Friday, June 4, 2010

Indiana's Star Press tackles federal drivers license regulations

OUR VIEW: Down the slippery slope to a national ID card

Getting a license to drive is a rite of passage for Indiana teenagers.

It used to be so easy. Get a learner's permit, take a driver's education course, wait 30 days after turning 16 and you can drive anywhere, at any time, with anybody.

Not so anymore.

Indiana teens are now issued a probationary license that restricts driving hours and who can ride in the car. A full license is issued at age 18.

That's all done in the name of safety, of course. That's tough to argue against.

But a misguided proposal being floated in Congress would take away states' ability to regulate issuing licenses.

It's another example of our benevolent federal government deciding yet again that one size does, indeed, fit all. The feds believe that only this new legislation can protect us from ourselves, despite the fact that all states except North Dakota already place restrictions on teen drivers.  ::: MORE HERE:::

RFID in ID cards still a compelling option for healthcare, immigration

BTC - RFID or radio frequency ID, a widget identity technology used in retail sales, has had it's day in the sun due to a misanthropic association with surveillance.  The fact is RFID is an evolving technology and tool serving a multitude of purposes.   RFID, like scorpions or rattlesnakes, left to their own devices are harmless.  However, when applied to intimate spaces the prospects for damage to privacy increase exponentially.


Contracts for modern health records management, data storage and health card utility are constantly negotiating what technologies are most effective at costs to perform for patients.  Avnet , and RFID proponent will be speaking to hospital administrators at the Medical Design and Manufacturing East Conference about RFID as an option for patient health cards, Monday June 7th.


Chief concern with new licenses and identity cards have been fraud and "tamper proof" cards.  Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) compliant border cards and legalized immigrants receiving Green cards might have to put up with a laser optical RFID strip.  If we want to find out whether or not these RFID strips broadcast the information the same way RFIDs have in the past within it's "optical security media" might require another MythBuster's visit.

World of Warcraft's social networking UI "Real ID" impacts gamer privacy

Virtual privacy is being challenged and impacted by World of Warcraft's Real ID.  One of Warcraft's social networking strategies was to get Facebook's technology integrated with their systems.

"If you aren't familiar with it, Real ID is the new feature for the latest iteration of where you can friend people you know and communicate with them no matter what Blizzard game they are playing (although, for now, this will only pertain to WoW and StarCraft II, eventually Diablo III). In SC2, the only way you can add someone as a friend is to have their email address. Furthermore, this is their email address. And if they accept, it shows their real-life name."

No2ID UK stays vigilant on national identity

*UK dances to their success*

Keeping Up The Pressure
c/o  No2ID

With Second Reading of the Identity Documents Bill 2010-11 (i.e. the first debate in the Commons) scheduled for Wednesday 9th June, moves to dismantle the National Identity Scheme are truly under way.

The Bill as drafted is not quite perfect - there remain some technical issues which we shall be briefing Parliamentarians to amend or remove at Committee stage (where changes are actually made) - but it should do the job. And we shall continue to do ours: lobbying, analysis, briefings... the fight against the database state in Westminster and Whitehall, though often less visible than other forms of campaigning, is a vital part of NO2ID's work.

It is a positive sign that the very first Bill introduced by the coalition government is one to repeal the Identity Cards Act. But the government's continued failure to act on Summary Care Record uploads, despite promising in the Coalition Agreement to "[put] patients in charge of making decisions about their care, including control of their health records" is far less encouraging.

The new Health ministers may need time to review the entire programme, but there's no reason to allow even more people's records to be sucked into the system while they do.

Some GP practices have uploaded patient records since the election, despite the supposed halt announced by the Department of Health earlier this year - and while uploads continue, every week or month that goes by puts more people's medical confidentiality at risk.

Please, if you haven't done so already, write to your new MP urging him or her to call for an *immediate* halt to Summary Care Record uploads.

The online letter-writing tool that POWER2010 kindly built for us makes it straightforward and quick to do:


Government aims to pass Identity Documents Bill by summer holidays

Identity Commissioner and Identity Panels scrapped

ID Documents Bill caution - the Devil is in the detail

Nevada's internal conflicts stir on Real ID

BTC -  The State of Nevada  appeared to have successfully "beat the chip" after they endured a 120 day trial period for Real ID.  Constituents and members of State Governance may be experiencing temporary relief. According to the ACLU, the DMV, whose departments are struggling for finances, stated that they would court Nevada's legislature to resurrect the twice defeated federal program.

