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United States Your Rights Online

More States Challenging National Driver's Licenses 389

berberine writes "A revolt against a national driver's license, begun in Maine last month, is quickly spreading to other states. The Maine Legislature on Jan. 26 overwhelmingly passed a resolution objecting to the Real ID Act of 2005. The federal law sets a national standard for driver's licenses and requires states to link their record-keeping systems to national databases. Within a week of Maine's action, lawmakers in Georgia, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington state also balked at Real ID. They are expected soon to pass laws or adopt resolutions declining to participate in the federal identification network. Maine's rejection was recently discussed on slashdot."
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More States Challenging National Driver's Licenses

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  • by curmudgeon99 ( 1040054 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @09:46AM (#17888738)

    Those of us who work everyday with databases should know the futility of opposing any linkages of all DBs in the world. It is only through government stupidity and lethargy that this hasn't happened already. Anybody who has a DB is going to link them up if at all possible. The only thing we have on our side is the delay caused by government sloth.

    Your best bet if you don't like this is to go off the grid. But we know what an exercise in futility that is unless you're willing to live in Montana ala Ted Kazinsky.

  • by mobby_6kl ( 668092 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @10:10AM (#17888950)
    Does Joker [] classify as a terrorist? Because it's certainly possible for him to get a new national ID card [] designed to prevent just such problems.
  • Re:Giving up privacy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mr_matticus ( 928346 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @10:14AM (#17888988)
    Explain to me why a national ID surrenders more privacy than a state ID. It is not as though the federal government doesn't already have access to all 50 states' ID systems. What is the inherent harm in replacing 50 different databases with one database?
  • by Dr. Eggman ( 932300 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @10:18AM (#17889022)
    I love the grid life but I want information security too. I don't fear the government too much, like you said, they're lethargic and stupid. But I do fear the government's stupidity. If the government starts linking up all kinds of databases full of information like that found on the driver's liscence to who know's what else, how long until they link my credit history to my information? Surely there's a connection between credit rating to poverty and poverty to crime? Sure, that's not going to be a real problem, there always a bigger fish, but what in recent history makes you think that data's safe? How long ago were all those harddrives from a nuclear research facility lost? When was it that those USB drives from a US military base found being sold in an Afganistan bazaar? What makes us think that allowing this incompetent government manage all this data will keep it safe from ID theifs and other cybercriminals? I happen to be a believer in security via obscurity and this simply does not suit me well.
  • states challenging (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Ankou ( 261125 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @10:26AM (#17889096)
    I think that this has less to do with "protecting your rights" than it does with states keeping their archaic way getting you licenced. If you have ever moved from one state to another, you know the total nightmare process it is to move your licence and register your car. Every state has some crazy multi level state process for doing this. Oh no, it would be too obvious to get ALL that stuff done at the DMV, no its to the tax office, then to the department of transportation (not the dmv), then to the court house, then if you are unlucky enough to go to a state that will reject your previous state's driver's licence, you need to take their set of tests etc etc. The processes is so old and confusing, and these people have had these jobs position for years, the above government standardization will make these people jobless and ruin their money shuffling games. The last state I came from still was using PAPER for these registration processes, and it was MY responsibilty to check after a few months that my previous state had actually processed my move. I have had friends who made a similar move where the state they came from STILL had them registered in the previous state, their licence expired in that state and it was a big pain to get it all straightened out.
  • Check closely (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BCW2 ( 168187 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @10:31AM (#17889144) Journal
    This is based on a problem that some states started fighting at least 10 years ago. I has nothing to do with protecting your privacy, it's about money. This is just another "unfunded mandate" from Washington. Congresscritters pass a law requireing the states to do something but don't supply the funds to cover it. The states are supposed to come up with the money out of already tight budgets, sometimes when the legislature is not in session so there is no way to alter the budget until the next session. During the Clinton era many states passed their own bills stating that any law like this would be enforced only when Washington paid for it. In other words: Don't tell us how to waste our money, we are already very good at that and don't need your help!

