[TO-Day’s posting is lifted in its entirety from this week’s issue of Liberator Online, because of the important nature of the report. Other news and commentary from the viewpoint of liberty, and more information on the the Libertarian Party, may be read, at:
[ — BW]
by James W. Harris
National ID: The Battle Begins… Again
Last year REAL ID — the Bush administration’s plan to turn state driver’s licenses into a national ID card — was stopped by a heroic grassroots effort. Ultimately, an amazing 23 states enacted anti-REAL ID bills or resolutions, driving a stake into the heart of that monstrous proposal.
But a national ID is just too terrible an idea not to appeal to power-hungry government officials, whatever their party.
And so the fight is on again. REAL ID is back, under the name PASS ID and with the support of President Obama and the Department of Homeland Security. And like its predecessor, PASS ID is radical Big Brother legislation of the very worst kind.
PASS ID, introduced in the Senate on June 15, will create America’s first-ever national ID card. Like REAL ID, PASS ID will subject every driver’s license applicant to a “mandatory facial image capture” resulting in a holographic photograph readable by face-recognition technology (which opens the possibility of tracking by surveillance cameras). A digital signature and other biometrics are also required.
Each driver’s license will also contain machine-readable bar codes with unique numbers for each individual, which critics warn could be used to amass databases of citizens who attend gun shows or other “controversial” events.
PASS ID further allows the use of RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips to identify and track individuals, though it does not (yet) mandate them. Homeland Security has already worked with some states to develop RFID-chipped licenses which emit signals that can be read as far as twenty feet away.
PASS ID requires states to conduct national background checks on all driver’s license applicants — by running their names through federal immigration, Social Security and State Department databases, as well as the driver’s license databases of other states.
Further, as the ACLU notes: “your driver’s license will have to be PASS ID-compliant if you plan on using it to board an airplane or enter any federal facility more critical to homeland security than your local post office.” Those attempting to fly without PASS IDs will be subjected to time-consuming and invasive interrogation and searches.
Even the name PASS ID, whether intentionally or not, sounds like what it in fact is: a national internal PASSport — a document required simply to travel within our own borders. Or a national “hall PASS” required by our Homeland Security “school monitors” to go about our business. This is something never before seen in America and a hallmark of tyranny.
PASS ID has eliminated some parts of REAL ID that stirred up opposition. But that’s just window dressing. PASS ID is just REAL ID with lipstick and a new hairdo: a national ID, posing extreme threats to our freedom.
Should it becomes law, it can quickly and easily be expanded to become even more dangerous. As the Cato Institute’s Jim Harper notes:
“PASS ID places no limits on how the Department of Homeland Security, other agencies, and states could use the national ID to regulate the population. … A simple law change or amendment to existing regulation would expand those uses to give the federal government control over access to employment, access to credit cards, voting… And these are just the ideas that have already been floated.”
PASS ID is a nightmare. Americans must urge lawmakers to “PASS up” this wretched proposal.
[Bodwyn Wook all introductory text -rights reserved & all other rights revert to holders 17 July 2009]