The new proposed deadline?  May 1, 2011. 

FLOGGER COMMENTARY c/o Cato's  Jim Harper  

THE DANGED FENCE: What side are you on when both sides sound the same?

BTC  - Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer met with President Obama this week on immigration reform urging completion of the border wall fence, including aerial surveillance drones.  Republicans divided over the effectiveness of the fence argue security at the border will not come cheap.

Mainstream opinion, billed as news, from "conservative" or "liberal" narrative sources come across as social or racial biases vs. lower taxes and jail tight security for America. However, Classical Liberals (considered conservative) and Modern liberals find themselves in agreement on the border fence. Free-market proponents and progressive Greens on the border sound very similar.  

Please compare this Competitive Enterprise Institute, OpEd to the following OpEd release from Sierra Club border fence advocate, Scott Nicols.

Trading on Fear in an Election Year: 
Members of Congress Push for More Border Walls

By Scott Nicol 

On May 25, President Obama announced that he would deploy up to 1,200 National Guard troops to the US-Mexico border.  This followed a White House meeting with Congressional Republicans aimed at attracting support for, or at least blunting opposition to, comprehensive immigration reform legislation.  With mid-term elections on the horizon, conservative members of Congress have turned their attention to the border.  Or, more precisely, to walling it off.  In May two bills and one amendment aimed at building more border walls were introduced.  One failed, but the other two are still pending.

If you thought that the walling off of the Nature Conservancy’s Southmost Preserve marked an end to border wall construction, think again.

On Cinco de Mayo Senator Jim DeMint announced that he would reintroduce his “Finish the Fence” amendment.  It would change the Secure Fence Act to say that, “Fencing that does not effectively restrain pedestrian traffic (such as vehicle barriers and virtual fencing) may not be used to meet the 700-mile fence requirement.”  As of April 2010DHS reports that it has completed 347 miles of “pedestrian fence”, meant to stop people on foot, and 299 miles of “vehicle barriers.”  If DeMint’s amendment makes it into law an additional 353 miles of “pedestrian fence” will be built along the border.

When DeMint proposed this amendment last July, the Senate voted 54 to 44 to include it in the Department of Homeland Security’s annual appropriations bill.  The House version of the bill did not contain a matching provision, and Representative Ciro Rodriguez, who, unlike DeMint, represents a district encompassing part of the border, was able to remove it during the House/Senate conference committee. 

This time around DeMint attempted to attach his amendment to Financial Reform legislation.  Seeing that this had nothing to do with financial reform (in fact, at roughly $7.5 million per mile DeMint’s new walls would cost taxpayers $2,647,500,000) DeMint’s amendment was not adopted.  Following this failure DeMint tried to attach it to a bill funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  That attempt also fell short (though just barely), but he will almost certainly try again between now and the November elections.

Even more extreme than DeMint’s amendment is Representative Todd Tiahrt’s Secure the Border Act, which requires continuous double-layered border walls along the entire 2,000 mile long border, from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico.  Tiahrt made no attempt to explain how the monumental expense of his legislation would benefit his Kansas constituents, who already have Oklahoma and Texas acting as buffers between them and Mexico.

InsteadTiahrt proudly proclaimed that the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and NumbersUSA support his bill.  FAIR has earned a place on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups.  They received $1.2 million from the Pioneer Fund, an organization founded to promote eugenics and foster policies of “racial betterment.”

NumbersUSA has also been denounced by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its ties to nativist and racist organizations. FAIR president Dan Stein and NumbersUSA president Roy Beck both formerly edited the white nationalist publication The Social Contract.  One would expect Congressman Tiahrt to avoid their endorsements, not embrace them. 

