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Government Privacy Transportation

TSA Moves Closer To Rejecting Some State Driver's Licenses For Airline Travel (nytimes.com) 428

HughPickens.com writes: Jad Mouawad writes at the NYT that a driver's license may no longer be enough for airline passengers to clear security in some states, if the Department of Homeland Security has its way the Department of Transportation will start enforcing the Real ID Act, which was enacted by Congress in 2005 following the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. Homeland Security officials insist there will be no more delays. In recent months, federal officials have visited Minnesota and other states to stress that the clock was ticking. The message was that while participation was voluntary, there would be consequences for failing to comply. "The federal government has quietly gone around and clubbed states into submission," says Warren Limmer, a state senator in Minnesota and one of the authors of a 2009 state law that prohibits local officials from complying with the federal law. "That's a pretty heavy club."

Privacy experts, civil liberty organizations and libertarian groups fear the law would create something like a national identification card. Presently twenty-nine states are not in compliance with the act and more than a dozen have passed laws barring their motor vehicle departments from complying with the law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The new standards require more stringent proof of identity and will eventually allow users' information to be shared more easily in a national database. Marc Rotenberg, the president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center,says he is concerned with all the information being available on the cards in a way that makes it more shareable and notes that the recent theft of millions of private records from the Office of Personnel Management did not inspire confidence in the government's ability to maintain secure databases. "You create more risk when you connect databases,"says Rotenberg. "One vulnerability becomes multiple vulnerabilities."

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TSA Moves Closer To Rejecting Some State Driver's Licenses For Airline Travel

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  • Voluntary? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoKaOi ( 1415755 ) on Monday December 28, 2015 @07:56PM (#51198657)

    The message was that while participation was voluntary, there would be consequences for failing to comply.

    If there are consequences, I'm pretty sure that's the opposite of voluntary.

    • We all know that one thing the federal government doesn't have is a dictionary. Those things are like kryptonite to governments.
    • Re: Voluntary? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Joe Gillian ( 3683399 ) on Monday December 28, 2015 @09:24PM (#51199111)

      It's "voluntary" in the same way that the drinking age being 21 is voluntary. The federal government actually does not have the right to regulate drinking age: that actually falls to the states. The "mandatory" part is that the federal government will deny highway funding to any state with a drinking age under 21, which is why every state has 21 as the drinking age. While the feds likely could not say "no one without a Real ID compliant license flies" I'm sure they could stir up trouble in other ways with states that don't comply.

      • Re: Voluntary? (Score:5, Informative)

        by AthanasiusKircher ( 1333179 ) on Monday December 28, 2015 @11:37PM (#51199705)

        It's "voluntary" in the same way that the drinking age being 21 is voluntary. The federal government actually does not have the right to regulate drinking age: that actually falls to the states.

        Bah -- federalism is effectively dead. We still have many places where the federal government lets states do their thing, but if anything comes up that seems sufficiently dire, a magical solution will be found in some passage of the Constitution that will authorize federal power to trump states' rights.

        I mean, if you want to go down the road to that sort of argument, you have to start with the question of whether the federal government has the right to regulate air travel at all. It certainly isn't mentioned in the enumerated powers of the Constitution. In the 1910s and 1920s, there was much debate over whether a Constitutional amendment was necessary for Congress to regulate anything other than basic interstate commerce issues. With the Air Commerce Act of 1926 [wikipedia.org], the federal government formalized its role in regulating some safety measures, only for commercial flights, and rather limited. (It's important to remember this was still in the middle of the Lochner era [wikipedia.org], when the Supreme Court routinely struck down any statute that seemed like government interfering with economic liberty.)

        Of course, everything changed after the FDR court-packing threat and the Switch in Time that Saved Nine [wikipedia.org] in 1937, followed by sweeping federal government expansion in 1937-42, effectively culminating in the end of federalism. (Standard example: Alcohol prohibition required a Constitutional amendment before this time; marijuana prohibition did not, since it occurred at/after this time.) Federalism still nominally exists, but not really. Wherever the feds want states to do something, they tie up huge funding issues with it, as you say, so the feds bully the states into it.... and if they deem it even more important (e.g., TERRORISM!! AHHH!! RUN FOR THE HILLS!!), then they'll just magically make it a federal power by fiat.

        While the feds likely could not say "no one without a Real ID compliant license flies" I'm sure they could stir up trouble in other ways with states that don't comply.

