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Administration Wants To Scale Back Real ID Law 317

The Washington Post is running a story on the Obama Administration's attempt to get a scaled-back version of Bush's Real ID program passed and implemented. We've been discussing the Real ID program from its earliest days up through the states' resistance to its "unfunded mandate." "Yielding to a rebellion by states that refused to pay for it, the Obama administration is moving to scale back a federal law passed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that was designed to tighten security requirements for driver's licenses... Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano wants to repeal and replace the controversial, $4 billion domestic security initiative known as Real ID... The new proposal, called Pass ID, would be cheaper, less rigorous, and partly funded by federal grants, according to draft legislation that Napolitano's Senate allies plan to introduce as early as tomorrow. ...the Bush administration struggled to implement the 2005 [Real ID] law, delaying the program repeatedly as states called it an unfunded mandate and privacy advocates warned it would create a de facto national ID."
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Administration Wants To Scale Back Real ID Law

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  • not dead yet? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2009 @08:12AM (#28333787)
    The fundamental issue to having reliable, un-forged ID cards has nothing to do with federal standards. Instead it has everything to do with the drinking age. As long as the legal drinking/smoking ages are higher than the age at which an individual can figure out who to make/get a fake ID, there will be no security provided by an ID card. This is why having a passport actually makes sense. no one goes to the bar on their passport (foreign exchange students aside.) So, a good fake DL can be obtained for $100 near almost any college campus... but a good fake Passport? I'm not sure I'd even know where to begin asking for one, since I'm not a spook. This is of course predicated on the idea that you even believe having a reliable ID card system is a 'good' thing... That is a point that basically can't be argued, either you're for or against it based on a ideological differences. But until the policy makers acknowledge the issue of technical standards being circumvented by clever 15 - 19 year olds every year as technology improves, no standard that they propose will have the effects they think they want.
  • Oh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spatial ( 1235392 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @08:30AM (#28333899)

    law passed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that was designed to tighten security requirements for driver's licenses...

    The last eight years free of collapsing buildings seem to me a great indicator of its implicit uselessness. So why push it still?

  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @08:31AM (#28333901) Homepage Journal

    The thing is that security is no better now than it was before 9/11. People can still sneak things onto airplanes. In fact, the last two times I have flown, I have, entirely by accident, smuggled two knives onto an airplane. Note that these were simply a "multitool"-type knife that I use for taking computers apart when I have no other tools available, but they were still knives, still not allowed, and still, according the DHS, a security risk. Yet twice TSA screeners missed it. I myself didn't even realize it was stuck in my usual carry on (I won't say how or why it was missed because that information can be misused) -- I thought it was lost. But what if I had been a terrorist, fully aware of the knife?

  • Re:DMV (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bconway ( 63464 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @08:35AM (#28333931) Homepage

    Interesting. Mine was done two weeks ago through an online form [mass.gov] that didn't require me leaving my chair and used only the minimum amount of personally identifying information.

  • Better (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spazmania ( 174582 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:10AM (#28334141) Homepage

    On the one hand, I object to requiring a driver's license for any travel other than driving. General travel documents are one of the hallmarks of a police state.

    On the other hand, I have no great objection to requiring the states to standardize the physical driver's license card so that law enforcement doesn't need to know about the designs of fifty plus different licenses.

    To the extent that Pass ID does the latter, I'm in favor.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:12AM (#28334155)

    I have carried a one inch blade with me every time I've flown. It always passes without question, even though I put it in plain view in the X-ray bin. The I think the reason is it doesn't look like a knife so they miss it (human nature being what it is and they having to scan thousands of passengers a day). But then again, there was one time a screener picked it up, inspected it and put it back in the X-ray bin without a question. So maybe it's not that they just keep missing it.

  • Re:Papers please (Score:3, Interesting)

    by badfish99 ( 826052 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:22AM (#28334261)
    In the UK we've got a different approach: you need to possess a driving licence in order to legally drive a car, but you don't need to carry it around with you as ID, even when driving a car. Indeed, the last time I was stopped by a policeman, he remarked that it was convenient that I didn't have my licence with me, as it reduced his amount of paperwork.
  • Re:DMV (Score:2, Interesting)

    by maxume ( 22995 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:38AM (#28334413)

    It isn't that big a problem. Lots of people put too much stock in the cards that people are carrying around, but most of those people are also worrying more about that person's 'identity' than they need to.

    I put identity in quotes there because it is such a conflated concept. At some level, I'm whoever I say I am; all government documents do is establish that they agree to some extent (the reliability of the documents is going to roughly correlate with the rigor of the processes at the issuing entity).

  • by zephris ( 925151 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @09:59AM (#28334613) Journal
    It's still a little early for me so unless sleep is playing tricks on my memory... As I recall, Real ID was supposed to make it harder for terrorists to cause problems here in the US. To quote you quoting the article: "But critics said the changes gut the law, weakening tools to fight fraud and learn whether bad drivers, drug runners or counterfeiters have licenses in more than one state." What the hell? Using a law designed to fight terrorism in order to prosecute a civilian who does something that is, at best, questionable is an abuse of power. It works both ways. This is blatantly, unignorably, an abuse of the intention and a JUMP towards taking power from the states and giving it to the Federal Government - It's one thing to have states work with each other (as was intended) but to usurp that process like this and then brag about how it could be used to monitor US citizens (innocent until proven guilty?) is an abuse! Papers, Citizen! If you do not provide papers, you cannot pass. This is, of course, assuming I am remembering the intent behind Real ID correctly.
  • Re:Oh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sandbags ( 964742 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @10:44AM (#28335139) Journal

    Tracking? We're already tracked. The Feds have FULL ACCESS you EVERY STATE SYSTEM today, it;s just clunky and expensive. RealID offers no additional access, just a cheaper, more regulated, and more consistent ability to stop fakes. It also provides the ability to track drivers from state to state as not only the feds would get access to it, but each state could look up driver statuses, assign points from tickets, and perform insurance checks, regardless of the state of your issue and state you're stopped in.