    If half the money taken in taxes was actually spent wisely, most people would quit complaining.
  • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @11:24AM (#17889746)
    How does it decrease fraud? It makes a valid license that much more valuable, meaning that the bad guys will be willing to pay more for them, and corrupt dmv employees will be that much more likely to sell them.
  • Have Lived In Russia (Score:2, Interesting)

    by curmudgeon99 ( 1040054 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @12:20PM (#17890512)

    About living in Russia, you are correct, or at least you were correct. I lived there in 1997 [See Russian Plumbers []. For a time, I lived in the apartment of friends while I rented out my own St. Petersburg apartment. The electric bill arrived and so--not wanting to mess up my Russian friends--I set out to pay it. That was not easy. When I finally found the place to pay it, the woman behind the counter was really surprised that I did. She dutifully took my money and I paid the bill.

    When my Russian friends returned from the dacha, they were amused that I had bothered to pay the bill.

    "Nobody pays the electric bill in Russia," they said.

    Because there were no separate electric meters in the apartment building, there was no way for the government in Russia to know their individual electricity usage, let alone shut it off for anybody.

    Likewise, when I got paid from the Russian newspaper where I worked, I was told I would be making 146,000 rubles (about $42.00). When payday arrived, I was paid in cash exactly the amount I had been promised. No taxes whatsoever.

    I don't know if it is still that way but in 1997 Russia was the wild west. So if you're looking to avoid government, Russia used to be the place to be. Just the mafia to worry about.

  • by petro6 ( 989039 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @12:25PM (#17890590)
    The EU would nearly be a perfect parallel, only the EU at a much later time (Their previous history of nationhood is significantly more rooted than the "sovereignty" of the individual United States). States, especially in the south, have fought tooth and nail against the decay of their "once-sovereign" rights. Of course it has been most visible in the case of the "peculiar institution" of slavery and later Jim Crow laws in the South. However, the issue proliferates the US as a reflection of a very fundamental liberty-centric debate (ie power further from the individual allows fewer individual liberties). This libertarian streak (I understand) is characteristic to American Democracy more so than European Democracy. States (and by extension their citizens), until the civil war, had been significantly more autonomous, though without quite the degree of national identity of the European states. Still, until the middle of the 20th century most folks in the South would claim their state-citizenship ahead of their national citizenship. I think you would find this trend persists, particularly in powerful states (California, and most notably Texas). It is really an interesting phenomena when one's geographic identity and national identity are at odds. I am Texan, if I was abroad I would say "I am Texan" rather than "...American". I think a fair portion of Texans would do likewise. Still my national identity remains decidedly American. I too am curious about how folks from other federal systems see this working out.
  • by Belial6 ( 794905 ) on Monday February 05, 2007 @01:05PM (#17891190)
    I would say that we shouldn't restrict 16-18 year old drivers to one per car. Going out with your friends is a right of passage in our county. People consistently say that we don't have any 'culture', and we don't have the quaint 'rights of passage' that many other cultures have. I say that most of us just don't recognize our culture and rights of passage. If you want to reduce the damage that teen drivers do, don't stop them from driving, or dating (that's what a one teen per car does). How about licensing them sooner. Let them get a license at 14, but only for one of those Gem type cars. You know the road legal golf carts. They max out at ~35 mph, and are not allowed on the freeway. Not only will it get a majority of new drivers to spend 2 years driving slow instead of getting a muscle car for their first vehicle, but you can bet that a large percentage of them will not be trading in their slow small vehicle for a fast one on their 16th birthday. It would help in getting people to transition to more rational car choices.

    As for drinking, don't reduce it to 14. Get rid of the drinking age all together. Remove the mystique of drinking all together. Don't tell your 13 year old that on their next birthday, they will be grown up enough to drink. Make it something that is not a prize at all. Of course getting rid of the drinking age would remove that right of passage. Maybe I could be convinced that there should be a drinking age. It would take some doing, but maybe.

Some people have a great ambition: to build something that will last, at least until they've finished building it.