        This statement is skimming over HUGE leaps in Constitutional law that have been changed by fiat just in the past few decades. After the terrorist threats in the 1970s, security screening was instituted with metal detectors and such at airports, but it was run by airports/airlines, NOT the feds, mostly because of Fourth Amendment concerns which would clearly prohibit such blanket searching (at least for the first 200 years of the Constitution or so). Prior to 2001, you submitted to voluntary security screening as a condition of the commercial contract you entered into with the airline.

        Of course, after 2001 this whole 4th amendment concern was swept under the rug, and the crucial distinction between private voluntary search in a commercial transaction and government agents performing mandatory searches (which you could not just exit from -- now you could be detained by police even if you decided to leave after entering the security area).

        But to get back to the real issue here -- you have to deal with the right to free travel [wikipedia.org] within the U.S., which the TSA has arguably been disrupting since 2001. But the feds hesitated at first to stretch the Constitution that far. So -- while it was not widely known -- you could still travel domestically without ID for about a decade after 2001, as long as you made it clear to the TSA that you knew your rights and insisted.

        But then the TSA closed that "loophole" (which used to be a g

        • by lpevey ( 115393 )

          Most informative Slashdot comment I've ever read. And I've been reading for a long time.

    • Re:Voluntary? (Score:5, Informative)

      by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Monday December 28, 2015 @09:39PM (#51199193) Journal

      I like to refer to that as being 'voluntold' to do something.

    • by grcumb ( 781340 )

      The message was that while participation was voluntary, there would be consequences for failing to comply.

      If there are consequences, I'm pretty sure that's the opposite of voluntary.

      Er, I think the concept you need to consider here is opportunity cost [wikipedia.org]. If failing to participate in a purely voluntary practice closes the door to important benefits, then that decision can absolutely have undesirable consequences.

      This is a pretty standard tactic when national governments try to influence policies that are, strictly speaking, the purview of sub-national entities. Health and education, for example, are provincial responsibilities in Canada, but funding mechanisms, subsidies and tax breaks ma

  • Anonymous travel (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mi ( 197448 ) <slashdot-2016q1@virtual-estates.net> on Monday December 28, 2015 @07:57PM (#51198665) Homepage Journal

    Why can't I travel anonymously? In addition to airlines, Amtrak already requires ID as well. Buses are supposed to check it too, although they don't (yet?). Hitchhiking is illegal, while driving is a personal car requires a registered vehicle with license-plate scanners keeping records.

    Why can I not travel anonymously, exactly? How did we allow the Statists to play us so?

    • You are a terrorist. We need to track where you go and who you see and communicate with.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      If the Wikipedia article on Freedom of Movement under US law is to believed, we have broad rights to go where we please. Then how did driving get turned into a privilege? Was riding a horse someplace considered a privilege? Why does flying require so much identification? If you travel on a private plane, does somebody check your ID (and I'm thinking let's say I know some rich guy with a plane, not some NetJets flunky making sure I'm not trying to glom a free ride)?

      I guess you can always walk where you w

      • I guess you can always walk where you want to go, although it has certain limits on its practicality.

        Definitely has limitations when you live in Hawai`i as I do.

      • Well, you probably could ride a horse without identification as long as you stuck to the back roads since you would be a safety hazard on the highways.

        • The Amish already do that. Same with a bicycle. You can legally ride just about anywhere except for limited-access freeways (interstates), though it may not always be wise to ride on some roads.

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )

          Well, you probably could ride a horse without identification

          It felt good to be out of the rain.

      • by eth1 ( 94901 )

        Then how did driving get turned into a privilege?

        It didn't.

        You're perfectly welcome to legally drive an unregistered, uninsured vehicle from coast to coast without a license. Just stay on private property.

        Oh, that's too much trouble? Well, there are public roads, but driving on them IS a privilege - and always has been, and for the safety of everyone else using them with you, there are a few conditions you need to meet before you can use them.

    • How did we allow the Statists to play us so?

      By voting for party authoritarians, democrat and republican. The voters are to blame for their own situation. If they want it to change, they have to do it their own damn selves. Will this be an election issue? Doubtful. So don't blame the system for something of our own making. It is a system that you yourself shows support for. So, I don't know why you are complaining now. Did you say anything back in 2005? Did your vote indicate any objection in the elections s

    • You are free to walk state to state, anonymously.

      Is it convenient? Absolutely not. But it is also not restricted.