    Unless you're REAL good, the government knows where you are, period, give up that fight. The card in your wallet provides no way to "track" you other than in a database. It;s not a GPS, It's just a line item next to the megabytes of data they already have on you. Your address, SSN, tax records, vehicle registration, criminal record, phone numbers, work history, and more are all on file and accessible the the govewrnment anytime they want it. If they want to put out a warent against someone they SHOULD know where to look. If they want to collect back taxes they SHOULD know where to look. If they want to depoer someone they SHOULD know where to look. Outside of that, they really could care less what you do day to day, and have no reason to track your whereabouts or activities.

    What having realID means too is that you CAN ONLY HAVE 1. No more drivers licenses in 4 states, choosing where to pay vehicle taxes, where to get insurance, and where to be registered to vote irregardless of where you actually live... No more choosing which license to give a cop when you get stopped. It's all one ID, so no more cheating the system.

    Real ID makes it harder for people who should not have a license (because it's been suspended in another state, or due to the lack of a valid address, or citizenship) to get one. If it's been revolked, it's invalid everywhere.

    If they want more detail about you, it's a bench warrent away. Phone records, purchase history, putting a tracker on your car, all of these are easy to obtain, but the require a judge to ask "why" and "what proof do you have" before it can be done.

    Trust me, i'm sitting in a building with over 3,000 servers, and medical records on every single man and woman who's ever worked for the government, and about 40 million other americans. HAVING this information MEANS NOTHING, since we can't just SEARCH it or run reports against it at will, the ONLY way to GET information is to HAVE information (an ID number and matching name, SSN and matching address, phone number and matching information, and with that you get 1 record. 1. even then a 3rd peice of information is needed to access the record once a match is confirmed. We process 7-10 billion transactions a quarter, we only look at the ones the conputer rejects, or that people make complaints about, or for people who don't pay. Keep your head down, and other than getting confirmation in the mail that a claim was accepted and paid, no one here cares that you exist and will never look you up. A few years ago an executive was doing some snooping on celebrity medical records, but he got fired and imprisoned damn quick for it... They really don;t play around when it comes to unauthoized access to personal information. Have more faith the the people in your government are actually people too, and many of them as paranoid as you are...

  • Re:DMV (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DesertBlade ( 741219 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @11:29AM (#28335739)
    Easy to get a birth certificate I just had to do it last week. Went online found the county I was born in, they had a nice web form to fill out. Once completed I had to sign an affidavit and get it notarized then fax it to them. Received it 3 days later. The only real issue would be is creating a fake notary stamp image, but really that should take about 5 minutes, I have a scanner and GIMP. Once you know someones SSN it would be fairly easy to build up the documents to create a fake ID. Granted here in Oregon we have some fancy face imagery detection on our licenses, but I doubt it is super effective.
  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @12:02PM (#28336251) Homepage

    They can't even be opened with "the key" as there is no cabin accessible keyhole. They use dead-bolts and cross bars that are only accessible from within the cockpit.

    The sad thing is how often I've seen the one fucking security enhancement that actually made sense and would actually prevent "another 9/11" not being used. Not very much these days, but that's what so sad -- in the year after 9/11 when I was flying a lot, I saw plenty of cockpit doors left wide open the entire flight. So we're all shitting ourselves over terrorists such that the damn bread knife at the airport Schlotsky's has to be chained down and we're searching every foreigner/hippie who walks through security, but we won't do the one thing that would keep a terrorist from holding that knife to the pilot's throat and leave the poor bastard stuck in a cabin full of irate passengers? WTF?

  • by JDAustin ( 468180 ) on Monday June 15, 2009 @01:45PM (#28337627)

    Obama doesnt like RealID not because of costs or the like. He doesnt like it because the IDs are being done by the states. Obama wants the federal government in control of everything. Killing RealID would allow him to bring in a real National ID card.

  • Re:And Yet... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Falc0n ( 618777 ) <japerry@nOspaM.jademicrosystems.com> on Monday June 15, 2009 @03:31PM (#28339263) Homepage
    What does the freedom of driving a vehicle have to do with "the quartering of soldiers in private homes without the owner's consent or making quartering legally permissible in wartime only, and then only in accordance with law." ???

    Regardless, there is no provision in the constitution that even comes close to mandated drivers licenses. Why? First, driving a motor vehicle on government or private property is a privilege, not a right. Freedom of travel relates to enforcement officers or laws that impede the free-flow of people no matter what method of transport. We're talking about checkpoints, DUI random checks, immigration stops, etc. This is a totally different issue.

"I shall expect a chemical cure for psychopathic behavior by 10 A.M. tomorrow, or I'll have your guts for spaghetti." -- a comic panel by Cotham