Thursday, July 3, 2008

HAPPY 4th of July: Unique News with a BTC Spin

We here at BeatTheChip can get bored with all the same old "Real ID IS REALLY REALLY BAD," all of the time.  So we decided to freshen it up with some World and Technology news.

So get some BBQ'd food  and a drink and read this, it may free your mind...

What happens when Nacho Libre meets federales imposing consequences over his national ID?  No better story than the truth, as NewsWeek tells the story of a Mexican boxing contender fighting his way out of a bureaucratic comedy of errors with his national ID.

A Juneau travel agent has had it with TSA "abusing it" when it comes to travellers who can't board their flight over possessing a Real ID license. He is suing Alaska's DMV for implementing the Real ID Act saying , "As of 1 July, it is a pain in the ass to get a driver's license," Scannell said.

It's good that he has this Alaskan running for Senate to help out. (Listen carefully - there are fireworks going off!):

"Britain's leading airline bosses have accused the government of using their industry as a political pawn in the national identity card debate by forcing aviation workers to join the scheme next year.

In a scathing letter to the home secretary, Jaqui Smith, the chief executives of British Airways, easyJet, Virgin Atlantic and BMI said that forcing airport workers to have and ID card from November next year was "unnecessary" and  "unjustified".

Here's a story on the burgeoning market for surveillance technologies that can track you AND attack you.  Apparently 2008 is a great year to being the war and surveillance technologies business, as Seeking Alpha reports.  Amid our "resilient" heros is L1 Technologies.  I wonder if they ever got us that head shot of their Board Member- former CIA chief, George Tenet.

Meanwhile back in the U.S. - Virginia to be exact - a retail employee with some balls and ethics teams up with Congressman Ed Markey to AVENGE RIGHTEOUSLY the following:

Oh well, public-private entities have just made all of that insidious dirt work legal parsing for the course. Our favorite legal cretin is AAMVA- if you have a magnetic strip on your license they've been selling your information in their "private" sector for years.

I am still tracking down an absolutely BRILLIANT story I read about a man in Florida the suing the US government over the sale of his facial biometrics as "information".  The lawsuit has more to do with a type of copyright infringement, the US government didn't get his express consent to license his image to sale to corporate vendors (through people like AAMVA).   

We can do that? We can sue our government over selling our images and private information?
Hell - class action lawsuits may pile up after all!

DHS thinks they are superbad if they can have your biometrics WATERPROOFED!!  

Missouri Beats The Chip!!

Missouri's Big Win Against Public Chipping of Workers

Rep. Guest Stares Down A Threat
Opinion  c/o

It is believed that a few hundred people nationwide have been voluntarily implanted, usually in the upper arm, with microchips that can allow the individual to gain access to secure areas or, in the case of doctors, health records. Civil liberties advocates argue that if the chips are put into widespread use, they could allow people to be tracked or monitored without their knowledge and raise issues of identity theft.

Rep. Guest pushed this bill even though the issue had not surfaced in the state. We agree that mandatory implants, if it ever came to that, would raise serious concerns for society.

The Northwest Missouri lawmaker also wants the state to opt out from complying with the Real ID Act, which aims to make driver’s licenses more secure and requires states to share databases containing licensees’ personal information. This effort is not going as well.

Rep. Guest fears Real ID could lead to a national ID card that could be compromised and threaten the user’s privacy.   ::FULL OPINION HERE::

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Public Responds to Real ID at El Paso Senate Committee Meeting 

Answers and specifics regarding Texas licenses and immigration related to the Real ID Act will be evaluated at the next Homeland Security and Transportation Senate Committee Meeting, July 9th in El Paso,TX.   Anti-Real ID Committees, like the 5-11 Campaign, along side the ACLU, Sierra Club, No Border Wall Coalition and other invited citizen groups will attend the hearing to present their testimonies regarding Texas licenses, immigration policies and The Real ID Act of 2005.

Senate Chair, John Corona will preside over the meeting held in the El Paso Public Library's auditorium.  The purpose of the meeting is the study of solutions for Texas' current immigration and border securities problems including both human and drug trafficking involving citizen input.

The committee will be discussing plans for Enhanced Drivers Licenses or EDLs, licenses containing personal information on radio frequency id chips (RFID) designed for Americans crossing into U.S., Mexican or Canadian territories. The Texas Department of Public Safety approved the use of RFID chips in EDLs this spring but currently lack fiscal resources to implement the technologies in Texas licenses. A pilot program for the use of EDLs in Texas is on the agenda.

The committee will also be reviewing the effectiveness of a $140 million dollar tax based investment in border law enforcement regulating illegal immigration in a joint charge with the Senate Committee on International Relations and trade.  Other issues affecting US-Mexican immigration and border security touch upon the mandate of a border wall fence complying with the Real ID Act of 2005. 

