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Homeland Security Director Defends Real ID 376

An anonymous reader writes "Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff is defending the upcoming rollout of the national ID card as vital for the nation's security. Chertoff reminded reporters of the importance of the initiative after this week's uncovering of an ID-forging ring. The Real ID Act of May 2005 dictates the uses and requirements for the documentation, which by 2008 may be required for everything from travel to banking. Just the same, the HSD has yet to dictate how exactly the cards will work. " From the article: "The Homeland Security chief, who is nearing his two-year mark with the agency, was likely trying to quell rampant skepticism about the IDs voiced by some privacy advocates, immigrants and other groups. Some have said they fear that the IDs are a stepping stone to a veritable police state, complete with ready surveillance of individuals. Some have argued that the idea of creating more tamperproof IDs is only a marginally better way to screen out those intent on committing terrorist acts because ID cards don't even begin to tackle a core crime prevention challenge: determining a person's unspoken intentions. "
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Homeland Security Director Defends Real ID

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  • by Salvance ( 1014001 ) * on Thursday December 14, 2006 @07:26PM (#17246512) Homepage Journal
    Speaking for all college students out there (even though it's been 10 years since I've been one), I say "down with national ID cards!" How are our college students supposed to enjoy the company of their elders in fine drinking establishments without easily forged IDs? Punishing the resourcefulness of underage drinkers that are no threat to national security is just a crime.
    • by ronanbear ( 924575 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @07:35PM (#17246658)
      Terrorists don't carry ID.

      Of all the stupid irrelevant measures to fight terrorism. Forcing everyone to carry ID will just make the existing millions of people in America who are out of the system go further underground. It will make it much easier for the terrorists to hide if they want to stay in America and it will be harder for the FBI to track anyone.
      • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:00PM (#17246972)

        Actually, terrorists often do carry ID. In fact, in most major terrorist attacks in the West since 9/11, the terrorists have been carrying genuine ID. The 9/11 hijackers used real ID to get on the planes. The Madrid train bombers had official ID. The London transport bombers were not using false ID.

        This is why the whole ID card scheme business, both over in the US and here in the UK, is one big sham. In fact, our government has moved the goalposts so often, as each successive "justification" has been debunked, that I can't even remember what useful stuff they do think they'll achieve now.

        • by KillerCow ( 213458 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:55PM (#17247672)
          Actually, terrorists often do carry ID. In fact, in most major terrorist attacks in the West since 9/11, the terrorists have been carrying genuine ID. The 9/11 hijackers used real ID to get on the planes. The Madrid train bombers had official ID. The London transport bombers were not using false ID.

          This is why the whole ID card scheme business, both over in the US and here in the UK, is one big sham. In fact, our government has moved the goalposts so often, as each successive "justification" has been debunked, that I can't even remember what useful stuff they do think they'll achieve now.


          You see, the new IDs will come with this form when you apply for one. It will have these check-boxes on it:
          (select one)
          * I intend to commit a terrorist act
          * I do not intend to commit a terrorist act, but I will in the future
          * I am a criminal
          * I am a pedophile
          * I believe in personal freedoms
          * I am capable of critical though and analysis
          * none of the above, therefore I am an honest citizen

          If your status ever changes, you will be required to apply for a new card. It's completely fool-proof.
      • Terrorists don't carry ID.

        Which is why it is believed that this initiative might help. If you're here legally, you'll have an ID. If you can't produce one, then maybe you're someone that law enforcement might want to know about. I'm certainly not saying a national ID is a solution to our problems, however I just can't seem to get my panties in a wad over it. You already need an ID to do any number of day to day activities.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DrFrob ( 568991 )
          >> You already need an ID to do any number of day to day activities. Right, but if I'm walking down the street without a gun, I can't be arrested for not having a drivers license or concealed weapons permit.
          • True, but as far as I know not having the ID on your person at any given time is not sufficient reason to arrest you under what's been proposed. Am I wrong on this?
          • Just think eastern Europe and Russia During the Cold war...

            "Show me your papers, Comrade"

        • by Qzukk ( 229616 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:41PM (#17247492) Journal
          Which is why it is believed that this initiative might help. If you're here legally, you'll have an ID.

          Unless this Real ID thing is a giant glowing ball that hovers over our heads, this won't help jack shit. Look up how many drivers there are estimated to be on our roads without licenses (or even with revoked licenses). Just like those people, terrorists without a Real ID card are going to go about their daily lives without a single problem.

          But we're going to be out how many billions of dollars paying committees and well-connected companies to study the issue, propose designs, assign some kind of identification and issue these cards?
        • by dangitman ( 862676 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:03PM (#17247758)

          If you can't produce one, then maybe you're someone that law enforcement might want to know about.

          But then again, maybe you're just someone who forgets things or leaves them at home. Maybe you're a victim of pickpockets. Perhaps you put on the wrong pants.

          It's not going to help law enforcement be more efficient if they go around interrogating everybody who forgets or loses their ID card. Actual troublemakers will probably be sure to have ID at all times.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by pluther ( 647209 )

            Actual troublemakers will probably be sure to have ID at all times.

            I never did.

            Back in the day, when I used to regularly attend student protests, and take part in various other anti-government activities, I made it a point to never carry ID with me.

