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Deadline For Saying "No" To National ID 284

cnet-declan writes "If you don't like the idea of a federalized ID card, you have only have an hour left to let Homeland Security know your thoughts: the deadline to file comments on the Real ID Act is 5:00 pm EDT on Tuesday. Probably the best place to do that is a Web site created by an ad hoc alliance called the Privacy Coalition (they oppose the idea, but if you're a big Real ID fan you can use their site to send adoring comments too). Alternatively, Homeland Security has finally seen fit to give us an email address that you can use to submit comments on the Real ID Act. Send email to with 'Docket No. DHS-2006-0030' in the Subject: line. Here's some background on what the Feds are planning."
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Deadline For Saying "No" To National ID

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  • by idkk ( 414241 )
    Is it helpful for non USA citizens to also voice their disquiet?
    • Only if you wish to help push it through. They would claim that it is Al Qaeda in disguise.
    • by omeomi ( 675045 )
      Is it helpful for non USA citizens to also voice their disquiet?

      It'll probably get you added to a terrorist watch list or something... ;-)
    • Unfortunately, the American attitude has always been something along the lines of, "If other countries have a problem with it, then we must be doing it right." This is no exception. If other people in the world try to start inserting their opinions into our domestic matters, all it will do is 1) build resentment towards those people, no matter how well-intentioned their opinions were, and 2) push our government to do the exact opposite just to show how little we care about world opinion.

      I'm not saying i

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Nobody likes this... save for a few corporate shills that make a living on blogs, pretending that people demand this nonsense.

        There is no groundswell of support for these things -- just a Corporate media that downplays the numbers of American's who protest, and fail to mention that one Bus brought all those "concerned citizens" to Florida to prevent the recount in Florida in 2000.

        This is just more of the creeping fascism in America. Just like the "No Child Left Behind" just served to profit one testing comp
    • Is it helpful for non USA citizens to also voice their disquiet?
      I have my doubts that it's even useful for us USA citizens to voice our disquiet. The people making these decisions have been bought and made up their mind long before us citizens even know about it and I highly doubt a few angry e-mails will change their minds.
  • by budword ( 680846 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:08PM (#19042031)
    to have the NSA and FBI investigate you to find out why you have something to hide.
    • If it helps, I told them that even if I liked the idea, centralizing things was just BAD BAD BAD from an intelligence OR security standpoint.

      You know how SSNs are currently such a big target for identity theft? Think about how vulnerable these NON-ENCRYPTED barcodes will be.
    • Daniel Boone said: "If you can hear the sound of your neighbor's axe, it is time to move to the next valley".
      Robert A Heinlein once said: "If the local government starts requiring identification cards it is time to move off planet"
      Different ways of saying the same thing: Individualism does not live well in the land of the pencil pusher, home of the file in triplicate...

  • and I expect to have my information on the TSA's no fly list:

    No on the National ID. Please respect state sovereignty. A national ID may compromise the diversity that makes us a prosperous nation.
    • You're so right. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by C10H14N2 ( 640033 )
      With all the damage the existence of the United States Passport has done to our diversity and prosperity...

      If everyone went out and got a passport, this would be a non-issue, so that raises the question for me: have those people complaining the loudest about this ever held one? It seems scarcely any different and I don't know many people with valid passports who get entirely big-brother about it. It's just a global reality and not a terribly ominous one at that.
      • by dattaway ( 3088 )
        But why would we need a passport or ID to deal with federal matters? Does the federal government not trust the states anymore?
    • I still sort of tepidly back the idea, though not for national security purposes, since that will be a minor effect, if there is any at all. Instead, the safeguards proposed seem to make identity theft more difficult for both con artists and illegal immigrants. (Of course, there's the problem that the state IDs under REAL ID then become even more trusted, and a successfully forged ID then provides even more access.)

      However, in the last year, I've started to root for the states, not because I've turned aga
  • I fail to see... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by SilentUrbanFox ( 689585 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:11PM (#19042089) Homepage
    What real harm a national ID can do. I'm not trying to troll, I've just never really "gotten" why a single centralized ID is more dangerous than a large number of different IDs. Would anyone care to explain? Politely and collectedly without resorting to words like "sheeple?"
    • It's called 'security in redundancy'. Y'know, the same reason you backup your important files every week or so.

