all of us regularly give photocopies of at will to anyone who askes, right? If you already give this out, who cares if agencies, with strict controls over this information and who it's accessed, have it?

    - You can't log onto this database and pull records for large amounts of people. This is an integrated and unique system. To get a record, you have to fill out a query. Even as a hacker, and even if you could get onto an authorised terminal or hack your way in, and even if you had a copy of the client software package used to access this database, at best, you can get a few search results at a time, and only 1 record at a time. Search too much or too long, or try to backdoor the system, and it will know. the database will simply be too big to "steal." all you can do is access it.
  • Re:Good (Score:5, Insightful)

    by johnsonav (1098915) on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:07AM (#22845098) Journal
    We can, and do. But there is nothing in the constitution that could be interpreted to remove states' sovereignty. The constitution was written, and remains, a compact between states and their respective citizenry. The constitution does not grant the states the right to exist; the states grant the federal government the right to exist. We can come up with new ways of interpreting the constitution, or even write a whole new one, but without rewriting each state constitution there is no way to remove their sovereignty.

    The states have ceded a lot of authority to the federal government over the past 200 years, especially since the Civil War. Much of that, civil rights for example, has been for the best. But the ability of the states to write and enforce their own laws is what made it possible for this country to grow from 13 colonies to one of the most geographically and culturally diverse countries in the world. Laws that may apply to the dairy farmers in Wisconsin may be counterproductive in a largely urban state like New Jersey.

    States rights are still important even after the closing of our western frontier and slower growth today. State governments are more responsive, flexible and approachable than the federal government. Local politics may not be as sexy as the soap opera in Washington, but if you truly want your voice to be heard, local and state is the only way to go.

    The states have tremendous untapped power even now, in this age of a strong central government. Washington just got used to pushing whatever they wanted down the states' throats. Even if I thought that REAL ID was a good idea, I still want the states to dust off their boots once in a while, just to keep everyone on their toes.
  • by AJWM (19027) on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:31AM (#22845340) Homepage
    Citizens with valid and accurate papers are perfectly capable of entering a federal building with evil intent.

    Heck, citizens with valid papers and evil intent don't even need to enter a federal building to cause harm. Timothy McVeigh just parked his Ryder truck full of ANFO in front of the federal building in Oklahoma City.

    The bit about preventing non-RealID holders from entering federal buildings has nothing to do with securing the buildings and everything to do with extorting compliance with RealID.
  • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by electrictroy (912290) on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:40AM (#22845432)
    You seem to have missed the main point:

    - State Legislatures operate as a counter-balance against the D.C. government becoming too dictatorial. For example, California's Legislature refusing to implement the "real id" (or as I say, Spy ID) in its current form is a way to remind the D.C. politicians to stop acting like nationalized tyrants.

    If States rights did not exist, we'd all be living like D.C. residents (no medical marijuana allowed, ~$100 a year vehicle tax, universal gun ban, et cetera, et cetera). By allowing States to act independently, we keep at least *some* of our freedoms because the State Legislatures act as a counterweight against power-hungry D.C.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:44AM (#22845472) Journal
    I am saying he is very unreasonable. We are not in the horse and buggy days anymore. It is possible to cause far more damage with a car than it is possible with a horse and a buggy. Let him drive without a license if he wants to in his private property. The roads belong to all of us. We need reasonable restrictions so that we can all use it safely and effectively. If the guy can't demonstrate that he can operate a motor vehicle safely, I have the right to stop him from driving on my highway. My right to safe use of my highway can not be compromised by whatever rights he fancies he has. He has to demonstrate that he is capable of handling a vehicle safely, and that he vehicle he is using is safe, with proper brakes and lights and stuff. And we the people own the air collectively. We decide how much pollutants he can emit while operating his vehicle.

    Whatever may be the merits of his case or his arguments, he can not unilaterally decide what rights he has. It is the courts of law that decide whether the rights he thinks he has are really his rights or he is blowing smoke. He went before a judge, and the judge ruled that he is a kook. So he remains a kook till an appeals court reverses it. Stop supporting such idiots just because he is sticking to the MVD. You might hate MVD and MVD could be as stupid and inefficient as any govt bureaucracy can be. But the opposition must be reasonable. Supporting all kinds of idiots just because they oppose MDV is stupid.

  • Re:Good (Score:3, Insightful)

    by electrictroy (912290) on Monday March 24, 2008 @11:51AM (#22845554)
    But as Thomas Jefferson said, "To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions is a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps."

    As for "selectively interpreting" the Constitution?

    That's a HORRIBLE idea. It's equivalent to saying we should selectively enforce some laws ("don't drive faster than 65") but not others ("it's okay to steal because we have selectively decided not to enforce that law"). Stupid idea.

  • by electrictroy (912290) on Monday March 24, 2008 @01:47PM (#22847308)
    (1) People driving large, damaging vehicles also pay more in gasoline taxes because those types of vehicles are gas guzzlers.

    (2) "Don't damage the road" is not justification to deny someone's right to travel. Nor is "you are black" justification to enslave a person. Or "you are a pregnant woman" justification to deny the right to get a job. And on and on. Rights can not be taken away for trivial, bullshit reasons.

    (3) Horse/buggies actually do quite a bit of damage to roads, so by your reasoning they should be banned until properly registered.

    However the Amish Americans are very resourceful at getting their way. That's why they don't have licenses, they do pay property tax, but not income tax, nor social security, nor medicare. They may be "old-fashioned" but they still believe in HUMAN RIGHTS FROM GOD, and no politician is going to convince an Amish American that he has the authority to overrule the creator, or ban them from using the People's Roads. Therefore they don't follow what they consider to be unjust, illegal, unconstitutional laws.

