February 14, 2005 4:00 AM PST

National ID cards on the way?

A recent vote in Congress endorsing standardized, electronically readable driver's licenses has raised fears about whether the proposal would usher in what amounts to a national ID card.

In a vote that largely divided along party lines, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a Republican-backed measure that would compel states to design their driver's licenses by 2008 to comply with federal antiterrorist standards. Federal employees would reject licenses or identity cards that don't comply, which could curb Americans' access to everything from airplanes to national parks and some courthouses.

The congressional maneuvering takes place as governments are growing more interested in implanting technology in ID cards to make them smarter and more secure. The U.S. State Department soon will begin issuing passports with radio frequency identification, or RFID, chips embedded in them, and Virginia may become the first state to glue RFID tags into all its driver's licenses.


What's new:
A recent vote in Congress endorsing standardized, electronically readable driver's licenses has raised fears about whether the proposal would usher in what amounts to a national ID card.

Bottom line:
Proponents of the Real ID Act say it's needed to frustrate both terrorists and illegal immigrants. Critics say it imposes more requirements for identity documents on states, and gives the Department of Homeland Security carte blanche to do nearly anything else "to protect the national security interests of the United States."

More stories on privacy and national security

"Supporters claim it is not a national ID because it is voluntary," Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, one of the eight Republicans to object to the measure, said during the floor debate this week. "However, any state that opts out will automatically make nonpersons out of its citizens. They will not be able to fly or to take a train."

Paul warned that the legislation, called the Real ID Act, gives unfettered authority to the Department of Homeland Security to design state ID cards and driver's licenses. Among the possibilities: biometric information such as retinal scans, fingerprints, DNA data and RFID tracking technology.

Proponents of the Real ID Act say it adheres to the recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and is needed to frustrate both terrorists and illegal immigrants. Only a portion of the legislation regulates ID cards; the rest deals with immigration law and asylum requests. "American citizens have the right to know who is in their country, that people are who they say they are, and that the name on the driver's license is the real holder's name, not some alias," F. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisc., said last week.

"If these commonsense reforms had been in place in 2001, they would have hindered the efforts of the 9/11 terrorists, and they will go a long

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Real "National" ID
Revelation 13:16-17 It compelled everyone -- small and great alike, rich and poor, slave and citizen -- to be branded on the right hand or on the forehead, and made it illegal for anyone to buy or sell anything unless he had been branded with the name of the beast or with the number of its name.

They say it is voluntary BUT if youi don't obtain one you will not be permitted to travel on planes or trains.

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790), Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759
Posted by ALMRev (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dangerous tactics.
This bill is a double-edged sword and it worries me. On one hand it's a great way to keep track of people. However, therein is it's greatest problem: Everyone able to be targeted. Who knows what kinds of information someone who can hack the system, or even just get ahold of your ID, can get. Identity theft could quite possible rise with such cards. However, I do see the good in this bill.

I personally would never approve it though.
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If this happens...
If this bill gets passed, I'm storing my driver's license in a metal container so no one can scan the card without me knowing, AND I won't let anyone scan the card when I do take it out to show someone no matter what.

I think having a uniform standard and making sure only US citizens can obtain a license is okay, but when they talk about biometrics and RFID implants, then the government is going well beyond their boundaries and overreacting.
Posted by jaximflash (236 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nothing Right About It
For a small measure of comfort. Over something that will
probably be really easy to hack, this bill is proposing to strip the
citizens of their rights and freedoms.

The reality of this proposal is scary at best. Foolish in the least.
If the FBI, and IRS (among other agencies) can spend hundreds
of millions of dollars on systems that do not work (and never
delivered), the only thing this bill does is create a GIGANTIC
opportunity of abuse at every level.

Those with the miniscule brainpower to dream this up should be
publicly flogged.
Posted by Thomas, David (1947 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I lived abroad for many years, and I don't see the issue of a
national ID as problematic. I think it does make sense. Biometric
data is not that bad. Afrer all, a fingerprint is a biometric data.
Our picture is biometric data. Our signature is also biometric
data (It determines some of the brain's locomotive abilities).
I do have a problem with RFID. RFID is a great technology. I
would like to avoid lanes at the local market or hardware store.
They do know what I buy anyways by linking my discount card or
even my credit card to what I buy anyways. I don't expect that
knowing how many eggs I buy or that I buy ham, cheese and
bread at the same time. But I do have a problem with an RFID
chip in my driver's license, containing biometric data.
The silver lining is that for bar-coded or magnetic information, I
have to give my approval for somebody to look at it (i.e.,
handing the card). With RFID, I might walk through a reader
without even knowing it. Next time, a camera will take a picture
of my eyes (in a not too far future) and link that data. It's cliché
but it so reminds me of the 'Minority Report' movie. RFID/Iris
scans. What's next? Preemptive wars? (oops. that also
We might as well put or medical records on that card and make
it useful.
Posted by emiliosic (45 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Business Opportunity
Radar guns spawned radar detectors. RFID cards will spawn RFID Card Protectors. The only question is what is the smallest lightest protector that fits in a wallet and won't stain fabric.