    • There's lots of ways. Just be creative.
      - Ride a horse.
      - Find a ride to share online.
      - Canoe and portage between bodies of water.
      - Walk.
      - Ride a bike.
      - Could try a cargo ship. They take passengers but I don't know if they check for ID.
      - See if a trucker would like some company
      - Hop in an empty boxcar

    • You can. Buy a car. In the past 5 years, I've managed to fly only twice - once for work, once for a vacation that I simply could not accomplish via car. All other trips have been in my car. If enough of us reject air travel, the air lines will notice
    • by TheReaperD ( 937405 ) on Monday December 28, 2015 @10:47PM (#51199495)

      You want to post? Papers please.

    • by drsmithy ( 35869 )

      Why can't I travel anonymously?

      You can. Walk.

      How did we allow the Statists to play us so?

      Because most people aren't extremists and understand that laws are always a compromise.

    • 30 seconds of Google shows me that it's not illegal to get rides, it's illegal to stand in the middle of the traffic lane for the purpose of trying to get a ride. If you're on the shoulder you're fine. Also you can ride a bicycle, rollerskate, or hike on foot all you want. You can ask people at places they stop off the road for a ride. All I had to do is read them to see these so-called 'anti-hitchhiking' laws you're concerned with are what I'd refer to as 'nuisance laws', or laws that are not usually enfor
      • You cannot hitchhike on the side of an interstate. You certainly can truck stop to truck stop or something.

        Heck, many cities have special hitch-hiker centers so people can carpool to downtown and use the High-Occupancy lane.

  • We already have national identification cards - they are called passports. You can even use a card version. What this brings us closer to are implantable transponder chips inserted into new born babies if you opt into the keep living plan.
    • Passports are rather expensive and can take months to get. I don't have much of an objection to using my passport to travel, but they need to be issued for a reasonable price in a reasonable time frame. I hide my passport until I need to go international because the darn thing cost almost $200 in total to get and took a month with the expediting charges.

    • by schnell ( 163007 )

      We already have national identification cards - they are called passports.

      Except, that, you know, passports are optional. O-P-T-I-O-N-A-L. If you never want to leave the US, you don't have to get one. I know plenty of people who never have. And in what way are passports even a bad idea? All countries have an interest in knowing who is coming into their own country, and if they have permission to be there (or should be denied such). You strike me as the sort of person who probably doesn't want Syrian immigrants coming into the US - without passports, how would you know that, and i

  • If an entire state tells the feds to "fuck you" they wont dare block an entire states residents from flying. whatever sitting president will shit bricks the moment they try as the screaming will start from all the rich people first...

    You know the ones that buy our government officials... yeah they wont tolerate being inconvenienced.

  • And what's wrong with a nationally recognized ID?

    It seems to me that the US really don't have any idea about who's a citizen or not, and to vote a registration is needed. If the government knew who's a citizen or not and a nationally recognized ID was in place it would make voter fraud a lot harder. And if the US don't have a clue about who's a citizen or not, then the security measures likenthe 'do not fly' list is useless. All those actions at immigration like fingerprint reading is useless. It only serve

    • It makes sense to me, and it isn't like the US would be the first or only free country with a national ID. Right now there's a strange situation where the government steadfastly insists that a passport is not for general ID, it is a travel document only, yet it is one of the best forms of ID since it is hard to forge and can identify you as a citizen or national.

      To me, it would make sense to have a national ID that is a standard form, and available to all for no cost. This eliminates a lot of trouble with v

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        I'm soon going to have to renew my driver's license. I've been a licensed driver for decades now and there hasn't been a problem. But now suddenly, they want a bunch of supporting ID to prove that I am me. Not everyone has any of that supporting ID. I happen to still get one paper bill, so I can just manage to get adequate proof, but the only reason I still get that is because I knew I would have to prove I am me. Otherwise, it's all electronic.

        I can easily imagine what a nightmare a stolen wallet can becom

      • Maybe there's something I'm missing as to why it is such a bad idea, but to me it seems like something worth doing.

        Yes, there would be many benefits, but they are generally argued against by both liberals and conservatives because "identification papers" were historically the marker of totalitarian regimes.

