Friday, December 11, 2009

12/31 Campaign Du Jour: RealNightmare & DownSize DC get Active

BTC - It's time to beat Real ID like a cheap Christmas pin˜ata.

Since the "deadline" *cough-cough* is approaching 12/31/09, yelling into your megaphones today will clear the path for the repeal effort you want tomorrow.

The following are action alerts listed for pan- partisan interests. Promote these alerts to your friends, relatives and "frenemies". Repost this on DIGG, Yahoo! Buzz, Facebook, MySpace, to tweet and re-tweet to those you know. You can use the convenient +SHARE icon at the bottom of this blog entry to get started.



For Conservative Tastes:

REAL ID is scheduled to go into effect on January 1. The good news is that it may be repealed by then. The bad news is that it may be replaced by something worse, the PASS ID.

For General civil libertarians, or Left leaning palettes: ACLU's

Take Action! Oppose PASS ID, the Real ID revival in the Senate

PASS ID would impose the United States’ first-ever national identity card system. It would enable restrictions on who can travel, enable increased surveillance of travel and purchasing habits, burden religious minorities, and it fails in its mission to make driver’s licenses secure.

Call your Senators today and tell them to oppose PASS ID (S. 1261), Sen. Akaka's "Real ID-Lite"!

Click here to take action. Learn more about the problems with PASS ID here. Read the ACLU's press release on PASS ID here.

For Moderates - or independent adventurers : 5-11 Campaign's Action Alert + Grassroots Netroots Alliance

The PASS Act is an attempt to continue policies of identity surveillance present in the Real ID Act. The PASS Act would allow Real ID regulations and policies to continue, mandating RFID and biometrics technologies, which have been repeatedly proven to be insecure and inappropriate for identity. The PASS Act does not in fact repeal the Real ID Act. It simply changes the name and a few of the regulations so it can continue move forward over laws established to stop Real ID by 25 States.

Please tell your local and federal officials to vote NO on the PASS Act and that you will not accept a substitution for the Real ID Act when it should justly be repealed.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

DNA Captures & the law with Dr. Deborah Peel


LISTEN : DNA Captures & the law with Dr. Deborah Peel

DNA's use in making or breaking criminal justice cases has been instrumental in recent history. However, an equally recent practice is being abused. Patients' DNA is being collected and stored without their knowlege or consent. Those with questions about their health and their digital privacy should tune in for our interview with Patient Privacy Rights', Dr. Deborah Peel. Patient Privacy Rights is the nation’s leading health privacy watchdog. Deborah Peel, MD founded Patient Privacy Rights in 2004, now with 10,000 members in every state.

Poor Nevada eats the Chip, when they don't have to

“Even the governor of New York did not do it,” said ALCU's Rebecca Gasca, who wrote Gibbons earlier this week and requested he not issue the regulations.

Governor plans to implement Real ID Act

CARSON CITY — Gov. Jim Gibbons plans to issue an emergency regulation enacting the federal Real ID Act, even as the federal government contemplates delaying the controversial measure.

Starting in January, newcomers to Nevada seeking a driver’s license and those obtaining their first driver’s license would be compelled to show a birth certificate, a Social Security card and documents verifying their residency.

Eventually, all Nevadans would be required to show such ID to renew their licenses, a move that Gibbons and other supporters of the measure say would prevent terrorists and people in the country illegally from obtaining identification cards.

Even if Gibbons issues the order, it could all be for naught. State legislators who have strongly opposed Real ID, citing its $1.5 million price tag, are threatening to kill it after the end of a 120-day emergency regulation period.

“It has direct impact to the state of Nevada if we don’t move forward on Real ID,” the governor said.

Under the federal law, residents in states that do not adopt Real ID could be prevented from boarding interstate airline flights unless they agree to more extensive screening to determine if they have weapons. They also could be prevented from entering federal courthouses.

Critics have branded the Real ID Act an attempt to impose a national identification card on Americans. They say that would increase the threat of identity theft, enable the routine tracking of U.S. citizens and move the nation toward a surveillance society.