The border fence is at the center of Texas controversies with land rights management and immigration. Last week the Supreme Court rejected hearing the appeals of a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club and Defenders of Wildlife over Secretary Chertoff's waiver of 36 federal laws to expedite construction of the border fence.

For more information on the times and location of the Senate meeting click here.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Your Tax Dollars at Work: IDs and fees

c/o  6/27

"The real issue here however is that TSA doesn't seem to be reading the news. The cost of travel is going up, there will be significantly fewer seats offered for sale from significantly fewer airports. And it doesn't appear to be a short term blip. What airlines and their passengers do not need is an additional upward pressure on fees associated with air travel. "

While the airline industry bathes in red ink and airports are being asked to cut their costs or lose airline service, The Department of Homeland Security is looking for a 6.8% INCREASE in their {fiscal year}2009 budget to $50.5 billion.  Yes, that's billion with a B.  You can check out the highlights here, but it includes an increase of $55 million for "deploying the Transportation Security Administration's Travel Document Checking program to airports nationwide."  I looked for any reference to automation being developed for this purpose, but could find none. In TSA Administrator Kip Hawley's testimony to the Commerce Committee last May, he referred to "Travel Document Checkers",  which sounds like those people who check your ID and boarding pass before you get to security. An extra $55 million for those folks (I guess we can call them TDCs) ??

Earlier this month the Washington Times reported that an independent audit of the TSA produced by KPMG revealed, among other problems, that TSA was unable to provide documentation to back up $585 million listed in its financial documents due to weak accounting practices. Oh, heck  what's a half a billion anyway?  Besides, they are a security administration, they don't do accounting. But evidently they don't have all the bus worked out in employee screening either.  The same audit found TSA didn't consistently conduct background checks on new employees and contractors who provide IT security to the Coast Guard's financial center.  DHS didn't argue with the report and said it is " taking an aggressive action to implement the reccommendations provided in the report," according to a letter written by David R. Nicholson, assistant administrator and chief financial officer at TSA.

Non-Driver IDs Issued in New Hampshire


CONCORD – State safety and motor vehicle officials admitted Monday they should have done more promotion prior to issuing the first temporary driver's licenses to New Hampshire residents earlier this month.

Restaurant and bar owners said they had no advance word before the June 1 start about the black-and-white, temporary documents patrons present to prove they are of legal drinking age.

Similar confusion has arisen at airports when travelers have to show the temporary license to board an airplane.

"It's hard to deny that, somehow, we could have done a better job," Assistant Safety Commissioner Earl Sweeney said during a press conference Monday.

State officials said they have met with leaders from federal aviation agencies and in the restaurant, hotel and banking industries to discuss the temporary license issue.

Still, Motor Vehicles Director Virginia Beecher recommended that state residents who received a temporary version of their new driver's license should carry other picture identification, such as an old license or a passport until they get the permanent license.

The temporary licenses are made of tear-resistant paper and are being given to all motorists. Officials say they will allow law enforcement to detect as many as 100,000 who illegally possess New Hampshire licenses but live in some other state or country.

Permanent licenses will be mailed to New Hampshire drivers in three to four weeks after they get a temporary one, Safety Commissioner John Barthlemes said.

Meanwhile, Beecher and Barthelmes announced that by early September car and truck owners will all start receiving a new annual motor vehicle registration with enhanced security features.

The new form contains a bar code with verifying information about the vehicle owner. By the end of summer, the statewide database of registration will be accessible online to staff in all city and town clerk offices, to all State Police troopers and local police departments that have laptop computers with the right scanning equipment.

Most states already have the bar code security on their own vehicle registrations, Barthlemes said.

"This has become the new wave of the 21st Century," Barthelmes said.

Both the license and new registration contain many more security features to aid law enforcement and reduce identity theft, Beecher added.

While the old driver's license had one security feature – a Division of Motor Vehicles numbered seal – the new, permanent license will have five.

The temporary license is more secure than the old one with the image of the driver's photo appearing in two places, Beecher said.

Only 13 cities and towns in the state, including Manchester and Nashua, fail to have online access to the motor vehicle registration information.

Assistant Safety Commissioner Sweeney said registration info is mailed to the state DMV, and staffers there have to manually enter the data into their own database.

This can delay state officials getting up to date registry information from a small town for as much as a few weeks, Sweeney added.

Getting all communities online is the first step to one day letting citizens register their cars or trucks online and only have to go in person every 10 years to update a driver's license.

"I'm not going to give you a timeline, but I hope sooner rather than later. It's a priority," Barthelmes added.