      One flaw in one database of many can't hurt you the way one flaw in one database pretending to be many can.
    • by Baba Ram Dass ( 1033456 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:29PM (#19042361)
      The biggest gripe I have about it is the same gripe I have about there being a federal law against marijuana and a federal law *for* abortion: the 10th amendment and the concept of state sovereignty:

      The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people.

      What it means is any power not specifically granted to the US federal government in the Constitution is in the jurisdiction of the various states. Issues like abortion and drug prohibition are to be decided by each state; the founders did this for a reason--you could move to the state whose politics most closely matched your own. The more centralized the federal government has become, the less choice we've had in regards to the policies governing us.

      (Not to mention that the Real ID won't help us catch terrorists, but I figured that was a given.)
    • What real harm a national ID can do. I'm not trying to troll, I've just never really "gotten" why a single centralized ID is more dangerous than a large number of different IDs.

      You know the privacy problem with SSNs? Now imagine if there were one single identifier that was even more frequently used than SSNs.

      Now you see one of the problems?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Wordplay ( 54438 )
        The privacy problem with SSNs stems from trying to use the SSN number as a secret, not from the fact that everyone has an SSN.
        • by Duhavid ( 677874 )
          The same people that require the use of an SSN will do exactly
          the same thing with a "better" identifier.
    • Re:I fail to see... (Score:5, Informative)

      by owlnation ( 858981 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:33PM (#19042445)
      as a quick summary:

      1. It's bureaucratic and expensive.
      2. It's open to abuse of power
      3. It's only one thing to forge / steal - makes faking your ID and ID theft much simpler
      4. It leads to all sorts of data mining privacy issues - one ring to rule them all - get the ID card, get everything else.
      5. It's easy to stay outside the system - unless there are regular checkpoints and official stop and searches.

      I used to live in Germany and I've seen every single one of these be a problem at some point. Biggest issues are 1. the expense - this is serious money for something that is very ineffective, and 2. the abuse of power - ask anyone who looks Turkish in Germany how often they are stopped and asked for ID. It's pretty much daily in some areas.

      That said, there is a huge number of people living illegally in Germany that have no ID, and have been doing so for many years. It is an inconvenience to the law abiding, and no hassle to a criminal, possibly even an advantage.
      • 5. It's easy to stay outside the system - unless there are regular checkpoints and official stop and searches.

        Oh, really? Got any advice for those of us trapped in it?

        I might like to own a house someday, and I currently enjoy the ability to rent an apartment -- which you can't do without giving over your SSN so that people can run a credit check on you. I also like having a job, but it's getting impossible to find a job where someone doesn't want your SSN for credit checks, and they have to have it anyway
        • by Tiro ( 19535 )
          All taxpayers, including illegal immigrants, can get Tax ID numbers, no questions asked.
    • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:36PM (#19042513) Homepage Journal
      The argument against all ID is that it eventually becomes mandatory. These days we are required to identify ourselves to our governments. This is demeaning as it is too much like stock keeping of people. Every year that goes by people forget about this. They start to think of themselves as belonging to a government instead of the government belonging to them. In the end, we accept requirements being placed on us by the government, and this inevitably leads to dictatorship and fascism.

      So yes, it's not specifically the fact that this ID is federal that is the problem, but I hope you can see that the abuse of power is easier. More efficient is something people are taught is a good thing. We live by the clock. But when it comes to government, more efficient is the opposite of what you want.
    • by vitaflo ( 20507 )
      It doesn't add anything that the current ID systems don't already have, and is going to cost over $10 Billion. It's also not going to replace any of the current ID systems. You'll still need a Passport to go overseas for example.
    • Re:I fail to see... (Score:5, Informative)

      by jdp ( 95845 ) <> on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:38PM (#19042555)
      The basic question is whether any security benefits outweigh the costs in terms of security, identity theft, civil rights, and privacy.

      Bruce Schneier and Richard Forno's National ID card a disaster in the making [] discusses some of the many problems with Real ID.

