“Based on reports that fusion centers are targeting 3rd party voters and those who pose Constitutional challenges to the Department of Homeland Security’s intelligence gathering efforts, we are aggressively opposing any legislation that would secure our private information for national to international data aggregation. This may include voter ID. No one should be profiled or targeted based on an electronic record of how they voted. A routine intelligence seizure based on a national security directive, such as the one issued in Missouri, would lead to arbitrary and reckless disregard for our privacy and personal sovereignty,” says Sheila Dean, President of the 5-11 Campaign.
This legislation observed for action during the vigil includes opposition to HB 4036. The Texas bill calls for compliance with the federal ID mandate. American license information, social security number and citizenship documents may be stored and shared with customs through an insecure fusion center. Other legislations included during the month long vigil touch upon DNA databases, animal information systems, drivers licenses, identity cards and other relevant attributions of private identity.
Last Monday (3/30), the Public Safety Committee heard testimony which included challenges to existing efforts to gain public consent over fusion center storage of license or ID card information. Many objections were raised over the call for facial recognition technology, among other regulations in the Real ID Act of 2005. Texas’ federal Real ID extension for compliance expires December 31, 2009.
Public Safety committee members are concerned about Texans being refused passage into federal buildings and airports based on Texas federal extension status. According to staffers, the DHS has been unclear about the extension standards until now with one exception; the inclusion of citizenship status on licenses.
“When an license to operate a motor vehicle becomes a de facto citizenship document, it becomes a national ID card. We are opposed to a national ID. We hope the 81st legislature will stand on the 10th Amendement and reject the whole Act,” said Dean.
Incomplete Networks & Intelligence Aggregation
The push to expand identity databases nationally are suffering from a big brother reputation, networking inadequacies and insufficient funds.
According to a report released last month from the DHS Inspector General, fusion centers across the U.S. are inadequately networked, non-existent or vastly underfunded to comply with the federal mandate for identity storage and national identity sharing.
THE DHS, INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT OVER FEDERAL REAL ID IMPLEMENTATION
“DHS did not provide timely and specific guidance on how REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and identification cards must be marked, best practices for the physical security of facilities, or information on the systems that will be used for verifying applicant documentation. To achieve full compliance with REAL ID standards by 2011, states must connect with electronic verification systems to verify identification documents. Several of the systems needed do not yet exist. Specifically, 18 of 19 states, or 95%, reported that available grant funding was insufficient. Several states referred to the amount received as a “drop in the bucket.” - DHS INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT
MORE ABOUT FUSION CENTERS
Civil Liberties Assessment & Impact
ACLU: What's Wrong With Fusion Centers - Executive Summary