What’s going on South of the Border? The Canadian border that is. Speaking as a Soviet Cannuckistanian, I’m always amused, and somewhat terrified by the Department of Vaterland Homeland Security.

The Real ID program comes into full effect February 11th 2008. From the official documentation provided by DHS, the purpose of the ID seems pretty reasonable:

  • Photographic and machine readable details
    verification of documentation proving a lawful US resident (no illegals please)
    physical security of the issuing facility and
    physical security of the ID itself.
  • How the Real ID passed through the legislation is classic “paperclip strategy”. Grab a bill thats going through because no one can refuse it, and paperclip your bureaucratic wet dream.

    The act, signed in 2005 as part of an emergency military spending and tsunami relief bill, aims to weave driver’s licenses and state ID cards into a sort of national identification system by May 2008.

    Alluded to was the threat against states that refuse to sign up for the Real ID program; the threat of forcing those recalcitrant states to have their citizens flash passports to access domestic flights or any federal site, including state parks. Of course, 9/11 is the reason:

    “For terrorists, travel documents are like weapons,” Chertoff said. “We do have a right and an obligation to see that those licenses reflect the identity of the person who’s presenting it.”

    Chertoff said the Real ID program is essential to national security because there are presently 8,000 types of identification accepted to enter the United States.

    “It is simply unreasonable to expect our border inspectors to be able to detect forgeries on documents that range from baptismal certificates from small towns in Texas to cards that purport to reflect citizenship privileges in a province somewhere in Canada,” he said.

    Blame Canada… and Texas? Chertoff doesn’t mention how easy it is for illegals to get through into the US from South of the border, especially with inside help. What’s the hang up from the opposing states?

    The Real ID Act repealed a provision in the 9/11 Commission Implementation Act calling for state and federal officials to examine security standards for driver’s licenses.

    It called instead for states to begin issuing new federal licenses, lasting no longer than eight years, by May 11, 2008, unless they are granted an extension.

    It also requires all 245 million license and state ID holders to visit their local departments of motor vehicles and apply for a Real ID by 2013. Applicants must bring a photo ID, birth certificate, proof of Social Security number and proof of residence, and states must maintain and protect massive databases housing the information.

    NCSL spokesman Bill Wyatt said the requirements are “almost physically impossible.” States will have to build new facilities, secure those facilities and shell out for additional equipment and personnel.

    That should cost a pretty penny. The DHS has a plan though:

    The Department of Homeland Security, which estimates state and federal costs could reach $23.1 billion over 10 years, is looking for ways to lessen the burden on states, he said. On the recent congressional front, however, Chertoff could point only to an amendment killed in the Senate last month that would’ve provided $300 million for the program.

    “There’s going to be an irreducible expense that falls on you, and that’s part of the shared responsibility,” Chertoff told the state legislators.

    Cash only. And, your papers please!

    1. Thomas says:

      I guess I’m in the minority in thinking that the RealID program is worthwhile. There are a handful of reasons for my thinking:

      1. The Federal government works best when it sets standards and lets the States implement the solution. The Real ID is exactly that. It sets standards for quality of the identification card and requires the States to devise solutions to implement that standard.

      2. At the end of the day, there are numerous situations where you have to be able to prove you are who say you are. Banks, driving, flights, secure checkpoints, border crossings and others. Right now we have a situation where there are numerous grades of identification card quality and there is simply no way to apply enforcement under those circumstances. Biometrics is a possibility, but the current solutions are problematic and many have issues with providing the government biometric information. Some States have licenses that can duplicated at Kinko’s.

      No question that the manner in which the Real ID program passed legislative approval was cheesy. It shouldn’t have had to be. There is a real need to have consistent quality of identification documents across all States for a host of reasons.

    2. Winston Smith says:

      #1 Right you are Thomas. The idea that we citizens should be free, to go wherever we want without government permission, is a quaint idea that might have been workable 200 years ago.

      But 9/11 changed everything. Now everyone must be presumed guilty until proven innocent, and the way to prove ourselves innocent is by showing our papers to government authority.

      Visiting national parks is something that terrorists do all the time, so we must check ID even there in order to prevent them from using the parks for their murderous schemes.

