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Real ID Act Poses Technical Challenges 296

segphault writes "Ars Technica has an article about some of the financial and technological challenges associated with implementing the Real ID Act." From the article: "Opposed by more than 600 independent organizations (including the National Governors Association) and hidden in the depths of a military spending bill in order to make passage easier, the Real ID Act has received heavy criticism from concerned citizens and state government agencies. Despite the fact that relatively sound and effective improvements to driver's license security had already been implemented as part of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act, the federal government felt that it was necessary to go well beyond the recommendations of the 9/11 Comission Report by passing a costly and invasive law."
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Real ID Act Poses Technical Challenges

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 13, 2006 @06:19PM (#14467608)
    The consequences for not meeting the law's provisions are severe: those holding licenses from States that fail to meet the requirements by 2008 will not be permitted to fly on airplanes or enter federal buildings.

    So the solution is to not get a license.

    In any case, I can't see them possibly enforcing this, especially if you have multiple states or large states that don't meet the requirements. Frankly I think all states should just ignore the law. In a game of chicken between states and the federal government, the federal government can't win.
  • Illegal Immigration (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Vicissidude ( 878310 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @06:20PM (#14467618)
    This has nothing to do with reducing terrorism and everything to do with reducing illegal immigration.
  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @06:22PM (#14467642) Journal
    I know some people who don't have passports, or guys/gals who live in big cities and don't have a driver's license.

    I suggest you go get yours renewed (or go get them if you don't have 'em) now, rather than when you need them.

    Driver's licenses/State IDs are good for ~5 years and passports are good for 10 years.

    Better do it now, before they institute radio tags, biometrics, or whatever other technology they plan to implement.

    It's only a holding action, but I'll be happier knowing I put off the inevitable.
  • Re:Wrong? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Digital Vomit ( 891734 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @06:36PM (#14467763) Homepage Journal
    You know full well that's not the reason people get upset about stuff like this. It is frightening that you were modded "Insightful".
  • Re:Wrong? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IAAP ( 937607 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @06:38PM (#14467773)
    Why is it wrong for our government to be able to know which of us to protect and who to protect us from?

    You're absolutely right! And when I'm elected, you'll be the first on the list of people that we need protection from. Why? Because I didn't like what you said.

    See, it's that simple. You'd be an enemy of the state under my regime.

    You know, I have Arab friends and acquaintances, but everytime I email them or whatever, I'm concerned about whose looking. Maybe I'm paranoid, but when innocent people are arrested for carying nothing but flour, I have to wonder.

    Flour girl []

  • by MCTFB ( 863774 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @06:43PM (#14467818)
    The constitution originally said nothing about the right of the federal government to tax the income of its citizens, but if the government is going to tax citizens, the last thing people want is for their tax dollars to be given to support the non-citizen welfare state in this country due to illegal immigration.

    Furthermore, if an illegal immigrant crashes into your car, or damages your property, or defames your character, how are you going to sue someone who cannot be tracked down to receive a summons and who has no real identity anyways since they are here illegally?

    Of course, you could make the argument that you don't want your tax dollars being used to finance the rebuilding Iraq, but that is "foreign aid" which is another debate entirely.

    The real ID act is a necessary evil to deal with the long-term problem of massive illegal immigration into the United States which you can thank lately almost exclusively to George Bush's non-enforcement and political appeasement to much of the hispanic community in the United States which supports open borders as well as key business industries which use "slave" errr I mean "illegal" labor to do their bidding. It sucks that things have gotten this bad, but that is the price citizens in this country have to face for allowing their leaders to get away with failing to do the most fundamental basic job of a national government and that is to protect its borders from invading forces.

    If common criminals, gang members, and illegal aliens can just cross over into the United States whenever they want and can't be prosecuted for their illegal status thanks to sanctuary laws in many municipalities with correct governments, what on earth is next the Mexican military itself?
  • Re:New acronym (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GmAz ( 916505 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @06:53PM (#14467898) Journal
    I have several friends from the middle east. They are all disgusted how their own people are acting and are glad they don't live there. And what definition are they using for people that we need to be protected from. Certain names or racial backgrounds? Guess what, i am half italian and my dad is full italian. Does this mean we should be watch and not considered 'safe people' since the leader of Italy fought along side Nazi Germany? How about germans as a whole? Should we consider them all Nazi's? My biggest worry is the guy next door that seems nice, has a nice house, keeps to himself but drives a hundred miles away and molests children or rapes women. That is who I am afraid of. And just because his background and lack of criminal record says he is a nice guy doesn't make him a nice guy.
  • Easy Compliance (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Thunderstruck ( 210399 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @06:56PM (#14467917)
    If anyone cares to actually read the provisions of the Act which implement the Real ID system, they'll see a provision which allows for easy compliance. In essence, my state can continue to issue licenses and ignore the data gathering burdens of the act by simply changing the color of the license and printing "not valid as federal identification" on the front.

    Of course, then I may need some alternative form of ID if I wish to deal with a federal agency... But it's cheap this way.
  • Tacking on bills (Score:3, Interesting)

    by t_allardyce ( 48447 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @07:08PM (#14468027) Journal
    Im not an American but whats with all this hiding laws in other bills bullshit? Surely this is a most weaselly and below the belt tactic? Why is this accepted in anyway? Why does no-one automatically cry foul and make sure whoever did it looses all trust and respect? I can understand why you cant treat it as a hostage taking and automatically vote down any bill that's had something dodgy tacked on - obviously people would use that as a tool to get rid of bills but surely this sort of thing can be controlled or shunned out of practice? How does it work?
  • Whats the big deal? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Isaac-1 ( 233099 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @07:13PM (#14468060)
    As it stands now lack of state issued ID is almost a defacto guilty until proven innocent offense. As a perfect example, a few years ago I was on vacation at a beachfront hotel, One evening I was sitting out on the lounge chairs watching the sunset with a group of half a dozen or so strangers. There was typical limited casual conversation going on, one of the guys there was sipping a beer, and one of the women was drinking a glass of wine. A police officer pulls up on an ATV and starts asking for ID's from those that were drinking. The woman who appeared to be about 30 years old pulled her drivers license out from her purse. The guy with the beer was not so lucky, he looked a bit younger and was wearing a bathing suit, he said his ID was up in the hotel room. So the police officer spent the next 10-15 minutes disturbing out peaceful view of the sunset by asking this young guy all sorts of questions (Name, address, SSN, etc) then asked the entire group of people to not leave while he radioed this this information in. About 20 minutes later the police had looked up this guys drivers license, radioed back a description, etc. and confirmed that he was 25 years old.