This is America. We make money on inconvenience and fear, but if you don't think the innovators won't step up to the opportunity to protect rights while making a buck, think again.
Posted by (101 comments )
Reply Link Flag
More war on the poor...
The police record in my local newspaper is filled every week with an endless litany of motor vehicle problems faced by the poor--driving uninsured, driving under suspension, drunk driving, etc. We have a large body of our citizenry who are perpetually in trouble with the law because they cannot afford the buy-in which states require into the insurance scheme and another body of citizenry who lose their licenses over addiction problems. Using the driver's license as a universal identifier will guarantee that a large number of (usually lower-income) citizens will be routinely deprived of their rights. Congress should be working on how to fix the unfair insurance requirements in state motor vehicle licensing rather than monkeying around with more of W's bizarre Orwellian national security proposals.
Posted by Razzl (1318 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes these types of things are always protect either consumers or our citizens. Then why is it that it is always these two groups that get scr*wed?

The Patriot Act was to protect us and all it did was give more power to power crazed administration. It hasn't done a single thing to help us or protect us. I don't think it has even managed to help catch a real terrorist.

The DMCA was supposed to help protect consumers and make things fair for both business and consumers. Like proventing the sale of poor quality after market ink and toners for our printers especially of the ones that had anti-refill chips in them. But, all it did was cost us some free speech rights, cost us more money and allowed anyone that doesn't like what someone else says about their products to file a law suite against them for breaking in their protected copyrighted code.

It is all bunch of cr*p and this ID bull is just another example.

If they want to pass something useful how about a law that requires presidental canidates to take an IQ test so we can weed out the morons like George W Bush and one to ensure that right wing extremist nut jobs and religous freaks don't get in to office like George W. Bush.

Posted by (336 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Error in article
There is an error in the article where it says that citizens of countries in Latin America and Europe have to carry their IDs all the time or they are subject to punishment. For most of latin america an europe at least that's not true. You are only required to carry ID cards to prove you are over 18 to buy liquor or cigarrettes or to enter to a night club, for example, but not to walk on the streets or to go to public places (it is used for basically the same americans use a driver's license, which I always found absurd). Of course, if you are stopped by the police for some valid reason (the definition of valid reason varies from country to country, including the US, but that has nothing to do with ID cards) you might be held until you can prove your identity.
Most of the world uses ID cards, and I know of not a single case where they have been used to track or spy on people in a way that couldn't be done without ID cards. Credit cards are much more dangerous regarding tracking people.
Posted by Hernys (744 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Are You Now or Have You Ever Been a Member of the Lead-Foot Party.
Bless me Uncle, I REAL ID sinned. Ive had three moving violations since age 16.

Public confession time citizens, on the e-pillories of individual States per Federally set and controlled standards of data sin. Declan, now all those wheelies you performed on your motor monster down Sorority Row at CMU will be digitized and made part of the Federal record.

In the techno-vernacular, it will be distributed citizen data collection with centralized processing, analysis and control. The states will loose more of their already dwindling states rights, and become simple data collection nodes in data-input bondage to Uncle Sammy Buck$ Big Brother. If the States no play, Uncle Sammy no pay.

With REAL ID, when you get pulled over by Boss Hogg in any of the 50 States or U.S. territories of our Grand Old Republic, Officer Hogg will know all of your data sins at light-speed.

Clearly, a persons motor vehicle violation record is a prima facie indicator of who is and isnt a person-of-interest or a soon-to-emerge deep-cover terrorist.

The Real ID Act doesnt even mention the word privacy, because the Act might just as well be called the Citizen Privacy & Liberty Eradication Act.

SAT Question for REAL ID lovers: Privacy is to REAL ID as Liberty is to ___________. Ill ask your State of Domicile to embed your SAT Privacy Score into your REAL ID drivers license RFID chip.
Posted by Catgic (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Jello Biafra was right
We are turning into the new Soviet Union.