        And, indeed, there is a strong argument that they still could be problematic in exactly that way. Note what has happened in the past 15 years or so in the response to 9/11, and the various rights that have been undermined particularly in air travel. Note the massive government spying efforts which completely skirt

    • If the federal gov wants a national ID, then let them pay for it. None of this pigybacking on the state drivers license.
      • Every state already has the machinery in place to issue driver's licenses, or non-driver's ID cards. Modifying those ID cards to make them acceptable will cost far less than starting up and maintaining a new federal bureaucracy to issue yet another ID card that just takes up more space in people's wallets and isn't even needed on a day to day basis by most people. And, if we do create a National ID card, you can bet that more and more agencies and private companies will insist on you having one and using
        • by sjames ( 1099 )

          If only. It's not just the look of the card, they have to add extra procedure for verifying your ID as well before issuing the card, even if you've had a license for decades.

          • Well, if they're going to be using it for things like Airport Security, I can see where they'd want to take extra precautions. (That is, they're not only checking to see if Jack Dodger has a record, they want to make sure that I'm really Jack Dodger.) Yes, it's going to cost more, but you already have to pay to get a driver's license, and that cost can just be added in. If you make it a Federally issued ID, you not only have the cost of paperwork, you have the cost of making them, whereas that cost is al
            • by sjames ( 1099 )

              I want them to be in 50 different databases please. Ideally with no electronic linking so that if the authorities of one state need info they need to convince the authorities of another state that it is necessary and proper AND create a paper trail. And I don't care to pay extra since we've done just fine with what we have now.

              Meanwhile, those extra checks will make un-people. That is, people who don't happen to have any bills addressed to them at their current address and who don't have their SS card (perh

  • There are 29 states not in compliance and 12 more who have outright rejected it? That is pretty good evidence that there is something wrong with the law even for the most educationally challenged individual.

    • There are 29 states not in compliance and 12 more who have outright rejected it? That is pretty good evidence that there is something wrong with the law even for the most educationally challenged individual.

      From a few articles I've read, some states see the law as an unfunded mandate and don't want to pony up the cash themselves to implement it. Others mention privacy concerns, but I'm not sure that's valid - from the States' perspective.

  • This was posted right after an article about 191M voters having their information exposed on a single database. But no, I'm sure requiring everyone to have their identifying information on a national database won't lead to any problems...

    Rob

    • The good news is that voter registration is public information, so that article was a story about public information being made public.

      Oh noes!

  • by dfenstrate ( 202098 ) <[dfenstrate] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday December 28, 2015 @08:26PM (#51198827)

    If the IRS says you owe more than $50,000 in unpaid taxes, the State department will revoke your passport. [forbes.com] No judge, no evidence involved. Just a 'certification.'
    We all know how much an IRS agent will be punished for 'mistakenly' certifying that someone who displeased the wrong politician will be punished: not at all. Essentially, your right to move freely can be arbitrarily revoked by the IRS- internationally by clear purpose of the statute, and internally (within the United States) in some cases.

    • Not Arbitrary (Score:3, Informative)

      by Etherwalk ( 681268 )

      If the IRS says you owe more than $50,000 in unpaid taxes, the State department will revoke your passport. [forbes.com] No judge, no evidence involved. Just a 'certification.'
      We all know how much an IRS agent will be punished for 'mistakenly' certifying that someone who displeased the wrong politician will be punished: not at all. Essentially, your right to move freely can be arbitrarily revoked by the IRS- internationally by clear purpose of the statute, and internally (within the United States) in some cases.

      (1) You can sue them to get such a travel ban lifted. Arbitrary and capricious action is not legally permitted to the IRS and federal judges don't look well on it. (2) You can probably also sue them for money in a 1983 suit.

  • by WillAffleckUW ( 858324 ) on Monday December 28, 2015 @08:49PM (#51198929) Homepage Journal

    Yet more security theater from the Gestapo or Stasi like TSA.

    We're Americans. Traveling in our own country.

    None of your security measures are effective, and you know it.

    Stop helping the terrorists by making Americans live in Fear, and stop this farce.

  • Short Airline stock.

  • by AndyKron ( 937105 ) on Monday December 28, 2015 @08:50PM (#51198937)
    Fuck the Patriot Act. Anyone who flies buys into the bullshit that's killing this country.
  • by gabrieltss ( 64078 ) on Monday December 28, 2015 @09:05PM (#51198987)

    The states have a simple solution - KICK the TSA out of the state. 10th Amendment baby! Tell the TSA to allow people on the plane - or LEAVE the state.