      In a nod to states' rights advocates, DHS declares that states are free not to participate in the Real ID system if they choose--but any identification card issued by a state that does not meet Real ID criteria is to be clearly labeled as such, to include "bold lettering" or a "unique design" similar to how many states design driver's licenses for those under 21 years of age. In its own guidance document, the department has proposed branding citizens not possessing a Real ID card in a manner that lets all who see their official state-issued identification know that they're "different," and perhaps potentially dangerous, according to standards established by the federal government. They would become stigmatized, branded, marked, ostracized, segregated. All in the name of protecting the homeland; no wonder this provision appears at the very end of the document.
      As does the Wall Street Journal's Real ID Revolt []:

      Americans are rational. And in a post-9/11 world, they are willing to trade some freedom and convenience for more security. But it's not at all clear that Real ID will make us safer. Deputizing motor vehicle office clerks, who would be entrusted with sensitive information and access to a national databank, also entails considerable privacy risk. Fraud and security lapses at DMVs today are hardly uncommon. Just last month, a DMV official in North Carolina was arrested in connection with issuing fraudulent drivers licenses. And if the goal is to stop the next Mohammed Atta, it's worth noting that, even under Real ID, people would be permitted to fly with identification other than licenses.
      In terms of the concept of National ID in general, Jim Harper describes it well in his excellent (long!) deconstruction of Real ID []:

      U.S. policymakers have long rejected a national ID as inconsistent with American freedom. Ordinary people, it has long been believed, should not have to carry a card as if they are criminal suspects and they should not be asked to account to authorities for their whereabouts or activities.

      PS: more on this on the Stop Real ID Now! [] blog.

    • by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) * on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:43PM (#19042643) Homepage Journal
      What real harm a national ID can do

      The first thing to wrap your head around is that aside from the general issues of your liberty to travel and your privacy, the legislation for the ID contains enabling sections for - as yet - unspecified technologies to be part of the card. The most likely candidate, for quite a few reasons, is RFID, though something with more range might replace that. RFID allows your card to be read without you presenting it. This is a definite escalation from you deciding to show someone your ID in return for, oh, a bottle of wine, or that DVD of Erica Campbell you've been thinking about.

      Any such technology creates a number of very bad potentials; someone could walk through a crime scene with a clone of your RFID (trivial to do, by the way) and thus "establish" your presence at the crime, at the time. You might have been home in bed, but your RFID was out being a criminal. You'll be arrested and then your lawyer can sort it out (after you mortgage your home, of course - criminal lawyers don't work on a "work now, pay later" basis. Or they could clone your card and purchase weaponry, using your good name, which they could then use in the commission of a crime. As far as the police are concerned, you bought those weapons. To prove otherwise, you're going to have to locate the fake card. Good luck with that.

      Suppose you go like a good citizen to get your card, and the computer is corrupted, or someone was there first, and they say, no, we've already issued the card that matches your information (birthdate, name, SSN, mother's last name, birthplace and date, etc.) You can't get your card. Now you can't partake of any federal service. Yes, that's written right into the RealID act. Got cancer? Poor? Need your meds? Sorry. You're going to die. No federal services. Period. Of course, they're still going to tax you to pay for them.

      Another issue is that tracking everything you purchase becomes 100% practical. So what? Well, let me point out that lately, it has been the habit of the legislature, backed up by the Supreme Court, to create and approve ex post facto laws. This class of laws includes those that make things crimes after they were done. The constitution guarantees your immunity to the four types of ex post facto law, but that has been disregarded and from the government's point of view, is irrelevant. They can, and will, jail you for such things. They've been doing so to others for years. Now. Imagine you buy a Playboy magazine. This is tracked. A year later, fundamentalists get laws passed that make purchasing such a magazine a crime - pornography, etc. Now they can come and get you; all it takes is the knowledge that you made the purchase and an ex post facto law.

      Because of the unknown, secretive technological component of these cards, the threat to liberty escalates into a serious threat to privacy and security. Either should be enough to halt the program, expose its exact workings, and then allow evaluation on the basis of precisely known parameters. But they're not offering that opportunity. In 20 minutes, the window for even general objections base don what we do know - which is incomplete - closes.

      The only redeeming thing at this moment is that they expect the states to bear the burden of the costs, and some states - Montana, Maine - are refusing. I suspect it is entirely budgetary, despite the high sounding words, but I'll take what I can get at this stage of the game.

    • First off, for this discussion keep these three things in mind:

      1. History seems to repeat itself.
      2. As an intelligent, rational, thinking, sentient species, we understand cause and effect and learn from our mistakes (debatable-see #1 above).
      3. "A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step."