Rebecca Gasca, public advocate for the American Civil Liberties Union, questioned why Gibbons wants to follow Real ID when most governors look at it as an invasion of their citizens’ privacy.

“Even the governor of New York did not do it,” said Gasca, who wrote Gibbons earlier this week and requested he not issue the regulations.

“The governor of Nevada is the only governor in the United States pushing for this. Why? It is a waste of Nevada resources.”

Forty-six states have filed protests over the Real ID Act.

Daniel Burns, Gibbons’ communications director, said today that, “As of this moment, we are going forward. The law is the law.”

But he said Gibbons and the state Department of Motor Vehicles will factor in what U.S. Homeland Security Janet Napolitano does. She is expected to announce an indefinite postponement of the Dec. 31 deadline for states to comply.

The governor’s emergency regulations remain in effect for 120 days. The Legislature then could decide to make the regulation permanent, or void it entirely.

Assemblyman Marcus Conklin, D-Las Vegas, chairman of the Legislative Committee to Review Regulations, said he has no doubt that legislators would reject any Real ID regulations if Napolitano postpones the deadline.

By the time such a decision is made, however, the state’s Real ID program will probably already be up and running.

“If they back away from it, what is the need for regulations?” Conklin asked. “It would be a wise decision for the federal government to back off. This is not in the best interest of Nevadans.”

Conklin said the primary reason his committee did not approve a proposed Real ID regulation last month is because members anticipated Napolitano would postpone Real ID because of state opposition.

The Nevada Legislature in 2007 overwhelmingly passed a resolution — with only Sen. Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, voting no — that called on Congress to repeal the Real ID Act.

Governors do not sign legislative resolutions, but as a member of the U.S. House in 2005, Gibbons voted for the act.

The emergency regulation that Gibbons will sign requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to follow 18 Real ID benchmarks.

The benchmarks include retaining driver’s license applicants’ facial images, verifying their Social Security card numbers and addresses, checking whether they are legal residents, and doing background checks on DMV workers who have access to drivers’ information.

Tom Jacobs, a Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman, said his agency will retain all drivers’ information in its own database, not as part of a national database, although it will share information with other states about problem drivers.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The audacity of a border Eco-board inspires the "Hope & Change" administration

Eloisa Tamez brought a class-action lawsuit against Homeland Security through which she hopes to force the government to pay a fair price for her property. But if she harbored any illusions that a change of administration in Washington would help resolve the issue, nearly a year of non-action on immigration and border justice by Obama has disabused her for such notions.

“Obama and [Homeland Security Secretary Janet] Napolitano have done nothing but take the place of the previous administration. It’s just a new name with the same policies. We have been totally abandoned,” she said.

Now the Good Neighbor Environmental Board has come up with some ideas for Obama.

In a December 2 letter, the advisory board dedicated to matters pertaining to U.S.-Mexico borderlands environmental justice wrote that while the wall was “mandated” by Congress and had “some positive outcomes” that “the construction has caused negative impacts on natural and cultural resources. For instance, the wall has been blamed for flooding on the Mexican side of the river in cities such as Nogales, Sonoyta, and Palomas. Construction also unearthed Native American burial sites of both the Tohono O’odham and the Kymeyaay, and failed to allow room for migration wildlife.

In a series of recommendations to the President, the group urged that those elements of the REAL ID Act that had allowed former Homeland Secretary Michael Chertoff to waive dozens of other federal laws to build the wall be repealed and that future “border security infrastructure” conform to federal environmental laws under the National Environmental Policy Act.

Border Wall activist Scott Nicol of the No Border Wall Coalition said repealing the REAL ID Act section is critical.