      If we don’t surrender some of our freedoms, then the terrorists will win. And my wife does not want to wear a burka, that’s for sure.

    3. asdf1011 says:

      “… and that’s why we always insist on the principle of Information Retrieval charges.These terrorists are not pulling their weight, and it’s absolutely right and fair that those found guilty should pay for their periods of detention and the Information Retrieval Procedures used in their interrogation.”
      — Mr. Helpman, Brazil (movie) 1985

    4. tikiloungelizard says:

      Apparently, the new passport has an RFID chip in it. The current record for remote RFID chip reading is 69 feet. The feds rejected any simple encryption for the devices, leaving them open to skimming and eavesdropping. see: http://tinyurl.com/yurst3 In the meantime, I’ll just have a seat here near the terminal entrance with my RFID reader tucked neatly under a newspaper……

    5. BubbaRay says:

      Hello, I’m from the Government and I’m here to help you.

    6. Common Sense says:

      Why do I feel like the first two posts are taken directly out of some propaganda handbook? They’re so full of fearmongering and general FUD it’s almost pathetic. Way to go “Thomas” and “Winston Smith.”

      You are more likely to die of a car crash than from terrorism. Does that mean we stop driving? No.

      And God, please don’t visit Yellowstone cause that’s where all the terrorists are gonna get ya! And then they are gonna slap a burka over your women and rape your children after they’ve sold them into slavery on the oil wells!! Look out!

      Osama is practically the modern day equivalent of the boogey-man. They can’t catch him and he might be just around the corner! In all actuality, his corpse was probably rotting in a cave somewhere.

      Don’t be fooled. The REAL ID is another unchecked Government control over our lives. We have to remember that this Government was founded by us, and is still run by us.

      Think about it – 23 billion dollars! All on the taxpayer. If people were payed in real dollar bills and not checks, and had to then manually visit a taxpayer, they’d be outraged at how much is taken. This country was founded partially out of a refusal to pay taxes (Boston Tea Party). But no, we’ve been lulled gently to sleep by automatic deductions…so we never really feel it.

      This might sound crazy to some, but do we really need Driver’s Licenses at all? Think about it – a car is just machinery – isn’t it part of your American freedom to be able to operate machinery? Who is the government to tell you you can’t do that. Why not blenders or ovens or microwaves? The argument could be made that it is for safety…but can’t a building burn down from careless oven usage?

      Fear has been translated into mandatory licenses, removing freedom.

      Now what we have, what’s been created, is essentially a selective tax system – with cops not even needing to pull anyone over anymore but simply waving a camera at them – and before they know it a 400 dollar ticket is in the mail.

      Did you know that in Virginia it is now possible to get a 3000 dollar ticket for going 15 mph over the speed limit, payable over 3 years? That’s essentially a tax.

      Fear over guns makes it harder to actually get one now. However, the safest community in the US is the one that mandates that every household have a gun. It has the lowest crime rate in the nation and has been that way for years. In the areas where guns are heavily regulated, well, violence spreads through unregistered weapons. Good people are left without defenses and at the mercy of law breakers.

      People, we’ve been lulled to sleep by easy living and big media and poisonous politicians.

      It is not the terrorists that will destroy this nation. It is only fear and ignorance that has the power to do that. Like Ben Franklin said,

      “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.”

      -Really, really think about that for a while. Digest it. Mull it over. Don’t just pass it by.

      True American Constitutional government is what we need.

      For too long our country has been divided by party lines. Is it inappropriate to quote Abraham Lincoln here and speak of a divided house?

      The Constitution is what brought this country together – ideas held by great men who thought all men were created equal – not that they were some section of a demographic dispersed geographically with the need to be herded and tracked.

      Don’t be fooled. The REAL ID is bad for the nation.

    7. ECA says:

      Is satire.
      I HOPE.

      Correct…I dont know why they just dont use a Magnetic card(full size) or They HAD a CD the size and shape of a CARD… Manufactour a process to overlay your Pic, and you are set.

      Want it NOT long ago that they wanted to TAG all americans with ID chips??

      And i wonder if this is one of the way Hitler divided his nation…

    8. gquaglia says:

      #5 got something to hide?