Things that we lambasted them for, we are now doing or thinking of doing. Isn't nice that so many want to give up freedoms millions have died for just for the false feeling of security. We have grown into a nation of cowards. Shameful.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Reply Link Flag
If W. was strictly concerned ....
If W. truly wanted to make us safer he would blocked off Mexican borders (who , besides Mexicans, might be crossing into our country at this ill-protected border?); but, none of us want to pay $5.00 for a head of lettuce! So, the new "slave wave" is allowed to continue.

If W. wanted to protect us as people, he would protect our federally mandated social security numbers from identity theft and given consumers some recourse to recovering their lives after having had their identity stolen! Once again, the government benefits financially from social security paid in under your stolen number which is credited to a sub-file (not your main file) and when not collected (by illegal immigrant that paid in under your stolen number) goes into a government account. I read this on MSN opening page about a week ago.

Who exactly is our government trying to protect us from? And who will protect US from our government?
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Back in the USSR ...
A government willing to keep track of all people at all times, stamping them with whatever fault it can throw upon them so as to keep them under a perpetual sense of guilt and fear, thus making them obedient ...

Is that still the USA as we knew them ?

Does anybody really believe a few bearded cavemens are the real target of it all ?

It that the country willing to impose "freedom" all around the world ?
Posted by My-Self (242 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The Party of Lincoln loves power and control more than liberty...
It is very unfortunate and disturbing that the party that claims to believe in limited government and liberty supports neither. They have a long history of great sounding 'libertarian' rhetoric but a very poor history of actually following through. The government continues to grow, its authority ever expansive as our liberites and money (taxes) continue to be flushed down the toilet for the benefit of the welfare/warefare/national security corporate state. Unfortunately, for those who cherish liberty, the Democrats are no better. I would say we need a new Thomas Jefferson to rise but that is not true. We need a million Thomas Jefferson's to rise and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!!!
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I want a National ID
I want it to be GPS enabled and trackable ... I want my body found or my child's body found when some psycho murders one of us.

I want it to include biometric data.

I want it to replace Social Security Cards, Passport, Driver's Licenses, and even my work related IDs.

I want the State's arms twisted to make it happen.

I don't agree with the Chicken Littles who think the sky will fall if we have a national ID.

I want all nations on the planet to implement this as well with the card replacing birth certificates, medical records, and shot records.

I want an ID that is the sum total of my life and is indestructible so it will be here when I am no longer around.

I want it to contain my credit information and my banking information.

I want it to replace cash, checks, etc.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
How is this any different than the system we have now?
So instead of a state ID, we would have to carry America IDs? I'm
always being asked for my ID, when I get on a plane or train,
when i buy booze, when I use my credit cards, when I go into
clubs, when I get pulled over, when I get a rental car, when I go
to Canada, when I go to school, hell sometimes even at the
MOVIES. I can be taken to JAIL if I don't show my drivers license
to a cop if he asks.

So my question is, when will we have to show a National ID
where we don't have to show some kind of government issued
paperwork already? And how will a National ID infringe on my
rights any more than a passport does? Having a National ID does
not mean you have to store your credit card information on it, it
does not mean that the government will be able to track your
whereabouts with it, and it won't make you any more vulnerable
to identity theft than handing a credit card to your waiter at a

Maybe I'm crazy, or maybe I'm not paranoid enough. Or maybe
the people who are against national ID's are the same people
who drive big trucks and vote against gas taxes in the name of
'freedom'. Who knows.
Posted by montgomeryburns (109 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hah! "Bottom line" fakery
"Proponents of the Real ID Act say it's needed to frustrate both terrorists and illegal immigrants."
Except that a number of states are preparing to issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, with California and Massachusetts leading but not alone.
Posted by broke (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Whats the real agenda? Please read...
All 9/11 terrorist were legally in the USA holding legal passports with their real birth names on them. They all were legally within the USA. I like the way the media always "conveniently forgets" to mention this fact. Kind of how Bush tries to make it sound like he took immediate action on 9/11, instead of reading a child's book during his watch.

The article seems to imply that "If these commonsense reforms [National ID Cards] had been in place in 2001, they would have hindered the efforts of the 9/11 terrorists". Obviously this is not the case. Had National ID Cards been in place at 9/11 the terrorist would have been issued prefectly legitimate and legal ones.

If National ID cards are imposed, terrorits will simply enter illegally. Or they will engineer/breed "clean" terrorists that can legally enter. Building a better mouse trap only temporarily catches more mice. Sure, the card might slighty alter their strategy, but no one is nieve enough to believe it would *stop* an attack? (Or are you that neive?) It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the card will have little effect on determined terrorists.