“Much of the environmental damage that the Environmental Board wants to address would never have occurred if DHS was required to obey all of nation's laws. It is because DHS failed to act responsibly from the beginning that there is now a need for monitoring and mitigation of the severe damage that they have inflicted upon border communities and refuges,” Nichol wrote in an email to the Current. “Border walls in Texas are in clear violation of the endangered species act, and DHS never released any studies proving that the walls stuffed into the Rio Grande's flood control levees do not put communities at risk. Hopefully President Obama will reverse the Bush-era policies, and implement the Board's recommendations."

Will actually grasping the Nobel Peace Prize on Thursday convert Obama into a border-loving justice hound? We can only hope.

BTC DIGEST: Real ID Updates in the States

Extension Is Not The Answer, Napolitano Says

WASHINGTON - Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona, is sympathetic to opponents of Real ID. In fact, she used to be one herself. But she says waiving the law's requirements, as was done last year, is the wrong way to go.

"One of the reasons we had Real ID and now, Pass ID, is because the 9/11 Commission had a recommendation that we improve the security quality of driver's licenses. And because Real ID has been rejected by the states, just by granting extension after extension after extension, we're not getting to the pathway of more secure driver's licenses."

Under the current provisions of Real ID, travelers from states not in compliance with the law would, among other things, not be able to use their driver's licenses as IDs to board commercial flights. That would cause massive travel disruptions during the holiday season, requiring additional screening of virtually all travelers. No one expects that to happen. But like Napolitano, the governors want to see the new law approved, rather than once again extending Real ID's deadline.

"It appears it could be extended again, but really, you're putting a Band-Aid on a pretty big open wound," Quam says. "What the governors have said for a long time is, you need to change the law — the law is flawed."

But time is running out for a congressional fix, which means a last-minute blanket waiver of Real ID is becoming more and more likely.

Blaming border fence for deaths makes little sense

c/o San Diego Union Times >> ALIPAC

Those immigration activists who oppose more border fencing don’t have to convince us of the folly of trying to solve our immigration problem with nothing more than barbed wire and metal barriers. We’re with them. Unlike those Americans who’d like to simply build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and call it a day, we’ve never been convinced that this was a wise strategy. ::: MORE HERE:::

South Carolina Updates Homeland Security On Federal REAL ID Program

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Mexico: A new battleground State for National ID

BTC Exclusive

New Mexico reports are piling in about every facet and every detailed move DHS or their local governance makes in the direction of a national ID card. However, New Mexico's Senators Udall and Bingaman both have responded to constituents demands to go against the PASS Act.

Most states are pacing themselves on the national ID debate to get through the Healthcare valley of decision. Provisional procrastination on PASS ID and the prospective DHS deadline drama has created a slow reaction time from most States. However, New Mexico's political leaders are buzzing. State level press has been dispached on fact finding missions for any whisker movement from the national ID strata, reporting any leg of development as quickly as possible.

To wit, we feature Neala Schwartzberg for news and analysis in New Mexico. To follow is her latest on New Mexico's relationship to Real ID and a digest of her recent work on the issue. We thank her for joining the ranks of media active in coverage of this issue.
New Mexico is not supportive of Real ID in its current form.When talking about Real ID, [Rick] Homans [Secy. of NM Tax and Revenues] says, "It was a bad law to begin with and that’s why 14 states have passed binding legislation that prohibits their state government from taking any steps to comply with Real ID."

Special to BTC, Neala Schwartzberg

One of the issues for us in New Mexico is the issue of foreign nationals. New Mexico views border security as a federal issue and the safety of New Mexico roads and highways as a state issue.

The lack of compliance with the Real ID act does not come from poor security. When it comes to the nuts and bolts of Real and Pass ID, all the security measures, background checks New Mexico is fully in compliance.

Homans notes that people have the perception that if we solve the issue of foreign nationals we’d be home free - but we are still strongly opposed because the issues of privacy and compliance and federal government overstepping its reach.
Neala Schwartzberg is an Albuquerque-based freelance writer specializing in travel-related stories, and publisher of and and The Albuquerque Travel Examiner.

CRYPTOME beatdown includes FOIA assaults on YAHOO, Verizon

Yahoo Issues Takedown Notice for Spying Price List

BTC - needs an award.

