February 8, 2007 9:35 PM PST

State officials oppose repealing Real ID Act

SAN FRANCISCO--Two state officials said Thursday that a forthcoming national identification card should be kept intact or expanded, not scaled back in the face of a growing grassroots revolt.

The 2005 Real ID Act currently says that driver's licenses and other identification documents issued by state governments must comply with a stringent set of rules devised by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. But some state legislatures are weighing whether to stand up to the federal government and oppose federalized identifications, which Maine's legislature did two weeks ago.

"I have no problem with the Real ID Act," Paula Arcioni, the chief information security officer for New Jersey's Office of Information Technology, said during a panel discussion at the 2007 RSA conference here. She said that adding a microprocessor to the national IDs--thereby making them smart cards--would create "cost savings from an overall comprehensive strategic approach."

Arcioni's comments show that the Real ID rebellion, which began last April when New Hampshire's House of Representatives rejected the plan, has not reached critical mass. Although bills are pending in legislatures including Georgia, Massachusetts, Montana and Washington, it remains unclear whether enough opposition will develop in state legislatures to force the federal government to amend or delay the Real ID rules.

Sen. Daniel Akaka, a Hawaii Democrat, and John Sununu, a New Hampshire Republican, introduced a bill in December to repeal the Real ID Act. On Friday, Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, is expected to hold a press conference to announce similar legislation.

"We're certainly not the rabble-rousers out there trying to lead a rebellion," said Denise Blair, the assistant deputy director of the California Department of Motor Vehicles, referring to Maine's efforts.

Blair, who favors the Real ID Act, did say, however, that it will cause some administrative headaches for California when more than 3 million more people a year are visiting local motor vehicle offices.

Blair lauded better data-mining practices and sharing information between states, which is what Real ID is designed to encourage. If the Real ID had been in place six years ago, she said, data mining could have led to flagging some of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers before they boarded the planes: "The bulk of those could have been identified previously."

How it's supposed to work
The Real ID Act says that, starting on May 11, 2008, Americans will need a federally approved identification card--a U.S. passport will also qualify--to travel on an airplane, open a bank account, collect Social Security payments, or take advantage of nearly any government service. States will have to conduct checks of their citizens' identification papers and driver's licenses likely will be reissued to comply with Homeland Security requirements. State motor vehicle databases are also required to be linked together.

In addition, the national identification cards must be "machine readable," with details left to Homeland Security, which hasn't published final regulations yet. That could end up being a magnetic strip, enhanced bar code, or radio frequency identification (RFID) chips.

One audience member, who said he worked at a state criminal justice data center, said: "This Real ID isn't going to work unless there's some mandatory biometric involved." (Real ID permits, but does not require, Homeland Security to mandate biometric identifiers such as fingerprints, retinal scans, or DNA samples.)

"The biometric part, I absolutely agree, it ought to be in there," said Dan Combs, Iowa's former director of digital government. Combs is now president of Global Identity Solutions, which sells identification-related services to governments and corporations.

After other panelists made similar remarks, moderator Denley Chew, assistant vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said: "We seem to be in violent agreement."

Chew warned, however, that "the ACLU will be at the door." The ACLU has set up an anti-Real ID Web site called RealNightmare.org and has been lobbying state officials to oppose the plan.

Arcioni, the New Jersey state official, suggested implanting Real IDs with microprocessors, which would be required to access government services.

Even if the initial federalized ID doesn't have it, future versions will, Arcioni predicted. "Did they think it was going to be some stupid plastic card that didn't have any electronics putting some smart technology on it, a microprocessor?" she asked. "I can't even imagine Real ID not having smarts, at least as something that could be leveraged down the road."

Companies could also require the microprocessor-equipped IDs for authentication, Arcioni said. "That's useful when you're delivering services, whether it's the commercial sector or the public sector."

Identification cards implanted with microprocessors are commonly called smart cards. They generally have a processor, memory and a "tamper-resistant" mechanism to prevent unauthorized people from altering the hardware or software. Smart cards can rely on physical contact, like a mobile phone SIM, or feature RFID technology.

Smart cards aren't as popular in the United States as they are in Europe, where cryptographically protected smart cards are used for applications such as ATM cards and fuel cards.