In the end all you have is a card that is poor at detering terrorism but is suprising effective at tracking the law-biding citizens of the USA. 9/11 provides some "convenient reasoning" to make people think its for their own good. So, since the card has little to do with anti-terrorism, whats the real agenda of the National ID card?
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
National ID cards on the way?
Back in the early 90's when a similar system was pushed on American truckers, other Americans sat on their hands and did nothing. Many of us, myself included, tried to tell everyone else that this was a model for the future. But who listens to a bunch of truckers anyway?
Welcome to the club. You're getting what you asked for. How's it feel?
Our commercial licenses have been federally administered since April of 1992. All our info is in a federal database. The new (and scary) part here is all the biometrics and RFID technology. It'll end when America stands up and demands an end. Not before.
Call your congressman. Call your senator. Call Pres Bush's office. Flood them with letters and e-mails. We only managed to produce about 50,000 letters from several million truckers back in the 90's... not enough. Most truckers didn't feel it'd make a difference and so they didn't bother.
I'm betting that several million PO'd Americans writing and calling would get their attention. What are you waiting for?
More Info: Feel free to visit me at...
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.alanburkhart.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.alanburkhart.com</a>
Click the "Privacy Rights" button in the left sidebar. There are dozens of links to additional information on RFID and other issues. There are too few people fighting this right now.
Wanna help?
Posted by truckerfromhell (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Tom DeLay's Statement is Incorrect
"If these commonsense reforms had been in place in 2001, they would have hindered the efforts of the 9/11 terrorists, and they will go a long way toward helping us prevent another tragedy like 9/11," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas.

This is incorrect. The failures of the FAA, FBI, and CIA were the primary causes in my humble opinion. It was recently revealed that the FAA was even notified about the possible threats, but they basically did nothing.

It is true that the 9/11 Commission recommended a national ID system as part of their suite of recommendations. But I do not believe they stated the conclusion like the senator did above and that the ID would be hindered the terrorists. Too many errors and lack of oversights occurred in the federal agencies that I believe it would have not made a difference, particularly if the terrorists created a clone ID like they did with the driver's licenses.

Posted by treet007 (123 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is an attack on our way of life!!!
All of this talk on centralizing intelligence to one source, RFID and etc., is just the begining. Soon they will be embedding GPS chips into us, our cars, whatever else they can stick some sort of security into. If you are not a believer, the the New World Order is not so apparent to you. This is the begining of it. Movies like the Matrix just don't come out of nowhere, they are conjured up from the conspiracies and blatent disregard for human life the privacy that we value so much and take for granted. The US Govt. is trying to control EVERYONES way of life and pretty soon, there will be no more freedoms given. I mean with every freedom, there is a restiction, but soon, everything will be a restriction. Pretty soon with the direction we are heading in, we will all have bar codes on our wrist that scan into a central database under some mountain in Nevada, that has your whole life recorded, down to even your entire DNA strand informaiton.
Posted by Phillip Ruffin (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Where were you all in November
This type of legislation is what this administration has been all
about since the beginning. How can anyone paying attention be
even remotely surprised by this bill.
Keep in mind that the use of these WILL grow and that every
time you get your card swiped, you will be logged some "law
enforcement" database.
This is the government keeping tabs on you.
Posted by jbtps (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Will not comply or be denied access in my country
I for one will not comply, my AZ license is valid until 2024 and I will not replace it to comply
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I spoofed this board to write this comment.
Three observations:
1. I used a fake id and password to write this, obtained at www.bugmenot.com. So much for valid id information.
2. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a national id card until such time as the government decides to utilize the information to find or control you. (such as in a revolution)
3. Technology already has us by the gonads. Computers can be used for good and evil.

One of Hitler's first acts was to require national registration, and the licensing of all firearms.

Whenever someone says "trust me", don't.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Reply Link Flag
This is a bad sign for the USA
Like many people have said, although this card may help protect us for a while, we can't give up our security to the government. They are human and just as able to give into corruption. The gov't, even if they don't think they are corrupt now, should be protecting us for future politicians that could be corrupt. I don't want the government to be my babysitter I just want them to protect my rights stated in the Constitution. I'm only 18 and i am serisouly afraid of what the US will be like 20 years from now. If it gets any worse then this I'm leaving.
"The evil that is in the world always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence, if they lack understanding."
-Albert Camus
Posted by Noel10713 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag

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