            If you're in a batch arrest, and have ID, it's now on your record. If you don't, the cops would be more likely to just believe you are whatever name you make up.

            Actually, come to think of it, they never really believed me when I gave them a fake name, bu

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by dangitman ( 862676 )

              Back in the day, when I used to regularly attend student protests, and take part in various other anti-government activities, I made it a point to never carry ID with me.

              But how does that make you a troublemaker? That just makes you a good citizen. I was talking about "blow the whitehouse up" or "mafia crime boss" or "republican party lobbyist" kind of troublemakers.

          • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <qg@biodome.org> on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:58PM (#17248292) Homepage Journal
            or maybe "someone who believes they shouldn't have to supply ID" is the new definition of "terrorist".
        • Do you realize that your own justification for a national-id is self-contradictory?

          If you're here legally, you'll have an ID. ...
          You already need an ID to do any number of day to day activities.


          Either the terrorist/illegal-immigrant/boogeyman-of-the-week doesn't do these day to day activities, which would make them somewhat less than day-to-day, or they already have id and will continue about their business unaffected by the initiative.
    • by tbo ( 35008 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:35PM (#17247416) Journal
      If it was a rational world, the drinking age would be the same as the age at which you can sign up for the army to fight and die for your country. It seems pretty ridiculous that you could drive a tank at 19, but not have a beer afterwards. That said, you have brought up a good point: the negative consequences of accurate, reliable ID.

      There are really three things people are worried about here:
      1 - The possibility of fraud inherent in even an ideal ID system.
      2 - The possibility of fraud in a real-world system implemented by the US government (i.e., one that will probably be poorly designed).
      3 - The negative consequences of an accurate ID system.

      There are positives, too. I'll classify them as follows:
      1 + Personal benefits of an ideal ID system.
      2 + Benefits to companies from an ideal ID system.
      3 + National / social benefits.

      Before I get into details, what do I mean by an ideal system? One in which you can prove to anyone you wish any of the following information, or some subset thereof: name, age, eligibility to work, driving license, professional certifications, credit "card" account, etc. For instance, you might want to prove to a bar's bouncer that you're of legal age, but not reveal your name, credit card number, or even your exact age. How could this work? As soon as you reach legal age, the government sends you a digitally signed "certificate" that includes your photo and a statement that you can drink. When you go to a bar, you can upload the certificate to the bouncer's PDA or whatever, and he checks to see the picture is you. If it is, you're in. To break this, you'd need to break public key cryptography, which you can probably only do with a quantum computer.

      Now, let's get into details.

      1 - Fraud in an ideal ID system
      Even in an ideal system, the card will only be as good as the information used to create it. While such a system is being adopted, there's a window of opportunity for people to forge old-style IDs, then use them to get a new "official" ID with the forged information. This is commonly done with birth certificates now. This is the main issue.

      2 - Fraud in a real-world system
      Even compared to other governments, the US seems particularly bad at large-scale IT projects. It's surprising, considering all the IT talent in the country. A system designed by the US government would probably start with bad specs, have a bad design, and be poorly implemented. A disaster, in short. I suspect radical changes in the process might help here. Put NIST in charge of designing open standards, with the NSA consulting. Get Bruce Schneier, the EFF, and others involved. Maybe try something like the AES challenge.

      3 - Negative consequences of an ideal system
      This is the most insidious of all the negatives. An accurate, effective, ubiquitous ID card will be used for more and more things, and will become a method for tracking and controlling people. We'd need some really good privacy laws to prevent this, as well as a smart design that puts people in charge of their own information and how much they reveal.

      1 + Personal benefits
      Wouldn't it be great to ditch all those cards in your wallet and just have one thing to carry? I know I'd like that. It would also be great to not have to worry about ID theft (at least, not in an ideal system). Depending on how the backend worked, a unified ID could also mean not having to change your address in a gazillion databases every time you move (for instance, did you know the California DMV driver license database is independent of the California vehicle registration database, and you have to change your address separately in both?) Really, this category boils down to convenience and reduced vulnerability to ID theft, IF the system is well-designed.

      2 + Benefits to companies
      This one's pretty simple--reduced fraud leads to reduced expenses, for banks, credit card companies, and merchants. It probably also simplifies a lot of transactions, which wo
      • I sure would like a thinner wallet, though.

        On the scale of changes I would like to see in my life, having less cards to haul around in my wallet doesn't even register. Whether it is 5 cards or just 1, I still have the wallet with the other stuff in it, like cash, receipts, a condom and those little wallet-sized pics of the family, to just name a few.

        a unified ID could also mean not having to change your address in a gazillion databases every time you move

        I consider that a benefit. When I move, I always t
  • by mandelbr0t ( 1015855 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @07:27PM (#17246524) Journal
    Can't remember the name of the book, but I know how this ends. Some guy who doesn't like me steals my ID card and/or replaces it with an invalid one, and I end up in jail because I can't prove who I really am. Federated identity is important; we can't have a single authoritative source for IDs or this sort of abuse will definitely happen.

    mandelbr0t
  • A few questions. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CanSpice ( 300894 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @07:28PM (#17246534) Homepage
    So how exactly would these new ID cards be forge-proof? If people are already forging IDs, what's to stop them from forging these new ones? And what problem does this national ID card solve?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rolfwind ( 528248 )
      Why can't the new Federal ID be my passport? Why do I have to carry more crap around?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Not everyone does have or *can* have a current passport. Because a passport is not always checked against a central database to see if it's valid, especially in other countries.
      • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) *
        Don't forget your travel permit. Papers please.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Miamicanes ( 730264 )
        Exactly! If DHS *really* wants to rally popular support, they should get Congress to do two things first:

        * Establish an objective standard that, when VOLUNTARILY satisfied by a state (or for that matter, Canadian province) with regard to its IDs, would permit its bearer to use it in lieu of a passport for entry to the US. Requiring passports for travel between the US and Canada is complete idiocy.

        * Repeal any and all federal laws mandating a minimum drinking age. For the love of f***ing god, is Congress *so
    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @07:38PM (#17246710)
      Most forgeries aren't perfect, in fact I'd say the vast majority are actually pretty shoddy comparatively. The problem comes when there are tons of kinds of IDs you need to recognise. Think about driver licenses. There are 50 different state variants and within those states there are often different types. I have seen not less than 4 variants on the Arizona license in the last 10 years, all of them still in circulation. That means that often those checking the IDs aren't able to do much more than a cursory job and make sure it's nothing something obvious like a paper picture glued on top. They aren't aware of all the security features to look for.

      If there's a single, universal ID then the forgeries need to be much better. If you only need to learn about one ID, you can learn all the features on it and become quite familiar with it. Likewise any machine that checks it can be tailored to check all the security features to a high degree. This raises the bar a ton as now you have to produce essentially perfect forgeries and there aren't a lot of forgers that can do that.

      Now please don't mistake this for an endorsement of the national ID concept, however it is a legit point. I can tell you to a very high degree of accuracy if an Arizona ID is real or not, at least if it's one of the newer ones, since I've looked at them quite carefully and gotten a list of the things to look for. However you give me a California ID and basically all I can do is look for stupid mistakes. I've no idea how it ought to actually look.
      • by dgatwood ( 11270 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @07:51PM (#17246866) Homepage Journal

        On the other hand, most forgeries are bad precisely because there are so many types of IDs. Therefore, forgers must use fake base materials. All this will do is provide a single set of legitimate base materials that can be stolen anywhere and will be considered "trusted" everywhere. So now, instead of faking the materials in a local forgery ring, they'll buy the legitimate raw materials on the black market from someone who stole them in another state. Once that shift in operation occurs, all fake IDs will be almost indistinguishable from the real thing, making things worse than they are now, not better.

      • If there's a single, universal ID then the forgeries need to be much better. If you only need to learn about one ID, you can learn all the features on it and become quite familiar with it.

        That argument works both ways. If there is a single universal ID that needs to be forged, all the forgers will focus on learning all of the features of it and become so familiar with it that the quality of their forgeries will also increase in proportion.

        Plus, this whole "real id" thing is just a modification of all the s
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by morleron ( 574428 ) *
        Darn, what a shame that the police should have to be able to recognize 50 different types of driver's licenses. Have we so lost touch with our history in this nation that we think that it's the job of the citizenry to make it easier for the State to "police" us? Take a good look at the Bill of Rights and the Constitution and you won't find anything in there that indicates that Americans should be required to make the job of the police easier. In fact, it's just the opposite, which is why there isn't supp
        • Look at Western Europe. ID cards are ubiquitous, but no one complains. That's because they actually have checks and balances in government. Sure, this won't stop terrorists, but it makes conducting a fugitive search very easy. The problem is we love our Business-owned government so much we don't think that abuses of power should or can be curbed. Because of the unique idea that Americans have about politics being nice there is no partisan division of government like in Europe. Look at the Netherlands: A to
    • So how exactly would these new ID cards be forge-proof? If people are already forging IDs, what's to stop them from forging these new ones? And what problem does this national ID card solve?


      You see, you haven't got the right perspective on things. You need to learn how to fake id's yourself. "What? You're searching for Max Klinger? That isn't me! I'm Sven Lundgren! Honest! Just look at my ID!

    • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @07:49PM (#17246834) Homepage
      I find this worth mentioning in any article about national IDs that mentions a connection to fighting terrorism:

      All of the 9-11 hijackers had valid ID.

      If necessary, read that again and let it sink in.

      I can't tell you what problem a national ID card solves, but I can tell you for sure what problem it doesn't solve.
      • by mpaque ( 655244 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:08PM (#17247072)
        I can't tell you what problem a national ID card solves

        Oooh! I know! I know!

        The problem is that right now it's just too darn hard to dig up information on the person whose ID you are checking. Under The Real ID Act, though, the state ID authority (usually the DMV) will be required not only to examine your birth certificate and social security card, but also to scan and create digital copies of them in their system, as well as collecting further information on their forms. This makes the database so created a convenient one stop shopping point for identity theft^Wverification.

        Citizens, rest assured that the millions of checkpoints in airports, police cars, banks, and doctor's offices will all keep this information secure, protecting you from Evil and ensuring your continued Freedom. You do want to be Free, don't you? Just hand over the document, and you'll be Free to pass this checkpoint...
        • Under The Real ID Act, though, the state ID authority (usually the DMV) will be required not only to examine your birth certificate and social security card, but also to scan and create digital copies of them in their system, as well as collecting further information on their forms.

          So here's another shoe to drop:

          This is exactly the information necessary to use the IDs and related databases as the foundation of a system to insure that:
          - Voters are real people.
          - Voters are qualified to vote, i
      • But was it linked to all their internet posts, call records, google searches, cel phone tracking for the last 6 months and library records?

    • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @07:54PM (#17246890)
      Biometrics stored in a secure national database.

      Hell right now we could get most of that with your SSN, a picture of you, and a thumbprint stored centrally that had to be verified against.

      The problem is not the id card. The problem is that soon after it comes in, it will be used for a lot of uses we never thought of. Ministers will be provably caught with gay or straight hookers, We'll know Ms Straight and Narrow down the corner buys leather whips and cuffs, We'll know john has a drug problem and that suzy buys a lot of booze.

      As long as we have cash or some way to anonymize our credit (Xrost, etc) it's not such a big issue.

      But they will be able to track where you are/go/etc.

      HOWEVER

      Weighed against that is the fact that we will never be able to secure our borders unless we have a national ID. And the risks of having non-citizens here are growing. When the likelyhood strangers will kill a couple million of us grows high enough-- we'll either give up the kinky sex or just say "to hell with it- I like kinky sex".

      As MOST of us give up our secret's we will either become a straightlaced nation of prudes or we will become fairly jaded. But at least the illusions and lies will be reduced.
      • Weighed against that is the fact that we will never be able to secure our borders unless we have a national ID.

        That is a completely unsupported claim on your part.

        But, let's assume the underlying belief is actually true - that national-id will be completely uncompromisable - no forgery, no bribing the people responsible for the integrity of the system, nothing, it is 100% perfect.

        Unless you are going to require that people have ID for every single little day to day task like purchasing groceries and walking
    • What if... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by smbarbour ( 893880 )
      What if a system is implemented to validate that the person presenting the card is the person listed in the database? What if when the card is read, the system displays the picture on file for the holder of the card (for an example of this type of system, except on a much more privacy-reduced scale, I'd recommend reviewing the DNA ID system in Gattaca)?

      A card in any form is far more easily forged than a secured database. Use the information on the card for trivial matters (such as establishing patronage a
    • by mpaque ( 655244 )
      So how exactly would these new ID cards be forge-proof?

      That's easy. The Official Documents will all be blessed by Homeland Security. The phony knockoffs won't be blessed. That makes it easy to spot the phonies.

      Fortunately, we can all rest assured that with these new measures, no Federal, State, or DMV employee will be able to accept a $1500 bribe and produce a phony ID. Now, for $2500...
    • Who cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by mangu ( 126918 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:46PM (#17247564)
      how exactly would these new ID cards be forge-proof?


      It doesn't matter. Suicide terrorists couldn't care less about people knowing their real identities, it isn't as if they would have to repeat their crimes and worry about being recognized the second time...

    • The better question is how to keep people from forging the documents on which the "RealID" is based? The article does not say that authorities were busting rings of people forging state-issued drivers' licenses (although I know that happens as well), the article talks about forging birth certificates and social security cards.

      So, what is to stop people from applying for a "RealID" based on forged credentials, even supposing the ID itself were unforgable? Given that someone else has an ID in your name, how d
  • Unspoken intentions (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @07:29PM (#17246560)
    > Some have argued that the idea of creating more tamperproof IDs is only a marginally better way to screen out those intent on committing terrorist acts because ID cards don't even begin to tackle a core crime prevention challenge: determining a person's unspoken intentions.

    ...so what we really need after Real ID passes and some bad guy gets through and blows himself up in the big crowd of people stuck in line waiting for 1-Qt Ziplocs to be checked for toothpaste tubes (and the absence of messages like "Kip Hawley is an Idiot" on the outside of the baggies), is a network of checkpoints equipped with fMRI brain scanners, placed at regular intervals on all arterial roads leading to and from the airports.

    I feel safer already.

  • When I was younger, I rejected the need to track who I was. I was clinging to an ideology that felt natural.

    Now that I'm older and I've been damaged by identity theft ($1k and counting, not to mention the credit damage and IRS audit)
    I can't wait. /opinion
    • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday December 14, 2006 @07:45PM (#17246806)
      Now that I'm older and I've been damaged by identity theft ($1k and counting, not to mention the credit damage and IRS audit)
      I can't wait.

      How would "Real ID" stop "identity theft"? Particularly since "identity theft" is basically fraud.

      If anything, it will make it more difficult to "prove" that you did not apply for those loans, run up those credit cards, etc.

      Nothing will stop fraud until the banks start having to pay for it instead of dumping the expense on their clients.

      And the more a single piece of ID is accepted as "proof" of identity, the more valuable it becomes and the more people will try to forge it. Or just get a job in the office issuing them.
      • by Jack9 ( 11421 )
        How would "Real ID" stop "identity theft"?

        I don't think it would, unless implemented correctly. As it's still up in the air to be implemented, this question is a lot like asking "how do you know that the sun will rise tomorrow?". I'll wait and see, with a hopeful outlook.
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )
      This will not stop ID theft at all.

      Your ID was stolen becasue of neglegct, and/or improper handling of your information.

      • by Jack9 ( 11421 )
        As an AC posted, it's not just about trying to stop theft, it's about rectification which is currently impossible.
    • So do you believe an identity card (deemed "secure" by the authorities) will make identity theft less common, OR will it make it significantly harder for a victim to prove?

      "I am sorry sir, you must have been the one who bought all of that stuff, your un-fakable ID card was used"

      I am curious, what about a national ID card do you feel will have any effect on identity theft prevention?

      Finkployd
      • by Jack9 ( 11421 )
        Rectification. Currently, there is no "unified proof" because the SS and IRS do not communicate. Being able to dispute the problem from a singular point as opposed to an infinite loop of "not my problem, talk to them" is simply sane. Not the best, but a tenable solution. Specifically, my problems are about taxation of income that I did not receive, not buying products (which I can rectify via CC company more easily than the US Gov).
  • Quotes (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Quotes from article:

    "With RealID, we can easily track down minorities and poor people."

    "You know when someone shows you a RealID, its real. I mean, its in the name."

    "To stop people from making fake RealIDs, we called it 'RealID'."
  • by MalleusEBHC ( 597600 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @07:31PM (#17246602)
    Amendment X

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


    Where does the federal government claim to derive the power to mandate federal IDs? Are they using the interstate commerce clause yet again? There's one part of the Constitution that has been seriously misused time and time again and is in dire need of fixing.
    • Are they using the interstate commerce clause yet again?

      Government: Um, yeah. Commerce clause. Why not.
    • It's not "mandatory", but any state that does not abide by the Real ID requirements won't recieve any federal funding for roads and such.
      • by Jherek Carnelian ( 831679 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @07:48PM (#17246826)
        It's not "mandatory", but any state that does not abide by the Real ID requirements won't recieve any federal funding for roads and such.

        Which is a tactic that is abused even more than the interstate commerce clause. They take our money as federal tax and then ransom it back to us to make us do things we don't want to do.
        • by The Monster ( 227884 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:46PM (#17247556) Homepage
          They take our money as federal tax and then ransom it back to us to make us do things we don't want to do.
          And that is due to the twin abominations ratified in 1913, the 16th and 17th Amendments, which gave the national government the power to extract huge sums of money directly from the people, and took from the state legislatures their delegates in the Senate.

          Imagine that you are a US Senator, elected to that position by the legislature of your state. A bill is proposed that will demand that the same legislature enact a certain law, and the state executive branch enforce it to the satisfaction of some national executive agency, or have funds withheld. Now imagine you want to be re-elected by that legislature. How do you think you're going to vote?

          The result of these changes is that more and more decisions are being made in the US Congress and by the faceless mass of bureaucrats in national agencies, rather than in state capitals, county courthouses, and city halls. The concentration of power favors well-funded lobbyists who represent powerful interests, for whom the return on their investment can be huge; against diffuse interests of common citizens.

          Instead of 50 different 'distros' of government, with the chance to learn from each other and merge improvements that succeeded elsewhere, we get stuck with a single implementation. Any flaws in that monoculture are global and potentially catastrophic.

      • Simple enough.. Im in Indiana, and there's this interstate called I-65 that runs to Canada and down to Florida. If the federal guys think they can take their money back from us, we'll just shut down the interstate. Wouldnt that be fun? Reroute all traffic AROUND 700

        Yeah, I didnt think so.
    • Where does the federal government claim to derive the power to mandate federal IDs?

      Congress doesn't have to say what power they are using when they pass a law (it would be interesting if they had to cite their Constitutional authority in the act, and any defense of the Constitutionality of the law when challenged was limited to the cited authority, but that's not the system we have.)

      RealID, since, IIRC, its enforcement is through withholding highway funding, would probably be argued to be an application of

      • "though I suppose a creative defender could argue it was an application of Congress' power to organize the militia, what with the militia being universal and all, and being able to identify its members being a critical component of organizing it."

        Ok, so if I'm then part of the "organized militia" then any ReadlID is also a gun license.
    • by morleron ( 574428 ) * <morleron@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:34PM (#17247384) Journal
      You are absolutely correct in that, according to the Constitution the Federal government has no power to impose this sort of regulation. The problem is that our masters in Washington have gotten into the habit of ignoring that document when they find it inconvenient for their purpose of expanding government police powers. I for one am tired of this "we need to be more secure" bullshit. Let's see, so far all of the terrorist attacks against Americans, on and off our shores have killed probably fewer than 5K people, certainly fewer than 10K and yet the average American seems to be convinced that terrorists are just around the corner and only more government surveillance will protect them. Why is this? I think it's because average Americans suffer from two major problems: they are unable to assess what poses the real risks in their lives and, thanks to our public uneducation system, they are convinced that the government is the source of all good and wisdom in our society. This makes it possible for power-mongers such as Chertoff to foist their specious reasoning off on the majority of the sheeple as gospel.

      When one considers that the new REAL ID cards will probably have RFID chips embedded in them how long do you suppose it will be before the thousands of police surveillance cameras, that now keep tabs on a lot of our public spaces, will be equipped with RFID scanners so that a record can be kept of exactly who is within the camera's view at any given time. Welcome to the Soviet Union of America, where the government's police powers rampage unchecked and the citizenry have voluntarily surrendered their liberty - making that horrible trade-off of liberty for "security". Somehow or other this move must be stopped or we will run the very real risk of this ID turning into an internal passport - which it will be in some sense right out of the gate when one considers that it will be required in order to travel via airline to anywhere.

      The idea that privacy will be better protected by the implementation of REAL ID is laughable. Not only will RFID chips make it easy for police to track the whereabouts of everyone, but you can bet that the same people who developed the technology to clone cell-phones won't be long in developing technology to allow criminals to read the REAL ID chips themselves. Then, the whole world will open up to them as no one will question my assertion that I'm you when I present them with a forged REAL ID card that has the stolen info on its own RFID chip. This whole scheme is nothing but a way to stick yet another part of the camel of unfettered State police powers into the the tent of people's private lives.

      Since our Congresscritters are showing their usual lack of concern about the continual erosion of our civil liberties I think it's time we rubbed their noses in our concern. Let's put together a March on Washington for next July 4. I urge everyone reading this to go to Washington and just show up on the Mall come next 4th of July. We'll turn Washington into a "free speech zone" and tell our government that we're tired of the continual and expanding use of the police powers of the State to interfere with and monitor the affairs of normal American citizens. It's time that we show President Bush and the rest of the anti-civil liberties crowd that at least some of us take this threat seriously and we won't take it lying down. Marches and peaceful civil disobedience worked in the 60s and they can work again if people can be made to understand the fact that their own government is a far greater threat to their safety than any number of terrorists. I'd rather take my chances as a free man, thank you.

      Just my $.02,
      Ron
  • by Alaren ( 682568 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @07:35PM (#17246662)

    DRM for your data and national ID systems for your security. It's like a broken record. Making it harder to forge IDs will do... what exactly? The number of illegal immigrants who use no ID whatsoever should be our first clue.

    This is yet another example of politicians who need to Do Something(TM). It's not really about protecting anyone or making the world a better place. It's about being able to say "we're hard at work here in DC, curtailing your civil liberties and ignoring the 10th amendment to the best of our abilities." It's about being able to say, next time something bad happens, "Well, we did something to prevent it, guess we need to do even more..."

    When did government change from something that protects our freedoms from invaders and criminal elements into something that curtails our freedoms? I'm pretty sure it hasn't always been this way, though perhaps it is a predictable enough historic trend.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by newt0311 ( 973957 )
      When a politician is thinking of what regulations to make, most (thankfully not all) think not about how to help the country but how to maintain there power. In a democracy, maintaining power=being popular (note: popular not smart. Dont confuse the two). You can't be popular if you tell people to suck it up because there is no reasonable way to prevent some security threats and so you do crap like national IDs.
  • because ID cards don't even begin to tackle a core crime prevention challenge: determining a person's unspoken intentions

    Let's make that a bit clearer, shall we?

    because ID cards don't even begin to tackle a core crime prevention challenge: determining a person's thought crimes

    -Grey [wellingtongrey.net]
  • by pluther ( 647209 ) <pluther@us a . net> on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:01PM (#17246976) Homepage
    So next time there's a terrorist suicide attack, they'll know who the people involved were, because they showed ID? Kinda like... last time... ?

    But, if people enter the US from other countries, they'll be using their passports for ID, not this thing, so... um... what was the point again?

    Ah, but if they made everyone, even people visiting from other countries, get one of these, then it's much more secure than showing the passport. And how would they get one? They'd need some other ID first... like, for instance, a passport...

    So, what possible good can this do? Well, I guess it'll make it harder for underage kids to buy beer. Other than that? Nothing, really...

    • >So, what possible good can this do? Well, I guess it'll make it harder for underage kids to buy beer. Other than that? Nothing, really...

      Back in my underage days, I never used a fake ID to buy beer (or wine or liquor). I never used a real one either, for that matter. I actually looked sort of young for my age, as well. I figured out that getting caught with a fake ID got you in Trouble. My technique was to go to a Mom and Pop grocery when they weren't real busy and just put a six pack up on the c

  • An even better idea (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I say we just tattoo everyone with a unique number using some kind of magnetic ink that can't be forged, like on the forehead or some place it wouldn't be easy to remove or forge somehow.
  • by imbaczek ( 690596 ) <imbaczek@nosPAm.poczta.fm> on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:20PM (#17247200) Journal
    ...over here in EU. I'm not sure if they help with anything but the simplest things, but they don't hurt nearly as much (if at all) as most of you paranoid people think they will.
    • Yes, I belong in one of the many countries outside the US (they do exist, you know) using a national ID card successfully. The hysteria and paranoia over National IDs just amazes me.
  • SSN (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Myopic ( 18616 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:25PM (#17247258)
    I'm not exactly in favor of a national ID card, but this new program for implementing one makes me marginally happy. Why? Because we already have a national ID card, and it's a terrible one, trivial to abuse, trivial to forge, and used in contexts where it makes no sense: the Social Security Card. When the SSN card was first introduced, it was derided as a national ID card, but the proponents promised it wasn't. Well, it was, and we can see that by looking around us now. Do you want a driver's license? Well you better have a valid SSN card because one is required to get a license (this is a new rule as of summer 2006, so many of you might not realize this yet). Do you want a bank account? Need one. You need one for everything. My local video store demanded my actual physical SSN card before they would rent me a video. (I almost refused but I really really wanted to see Weekend At Bernie's II.)

    So, shit, even though I don't want there to be a national ID card, the one coming soon is sure to be better than the one we have now.

    I just really hope my new Social Conformity Number is 54601.
    • by Peyna ( 14792 )
      54601

      Don't you mean 24601?
    • My local video store demanded my actual physical SSN card before they would rent me a video. (I almost refused but I really really wanted to see Weekend At Bernie's II.)
      And so Freedom, with a final gasp, died.
  • Two sites (Score:2, Informative)

    by BalkanBoy ( 201243 )
    relevant to this issue:

    http://www.no2id.net/ [no2id.net]
    http://www.papersplease.org/ [papersplease.org]

    Think hard about whether you really want to trade the last shred of privacy for a little bit of 'added security'.
  • by cdrguru ( 88047 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:30PM (#17247322) Homepage
    Unless you are terrified of losing your job because someone from Brazil can come here and work for half of what you are making.

    I live in the Phoenix area. Read the article about how you can get a fake SSN + drivers license + immigrant ID for $160 on the street corner in Phoenix.

    Today, it is barely possible to verify the "credentials" of a prospective employee. DHS rules (as stated on the I-9 employment documentation form) says employers are not supposed to attempt to verify the validity of documents presented. So, if someone comes along with a driver's license drawn in crayon we are supposed to accept this.

    One quick step to ending illegal immigration and "undocumented" workers is to make employer's liable for hiring people that aren't supposed to be here. A year in jail would go a long way towards ending it and there would be a mass exodus southward. The problem right now is there is no central authority for validating documents. There isn't even a consistent method on a state-by-state basis. If someone shows you an Illinois driver's license in Arizona as far as I know there is no way whatsoever to know if it is real, faked or "borrowed".

    This also has an effect on just about everything else that today requires some kind of identification. If I go into a bank they want a local driver's license. One from another state isn't good enough. Why? Because they have no idea how to validate out-of-state identification.

    This has nothing whatsoever to do with "terrorists" since many of them are state-sponsored and have access to whatever resources are required to defeat this kind of thing. However, we can all be concerned, if not terrified that today it is easier and cheaper to hire an undocumented worker than a citizen - because the citizen wants a fair wage and benefits. The undocumented worker wants nothing except more money than he was getting at home - which is an incredibly low bar to meet.
    • The problem right now is there is no central authority for validating documents.

      If you think about it, the Federal government could set an authority up easily, in a matter of months (they already have the taxpayer data). They haven't, because the current rules benefit Republican-friendly corporations, who have all the cheap illegal labor they could possibly want but no legal liability.

      The administration puts on theatrical raids (like the ones currently in the news) to please the anti-immigrant Right.

  • by finkployd ( 12902 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @08:48PM (#17247586) Homepage
    The DHS is run by over promoted bureaucrats who know absolutely nothing about security. We all know this, here is why this time:

    First lets talk about passwords. One thing I run into that people who set corporate policies for passwords often do not understand is that the password strength is very rarely the weak point in an attack. Quite often the requirements will be sent to something crazy like 20 characters, no repeating characters, enforced alphanumeric, (you all know the usual strong password requirements) and they feel that is it. Oh, but to reset a forgotten password all you need to know is your mother's maiden name or some such. THAT is the weak link, you have effectively made every user's password their mother's maiden name. All of the other password strength requirements are irrelevant.

    "How does this relate, finkployd, you arrogant prick?" I hear most of you asking. Simple, how does one get one of these super duper realID cards? I strongly suspect it is by showing OTHER, PRE-EXISTING forms of ID. How else would it work? The problem of how to distribute these cards in such a way that you know they are being generated for and sent to the proper people pales in comparison to actually designing the damn thing in the first place. It will certainly depend in some way on existing forms of ID, meaning it is absolutely no more secure then them.

    Of course the government and financial institutions will inevitably consider it to be the absolute last word in authentication, so expect that if your identity is ever stolen via a false realID card, nobody will ever believe you. YOU will be financially (and likely criminally) responsible for anything done if your realID is spoofed. Good luck everyone, we are screwed :)

    Finkployd
  • by davidsyes ( 765062 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @09:05PM (#17247770) Homepage Journal
    suck it up.

    What *I* mostly care about is this: Is it going to be as fast and easy as it is to obtain that fucking thing as it is to obtain legitimately a DL in Oregon?

    In 2003, I moved there, got my apartment and had utility billing (showing proof of intent to reside there, not mooch or drift), and had my former CA DL (valid, non-expired) and auto insurance and my car smog-checked and in good condition, plus new tires and engine upkeep.

    Closing in on the 30-day reside or leave law thing, I studied a few days for the test. I went to DMV by appointment (or, was it a drop-in? Yeh, by appointment since it was late when I first arrived). I sat before a computer. Answered maybe 20 questions. Passed.

    Shocker? They told me to sit about 12 minutes and my ID would be ready. I thought I mis-heard the clerk. Huh? What?! 12 minutes? Hell, in California, I'd have to wait a month, maybe two (and mine have in CA been lost in the mail once or twice, when time was critical and having an ID for contract work was mandatory... not paper temporary vouchers...).