See more CNET content tagged:
Real ID Act, legislature, New Hampshire, homeland security, data mining


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I can't find another word. Those who support this act would vote their rights away. If my state (FL) allows this to go through I will move to a state that repeals it. Americans can easily force this down by simply refusing to do it. However we have become sheep. Truly disgusting.
Posted by bishop1641 (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You may not have a choice
Depending on whether the act remains in place, it will be all or nothing throughout the nation, as it is federal law to which all states must comply.
Posted by Pokerfish (17 comments )
Link Flag
"Your rights are ... whatever the government says they are.. hahaha.." -- no.. your rights exists outside of government and we are given the first and second amendments to .. god forbid.. destroy our government should it become oppressive.

This is pretty oppressive and is contrary to that power the people must reserve. (The power to form a new government.)
Posted by Solaris_User (267 comments )
Link Flag
If you've nothing to hide, why worry?
If you're not a fugitive, terrorist, or illegal alien, does it really matter? Lots of state driver's licenses already partially comply with the Real ID Act. The U.S. lags behind other democracies in Europe and Asia which have similar national ID systems. The Act doesn't change when and how people show ID. It just helps ensure that when they do, they are accurately identified. It's about time if you ask me.
Posted by Pokerfish (17 comments )
Reply Link Flag
You're Kidding, Right?
You're kidding that if you have nothing to hide, why worry, aren't you? Seriously, apply even an ounce of forward thinking and you can see the terrible future that a national ID holds. Imagine there's a terrible terrorist incident at a mall. The police say that if the mall owners had only implemented a "scan all National IDs before mall entry" they'd have a better chance of catching the perp. Of course they would. Heck, why not scan everyone entering a sporting event, a musical concert, a movie theater, a national park, and on and on and on? All of these are potential targets of terrorists and knowing the ID of everyone at the time of the event would certainly help catch the perpetrators. But, is that the kind of country you want to live in? One with greater tracking of its citizens than the Soviet Union? All in the name of defending "freedom"?

Like I said, surely you're kidding.

mark d.
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=26307" target="_newWindow">http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=26307</a>
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Heres why..
Why worry? There will be a database on you. Everywhere you go and everything you do will be in it. It will be linked to your bank and cell phone records so everything you do, buy, everywhere you go will be tracked. They just punch in your ID number and up comes the data.

This is bad because it creates and enforces a police state in America. That is a police state right? That government knows everything you do and you need governments permission to do anything? You already need permission to do practically anything in America.

This will be linked to private business and internet records. ..so imagine if you might that our government someday decides that you can't oppose it or your labeled a terrorist. You can't talk about the government and if you do they will be right there to collect you and take you off for "re-education"

They do not need this power in a free country. Go rent V for Vendetta.. will that be us in 40 years?

If your ok with this, why not march down to DHS and get fitted with your RFID chip right now?
Posted by Solaris_User (267 comments )
Link Flag
don't be silly
everyone must protect his privacy

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://privacy.emigrantas.com" target="_newWindow">http://privacy.emigrantas.com</a> - all about web privacy
Posted by darmik2005 (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Disgusting and Dangerous too
What a database we all shall become! Is this supposed to be a bid for utopia or a reaction to fear and greed? Who benefits and who pays for this assault on freedom? It is a shame the Founding Fathers had no hint of what privacy would mean in a post-industrial world, with billions of invisible channels connecting us all. If power corrupts, then absolute power corrupts absolutely. strangely, I don't think the greatest danger is government, though it runs a close second. It is the banks that will own us all.
Posted by coldiane (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
True that, The banks will rule us all but guess who controls the governments...The bankers...and eventually they will control the whole world... Welcome to the New World Order that Bush and his admin are helping to usher in w/ 9-11 and all the bs that has followed...Patriot Act Real Id Act ect ect....A little off topic but Google the Amero... Our constitution is as good as dead...There is no more USA its IS the United Americas....
Posted by daciple (5 comments )
Link Flag
Excellent point
Your raise an excellent point. Between the banks and the government we are look at mass data warehousing. Nor the banks nor the government has shown they are capable of securing data.