    I guess that makes Amish Americans "kooks" too?
    Oh well; I suspect they don't care what you think.

  • by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Monday March 24, 2008 @02:05PM (#22847644) Homepage
    Out in the real world, it costs a $10 bribe to get a driver's license in India. No exam, no test, no proof of anything needed. And yet their accident rate is comparable to ours.

    Regulation is *always* created to give somebody an advantage over somebody else. It's *never* created to protect against the incompetent. The real incompetents don't know how to drive, and DON'T drive. That's the law.
  • Re:Good (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Russ Nelson (33911) <slashdot@russnelson.com> on Monday March 24, 2008 @02:09PM (#22847748) Homepage
    Ugh. What a thoughtless comment. How do you create good policy? By having one set of smart people in the federal government? No (how could that POSSIBLY work?). No, you create good policy by creating many different policies at the state level, and seeing what works. Then, the smart states adopt those good policies.
  • by guywcole (984149) on Monday March 24, 2008 @02:49PM (#22848418) Homepage Journal
    But the state's aren't resisting to protect state powers. They're resisting because of the cost of implementing.

    If the fed's had funded this mandate, it would have been implemented already, regardless of how it relates to individual or state rights.
  • by chord.wav (599850) on Monday March 24, 2008 @04:26PM (#22849568) Journal

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/naomi-wolf/ten-steps-to-close-down-a_b_46695.html [huffingtonpost.com]

    Ten Steps To Close Down an Open Society

    1 Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy
    2 Create a gulag
    3 Develop a thug caste
    4 Set up an internal surveillance system
    5 Harass citizens' groups
    6 Engage in arbitrary detention and release
    7 Target key individuals
    8 Control the press
    9 Dissent equals treason
    10 Suspend the rule of law

  • by Curunir_wolf (588405) on Monday March 24, 2008 @07:32PM (#22851314) Homepage Journal

    The states do have their own soverign rights. Many of them fought against changing driking laws to 21, many against manditory seat belt laws, many against multiple speed limit changes. Fact is, all the federal government has to do is wave federal highway money in front of them (or threaten to take it away) and the states will bend and take it in the ass. They have over and over and over again...

    Sad, isn't it? It's really all about money. States that decide they get more highway funds than it will cost them to implement Real ID will implement it, while states that get small amounts of highway funds will oppose it.

    Facts:
    - The Real-ID system will be at least as secure (if not more) than the best existing state ID system in place currently. Sure, it will be a big target, but it will also be closely guarded by top security people since it's such a public issue. Access will be restricted to public sector netowrks, not open to the public or common hacking attacks, just like the ATM network and existing police and DMV systems. It will be monitored constantly. Do you think South Carolina has a top notch FBI security team monitoring access to THEIR systems? I can tell you as someone who knows a few former programmers at the for SC state who wrote that system, NO IT CERTAINLY DOES NOT! there have even been breakins at DMV offices where PC, printer, and blank IDs have been stolen since the system requires no direct connection to a secure validation network in order to print IDs.

    You're kidding, right? First of all, it will still be the state DMV's that are running and controlling the system, it will just be "connected" to a nationalized database. Sure, there will be more, and more higher-paid *government* security folks, but there will also be a lot more people with access, and less centralized control over who they are.

    - Currently, all you have to do if you loose your license in one state is move to another and apply for a licesne there. Too many DUI's? just move and reset. Under Federally issued ID, this will not be possible, and states can protect themselves from repeat bad drivers (driving is a privelidge, not a right, and if you abuse it, we have the right to take it away and make sure you can't get it back, even if you move). This will lower insurance costs across the board.

    This is just a total fiction. If you get so much as a speeding ticket in one (of many) states, it will follow you to whatever DMV you next register with (in most places). Currently, this is accomplished mostly by states joining cooperative agreements. The only thing nationalizing will do is that they will track you down *faster* than they do now, but they do it now. Try having your license suspended in one state and going to another to get one. You won't be able to do it except in some very rare circumstances. Not worth the cost and loss of privacy, IMHO.

    - Few people in security (professional residential, even bartenders) can be expected to know how to spot fake IDs from every state (There are over 200 legal forms of ID circulating in america). With a single secure ID, we don't have to even look for fake info, we can swipe it, compare a computer screen to information on the ID, and compare the picture to the person, even use a biometric scan as further confirmation. RFID may not be secure, and it may only take a few days for someone to crack the chip in the ID and distribute hardware and software to edit it, but cracking the text printed on the ID will be much tougher. The state of CT has one of the hardest to forge IDs I've ever seen, and I've not seen them all. If REAL-ID takes even a handfull of their tricks, you won't see a lot of these faked (especially if it becomes a federal crime to do so, not a local misdemeanor!)

    So you expect every bar and restaurant to install biometric iris scanners just to check everybody's ID? It will all be cracked eventually, and changing the

  • by Reziac (43301) * on Monday March 24, 2008 @10:59PM (#22852872) Homepage Journal
    Someone in the FA's comments had a good point -- restricting access to Federal buildings if you lack an RFID, er, RealID denies the Constitutional right to petition the courts. This is begging for a legal challenge to the RealID act.

    And as I understand it, if a law is being challenged in court on Constitutional grounds, it cannot be enforced until the matter is settled. (If a constitutional lawyer is handy, they may want to comment on whether this is correct.)

    As to the possibility of restricting access to medicines if you don't have a RealID -- this could be extended to just about anything. Want to buy a new car, or some real estate? Not without a RealID you don't!

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