September 24, 2007 3:55 PM PDT

Officials say PR campaign may boost Real ID popularity

WASHINGTON--As controversy rages over forthcoming federal Real ID requirements, state officials should be plotting public relations strategies to counteract the well-publicized rebellion, past and present state motor vehicle administrators advised their colleagues Monday.

Civil liberties and privacy groups, as well as organizations like the National Governors Association, have attacked the 2005 law as insufficiently protective of privacy and too costly to implement. But that's exactly the sort of message motor vehicle departments need to offset with their own materials trumpeting the plan's perceived benefits, suggested Lucinda Babers, interim director of the District of Columbia DMV, and Betty Serian, a retired Pennsylvania Department of Transportation official who now runs a private consulting firm.

"I think it's a classical textbook case of good communications planning, knowing who your audience is, and working that into your implementation plan for Real ID," Serian said during a panel discussion on the first day of the Government ID Technology Summit here. About 100 state and federal officials and representatives from technology vendors were in attendance at the conference, whose lead sponsor was Digimarc, a company that specializes in "secure identity and media management solutions."

The Department of Homeland Security plans to issue final rules in the fall, but draft rules say that starting on May 11, 2008, Americans will need a federally approved, "machine readable" ID card to travel on an airplane, open a bank account, collect Social Security payments or take advantage of nearly any government service. (States that agree in advance to abide by the rules have until 2013 to comply.)

Largely because of the undertaking's projected cost and what they view as insufficient federal funding to meet it, more than 30 states have either introduced or adopted some type of legislation or resolution that rejects or criticizes Congress's Real ID mandate, which is derived from 9/11 Commission recommendations.

But even those states that fall into the anti-Real ID category should be thinking about how to make their residents feel happier about the requirements, the conference speakers said.

Sample messages could include, according to Serian: "It's an improvement to your existing process, it's a way to do the right things for the right reason, it will help prevent identity theft." (Serian said she is "active" with the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators and was once the chairwoman of its special task force on identification security.)

The identity-theft defense is a familiar one. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff has argued that a Real ID-compliant document will be harder to forge than existing driver's licenses and other state-issued identification cards because DMV administrators will be required to verify the authenticity of birth certificates and other pertinent identity documents against new databases. Opponents, however, argue that unless stricter security requirements are imposed, it won't be difficult for people to swipe personal information from the cards' requisite two-dimensional bar code and use it for unintended purposes.

"Try to get that positive message out about what it can do for us," Babers said. "What this seems to be doing for us is getting us all up to a certain level in terms of technology and processes."

Despite uncertainty about how the rules will look, Serian said "the time is definitely now" for states to strategize over how they'll persuade the public that Real ID isn't a threat. Motor vehicle departments could use the pool of addresses already available to them to send out direct mailings with such assurances, she said. Babers suggested that voluntary e-mail lists that some DMVs already use for periodic alerts could be another method. Another potential vehicle is through public service announcements aired in a continuous loop at DMV locations, where a captive audience of customers has little choice but to watch.

To reach an even wider audience, Serian suggested DMVs also consider using some of the federal taxpayer-funded grants set aside for Real ID--which many states argue are inadequate--to take out paid advertising. She and Babers said states may also want to approach vendors of the technology they plan to use to come into Real ID compliance for help.

But such a marketing campaign may be less than realistic given the current funding climate for many states, countered one audience member who said he represented the Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles. He said his state's initial cost estimate for getting the program up and running is $12 million, and the state already is expecting a $200 to $300 million deficit. Homeland Security projects the cost of Real ID for states and taxpayers over the next 10 years will surpass $23 billion.

"Your mailing list isn't going to be free," the audience member said. "You're going to have to prepare the document, mail it out, that's a million dollars if you're a state of a million people, which we are."

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15 comments

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typical
Instead of trying to fix the issues this unsecure ID causes, just sell
it to the public with lies and deception. Don't worry, by the time the
fertilizer hits the fan and people realize this is only causing
problems, it'll be the next president's problem.

Typical Bush gestapo tactics.

You'll find a "Real ID" on me when you put it in my cold dead
hands.
Posted by Dalkorian (3000 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Free, or it waits
My driver's license isn't up for renewal until 2011. If I'm supposed
to have a new ID before then, they'll have to supply it for free. I'm
not paying a cent for a new ID before then unless heck freezes
over. When 2011 comes around and it's time to renew anyway, then
I'll accept a Real ID.
Posted by longlivefreepress1 (6 comments )
Reply Link Flag
It Waits
Sorry, friend, but if the article's summary is correct you can't get any Federal services, or bank services without it. They got us by the short hairs.
Posted by kenny-J (53 comments )
Link Flag
A plan even Hitler could love
They won't be happy until they know if you're sitting on the toilet
or not.

Hopefully security will not be the undoing of freedom.

