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Oppose the Real ID Act

May 2nd, 2007 (09:52 am)

I finally got around to following up on a message the ACLU sent me a couple of weeks ago. The DHS has proposed its rules implementing the Real ID Act (turning driver's licenses into national ID cards); the public comment period ends on May 7th. Here's the ACLU page describing the problem and how to comment.

The comment I submitted:

I oppose this measure wholeheartedly. It presents an enormous danger of identity theft, by building a database of sensitive information (birth certificates, bank records, SSNs) and making it available to DMV employees throughout the country. A single corrupt DMV employee, or a single state with a security hole in their computer systems, will be enough to compromise the identity of everyone in the country who holds a driver's license.

This isn't just a threat to individual privacy; it's a threat to national security. A criminal who can pass as an honest citizen can fool a background check (since it's really checking the honest citizen's background), get a security clearance, and gain a position of trust, with access to classified information of all sorts.

It's also a threat to law enforcement. Suppose the FBI traces dirty money to person X's bank account. If X's identity might have been stolen, it becomes much harder to prove guilt, since X can claim that the bank account was actually under the control of the identity theft.

Finally, it's an embarrassment to America. Remember the movie "The Hunt for Red October"? Two Soviet defectors are talking about what they want to do once they live in America; one says he will buy an RV and drive it all across the country. "Do they let you do that?" he asks his captain. "State to state, no papers?" "Oh, yes. No papers, state to state." In 1990, that was true, and a perfect statement of American freedoms. In 2007, that freedom is under attack.

Comments

Posted by: C. Virtue (cvirtue)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2007 05:59 pm (UTC)

Remember that for most things like this, you can sign my name, too.

Posted by: Who, me? (metageek)
Posted at: May 2nd, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
Red tape

The forms didn't provide any place to provide multiple names.

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