14 January 2008

"Real" ID

Because anything you're already carrying as identification is apparently fantasy ID.

I'd be laughing if I wasn't so worried about my own personal privacy.

The Department of the Fatherland, also known as the dep't of homeland security, I just can't help it, the name and their activities just remind me too much of the Third Reich, announced on Friday that they're moving ahead with the "Real ID" program.

They want the states to make changes to their driver's registration processes so that illegal immigrants can't get a driver's license, so that a license is nearly "proof" of citizenship.

Hello? We've ALREADY got a document that does that...called a passport, federally issued ID that proves that you're a citizen, is fucking expensive AND a pain in the ass to obtain. You need to prove citizenship in order to get one.

DH has a brand-spanking-new passport, issued last year, that has a computer chip inside it. Now I know that counterfeiters still exist, and a truly talented one could conceivably produce an acceptable facsimile, but what's to say that this "Real ID" program is any less prone to subversion? Nothing.

And then there's the privacy concerns. My Oh-hia-ia driver's license has a magnetic swipe stripe on the back, just like a credit card, which contains all of the information that is printed on the front of the license. When I got pulled over a few weeks ago for speeding, the cop didn't want my car's registration information or anything else, because, he said, "that'll all be on your license." Ulk. There's a scary thought; what else is encoded on there? Who else can access it?

Here's why this worries me:

I guess I hadn't realized that so much info was encoded on that stripe; when I worked as a teller for ye evile bank years and years ago, we could swipe someone's license and print the encoded information on a check as verification of identification. If the check was bad and came back to us, and you had that license info printed on it, you weren't in as much trouble as you would be if you hadn't gotten that information. But what it printed was a string of letters and numbers that was so much mumbo-jumbo. I never had any idea how to translate any of it into information that would actually be useful. But then again, I never needed to. I was only a teller for 6 months (because I hated, despised, and detested being a teller) and I was lucky enough to not ever have the problem of a 'bad' check coming back to me.

Now, I can envision bars, and restaurants carding you and gathering information not just about your age; you can very easily tell by looking at the printed information on an Ohio driver's license if someone is of legal age to drink or not. Minor's licenses are printed with the information vertically, with a red background to the photo. Those of legal age have their information printed horizontally, with a blue background for the photo. So there is no need to swipe the license to verify age.

Department stores, or other places where you write checks could also have the technology needed to swipe that license and gather goddess-only-knows what data about you. Not cool.

Just 17 states have passed legislation opposing the Fatherland's new program. It is very unclear what changes might take place in each state; I'm guessing that Oh-hia-ia, with its existing magnetic stripe, digitized pictures, and holograms that print over top of the address/city/state information, already meets the criteria for the "Real ID" program, and thus there won't be many changes for the state to make. But I'm guessing, and I have absolutely no intention of reading the thousands of pages of guidelines that the Fatherland's secretary issued on Friday.

Sigh. Makes me want to flee north and start singing "Oh Canada."

And here's a problem that they have apparently NOT considered; forcing you to prove citizenship to get a license will only have illegals walking away from the whole licensing procedure; then we'll have a horde of unlicensed, uninsured drivers on the road. Fan-tab-u-los.


Dawna said...

That sounds entirely complicated and invasive. Although we have a strip on the back of our Ontario's license, it only has our driving record- that's it. Essentially how many points we have for which offenses yadda yadda yadda.

Our Ont driver's will be also proof of citizenship in the next few months/years as a way of getting rid of the passport, but not particularly as a way to hose down on fakers. Again, the process has the bare minimum of necessary info on it. We've got amazing privacy laws here. Of course, from a defense point of view, we're potentially at a huge risk.

The thing is, who wants to terrorize Canada? LOL

Come on up! The poutine is hot.

Anonymous said...

Department of the Fatherland. BWAHAHAHA. Wait a second- I have coffee coming of my nose.

And your thing about "Real ID" makes me think of when I go to the grocery store and see the "Natural Meats" section. Like, the rest of the meats are not natural or something. (They're not, but that's another story entirely.)

Ahem. Yes. Back to the topic. Well, I hate to tell you this, but Billary and Obamamama are both hip on the Real ID thing. So are most of the Republicans. That's one of the reasons DH & I are supporting Ron Paul. He's the only one with the kahunas to say (1) keep your laws out of my privacy and (2) gee... maybe the reason the terrorists are picking on us just might have something to do with our MEDDLESOME FOREIGN POLICY. Maybe. Just maybe.

Real ID, my ass. I'm headed to Montana, where they voted to fly the bird in Washington's Real ID face. After that, I'll be coming up to visit you in Canada, Dawna. 'Cept I won't be flying, because I won't be allowed to get on an airplane, but that's okay. Just hope I can make it across the border.

OMG I can totally see an Underground Railroad going from the US to Canada. Here in Ohio, there will be secret ferries across Lake Erie. Instead of drowning in the ocean as they're fleeing Cuba, thousands will risk their lives in the Great Lakes as they escape The American Empire.

Until the Empire crumbles, of course.

Time for a happy pill. Eek.

Dawna said...


You guys kill me.

The new Underground Railroad to save our privacy. Oh what will the songs be for that one?

Hahahahahahaaaa... I just read "American Empire" and I got a Star Wars flashback.

May the Force be with you!

Anonymous said...

And with you, young Jedi...

Lucy Arin said...

I'd love to live in Canada b/c of the fact that the Canadians DON'T have meddlesome foreign policies like.....I don't know....US? And as far as poutine goes, anything with fries in it is fine by me. :-)

My whole thing with the prez is that my candidate MUST, MUST, MUST be pro-choice, and the Repubs can't fit that bill 99% of the time. Where's your guy stand on that?

To both of you, I say
"Do. Or do not. There is no try." ~Yoda