By Mark Lerner
Published in Republic Magazine Issue 18
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Related legislation and how federal legislation regarding state driver’s licenses pertains to the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP), otherwise known as the North American Union (NAU).
The Real ID Act 2005, PASS ID Act (Providing for Additional Security in States’ Identification
Act of 2009-SB1261) and the REAL ID Repeal and Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2009 (HR3471) are all examples of legislation allowing the federal government to intrude in the issuance of a state driver’s license. There are many things that each of the above pieces of legislation have in common. However, of the three, only the Real ID Act 2005 has been signed into law.
On 11 May 2005 President Bush signed the Real ID Act 2005 into law. There was little debate in the House of Representatives and no debate in the Senate. Not one senator stood opposed to the Real ID Act 2005. The Real ID Act was attached to two other pieces of legislation – military spending and tsunami relief. The Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) were directed to work together to implement federal guidelines/standards for state driver’s licenses.
The Real ID Act 2005 did call for a non-negotiated rulemaking process. The DHS issued the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in March 2007. Many groups opposed the non-negotiated rulemaking because they felt, among other things, that privacy controls had been ignored. The final rules for the Real ID Act were released in January 2008.
Today 26 states have opposed the Real ID Act 2005 through law and resolution. The original implementation date for the Real ID Act 2005 was 11 May 2008. In May 2008 the implementation date was extended until 31 December 2009. There are over 600 groups that stand in opposition to the Real ID Act 2005. These groups represent liberals, conservatives, and those that prefer not to be labeled. Both the American Civil Liberties Union
(ACLU) and the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) stand in opposition to the Real ID Act. These two respected organizations came together at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. to outline their reasons for opposing the Real ID Act. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), OK-SAFE, Secure Arkansas, American Policy Center and Rep. Charles Key of Oklahoma as well as Representative Sam Rohrer of Pennsylvania also attended the event and stood in opposition to the Real ID Act.
Among the many reasons cited for opposition were religious beliefs, privacy concerns, information sharing and the use of biometrics. It was apparent from the beginning that Real ID was in trouble. Senator Akaka (D-HI) introduced the Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2007. This legislation called for the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act, section 7212 to replace Title II of the Real ID Act. Title II of the Real ID Act 2005 is the portion of the Real ID Act that pertains to the standards for state driver’s licenses. Senator Akaka’s legislation went nowhere. On June 15, 2009, Senator Akaka introduced another bill to repeal Title II of the Real ID Act, the PASS ID Act.
On July 15, 2009, the Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee chaired by Senator Lieberman held a hearing titled “Reevaluating Real ID”. It was during this hearing that PASS ID was discussed. Although committee staff people were telling interested parties that there would be testimony opposing PASS ID heard, that was not the case. Stuart Baker, formerly of DHS, did say he prefers Real ID but could support PASS ID if modifications were made. Even after testimony was given, committee staff people held to their story of opposing testimony being given. Only after the testimony was available online did staff people change their story. Senator Lieberman and his committee had successfully “hijacked” the process.
On July 29, 2009, PASS ID was passed out of committee. The PASS ID Act has not yet been voted on by the full senate. The PASS ID Act would amend title II of the Homeland Security Act of 2002.
On July 31, 2009 Representative Cohen (D-TN) introduced the REAL ID Repeal and Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2009. HR3471 repeals title II of the REAL ID Act of 2005 and re-institutes section 7212 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. Unlike the Real ID Act 2005 and the PASS ID Act, HR3471 call for a negotiated rulemaking process. A negotiated rulemaking process allows parties other than just DHS to participate in the rules for HR3471. On September 14, 2009, HR3471 was referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law.
Washington D.C., October 2009:
During my most recent trip to the capitol I had the opportunity to meet with a few House and Senate subcommittee representatives. I also had the opportunity to meet with one member of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law. Finally, I did meet (for thirty minutes) with a senate chief of staff. I was told, in no uncertain terms, that neither Democrats nor Republicans were interested in hearing any opposing testimony to the Real ID Act, PASS ID Act or the REAL ID Repeal and Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2009. Senator Lieberman is not the only one guilty of hijacking the “system.” No representation, no dissent and no right to seek redress. It’s alright if a person or organization prefers one of the three pieces of legislation, but if a person or group opposes all three they may not testify.
I presented, on behalf of the Stop Real ID Coalition, what many state lawmakers believe is a “workable alternative” to Real ID that does not include federal intervention or the use of biometrics. Our alternative is based primarily on authenticating and numbering all birth certificates.
There is a great deal of anxiety among members of Congress about legislation that sets federal standards for state driver’s licenses. If there were to be another terrorist event on U.S. soil facilitated by the use of counterfeit driver’s licenses, Congress would surely be questioned about why they did not respond quicker to the recommendations of the 9-11 Commission.
Under the provisions of the Real ID Act, and the rules associated with it, states must meet 18 benchmarks in order to comply with Real ID standards. I attended the July 15, 2009 Senate hearing that Senator Lieberman held. Secretary Napolitano stated that not one state would meet all 18 benchmarks by December 31, 2009 (implementation date for Real ID).Secretary Napolitano went on to add that if the PASS ID Act was not passed and signed into law there would be long lines at federal facilities and in airports because DHS would have no choice other than to start implementing the Real ID Act 2005 on December 31, 2005. According to Secretary Napolitano, DHS would have to subject everyone entering federal facilities or boarding commercial airliners to secondary inspections.