      #7 Prime example of a long winded, half assed, liberal pontification I talked about several stories ago.

      #1 You are exactly right.

    9. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

      #4…not to defend RFID in passports because they are indefensible, but you are aware that the tag can have a smaller antenna that severely limits its backscatter, right?

    10. Will says:

      As for the RFID tag in your Passport.. a small hammer can take care of it.

    11. Improbus says:

      Gquaglia, the dry cleaners called and told me your brown shirt was done. Hail victory!

    12. TIHZ_HO says:

      #7 but do we really need Driver’s Licenses at all? Think about it – a car is just machinery – isn’t it part of your American freedom to be able to operate machinery? Who is the government to tell you you can’t do that. Why not blenders or ovens or microwaves? The argument could be made that it is for safety…

      You are RIGHT!


      Four teens were killed today when the blender they were operating crashed into a tree. Police report the driver was unlicensed and suspect that milk and ice cream were involved.

      In other headlines the holiday Oven Toll has reached record highs – the police attributed this to abnormal amounts of BUI (Baking Under the Influence) – Please if you must bake don’t drink!

      Cheers 😀

    13. TIHZ_HO says:

      Oh I forgot…

      China has had ‘Real ID’ for ages.

      So what’s all the fuss about? Copy China for once.

      Whine, whine bitch and moan… 😉


    14. nightstar says:

      No card or database will resolve our identification problems. Any standard amounts to an appeal to authority. The entity that maintains the database vouches for it’s integrity and thus creates reality of identity. It’s no different than the highschool girl who printed up your library card, except in magnitude.

      The problem of establishing identity of an individual doesn’t exist inside communities. Everyone knows who a member of a community is or some known member can vouch for the identity of the unknown.

      Through uncertainty of identity our lack of community fosters a lack of regard for the welfare of our fellow citizens. This is what allows one to look the other way when there’s some awkward street crime or humanitarian issue. After all It’s none of my business, It’s not like I know the people involved.

      Anyone who believes stringent ID standards will resolve crime and terrorism watches far too much TV. Here’s a dose of reality for you: We humans are cunning and deceitful. We will exploit the loopholes in any system and all systems have loopholes.

    15. Angel H. Wong says:

      “It also requires all 245 million license and state ID holders to visit their local departments of motor vehicles and apply for a Real ID by 2013.”

      As if the DMV is that “efficient.”

    16. Cursor_ says:

      Awake, we already have an ID from the government that although never intended for its use is asked for at almost every chance possible.

      It is called a SSN.

      It was not supposed to be that way, but well there ya go.

      Face it IF the feds REALLY want you they will find a way to get you.
      Most of the time the feds are too lazy to check proper ID, that is why the
      guy with the TB made it through a Canadian checkpoint even though
      there was a national alert for the guy!

      It is always a 50/50 chance. The national ID will not improve the
      federal employee that believes:

      They work too hard for too little
      It doesn’t affect me
      Hey let some other guy handle it
      Oh nothing will ever come back to me and if it does they will just
      warn me not to do it again!

      The whole system breaks down when you factor the HUMAN.


    17. I, for one, welcome our human overlords.

    18. Common Sense says:

      #9 You’re wrong when you call me liberal or my thought process half-assed. In fact, I was a registered Republican and grew up in a household where my father video recorded Rush Limbaugh’s TV show. I enjoy reading the Weekly Standard and the Wall Street Journal, among other “neo-con” publications. I’m sorry, but if you’re calling using a Ben Franklin quote “liberal” well… I’m just not sure anymore…

      Remember that Party Lines thing I was talking about earlier? We are all Americans and should stick to the Constitution regardless of party affiliations.

      If you’re attention span is too short to follow my line of thought, or to even come up with an original thought yourself, then maybe you should go back to your state-run school and retake the 5th grade over again.

      Ignorant fool.

      And as far as #13 is concerned – I was making a point that fear leads to licensing what were once natural rights, which leads to lesser freedom. You’re satire is noted, but I want to make sure you understand my point. Irrational fear leads to an irrational loss of freedom.

      This ID is not effective. It is only a massive burden and will lead to a greater loss of freedom.