  • by jarrettwold2002 ( 601633 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @07:29PM (#14468171)
    I live in North Dakota. I sent a letter in last year when this came up as an issue and received a response back from Senator Conrad of North Dakota.

    All typos herein are mine, not the letters'. Further, I made points about the Real ID leading to a de facto national ID. That's not especially clear here.

    "Dear Jarrett:

    Thank you for contacting me about a national identification (ID) card. It was good to hear from you.

    You mentioned your thoughts about the national ID card. Specifically, you mentioned your concern that a central database created by a national ID would be difficult to create, maintain, and protect. As you may know, there is no legislation that would specifically create a national ID card. However, some groups and individuals are concerned that the REAL ID provisions included in the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005, would in effect, create a national ID. The REAL ID provisions would impose federal standards on state-issued identification. Opponents of this legislation fear that it infringes on their privacy rights. Supporters of this legislation argue that it is needed to make drivers' licenses, which are used to board aircrafts at airports, secure from fraud.

    The Senate version of the supplemental appropriations bill did not contain the REAL ID provisions. However, in negotations to resolve the differences between the two versions of the bill, the House of Representatives insisted that the REAL ID provisions be included in the final version of the bill. As a result, the final version of the supplememntal appropriations bill includes the so-called REAL ID provisions. Under Senate rules, there was no opportunity to amend the final version of the bill. On May 5, 2005, the House of Representatives passed this version of the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act by a vote of 368-58. The Senate also passed this legislation on May 10, 2005, and the President signed it into law on May 11, 2005. Please know I will keep your thoughts in mind should the Senate consider a national ID card.


    Kent Conrad
    United States Senate"
  • Re:Real ID (Score:4, Interesting)

    by winwar ( 114053 ) on Friday January 13, 2006 @11:26PM (#14469396)
    "For instance, a birth certificate, which may or may not have foot prints, is considered a valid ID for applying for other IDs. How does a birth certificate IDentify anybody in this day and age?????!!!!! In 99% of cases, it's a non-standard scrap of paper (every county has a different looking one) you happen to have on your person."

    And how is this different from any other piece of ID used in the process of getting another ID? I mean if a birth certificate can be faked a utility bill, social security card, voter registration card, work ID, etc. can be faked. An ID is only as good as the underlying documents that allowed you to get it in the first place. Unless you link ALL the databases it won't help-and even then.....

    Even if we are fingerprinted, DNA sampled and chipped at birth ID's would still be faked. ID's are not totally secure and never can be. As someone stated in another thread, we really want to know who is the bad guy. But that can only be determined from actions not an ID.
  • Re:Wrong? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by neochubbz ( 937091 ) on Saturday January 14, 2006 @12:35AM (#14469598) Homepage
    Technically isn't the border between Canada already open? I live in the South, so I'm not too sure; but in my three excursions to Canada, the only things they checked were our licenses and our items. Mind you this was pre-9/11, but I wouldn't think that that would have made it as less complicated.

  • by COredneck ( 598733 ) * on Saturday January 14, 2006 @09:06AM (#14470654)
    The Real ID Act was originally part of the House Intelligence bill in the previous 108th Congress. The provisions were yanked because of the problems it posed especially at the insistence of the Senate. It came back in the current session of Congress. It was passed by the House without discussion or debate. There were no committee hearings either. The Senate refused to act upon especially how it would usurp states rights. The House decided to attach to a must pass appropriations bill to fund the Iraq troops and Tsunami relief fund. The Senate removed the provisions but the bill went to conference. The House prevailed.

    Now, people are realizing this montrosity. Here are a couple of ways to get rid of this bill. First is a grassroots coalition to encourage the Senate to unilaterally attach the repeal language to any and all bills coming over from the House. A good place would be to hold the PATRIOT ACT hostage. The Senate could refuse to act on it unless the House goes along to repeal the Real ID Act. The PATRIOT ACT was temporarily extended.

    The second way is contact our state legislators and governors and ask them to refuse to go along with this. If all 50 states refuse to sign on to the Real ID Act, it would be hard to stop commerce because Congress would not want to bankrupt the airlines.

    What is Real ID Act about ? It would require states to follow the Federal Gov't prescription on how Driver's Licenses are issued such as linking driver databases, checking background information on license applicants such as birth certificates, proof of residence, etc. If a state decides to not go along, then citizens from that state would not be allowed to board aircraft, go into Federal buildings. Even more, the driver databases would allow hackers and marketers easy access for identity theft and some states with strong privacy laws would have their databases accessed from states with weak privacy laws.

    Last of all, guess who was the sponsor ? House Judiciary Chairman Francis James Sensenbrenner from Wisconsin. The same nitwit who is pushing to close the analog "loophole" for video and music. The people of Wisconsin should remove him from office through the ballot box. His Democrat opponent should be supported with money or whatever means. I am a Republican, a conservative one at that. People like Sensenbrennerare country club Republicans who originally opposed President Reagan.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson