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Thread: Beware Homeland Security’s Real-ID Mandate

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path

    Exclamation Beware Homeland Security’s Real-ID Mandate

    With the webmaster's request and permission, I am starting this thread of an op-ed piece which was published October 30th, 2008 in the Wayland and Weston Town Crier's.

    I felt strongly about researching and writing this article and have become increasing alarmed of the erosion of our civil liberties under our current administration. Whether you knew about Real-ID or not, I think you will find this an enlightening overview of the current state of affairs.

    It’s not talked about much in the mainstream newsprint or on the airwaves, but certain provisions of the USA Patriot Act are now moving, like a juggernaut, toward one of its key tactical rollout aspects. The full implementation of a national identity card would supplant the authority of the states to grant and control the issuance of state driver’s licenses, and more importantly it would create an enormous technological portal into the civil privacy of our rights and freedoms, as we have known them since the day we were born. Protecting our national security is important, but the erosion of our civil liberties, our privacy, cannot be allowed. In accordance to the underlying security law, the citizens in those states who do not adopt the Real-ID measures will be penalized in multiple ways. One example is that their driver’s licenses will no longer be valid as identification in our national airport system. No card means you won’t fly. No card means you can’t open a bank account. No card means you can’t get access to government loans, Medicare, or even enter government buildings. We are clearly being strong-armed by our own government and this should make all of us suspicious. From these restrictions it’s a very short leap to other restrictions, such as bans on rail travel, perhaps interstate highway travel and even more draconian measures such as renting cars or hotel stays. It’s even been discussed that Real-ID cards could be tied to one’s ability to get medical prescriptions filled. This means that no Real-ID card could mean no birth control, insulin or antibiotics for those in need of them. With the technology we have, plus our ability to centralize and cross-reference the flow of information into our massive computational capabilities, there is no end to how this information gathering card could be used or what resulting restrictions could ultimately be put into place. It all sounds very ominous. Who is protecting what from whom?

    This card is not just a piece of plastic. It’s a device. This device can ultimately take advantage of the most sophisticated technologies of data recording, transmission, biometrics and scanning. It can take advantage of our global positioning technologies and our satellite communications, and it can be linked to vast databases over globalized computer systems. It is envisioned that every person walking, driving and flying in the U.S. would eventually carry one of these informational and controlling devices.

    At first the device would employ a two-dimensional bar code (PDF417) system, which has the capability of storing large amounts of personal information about us. Next it could add biometric data like encoded thumbprints or retinal signatures, which could also be encoded onto either a 2-d barcode or a magnetic strip. Then comes the most ominous measure – RFID or radio frequency identification. RFID is a very sophisticated technology, originally envisioned to be used for inventory control by affixing miniature antenna arrays linked to encoded silicon that would come alive when pulsed by radio frequency energy. Think “Fast Lane” when you think of RFID on Real-ID devices because that’s exactly what it is. As of October 2006, all U.S. passports issued now contain an RFID device.

    We might conceive that the ramp-up of the access and control of our private information and the ability for governmental agencies to track us would occur in ever increasing stages. First a device with a 2-d barcode, then enhanced with biometric data, then fingerprints, and retinal scan. Then, the introduction of RFID on the device. Finally, the unthinkable – RFID human implants. That’s right, a glass container the size of a grain of rice which carries a coil antenna, some silicon logic and a miniature power supply or may receive its power from an external pulsing probe just like “Fast Lane” does. But in this scenario it’s worn under your skin and not on your windshield. You get to sleep with it. Don’t believe this? There are companies working hard to produce these technologies right now, and they have already been deployed in humans on a limited basis in certain companies for enhanced security. In November 2005 a bill was introduced to allow RFID tagging for domestic pets. Sort of an electronic leash. I’m OK with the pets wearing them but we should realize they have been perfecting this for at least three years now and probably much longer. I’ll bet they are human ready by now.

    At this point it must seem to you like this all sounds like a bad science fiction movie. I wish it were but it’s actually much simpler then that. This is the leading edge of President Bush’s Oct. 26, 2001 Patriot Act. This leading edge now gets to affect each and every citizen of our country in a very personal and a very intrusive way. The act sidesteps major principles of our U.S. Constitution and additionally, through a series of presidential executive orders, the result provides our chief executive with awesome dictatorial powers that allows him to declare martial law without immediate legislative intervention. This power can therefore nullify “Posse Comitatus,” an act established in 1878, where the federal government is prohibited from using military force in police and civil actions and operating within our cities. Most important, this act with its associated executive orders can eliminate the writ of “Habeas Corpus” where a person taken into custody has a right to plead his case to a judge and therefore cannot be detained without cause, without a hearing and without legal representation. All of these things can happen to you and me with the stroke of a presidential pen under the Patriot Act. Remember, if you disagree, you too can be labeled a terrorist.

    It has been said that given this act with its associated executive orders, the only thing now standing between freedom and tyranny is the assumed good character of the president of the United States. Every tool we need to fight the “bad guys” is already written into our Constitution plus the Bill of Rights. We don’t need to give tyrannical powers to our chief executive to accomplish these things. We don’t need to give up our civil liberties to feel safe. When times are tough, that’s when we need our civil liberties the most. Ask yourself one simple question: “Do I feel safer under the Constitution plus the Bill of Rights, or under the 2001 Patriot Act with its associated executive orders that centralizes virtually dictatorial power under the sole discretion of the executive branch and then renders useless the civil liberties that our founding documents are supposed to guarantee?”

    I’ll take the Constitution plus the Bill of Rights any day of the week over the Patriot Act. By the way, that is what’s known as being “patriotic.” Never compromise your civil liberties. If you do, you will lose them.

    The final battleground to challenge Real-ID is now in the hands of our 50 United States. You may not be aware that on May 11, 2008, a federal deadline came and went. It was on that day that all 50 states were targeted to have accepted Real-ID. That date was not well-advertised, not well-published, and certainly wasn’t well-discussed on TV or radio. It was supposed to just happen quietly. But it didn’t happen.

    As of this date, 11 states have rejected Real-ID by passing a statute prohibiting its implementation, while 10 states passed a resolution denouncing Real-ID.

    In six states, anti Real-ID legislation has passed at least one chamber, and in 12 states anti-Real-ID legislation has been introduced.

    The remaining 11 states have not adopted Real-ID but have also not taken any legislative actions prohibiting it.

    The first state to blow off Real-ID was Montana. On March 7, 2008, the governor of Montana, Democrat Brian Schweitzer, was interviewed on NPR about Montana’s rejection of Real-ID.

    “We try not to bring it to a head but if it comes to a head we found that it’s best to tell ’em to go to Hell and run the state (the way) you wanna run your state,” he said.

    I’m proud of you Montana! But it’s not over yet. The federal government isn’t giving up. They have provided automatic extensions for compliance until Dec. 31, 2009; extensions granted even to those states which rejected it outright and did not ask for or want an extension. Now with just days left until we select our next chief executive, it is my hope, rather it is my prayer that whoever wins will have the wisdom and the courage to roll back the Patriot Act, reverse those tyrannical executive orders and put an end to this national identity card scheme. Let the states handle the identity system. This will distribute the power and reaffirm our constitutional liberties, something our Congress has been unable to do over the past eight years.

    Visit to see the latest on the revolt and acceptance of Real-ID on a state-by-state basis. This is a slippery slope of the erosion of our privacy and freedom. If you wish to do something about this, then contact your state representatives, your congressional representatives, and tell them that you read George Orwell’s “1984” and you really don’t wish to live it.

    The only way to stop this juggernaut of civil intrusion is to speak up loudly and refuse to accept this, now.
    Last edited by AlanJReiss; 11-02-2008 at 12:57 PM. Reason: Edit Link to make it work


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