Alabama and other states are bending to federal regulations over falsehoods governing mass data
For decades, Alabama has been a huge heat seeking magnet for civil and human rights quagmires. Their stereotypical role as the one sided good-ol-boy State constituency v. That Foreign Brown Guy Over There. Their grand vizier government got famous for resorting to violence to protect their dysfunctional brand of order in the 1960’s. Alabama continues their hard nosed tradition passing more Paper’s Please styled law.
HB 56 garnered much less attention than Arizona’s SB 1070, but is essentially the same type of law. This created a sticky platform surface for STAR ID - Alabama’s regulatory attempt at compliance with the Real ID Act. Real ID, a national identity mandate, came under intense blowback from States for budget and privacy reasons. The federal mandate is also banned in 25 States. However, Alabama went for it.
In this recent account, a local CBS affiliate featured a highway police officer for an authoritative reasoned explanation as to why STAR ID drivers licenses would be the new standard of recognition.
As usual, there are high citations of terrorism prevention modeled over an excuse to keep those “Mexican illegals” out of the drivers seat.
It’s that same old song from George W. Bush’s 2005 greatest hits. Most are so sick of it they just shut it off. But not Alabama. They called up 2005, cranked it up, called the DJ back and asked them to play it again at the top of the hour.
I wonder how many people in Alabama actually know what is going to happen to their personal information once it’s gets jumped on this data surveillance mandate. I’m sure there are at least a couple of hundred IT professionals who work and live in Alabama who understand their State government has just enrolled them for an InfoSec disaster at the hands of the local DMV.
Alabama, and other states enrolled in a Big Data hog trough attached to the new STAR ID- a Real ID compliant license. In past writings, I explained how AAMVA as an information clearinghouse can, and has, gobbled up personally identifiable information (pii) of commercial vehicles and sold this info to marketing firms and political intelligence firms with the Motor Voter rolls. The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) recently approved biometric standards for drivers licenses by way of AAMVA to include, DNA, iris scans, a PICC circuit and the lead in ability to create an online version of drivers licenses. States sensitive to information security risks give drivers the ability to opt out of a Real ID compliant license. Gold starred licenses require the submission of a birth certificate, biometric information- like a thumbprint and facial recognition image, and other identity documents.
MEANWHILE AT THE DMV...
In compliance friendly states, the bureaucratic gumminess of trying to verify birth documents or marriage records from say, 1928, have made lines for the “new licenses” climb around the block, extending wait times at the DMV.
Someone standing around for hours, losing time from work in an Alabama DMV may eventually ask, will STAR ID stop Mexican terrorists from driving in the State? The answer is no. The police can stop Jose Pedro Juanito Paco Gonzales from Jalisco province for driving a transport troque filled with blackberries to the factory. They may just release him later if he’s not drunk, packing heat or an ounce of marijuana. If he does go to a deportation facility, his employer doesn’t get a penalty other than losing his worker. The prisoners an Alabama farmer may end up employing to replace him are not allowed to vote or drive either.
In the meantime, lets just say the personally identifiable information of Edmund Albert III is conveniently tabbed into Alabama’s system along with his excellently correct, unhindered, perfectly acceptable thumbprint and birth certificate proving that HE is clearly not the terrorist. While sporting his new STAR ID, he will possibly get the cheap little aluminum jacket provided by the DMV to shield an RFID tag in his internal passport and go on about his merry way. This fellow will go on to provide his STAR ID card at the airport, where he then goes through TSA with exactly the same speed and risk assessment as everyone else who isn’t exactly a NY Muslim. If you want expedition, you have to REALLY commit to global identity on the terms of the US government. The impact of all this ID will hit if Albert's sensitive biometric and birth certificate information is added to a single computer in the era of Big Data.
Companies like Best Buy, who are suffering due to economic depression have started aggregating purchaser identity in exchanges to later sell to their marketing partners to stay afloat. They are taking any ID you will give them: passport, drivers license, Mexican matricula consular card, Canadian licenses to verify a return or an exchange -- otherwise you can just eat that faulty TV. If Albert donated his ID online before approving purchase, the retailer may eventually have a comprehensive file of his identity to indefinitely buy, sell or resell. Identity and data marketing caches in times of economic instability may be an evolving hedge currency to survive economic insolvencies.
Albert may not care now, but he will when he starts getting ambushed with offers from other stores like Target for televisions and accessories. If marketers didn’t shop at Best Buy for Albert’s information, they would go to another marketing or political intelligence firm who have access to motor voter rolls, who initially went to AAMVA and the DMVs directly for his information.
While this seems like a terminally invasive prospect for anyone who is required by the State to have a license to drive, it may be the increasing reality for more people everyday. Many slaves to convenience will complain irritably that merchants and government agencies have been performing this function as the new normal for years and to get over “privacy” issues. It’s a funny coincidence as the firms who buy and sell this information parrot the same excuse so they can keep their entitlements on the data dossiers making them rich.
National Strategy for Trusted Identity in Cyberspace or NSTIC may be the next level of Big Data’s entitlement strategy on our information. The White House initiative has given the blessing to Internet titans to keep trying to get the official online identity of everyone using their services as a way to spread the wealth of who you are online. NSTIC might be the government's way of stepping aside for data surveillance firms to do what they do best. Especially, if the US government is one of Big Data’s loyal customers.
An unintended consequence to the consuming public is the onslaught of a zillion inconvenient and covert assailants. It may manifest as anything from escalated powertripping from customer service, corporatized bureaucracy, to increases in epic time wasted online and targeted attempts to actually create problems for you which require a solution provided by a marketed product later on. The deluge becomes disempowering and psychically suffocating. People may be eventually inspired to abandon more technology than pay the psychological price of submitting to it.
Unethical identity scraping for marketing culture is a longterm enemy to human progress. When human identity as data is factory farmed in this manner, it betrays the relationship we have with technology, which is usually trusted for innovation and empowerment. We should not underestimate the potential of our government and domestic businesses to team up against the public interest so they can make money together in these times.
The public should face the hard news that longterm basic privacy is now in perpetual crisis due to the daily collusion between the government and the private sector over Big Data. If you want privacy for yourself and future society, it's time to get organized.
There's no reason States should continue to comply with Real ID or for our government to continue financing a trend against the public interest.