Friday, June 13, 2008

Texas DPS Uses Redesign Budget for National ID Features


AUSTIN, TX - Part of the Texas Department of Public Safety budget for the redesign of state licenses will be used to implement security features regulated by the Real ID Act  of 2005.  The redesign budget, approved during the last legislative session, will incorporate Real ID security features from a menu of options released by DHS in January of this year.

"Among other things, we will keep images of identity documents presented by the [license] applicant. Each license will have unique security features built into it.  We are not releasing specifics of those features," said Tela Mange, DPS public information officer.

DPS did not give a reason why these features were not being released to the public.  The nature of secrecy over budget allocations requiring state tax money raises serious concerns for citizens in the current political climate of general mistrust of Homeland Security and the Bush Administration. The passage of The Patriot Act, the annulment of Habeas Corpus and FISA wiretappings have sensitized Americans to globalized power grabs.

The Real ID Act of 2005 has a history of passing unnoticed into a publicly enforceable agenda by the Department of Homeland Security.  The Real ID Act of 2005, a largely unfunded Congressional mandate, was passed in HR 1268 - an expedited bundle of legislation to provide emergency Indonesian Tsunami relief and supplemental war spending on Iraq.  Since then,  Real ID's justified existence is an answer to post-911 identity concerns of drivers licenses issued to foreign terrorists linked to the attacks.  The decision to apply for a compliance extension in February was conducted in obscured meetings, largely without public input catering to the regards of DHS.

Since the release of the regulations, Real IDs have gained an orwellian reputation due to the regulation of certain machine readable technologies, such as radio frequency ID chips and the federalized demands for proof of national identity.

In other states, like Texas,  immigration was a compelling force in conservative state lobbies to advance the passage of this Act on a federal level.   The irony here is, only US citizens who provide documentation to the DPS, like Social Security number and birth certificate, can be issued this nationalized ID card.   Additionally, only people possessing Real IDs will be made vulnerable to the potential of identity theft due to confirmed insecure and inadequate database networks approved for use in State's motor vehicle administration by DHS regulations. Undocumented immigrants will continue as undocumented immigrants, providing the same under the table benefits to businesses exploiting their labor force.  Furthermore, foreign news reports that TSA currently has no open legal bearing to request ID at US airport checkpoints. If you forget your ID - you may board your flight as planned with additional pat downs and airport screenings.

So what is the "official federal purpose" of a Real ID in the possession of a Texas citizen?  As of May 11th, 2008  you need a "federally approved ID" or the functional equivalent to board commercial aircraft and to enter federal facilities. However, accroding to the Real ID Act of 2005, the official federal purpose of a Real ID is at the "discretionary authority of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security".

"I have studied identification and identity cards carefully, and I want you to know that a national ID is neither a protection from terrorism nor a response to the attacks of September 11th, 2001.  A national ID would satisfy the federal government's demand for control-- not American's genuine need for security and law enforcement," says Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies, CATO Institute; Member, Data Privacy and Integrity Advisory Committee, U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security .

In the case of Texas State borderlands, the DHS waived 36 federal laws in April 2008 on the grounds of Secretary Chertoff's "discretionary aurthority" and Section 102C to expedite the build of a borderwall fence. Whatever your position is on a Mexica border wall fence, please not that possessing a Real ID is not necessarily about what's in your wallet.

Ask the 50 Texas landowners being sued for temporary access to their property what they think Real ID is about.

The texas state legislature will vote on the future of Real IDs during the next legislative session in 2009.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

TSA's Demand for Real IDs- "Breathtaking stupidity"

c/o IT Wire (Australia)

The latest TSA stupidity is quite breathtaking.  They'll demand ID at the security checkpoint, but if you complain and refuse, you'll be denied access to the departure gates.  Those who gently explain that they left their wallet at home will be let through with some increased screening.

"After-all,  you're a good boy (or girl) who forgot their driver's license, all you need do is meekly offer a mea culpa and submit to a little extra screening.  To quote the TSA site: "Cooperative passengers without ID may be subjected to additional screening protocols, including enhanced physical screening, enhanced carry-on and/or checked baggage screening, interviews with behavior detection or law enforcement officers and other measures."  Pretty easy if you're a terrorist - what better encouragement would you need to be sure you left your ID at home! Or make sure your fake ID is sufficiently "real".  "    

I wonder what it's like to work for a federal agency that is embarassingly wrong and unpopular DAY -AFTER DAY - AFTER DAY.  We here at are offering career referral services for those who hate working at the DHS.  Hey- the pay at The Gap is competetive with what TSA is offering.  I mean if you're going to work for "the man" - you might as well be the nice guy giving people what they may actually need.   You could do mall security enforcement opposed to working for TSA- without all the crappy post 9-11 hype.  By screening a soccer mom and her 3 irritable brats trying to board the plane back from grandma's house you are not increasing the nation's security.  You end up being government cheese causing major constipation.  Don't kid yourself - no one in your graduating class wanted to grow up and be a TSA enforcement agent.

We can help.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A Letter to Lewis Black RE: Identity Guard

Here is a letter written to Lewis Black's people, Comedy Central's host of The Root of Evil :

Dear Lewis Black  & Associates ; 

This is a response to Lewis Black's recent work with Identity Guard.

I am a part of a growing coalition of citizens against Real ID's.  If everyone has to get a Real ID after December 31st, 2009, everyone's identity will be wide open to hackers and identity theft. The database systems available to DMV's are not secure.  The DHS is aware of this and is aware that it is very well documented to the public.  Therefore, my interest grew in the Identity Guard product.

Here is my problem with Identity Guard.  There is virtually no company or location or public service information outside of what's on their website.   You are just supposed to fork over your money and your identity and believe that everything is ok.

Here is what it looks like:  Lewis Black was either 1) duped or 2) sold out to a corporation poised to feed on on the upcoming tsunami of people willing to "pay for protection" because their government is about to deliver their identity into the hands of (real or imagined) identity thieves who can all too easily plumb the lines of the newly centralized DMV databases.

Lewis Black was doing great work to correctly inform this country and it would be a horrific shame if he were silenced by corporate fascists.

I hope he's allright.

Sheila Dean