      Historically we see too many examples of a "National I.D." system being abused by government to control it's own population as the primary focu
    • your eyes. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dazedNconfuzed ( 154242 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:45PM (#19042701)
      1. The 4th Amendment states you have a right "to be secure in your papers". That means squat if, by looking at one card for any reason, a gov't bureaucrat can pull up darn near ANYTHING about you. Does your participation in Social Security really have anything to do with being pulled over for speeding? Are your travel records really necessary for borrowing a book from the library? Does pulling health records really need cross-linking with when you got a driver's license? Is your credit rating really needed to board an airplane?

      2. Sure, they'll promise to only use relevant data appropriately. Right. Governments do not have a good history of using such pervasive data without oppression (up to and including genocide).

      3. The more ID is needed to function in society, the more valuable IDs become. A national ID becomes a one-stop-shop for ID theft. Crack one card, and I become you.

      4. Without the national ID, you can't participate in government. You can't enter a courthouse, visit your Congressman, etc. because you won't be able to even enter the building - no ID, no entry.

      5. Ultimately a national ID is a license to exist. No license shown on demand? You're detained until your ID is found, one is created, or you get removed from society. The fact that you exist means nothing; no card, no you.

      6. Corrupted data screws you over. Your file gets marked "deceased"? You're officially dead, and no amount of "but I'm standing here ranting at you!" won't help. At least with diverse cards & databases you can argue "8 out of 9 government databases say I'm still alive; please correct yours!"

      7. Pervasiveness. No card, you can't function. Without that one centralized ID card, which you don't get unless everything is in order, you can't drive, fly, ride, vote, own property, get married, file suit, work, ... YOU CAN'T EVEN BUY BEER!
    • by metlin ( 258108 )
      "Ihr Papieren, bitte!"

      Does that do it for you? History often repeats itself, and people often fail to learn from it.
  • Reagan (Score:5, Interesting)

    by proficiovera ( 1099145 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:11PM (#19042091) Homepage
    When the idea of national ID cards were suggested to Reagan it was received negatively. He responded by sarcastically suggesting tattooing bar codes on everybody's heads. That killed the issue during his administration.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bearpaw ( 13080 )
      I don't remember Reagan making a barcode tattoos crack about National ID cards, but it'd be interesting if he did. That could be taken as a reference to Revelations 13:16-17 ...

      16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
      17 and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
    • by kabocox ( 199019 )
      When the idea of national ID cards were suggested to Reagan it was received negatively. He responded by sarcastically suggesting tattooing bar codes on everybody's heads. That killed the issue during his administration.

      I'd rather have a federal drivers license/ID card rather than all the different state driver's licenses and IDs. I'd also like the feds to be incharge of car titles and license plates on all cars. Is that a popular idea? Nope. I'd rather have a stronger federal government and weaker state gov
  • Unnecessary (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tx ( 96709 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:13PM (#19042119) Journal have only have an hour left to let Homeland Security know your thoughts

    Considering the amount of surveillance they now carry out on US citizens, I suspect the already know your thoughts.

    And if you're not being watched now, you will be if you sign that petition, you troublemaker.
  • by packetmon ( 977047 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:16PM (#19042155) Homepage
    Its obvious that anyone expressing their discontent with this new ID is affiliated with Al-Qaeda (© 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 ONI/CIA/DISA). On a serious note though, with all of the data breaches, etc., what's the worst that could happen. This place has gone to hell in a handbasket since 2000. I see no reason to avoid it lest I want to be thrown on the no fly list because I didn't want this card... S'what will end up happening like it or not...
  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:20PM (#19042237) Homepage
    If you are rushing, check out the EFF's page on the Real ID act []. They have a summary and a sample letter. Join them while you are there!
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:21PM (#19042247) Homepage Journal
    If there is no national id card, then what will happen is that a "virtual" national id card will be created. It could take a number of forms, from collecting drivers license ID information from the states, to building biometric databases.

    The thing is "Papers, please" is a quaint, obsolete phrase. In fact the problem is not people looking at your ID, the problem is that event being recorded in a database to produce a picture of your movements.