Yahoo isn’t happy that a detailed menu of the spying services it provides law enforcement agencies has leaked onto the web.

IN OTHER WIRED ACCOUNTS: YAHOO! , VERIZON: "Our spy capabiltes would "shock", "confuse" customers

Shortly after Threat Level reported this week that Yahoo had blocked the FOIA release of its law enforcement and intelligence price list, someone provided a copy of the company’s spying guide to the whistleblower site Cryptome.

The 17-page guide describes Yahoo’s data retention policies and the surveillance capabilities it can provide law enforcement, with a pricing list for these services. Cryptome also published lawful data-interception guides for Cox Communications, SBC, Cingular, Nextel, GTE and other telecoms and service providers.

But of all those companies, it appears to be Yahoo’s lawyers alone who have issued a DMCA takedown notice to Cryptome demanding the document be removed. Yahoo claims that publication of the document is a copyright violation, and gave Cryptome owner John Young a Thursday deadline for removing the document. So far, Young has refused.

Yahoo’s letter was sent on Wednesday, within hours of the posting of Yahoo’s Compliance Guide for Law Enforcement at Cryptome. In addition to copyright infringement, the letter accuses the site of revealing Yahoo’s trade secrets and engaging in “business interference.” According to the letter, disclosure of its surveillance services (.pdf) would help criminals evade surveillance.

The Compliance Guide reveals, for example, that Yahoo does not retain a copy of e-mails that an account holder sends unless that customer sets up the account to store those e-mails. Yahoo also cannot search for or produce deleted e-mails once they’ve been removed from a user’s trash file.

The guide also reveals that the company retains the IP addresses from which a user logs in for just one year. But the company’s logs of IP addresses used to register new accounts for the first time go back to 1999. The contents of accounts on Flickr, which Yahoo also owns, are purged as soon as a user deactivates the account.

Chats conducted through the company’s Web Messenger service may be saved on Yahoo’s server if one of the parties in the correspondence set up their account to archive chats. This pertains to the web-based version of the chat service, however. Yahoo does not have the content of chats for consumers who use the downloadable Web Messenger client on their computer.

Instant message logs are retained 45 to 60 days and includes an account holder’s friends list, and the date and times the user communicated with them.

Young responded to Yahoo’s takedown request with a defiant note:

I cannot find at the Copyright Office a grant of copyright for the Yahoo spying document hosted on Cryptome. To assure readers Yahoo’s copyright claim is valid and not another hoary bluff without substantiation so common under DMCA bombast please send a copy of the copyright grant for publication on Cryptome.

Until Yahoo provides proof of copyright, the document will remain available to the public for it provides information that is in the public interest about Yahoo’s contradictory privacy policy and should remain a topic of public debate on ISP unacknowledged spying complicity with officials for lucrative fees.


Note: Yahoo’s exclamation point is surely trademarked so omitted here.

The company responded that a copyright notice is optional for works created after March 1, 1989 and repeated its demand for removal on Thursday. For now, the document remains on the Cryptome site.

Threat Level reported Tuesday that muckraker and Indiana University graduate student Christopher Soghoian had asked all agencies within the Department of Justice, under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, to provide him with a copy of the pricing list supplied by telecoms and internet service providers for the surveillance services they offer government agencies. But before the agencies could provide the data, Verizon and Yahoo intervened and filed an objection on grounds that the information was proprietary and that the companies would be ridiculed and publicly shamed were their surveillance price sheets made public.

Yahoo wrote in its objection letter that if its pricing information were disclosed to Soghoian, he would use it “to ’shame’ Yahoo! and other companies — and to ’shock’ their customers.”

“Therefore, release of Yahoo!’s information is reasonably likely to lead to impairment of its reputation for protection of user privacy and security, which is a competitive disadvantage for technology companies,” the company added.

