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By Tim Brown
“You can be sure that once people are comfortable settling into this, which will only take a couple of years, it will then go into effect in trains and buses and eventually your personal vehicle.”
The American Institute for Economic Research has the story. Peter C. Earle writes:
The deadline of yet another, and perhaps the most insidious, element of the post-9/11 initiatives (a partial list of which includes the establishment of the Transportation Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and a never-ending international war against a nebulously-defined, noncorporeal enemy, “terror”) is less than one year from coming to fruition. Beginning no later than October 1, 2020, citizens of all US states and territories will be required to have a Real ID compliant card or US passport to board a commercial plane or enter a Federal government facility. Pundits citing the inevitability of what amounts to a national ID card have, regrettably, been vindicated.
Looking back, Social Security Numbers and the cards bearing them broke ground for the path to a national identification system — thank you, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. For decades there have been pointed reminders that the cards were intended to be account numbers and not integrated into a government registry of American citizens.
Repeated efforts, starting in the 1970s, to forge identifiers from the Social Security system have been rebuffed: in 1971, 1973, and 1976. The Reagan Administration indicated its “explicit oppos[tion]” to a national identification system. Both the Clinton healthcare reform plan (1993) and a provision of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 requiring Social Security Numbers on driver’s licenses were rejected (the latter in 1999) to some extent upon the basis of tacitly constituting national identifiers for Americans.
There are any number of reasons why the alleged tradeoff between liberty and security that a national ID card represents are being misrepresented. Any system designed, maintained, and run by human beings is ultimately flawed, and in any case corruptible. The existing documents from which the information fed into the Real ID program are eminently vulnerable to forgery. To provide just one example: tens (perhaps hundreds) of thousands of Americans don’t have verifiable, “official” birth certificates.
And people can become radicalized after being issued their Real ID card.
The Real ID also represents the “last mile” in the ability of the state to track individuals in real time. With various electronic, social media, and cellphone tracking measures, there is always a delay; and one can choose not to use social media, not to own a cellphone, and opt into other methods of extricating oneself from the prying eyes of the NSA or other government agencies. But the Real ID — in particular, coupled with biometrics — fulfills Orwellian conceptions of the total surveillance state.
The irony here? Conservatives used to oppose this kind of tyranny and government manipulation. Not anymore.
They often side with their political idol in favor of tyranny believing that their guy won’t use it against them and that it will only be the “other” party’s guy that will do that.
Therein lies the trap that is set for Americans.
So, how did we get here? Jason Litalien writes at Iapp:
On May 11, 2005, the ‘‘Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief, 2005,” Public Law 109-13, was enacted. The law appropriated funding for the “Global War on Terror,” addressed various topics concerning the State Department, allocated funding for tsunami relief, and created a requirement that states comply with the Real ID Act of 2005.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security website states that REAL ID is a coordinated effort by the states and the federal government to improve the reliability and accuracy of state-issued identification documents, which should inhibit terrorists’ ability to evade detection by using fraudulent identification. The Secretary of Homeland Security reviews each state’s IDs and determines if they meet the minimum standard, and then the Secretary certifies the state as compliant.
The requirements include things we expect to see on an ID, like name, address, gender, signature, and a digital photo. The Act also requires that before a state issues an ID, they must verify the person’s lawful status in order to prevent undocumented aliens from receiving IDs. States are required to use a federal system called the “Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements” to verify a person’s status.
The Act also lists specific requirements the states must adhere to in order to have their IDs certified: States must take digital photos and store an electronic copy of the photo in a transferable format. They must retain paper source documents for seven years and electronic copies for 10 years. It is now mandatory to use facial recognition image capture for all applicants and the image will be stored even if the applicant is denied an ID. States must verify Social Security numbers, verify that applicants gave up their driver’s license in their prior state of residence, ensure physical security of the location where IDs are produced, and require appropriate security clearances for anyone who produces the IDs.
That was only the camel’s nose under the tent.
While the Associated Press’ Ted S. Warren writes that you won’t need one of these domestic passports to travel by car, the qualifier for that is “yet.”
You can be sure that once people are comfortable settling into this, which will only take a couple of years, it will then go into effect in trains and buses and eventually your personal vehicle.
Expect it, over time, to be leveraged against individuals with outstanding traffic tickets, tax disputes, child or spousal support arrears, or behind on loan payments. Access to national parks and historic sites may be tied to it. Recent proposals pushing compulsory voting are a step closer to realization and enforcement with the establishment of a mandatory government ID card.
Indeed: the worst US government infringements upon the life, liberty, and the much referred to “pursuit of happiness” of American citizens over the last two centuries — and mostly within the last two decades — will be vastly easier and more efficient to accomplish with the imposition of a mandatory identification requirement.
The fact that a domestic travel passport is being forced on the populace without even a burp is a tale-tell sign that America is not the land of the free nor is it home to the brave anymore. It has become an ignorant, group of sheep ready to be sheared.
Republished with permission The Washington Standard
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