With Bush in charge, or anyone else, I think it's time to value
freedom above security.
Posted by appledogx--2008 (92 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How will it be "real"?
There is no way to prove who you are. Does your certified, state-issued birth certificate have your picture, your signature, your fingerprints, your footprints, your retinal scan, or any other method of connecting your physical entity to the piece of paper? I doubt it. To get a copy of my birth certificate all I need to do is sign another piece of paper "certifying" that I am me and send $15 to the State of California.

Yeah, really real. This is BS of the first order straight out the Gestapo offices at the Department of Homeland Paranoia. If the feds want me to show up for jury duty or any other reason, they're going to have to let me into their buildings without a "Real Lame ID." They need to be careful what they wish for, they might get it.
Posted by dvthex (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
When I got my birth certificate last summer
I did have to should my driver's license. So, how are all these people suppose to get their brith cerificate when the act takes effect and people don't have a "real ID" to go in to get their brith cerificate? This could become the downfall of our government. Probably not directly, but once people start filing lawsuits and riots break out it'll only take time. So let's all remember what's going on now and put the blame on the right people if I'm right.
Posted by aka_tripleB (2211 comments )
Link Flag
Terror perps already have IDs
Real ID is pointless for security - the 9/11 bombers used their own identities, after all. It was their one and only terror event. The terror masterminds don't try to infiltrate airports or US borders - they send their minions, who are first-timers - "event virgins". Real ID is a scam to track and control Americans - it has nothing to do with security.
Posted by itsaspork (15 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"PR Campaign" = Brainwashing Campain!...
Just say, [b][u]NO[/u]!!![/b] to Real ID!!!!!
Posted by btljooz (401 comments )
Reply Link Flag
One question for Homeland Security
Why is this going to cost $23 Billion? The mechanism for issuance is already in place hence why you have the DMV's managing it. And once it becomes law it won't matter if you have good PR or not. And so far the press is not exactly flattering this issue as you haven't stepped up and handled your own PR it is being generated mostly by articles addressing the PR flap. Let's have a healthy discussion of the pros and cons as well as an in depth discourse of the costs associated with it. Not another ram it down your throat government subsidy because some guy has enough cash to hang out with people on Capitol Hill.
Posted by Naptha (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Lawyers advertising for "name change" assistance
Women are going to have massive problems since their birth certificates do not match their married names. I see many lawyers advertising "name change" services for birth certificates to help people get drivers licenses. Another "homeland insecurity" bullcrap fiasco designed by rejects from the CIA and FBI.
Posted by likes2comment (101 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sounds like a misinformation campaign
"I it will reduce identity theft" just like it will cure cancer. It won't do anything about your social security number, it won't prove you are you, as, the id cards can be forged (just get a stack of cards and the proper printer, or break into a DMV). Furthermore, as the database would be held, by current plans, by a third party (and we know how big businesses are with security), they would almost certainly have to mail out letters informing you that your information has been stolen, and you may have had your identity stolen. I mean, if credit card companies, state governments can't keep your information safe, how will that protect our identity? Now, if the NSA were to protect the database, it would be more secure, but even they have break-ins, and they don't make their information available to thousands of inquiries a day from across the US, either. Word's not in yet on whether the IRS' outsourcing is secured yet.
Posted by hawkeyeaz1 (569 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Remember
A national ID has been the pipe dream of the US Government for decades. Public sentiment has always dissuaded the politicos from pushing it. Now, Bush and the Republicans have given us the most onerous buracracy ever in our history--the DHS who is accountable to no one! Democrats whimper, but have gone along with the whole DHS thing, not even token negative votes against it.

The goal of any bureaucrat is to expand the kingdom (serfdom?) and grab more power. The patriot act certainly made that easy.

The only way to reign DHS in is for Congress not to fund the agency. Unfunded mandates from the Feds is nothing new so that won't work. But, one thing is for sure, Congress isn't going to dismantle it.
Posted by kenny-J (53 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Really????
This is what is REAL. They are trying to get into ower private lifes and then control us as if we are puppets.
Posted by magicherrera (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Simple way around it!
Have the ID card set up such that a fingerprint is required for confirmation and any/all data stored in the ID chip is UNLEDGEABLE by anybody.

That would mean that ONLY the authentication SOURCE would know the information (which was required when the ID was requested). No other establishment would/should have such information.

That means that the ONLY use for the card is to validate that you are whom you claim you are and nothing else.

If NO DATA can be READ from it, then no worries. Authentication would of course have to be made in a direct secret VPN connection to the authentication site confirming that YOU are WHOM you say you are. NOTHING MORE.

It can work, but it MUST be implemented properly and the Authentication authority's security MUST BE Top Notch to say the least.

Walt
Posted by wbenton (522 comments )
Reply Link Flag
National I.D card
When are americans going to rise up and take back this country?
We could use the internet to get all Americans to agree that they
will bring down this house of cards once and for all by: not
paying income tax, not voting and not show up for work! This
country is just one big plantation. Refuse this national I.d card
and refuse to be chiped for god's sake. Dont let fear take over
your common sense and comply with the invisible gov't. This is
just plain FASCIST. WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted by ldamon (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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