When he announced his bill Tiahrt neglected to mention that before his election to the House or Representatives he was employed by Boeing, where he worked on a number of government contracts.  His old boss has not forgotten him; in 2009-2010 Boeing was Tiahrt’s biggest campaign contributor.  Boeing is in turn one of the largest recipients of contracts for the Secure Border Initiative (SBI), which includes both solid border walls and virtual fences.  To dateBoeing has received 13 task orders for SBI, totaling $1.2 billion

Representative Tiahrt is currently running for the U.S. Senate.  Senate races are expensive, and a successful candidate needs publicity to energize voters.  Boeing has consistently provided him with campaign cash, and NumbersUSA and FAIR make regular appearances on FOX news, where they defend anti-immigrant legislation and promote favorite legislators such as Tiahrt.

Not to be left out, Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl rolled out a “10-Point Border Security Plan”, along with accompanying legislation.  Their bill would“construct double- and triple-layer fencing” throughout Arizona.  McCain also released a campaign commercial in which he and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu walk alongside the border wall and discuss McCain’s border scheme. 

“The plan is perfect,” Sheriff Babeu intones.

“Then complete the danged fence,” McCain responds, with the domain on the screen below him.

Those who try to visit the website are redirected to, where they can purchase McCain t-shirts or donate to his reelection campaign. 

McCain is in a tough primary fight with JD Hayworth, who has been attacking McCain for his prior willingness to support immigration reform.  Before Hayworth threatened to unseat him, McCain told Vanity Fair, "I think the fence is least effective. But I'll build the g--damned fence if they want it." The possibility of losing the election has caused the Senator to embrace the border wall that he once dismissed.

Sheriff Babeu seems like an odd choice to accompany McCain alongside the Nogales border wall.  Babeu’s jurisdiction is 115 miles north of Nogales, and does not include any of the border that McCain advocates walling off.  Why not consult an actual border sheriff about his border security plan?

Because those who work on the border might give an honest answer, instead of reading McCain’s cue cards.  If he were to ask Nogales Assistant Police Chief Roy Bermudez, for example, the response might mirror Bermudez’ statement earlier this month, when he said, "We have not, thank God, witnessed any spillover violence from Mexico.”

Clarence Dupnik, Sheriff of neighboring Pima County, which also includes a long stretch of the US-Mexico border, said at that time, "This is a media-created event. I hear politicians on TV saying the border has gotten worse. Well, the fact of the matter is that the border has never been more secure."

In fact, according to FBI statistics, crime rates in Arizona border towns, including Nogales, have remained flat for the past decade.  There has been no increase in violence as a result of “spillover” from Mexico.  There was also no decrease in crime following the erection of border walls and the hiring of thousands of Border Patrol agents.  FBI statistics show that the same is true for U.S. cities all along the border, from San Diego to El Paso to Brownsville.

Contrast what the FBI says with statements by DeMint, who said, “Drug trafficking, human trafficking, gang activity and other crimes are raging in American cities near the border.”  Or McCain, who opens his campaign spot by listing, “Drug and human smuggling, home invasions, murder…” as justifications for sending in the National Guard and building more “danged fence.”

Politicians and law enforcement seem to be looking at two completely different borders.

In fact, they are looking at completely different numbers.  The numbers that DeMint, Tiahrt, and McCain are interested are votes, not FBI crime statistics.  Facts about the border do not matter; voters’ beliefs, no matter how divorced from reality, do.  As Senator McCain indicated during his earlier, pre-campaign Vanity Fair interview, building walls and sending troops to the border are political gestures meant to get votes, not solutions to any real problem.

Just as in McCain’s commercial, for politicians the border wall is simply a prop, a stage set upon which they can project an illusion of strength and security for an audience of voters who will never see the actual border.  They are looking at voters who live far from the border, who can be told that “spillover” violence poses an existential threat to the United States, and only they (certainly not their election opponents!) can protect the nation.  Those of us who live on the actual border, and live with the land condemnations, the suspension of laws, and the environmental damage that accompany actual border walls, see it very differently.  

Scott Nicol is a spokesperson for No Border Wall, and also chairs the Sierra Club’s national Borderlands Team.  He lives in McAllen, Texas, and can be reached at

iSnitch heads for LAX

c/o AP>> CLG

LOS ANGELES — Police are expanding a citizen terror watch program to include travelers at the Los Angeles International Airport.