    If there were a national id that was secure and could be validated without hooking up to a national database, there would actually be less government intrusion into our privacy than if they data mine information from drivers databases and track you secretly.
    • If there is no national id card, then what will happen is that a "virtual" national id card will be created. It could take a number of forms, from collecting drivers license ID information from the states, to building biometric databases.

      Do you mean something like the Total Information Awareness [] program?

      The giant unified database of all our electronic records ( bank, phone records, internet logs, credit card purchases, medical records, court records, magazine subscriptions etc. etc. ) was officially killed in 2003, but what happened is that all of the separate functions were farmed out to smaller, separate programs. Wikipedia says "An unknown number of TIA's functions have been merged under the codename 'Topsail'."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:27PM (#19042325)
    Is it kind of sad when you are afraid to submit an email in fear of being added to some kind of database of people who don't want this? As an American it makes me kinda sad when in this day of data gathering and mining, it's worrisome to voice ones opinion.
  • Would it be required to carry it at all times? If not then it's not such a problem, just stuff it in the closet till your next vacation then just use it as you would a passport. Perhaps I'm missing something here.
    • It seems fairly obvious that the people who are pushing for this are the type to demand that all citizens carry it at all times.

      This ain't a free country, any more. And it wasn't those shifty democrats who did it, either.
  • Subject: DHS-2006-0030 Comments
    Sent: Tue, 8 May 2007 16:38:33 -0400

    did not reach the following recipient(s): on Tue, 8 May 2007 16:28:26 -0400
    The e-mail account does not exist at the organization this message
    was sent to. Check the e-mail address, or contact the recipient
    directly to find out the correct address.

    • The typo in the "moscomments" was in my copying and formating to the post here (adding in the little formating...)
  • Umm, last I checked every American citizen that legally has a job in the U.S. already has a "federalized ID card". It's called your Social Security Card. Also, if you travel outside the U.S. at all you have *two* federalized IDs in the Social Security Card and your passport (which has RFID).

    Now, someone please explain to me why this ID would be any more of a big deal. I'm at a loss here. I read the draft spec. There's nothing in there that I can see that isn't already being done at a state level with

    • Umm, last I checked every American citizen that legally has a job in the U.S. already has a "federalized ID card". It's called your Social Security Card.

      A social security card is not an ID card.

      Also, if you travel outside the U.S. at all you have *two* federalized IDs in the Social Security Card and your passport (which has RFID).

      True, foreign travel requires you to get a passport. Very few Americans, proportionately, have passports, because Americans don't tend to leave America.

    • your social security card isn't an ID and is completely useless as such (and easily forged too). No police officer, city, state or local, will ever ask you to prove your identity with a social security card. In fact, now the government says don't carry your social security card with you because you open yourself to identify theft (the only thing related to ID that a social security card can do because financial institutions are so very stupid when it comes to ID and security). A passport is not required
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @04:47PM (#19042757)
    ...lemme tell you where it leads to.

    In my country it's mandatory to carry a (real, state issued) ID wherever you go. No matter what, when a cop stops you and asks for your ID, you have to be able to prove that you're you. And they can do that whenever, whereever and for whatever reason they want. Failure to comply results in an arrest.

    If you want that, don't write. It's what you'll get.
  • They already passed it.

    It's a done deal.. why bother asking us now. I dont trust them and I think they just want to get all these PRO letters so they can ram them at us and say "SEE you want this!"

    I dont want it and if you try to give it to me you will see my answer.
  • This Administration doesn't give a flying fuck what you or anybody else thinks. It will do what it wants to do.
  • You dont need government to stop IDENITY THEFT! [] and the cost it low when you compare it to government programs.
  • Since when do we have to write to government to tell them what they CANT do.. why is there program Yes, by default.

    Oh right because they control us.. not the other way around and because the 10th is gone.
  • by srobert ( 4099 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2007 @11:57PM (#19047831)
    Seriously, there are reasons to support a National ID. I could take that argument up separately. But what I want to comment on is this. Isn't it a little bit disturbing, that among those of us who are opposed to the idea, there is a feeling of intimidation about registering dissent with the Department of Homeland Security? It reminds me eerily of a teacher querying a fourth grade class, "is there anyone here who objects to saying the Pledge of Allegiance?, If so raise your hand and you may wait out in the hallway, while the rest of us say the pledge."

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.