Those who support this measure must truly have complete confidence in government even though the feds have never given any reason to have such confidence. This act is everything that America is supposed to be against. However what do you expect from a Congress that approves measures without reading them , ie. Patriot Act.
Posted by bishop1641 (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I have nothing to hide, but...
Do I want the government to be able to track every interaction I have? Social Security numbers were specifically created to not be used as a form of ID, but that is what they have become. Stores and banks take your Driver's License number to post checks, now they will implement readers that can check the ubiquitous REAL ID instead for your "convenience". Then we will be able to add payment card functions, and then (to paraphrase Tolkien) "One card to rule them all, one card to find them, one card to bring them all and in the open bind them." My job is to find and track perpetrators of fraud, and even I don't want this because it will make it easier to commit fraud in some ways (as a "secure" ID, it will be too easy to trust good fakes and counterfeit cards as opposed to challenging suspicious behavior.
Posted by Fraud Guy (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Lord of the Rings
Wow, Fraud Guy, loved your Lord of the Rings analogy! Frankly, what bothers me the most about this is that it is a FEDERAL thing, not a state or local thing (my loyalty is to the Shire). Recently, I was thinking about all the tax money that is taken out of my paycheck and I quite seriously wonder if I am getting my money's worth. The protections I care about are local, such as police and fire department, so local taxes are okay, and state taxes are only slightly removed from that. But all the federal? What really happens to all that money except line the pockets of war criminals. We really don't need 'em.
Posted by thomasdosborneii (19 comments )
Link Flag
Anyone ever read George Orwell?
He wrote a book, from which a movie was made, (1984) predicting this very scenario. Hell, even the Bible predicts this.

First, if the airlines had been following their own security rules, the terrorists on 9/11 would have been arrested before boarding the planes since box cutters were already illegal for air travelers. And if our law enforcement &#38; intelligence had been doing their jobs, the perps would have been incarcerated months &#38; years before that day. This argument is completely bogus.

Those who say they have nothing to hide are illogical on 2 fronts. If the govt has nothing to hide, then why are they hiding so much? Paranoia or a hidden agenda? With a paranoid govt or one which has a hidden agenda, everyone will have everything to hide for very good reason. Re read Orwell &#38; the histories of Nazi Germany &#38; the Soviet Union

And finally there is the matter of security. Every form of foolproof security ever used has been breached numerous times in numerous ways. By requiring everyone to provide all their personal info on a single document, it will be so much easier to have your identity stolen, &#38; impossible to clear you name once it is illegally used. It is nearly impossible now. Just ask anyone who has had their credit ruined, put on a no fly list, or lost a job opportunity due to a false criminal record.

I applaud the states who are refusing to follow this misguided Federal plan. If enough states do this, it will have the effect similar to a Constitutional Amendment - namely the states taking back the authority that is rightfully theirs to begin with. The Feds cannot rule a people who refuse to be ruled w/o drastic measures.

And finally, this law would require this ID in order to travel, leave the country, open a bank account, drive out of state, etc. WHEN, not if, enough people chose to opt out, that will mean the underground economy will become dominant. That , in turn would mean bankruptcy for the travel industry, banks, stock market, the government . . . Hey, maybe this would be a good idea, after all.
Posted by Bob H in NPR (39 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The power of the boogey man!
Fear works wonders, doesn't it?
Posted by Mark Greene (163 comments )
Link Flag
To the shortsighted folks that think this is a good idea
Forget the argument that this will turn the US into a police state, that obviously doesn't bother you. Who cares about freedom and privacy when you just don't feel safe? Feeling safe is the most important thing, even though it is just an illusion.

Consider this:

No form of ID is 100% safe from abuse and forgery. Not even biometrics.

No database on this planet is 100% secure.

Now consider the implications of those two facts. Then come back and tell us what a great idea it is.

I suggest that everyone should read Database Nation by Simson Garfinkel. Those who don't understand the technological and societal implications of bills like this will be rudely awoken.
Posted by qwerty75 (1164 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Repeal the Real ID Act and stop the NAU!
There is one difference between a SSN and a Real ID (with biometrics). Your SSN is simply a number that can be changed but your DNA, retina scan and fingerprints cannot! True, it's a pain to change your SSN, especially if you're currently employed, but it is nevertheless, possible. And true you can burn off your fingerprints with acid to make them different, but tell me how you change your DNA or retina?

The point of this is that no database is 100% secure. What happens if criminals get their hands on your DNA or retina scan info along with all your other personal data? Will you ever be able to prove you are innocent? How is this going to minimize ID theft? It won't! ID theft will increase. What happens if you lose your ID? What "ID" do you have to show to get a replacement?