    19. MikeN says:

      It wasn’t too long ago that people on this board were calling for restrictions on illegal immigrants. You need something like this RealID to implement those. Otherwise how would you tell the difference?

    20. Thomas says:

      How does that in any way relate to providing reliable identification? Arguing that people will need identification to use national parks is simply an absurd argument. You might as well argue that people will have to use their id to use the bathroom.

      So, I guess if you want to do away with driver’s licenses, then you do not care if people are trained to use automobiles, right? You do not care whether they drive drunk or whether they are cluelessly driving a big rig, right? Your argument is complete nonsense. As I’m sure you have heard a million times, driving is a privilege not a right. In order to partake of that privilege you must be licensed.

      Better quality identification cards are not meant to be a panecea to all crime. The idea behind Real ID is to provide a consistent standard to help reduce identify fraud. It won’t eliminate it completely.

      Like I said, it is *already* the case that people are required to provide identification in numerous situations. The RealID act isn’t mean to introduce identification cards. It is meant to set some consistent standards on the ones that already in use. I really do not see a valid argument against improving the standards of the identification cards you are already required to have and use. Theoretically, you could go through life without ever having to get an identification card. However, you won’t be able to get an account at a bank nor will you be able to get a job nor will you be allowed to legally drive on any public road.

    21. Noname says:

      Time to line your wallet with Tin Foil. After they start implanting chips into peoples head, the Tin Foil lined hat will be smart too, schizophrenic or not.

      But of course, gquaglia will rally America to outlaw Tin Foil. So don’t think about investing in Tin Foil.

      What ever happened to biometric identification? Arizona is putting speeding cameras on all highways, to take pictures of driver and license plate. Between biometric real time identification, real time license plate tracking and picture taking, soon; every one will be actively track by a computer in the pentagons basement. This will all be done in the name of national security. NSA already tracks everyones phone calls. Don’t forget all non-cash financial transactions are also tracked. Soon cash will be out-lawed, or viewed as suspicious.

      If you thought Minority Report was years out, your wrong, it’s all happening now.

      In a few more years, people with wealth will not want to live in the US, too oppressive and dangerous.

    22. gquaglia says:

      Make sure to watch for black helicopters while you’re at it.

    23. Deltapapa says:

      It seems to me that the only thing that we could have that would positively identify who I say I am is a sample of DNA from my birth.
      Everything else is just a piece of paper. Our ID is based on trust only.
      It’s all bogus and illogical.

    24. TIHZ_HO says:

      #19 I was making a point that fear leads to licensing what were once natural rights, which leads to lesser freedom. You’re satire is noted, but I want to make sure you understand my point. Irrational fear leads to an irrational loss of freedom.

      I did understand 🙂 however I didn’t agree that driving a car is should be considered as a ‘right’ as it isn’t, it is a privilege. I wanted to make that distinction that driving is a dangerous activity. This is were so many problems arise with people driving who shouldn’t as they see driving as their God given right to do so.

      As far as IDs go I would take it to the next level get everyone’s DNA listed. Your unique ID DNA is final. Perhaps one day technology may be able to read someone’s DNA as easily as a fingerprint reader. We now live in a world which demands this spiral upwards of having unique IDs.

      Having said that someone could chop off someone’s finger for the finger print – and DNA. So what then? Voice prints, brain waves…retinal scans…? No matter what is done someone will find a way to undo it and on and on it goes…

      Gone are the days when the neighbourhood bank manager knew you and your family. Society has moved away from people living together in a community to being anonymous to the world.

      Life is not like the TV show ‘Cheers’ where everyone knows your name.


    25. TIHZ_HO says:

      #16 As if the DMV is that “efficient.”


      My wife is Chinese, we were married in the States* but her name legally is still her Chinese one. That didnt stop the MN DMV from issuing her a drivers licence with her Chinese name initials as her middle name initials. We just showed them a copy of our marriage licence and they asked her how does she want her name on the drivers licence. Easy!

      * BTW I have been residing out side of America since 1983 and we lived in the States for only 11 months – she is not a mail order bride… in case anyone thought so… 😀



    Bad Behavior has blocked 5810 access attempts in the last 7 days.