    I concede that Oregon has a FRACTION of CA's population, but give me a BREAK! Are Oregon homeless or con artists any more crafty than those in California? CA is one of the most HIGH TECH states in the US, and if CA were a country, it'd have maybe the 3rd or 4th largest economy in the world (a good reason for CA to say FUCK DC and secede, heheheheh), so it ought to be EASIER and faster to obtain ID in CA. It should be possible to get the frackin' thing within 20 MINUTES of proving ones identity or passing ID and passing the DMV test.

    The brouhaha over internal passport and threat to privacy and such may be well-intentioned, but as long as the ID has no wires, trace capability, or the like, then it's probably a GOOD thing that the ID information will be centralized. I am not speaking about "keeping out migrant workers". I'm talking about putting a crimp in the asses of those who legitimately obtain multiple IDs but who then go on to ABUSE the multiple IDs across state lines, defraud the IRS (I don't mind PAYING taxes; it's the LEVEL that I am bothered by at times), and evade paying bills, tickets, or child support. If you MAKE a kid, PAY FOR IT! Owe a debt, PAY for it, or stay in the loop until it's discharged or someone picks up the bill to give you a clean slate.

    All this bitching about the ID is good and some of it is not. Another GOOD thing is that some back-jerkwater-ass hobo-run sheriff or PO-LEASE in parts of the US can't (hopefully can't) ding passers-through on D/L issues. (Broken turn or signal lamps can still cause you problems if they want to detain you or scrape a few dozen dollars out of your wallet before telling you to come back and visit our little town again....)

    Hell, many countries, due to historical and formation pains, have had national IDs from their START. We, here in the USA, had it good for a while. The criminal types will still evade; the good types will comply; the cottage lawyers will bitch up a storm and get paid up the ass and smile for the make-work. Cops (good or bad) and bars and certain businesses will love it because they won't have to memorize, train others, or keep annual books on valid forms of acceptable ID.

    (*** It *ought* to be a *win* for a lot of people. The cell phones and pagers, NIC cards, and roaming login accounts tell more about us than the damned RealID would. I am pretty sure a number of states are afraid of losing control not over states' rights, but over the cottage card-printing industry (like presidents' and governors' wives painting and selling junk art so DC and the states' frame-making industry can be artificially propped up....) ***)

    Anyway, some states permit individuals to possess more than one state ID as long as there is no sign of fraud. Frakin' California would punch a HOLE through my Oregon ID but I had to rationalize with the clerk that I HAD to not have my Oregon ID SCREWED WITH by some arcane process that could be double-checked by a simple inter-ag
  • I was watching this http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/social_issues/july- dec06/immigration_12-13.html [pbs.org] yesterday and I could not believe what I was hearing.

    Today with this story, it all makes perfect sense.

    Gwen Ifill asks great questions, too bad nobody answers them.

    Scary Times.

  • ID cards don't even begin to tackle a core crime prevention challenge: determining a person's unspoken intentions.

    There is already legal precedent, which is apparently holding up in court, to punish individuals for their thoughts, and/or words.

    It is called "hate crime" punishment - which generally adds time to a sentence for some other criminal act. The whole concept of hate crime is ludicrous; who cares why someone beat me over the head with a stick - give them some jail time for it! If you don't think

  • by the_REAL_sam ( 670858 ) on Thursday December 14, 2006 @10:54PM (#17248842) Journal
    3,030 Americans died on 9-11.
    16,000 Americans die to murder each year.

    In spite of the impact it made, 9-11 had 1/5th the impact of a single year of murders in the USA. Somehow, for 200 years, we managed to uphold the constitution in spite of murder rates. 9-11 is a sorry excuse to change that now.

    Therefore, it seems timely and appropriate to recommend that the administration and members of the department of "homeland security" read the constitution, and that THEY adjust to the CONSTITUTION, rather than the other way around.

    9-11 already happened. Unless they intend to invent a time machine to stop 9-11, the DHS should just disband itself, b/c chiselling away at our rights hasn't done a damn bit of good for the country.

  • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Friday December 15, 2006 @01:35AM (#17250564)
    The concept of an ID card is not bad unless you're a fascism. The problem is with fascism, not with ID cards. If you think your government tends toward fascism, solve that, not the problem that you're worried what would a fascist government do with ID cards.

    I have to say I'm completely dumbfounded about the SSN practice in the USA. Here in Hungary, most official business require an ID card, which has personal details, like b.o.d, current address(actually a separate card to make it more easier to move and stuff), a photograph and a numerical code on it.

    The numerical code is only for the rare case where someone lives at the same place with someone else with the same name and B.o.d, so to serve generally as an unique identifier. You cannot do anything with that numerical code in itself. You have to have the card. It is pretty forgery resistant and if you need a fake id badly, you could just bribe an official in the ministry of internal affairs to give you a new identity anyway.

    So there's that. It is useful for the common person, because it proves identity and every adult has it.

    Yeah, it can be misused, but everywhere it is grossly misused by the government, it is not a democracy anyway and you've got bigger problems than that anyway.

    I don't get why people in the anglo-saxon countries think of the nazis immediately when the issue of national ids came up, I don't think of nazi germany when driving an Audi.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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