This is not going to stop terrorism nor identity theft. The main concern noted by the states that don't support the Real ID Act is how expensive it will be. Once this issue is addressed they will be happy. They rarely discuss the fact that people will have no privacy and lose their civil liberties.

But who cares about that since the passing of the Patriot Act, the War Commissions Act and the John Warner Defense Act?

Most Americans probably aren't even aware of the above "acts" which will take away ALL your rights as free citizens. Bush (and all future presidents) now have the authority to do whatever they want, once these acts are implemented.

To the poster that said "why worry if you have nothing to hide"? Well in the near future when dissent is illegal ask yourself that question. Dissent is as American as apple pie. Why did the New England colonists fight the British for your sovereighty? Why did The US fight the Nazis in WWII and the Soviets during the Cold War if the good old USA is going to become like them anyway?

The Real ID Act, the Patriot Act, the War Commissions Act, the John Warner Defense Act and the war in the Middle East are all working together towards a New World Order as George H.W. Bush referred to in the recent past.

Once the US is bankrupted from it's illegal war in Iraq (and the future expanded war in Iran) it will have no choice but to implement the North American Union and to use the Amero as the only accepted currency. The Real ID Act is just one of the many steps in this direction.

The main focus here should be to stop the North American Union.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.stopthenau.org/" target="_newWindow">http://www.stopthenau.org/</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.stopthenorthamericanunion.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.stopthenorthamericanunion.com/</a>
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.stopspp.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.stopspp.com/</a>

Posted by Dave_Brown (46 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Smart cards, not for REAL ID
"Smart cards aren't as popular in the United States as they are in Europe, where cryptographically protected smart cards are used for applications such as ATM cards and fuel cards."

Note, even the folks who have been using this the longest and most actively in a number of different applications are not thick skulled enough to apply it to a national ID process.

For a good review on this program by someone who knows a heck of a lot more about this subject than 99% of our gov't officials involved in the process take a read at this:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/01/realid_costs_an.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/01/realid_costs_an.html</a>
Posted by direwolff (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
real id
I am totally opposed to the Real ID card as defined in the Real ID Act. I am opposed to this on many grounds. It infringes on States' rights and it creates a huge data base of extremely sensitive documents that could get into the wrong hands. It puts too much power in the hands of DHS as they would control and verify and decide how to share this information, and therefore is contrary to the principles of good government. Thomas Jefferson said: "The way to have good and safe government is not to trust it all to one, but to divide it among the many". This principle is as true today as it was then when no one had electronic data bases or computers. Perhaps it is more valid today.
I oppose creating a card that may have potential for tracking all Americans activities in their daily activities whenever they present this Real ID card (I assume when this card is read or scanned it will create a record of when and where it was used). I also oppose this on First Amendment grounds as a person should be free to petition their government without first showing proof of their identity to some electronic verification machine and without fear of being tracked and monitored and branded as a potential threat.
A citizen should not be forced under penalty of law to obtain a Real ID card. As it stands now, it is our option to choose to obtain a drivers' license. As I understand the new law, we will be forced to obtain this new ID card whether or not we choose to drive (I assume there will be a required non-driver version).
Also, I am opposed to the cost of implementing this system.
Anti-terrorism federal grant money should be spent to protect infrastructure and secure our borders, and ports, and public transportation systems such as trains, etc. Re-certifying millions of drivers across the country may serve the interests of bureaucrats at DHS , but it is not in the best interests of "the people" of the United States and it diminishes their constitutional rights as a "free" people, guaranteed "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness".
Many people say, well, if you are doing nothing "wrong", why should you care if the DHS is watching your every move? I respond using the words of the Revolutionary War General, John Stark: "Live Free or Die", he fought the tyranny of England over the colonies. I respond with the words of Benjamin Franklin who said those who trade liberty for security deserve neither. I respond with the words of Thomas Jefferson: "When the government fears the people there is liberty; when the people fear the government there is tyranny."
Many people in government today seem to be abandonning the principles of liberty that our country was founded on. I respond to them with the words of from Alexis DeTocqueville as to why we should be true to those principles: "When the past no longer illuminates the future, the spirit walks in darkness."
Linda Curry
Posted by traductrice (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
How long before an RFID chip?
If we impliment this, it won't be 5 years before (for the sake of efficiency) we are all required to get an RFID chip--this will keep us from losing our wallets and our cards. Then we will be able to be tracked "for our own safety" in all public locations.
Posted by Jorj31 (2 comments )
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