The iWatch program was launched in October for residents to alert authorities to suspicious activity by phone or Internet. On Thursday, police and political leaders are using fliers and posters to enlist help from people at LAX.

iWatchers are asked to be on the lookout for possible terror activities such as people buying bomb-making supplies or unattended vehicles near loading zones around high-profile buildings.Tips are reviewed by anti-terror experts, then entered into a database designed to find patterns and trends.

The program was developed by LAPD and has been adopted by police departments across the country.

RELATED NEWS c/o Center for Investigative Reporting

Los Angeles instates iWatch program 
UK's intelligence led policing
Militarization of US police forces 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Delaware braces for Real ID

Delaware DMV's to start phasing in federal IDs in July 
c/o Delaware online

Delawareans who want to board a commercial airplane or train in the future will first have to obtain a federally compliant driver's license or state identification card that meets new post-9/11 security standards.

The new requirement takes effect Dec. 1, 2014, for residents born after 1964. Those born before then have until Dec. 1, 2017, to comply with the mandate, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Chris Slaven, Delaware blogger airs his commentary here.

"Because the REAL ID Act is an unfunded mandate, the State of Delaware will have to shoulder the costs associated with issuing the new IDs, meaning, of course, that the costs will be passed on to the people through taxes and fees. Pennsylvania has refused to comply with the mandate because of the inherent unfairness of this situation.

It would never occur to the corrupt politicians in control of Delaware to stick up for the citizens of our state in such a way.

While it’s difficult to find information about how, exactly, the new IDs will be more secure, the DMV assures drivers that they will be. According to, the agency will be “comparing all driver license and identification card photos to our facial recognition database to ensure customers standing in front of us are who they say they are.”

Patient medical records dumped in NY DMV dumpster

c/o Ncard >> WIVB 

JP,  a source for NCard  is skeptical of this report, interpreting this as special interests propelling public demand towards digital integration of their records.  Is the DMV a trustworthy place to leave your medical records? DMV divisions are constantly battling employees lured into black market identity fraud schemes.  Better think again.

"There was patient information there, there was social security card information on there, there was diagnosis information. So we mainly became concerned. We alerted the County Health Department and they sent us to the State Health Department." 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

These eyes.... watch out for DARPA

“Ideally, when you walk down a hallway, no matter where your head is looking, the device can grab your eyeball and detect what it needs to,” Christensen said. And where possible security and defense applications are concerned? “You can let your imagination fly with that one.”

BTC - True to SciFi scale,  a modern play of "everyman" includes iris based surveillance and identity capture.  WIRED reports that DARPA tech engineers are on the make with new behavior surveillance cameras targeting pedestrian iris biometrics called Panoptes.  

And with this latest development, Christensen also sees widespread civilian application, as part of “the cell phone of the future.” He’d like to see the camera-projection device incorporated into phones, and says they’d be able to photograph the page of a book “down to the smallest lettering,” or detect counterfeit cash by “picking up the texture of a $20 bill.”
Pre-cognitive sensitives in the UK and makers of Wild Eyes contact lenses saw this coming ahead of time and managed to develop silver mirrored contact lenses which at least appears to foil the intrusions. It's only one expression of resistance, the other comes from limiting what the government will endorse based on arbitrary calls for national security.

Whatever - you can always wear aviator mirrored sunglasses when you're out.  You may look like you're trying too hard, but who can fault you when surveillance hawks may want your eyes?

Monday, May 31, 2010

FTC produces rule for doctors to police ID theft

BTC - Advances in healthcare records management strangely puts doctors in the liability role, this time for patient identity theft.  The AMA filed suit to stall the a "red flags rule" based on banking privacy rulings pushing medical administrators into the role of (not just data handlers) creditors.

"This unjustified federal regulation of medicine treats physician practices like banks, credit card companies and mortgage lenders," AMA President-elect Cecil B. Wilson, MD, said in a statement. "The extensive bureaucratic burden of complying with the red flags rule outweighs any benefit to the public."

The nature of this ruling and the exchanges leads us to a couple of queries:
1) Is patient medical identity another form of debtor currency?
2) If someone steals your identity are they also stealing your healthcare "credit"?