The price list that Yahoo tried to prevent the government from releasing to Soghoian appears in one small paragraph in the 17-page leaked document. According to this list, Yahoo charges the government about $30 to $40 for the contents, including e-mail, of a subscriber’s account. It charges $40 to $80 for the contents of a Yahoo group.

TSA security "blooper" out gaffes the last


A few years ago, the TSA was forced to acknowledge that print-at-home boarding passes represented a huge airport security loophole, since terrorists on the no-fly list could use a fake boarding pass at the kiosks and a legitimate one at ID stations. But it's OK, TSA assured us, because the no-fly is only the first line of defense and the metal detectors were the real security.

Then it was announced—on the very same weekend—that TSA missed 20 out of 22 hidden weapons at the metal detectors during a Newark security drill. Now take all that and fast forward to this weekend, when the TSA accidentally posted the entirety of their screening procedures on the Internet.

it's pretty bad...

According to Boing Boing, the TSA was instructed to release their screening procedures on the Internet, which is an extremely delicate and risky process. Releasing too much information would allow someone to reverse engineer screening criteria—who TSA looks for, how they look for them, and who gets a pass—and maximize their chances of slipping contraband into the terminal.

So TSA staffers, because they're security-minded, redacted the sensitive parts. But TSA staffers, because they're ferrets, did the redacting by drawing big black boxes all over the PDF, which can be removed. Suffice to say that as of this morning the screening procedures protecting airports in the United States are available to the planet.

We'll avoid the political angles on this story, if only because they'll be available on other blogs. But just to give you a small sense of what a monumental national security clusterfark this is: there's a list of 12 countries where if you have those passports you're automatically selected for additional screening. So now if you want to avoid additional screening, you know which passports not to forge. And if you're a big terrorist organization looking for hijackers, you know which citizens not to send.

There are also sections on how instruments are calibrated and, maybe best of all, on what kinds of credentials people have to present to get exemptions from screening.

Obviously some of these procedures can't be altered and some of this damage can't be repaired. But let's imagine none of that was true and that all the sensitive policies could be changed. It would still be the undeniable case that our safety has been entrusted to morons.

Monday, December 7, 2009


A Letter from the Editor,

The Holidays are upon us. Americans are focusing more than ever on what's vital or what we cannot live without: time and money. This Christmas may be better or worse for some for the range of adversity, but we here at BeatTheChip hope to give a better gift of news consistently.

To end the year we are looking to improve the quality standards of our content, bring accuracy and expediency to our reporting and a harvest of viewpoints which shape and direct public discourse on the national ID debate, immigration, surveillance, security and identity policy.

We are looking for volunteer correspondents to submit content, stories and letters regarding their experiences. With the range of lives the national identity surveillance agenda aspires to reach into, we intend to report on how it affects you. We want to go there. * If you are interested in contributing content for NBST e-mail us at: beatthechip [at]

So every Tuesday we are committed to bringing you better, more comprehensive coverage in News Burst Super Tuesdays. NBST specialized content will be featured every Tuesday to get you through the year end deadline. If you are a subscriber, you will notice significantly more posts on Tuesdays from now throughout the month of December 2009.

We will also be increasing microblogging via Facebook and Twitter. Add us today and you will be privy to an the expanded range of news and opinion coverage featured on our weekly newscast, Waking Up Orwell. Waking Up Orwell's online newscasts are archived. You can send your favorite episodes to friends and embed an episode player into your favorite social media websites, like MySpace. Waking Up Orwell airs live every Thursday morning 9-10 AM CST (except Christmas!).

The best gift BeatTheChip can give others at this time is timely information and how you can help yourself and others stop the database state and identity surveillance in your town. We give consistently. Please re-gift others by sending a few friends links to news from our headlines and urge them to susbscribe for FREE to our RSS feeds linked in the top right hand corner of the sidebar. They will receive updates in your mailbox with every BTC post.

For now, our gift to you is to give you the latest and greatest news on identity privacy, technology and civil liberty every Tuesday with News Burst Super Tuesdays and specialized continued coverage Thursdays on Waking Up Orwell.