    Real ID is unconstitutional as all HELL!! It IS a national "ID card" - which is ILLEGAL under the constitution. Those that see terrorists around every corner are weak paranoid LEMMINGS! And have been FULLY brainwashed by the government!

    Just remember the U.S. Government FUNDED and TRAINED Al Qada! Don't believe me - try reading your history! The CIA funded and trained the Mujahideen during the 80's to fight Russia in Afganastan. Who was the head of the Mujahideen? Osama Bin Laden! Where di Al Qada come from? The Mujahideen! Oh and while we are at it where did ISIS come from? Al Qada. Who the HELL do you think is behind all the "terrorism"? Your GOVERNMENT of course! Why would they do it? Look at all the TYRANNY that they have put into place in the name of "saving us from terrorists".

    Madison's statement IS coming true!
    "If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."
    - James Madison

    • Real ID is unconstitutional as all HELL!! It IS a national "ID card" - which is ILLEGAL under the constitution. Those that see terrorists around every corner are weak paranoid LEMMINGS! And have been FULLY brainwashed by the government!

      I would like to spend a mod point on +1 Paranoid Ranting

      Though of course it's not paranoia if they really are out to get you.

    • by Yunzil ( 181064 )

      Real ID is unconstitutional as all HELL!!

      Why?

      It IS a national "ID card" - which is ILLEGAL under the constitution.

      Under what section?

  • Specifically, the "full faith and credit" clause. They don't have any legal prerogative to declare a state-issued ID invalid or unacceptable.

    -jcr

    • Full faith and credit applies to one state accepting the judgment of another. California can't reject Nevada marriages or divorces.

      But it doesn't apply to the feds, and it doesn't even apply to all state actions. I have a driver's license and a concealed carry permit. By compact, the states all recognize each other's driver licenses. They don't all recognize each other's concealed carry permits, because there is no all-state compact to do so. And within a state, my permit means nothing the moment I walk o
      • by jcr ( 53032 )

        The carry permit means nothing, per the constitution. There is no legitimate authority for any state to issue a permit for a fundamental right.

        -jcr

  • I imagine that while you are only travelling within your own state, on inner state infrastructure there should be no need to respect these requirements? The issue is when you cross state lines, since you need the other state to trust the credentials of your state. This is where the federal identification comes into play, since instead of having to negotiate with the other states for standards of 'trust', they only need to do so with the federal government, for which this standard has been delegated to.

    In th

  • Any states getting hassled by the DHS/TSA should say that any and all DHS or TSA employees' drivers license are no longer valid in that state, no matter where they were issued.
  • Well, a state doesn't have to get rid of the license completely, just don't require it for travel within the state. Get other states to go along with it so people can drive state to state. We've been seeing "mission creep" on the drivers license for a long time. Even people that can't drive, or don't want to drive, still get to experience the DMV to get an ID to vote, get a bank account, or any of a number of things. This DMV issued, non-driver, ID is increasingly needed to travel by bus, plane, boat, or train. It's not a drivers license any more, its an internal passport.

    The federal government can only push the states around as long as the states allow them to. Case in point, marijuana possession is illegal but yet no federal agency will even dare prosecute for this in those states that legalized it. The states have considerable power over the federal government, they can tell them where to go if they only grew a backbone.

    Perhaps getting rid of the drivers license is too much just because the TSA wants to use it as an internal passport. What this is though is just one of many reasons on how what is supposed to be a record that one can pilot an automobile safely has gone well beyond this and has become a means by which the federal government can impose itself upon us.

    Also, what few people will tell you is that it is perfectly legal to travel by commercial aircraft without government ID. You don't need an ID to fly, but everyone will tell you that you do. You might get hassled, delayed, and searched thoroughly but it's not illegal to travel without ID. As of yet we don't have a requirement to carry ID to travel, but the powers that be are working to change that.

  • I reuse to use my passport as ID for any national activity. International, sure. That's what it's for. But I do not, repeat, do not need a passport to travel within my own country, or from one location to another in the U.S.A.

    I usually use my pilot's license as ID when I check in. Canadian ones look like passports [tc.gc.ca] and have many of the same security features. Fine. Or so I thought once when a glubeshnik at Oakland International Airport started blankly and called his supervisor. Rather than argue I showed

  • Sure thing, let's put all our eggs in one data-basket and make it easier for the identity thieves and fake ID creators to do their thing, and when some hackers break into the National database for it and come away with 300M citizen ID records, then it'll be worse than useless.

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