It is significant to know that Congress does have the ability to extend the implementation date of Real ID. Also noteworthy is that all states have moved towards creating driver’s licenses with a higher level of document integrity – a more secure driver’s license.
At the End of the Day
The Real ID Act 2005, PASS ID Act and the REAL ID Repeal and Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2009 are about perceived security, not real security.
Earlier this year, DHS stated that their goal is to stop 29 percent of the people and goods entering our country illegally through approved Customs Border Patrol checkpoints. This is not acceptable by any measure.
Our intelligence agencies allege that various Islamic “terrorist organizations” (and the more than 100,000 individuals affiliated with these groups world-wide) pose a direct threat to national security. Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda alone have well over 100,000 members combined, and we do not know who most of these people are. Real ID is not going to stop one of these people from entering our country and committing an act of terrorism.
As I stated earlier, all states have moved to create more secure driver’s licenses. Federal law is not needed. The creation of new databases and the linking of existing databases is a recipe for identity theft, which is the fastest growing crime in the United States.
The federal government has placed as much attention on domestic terrorism as it does on groups such as Hezbollah and Al-Qaeda. In a Lexicon report issued by DHS, it was suggested that groups and organizations on the left and right should be considered potential domestic terrorism groups and organizations if they support third party candidates, environmental reform, evangelical beliefs, anti-war movements or many other causes. Roughly 80 percent of all Americans could fit into one the categories listed in the Lexicon report. One should ask: why is our government spending billions acquiring information about American citizens? And, why is the presumption of innocence no longer a valued principle?
Biometric technology is based on measurements of a person’s body. Fingerprinting is the most commonly known form of biometrics. Facial recognition technology is based on measurements between key characteristics of the face, a process called “mapping the face.” Other forms of biometrics include, but are not limited to, iris scans, handwriting, voice recognition and DNA. Yes, DNA is considered a biometric.
Since 2001, facial recognition technology and closed circuit television cameras (also referred to as surveillance cameras) have been used simultaneously in real time. Fans entering Raymond James stadium for the Super Bowl in 2001 had their facial images scanned and then analyzed according to a database containing biometric templates (facial images) of U.S. citizens with outstanding arrest warrants. Facial recognition and CCTV have been widely used since Sept. 11, 2001. There is no federal law that prohibits the use of facial recognition and CCTV simultaneously in real time. Since 2001, the DHS has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on CCTV. The federal government has sponsored testing with facial recognition and CCTV.
The DHS stated in their Twenty Questions and Answers report, released in March, 2007, that states were not required to collect any biometric data they were not already collecting. What the DHS did not say is that they require all states to collect facial biometric samples of everyone who acquires a state driver’s license. Identification card photos, when taken at the required resolution, can be used with biometric technology. The DHS has been working on a computer software program called Project Hostile Intent (PHI). Not too long ago, the department changed the program name to Future Attribute Screening Technology (FAST). This software program is designed to recognize threats based on the way people walk, behave and dress.
What is the big deal about biometrics?
One would think that everyone would choose to live in a free society over a surveillance society.
It is the foremost responsibility of all citizens to pass on to future generations the right, liberty and freedom we each inherited.
A good deal of information is available that documents the abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by the National Security Agency. According to Russell Tice, a former NSA analyst, the NSA listened in on Americans’ phone calls, intercepted emails and monitored financial transactions.
Implementation of Real ID
There are two types of implementation control methods: direct control and indirect control. We see direct control in the Real ID Act. If a person does not have a Real ID compliant driver’s license or an approved alternative, such as an E-Passport, that person won’t be allowed to enter federal facilities, nuclear facilities, or to board commercial flights. The Secretary of the DHS can add further restrictions at his or her own discretion. Gun owners are among the groups that are expected to feel the impact of the Real ID Act at some point.
Indirect control is gained through intimidation, one example being surveillance. People that want to attend town hall meetings, tea parties or other public events are less likely to do so if they know they are being watched.
Information is power.
The federal government is obtaining information about the American people. Personal information is being shared between local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as with foreign governments.
If agents from the DHS or the FBI photographed rallies or town hall meetings, the information acquired would be of little value unless they could identify the people in the photographs. That is where facial recognition comes in.
Under provisions of the Real ID Act, the PASS ID Act and the REAL ID Repeal and Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2009, facial recognition- compatible photographs will be required on all state driver licenses. The Real ID Act 2005 already requires these high resolution photos. The standard that the DHS has mandated is the adopted standard for the International Civil Aviation Organization, an agency of the United Nations. The ICAO calls facial recognition the “biometric of choice” for allowing information gathering of unaware persons.
Speaking of international agencies and organizations, I would be remiss if I did not mention the Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators. The AAMVA proclaims on the homepage of their website they are an international organization that serves law enforcement and motor vehicle administrators. The AAMVA was directly involved in the crafting of the Real ID Act 2005. In the DHS-published final rules document for the Real ID Act, the AAMVA was referred to as its “hub” and “backbone.”
Licenses issued under Real ID, PASS ID or the Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2009 would act as an international ID card that also utilizes facial recognition technology. The hub and backbone for the three pieces of legislation would be the AAMVA, an international organization, over which the federal government has no jurisdiction.
The Security and Prosperity Partnership and the North American Union
Currently, the United States and Canada are participating in what is known as the AAMVA’s
Driver’s License Compact. This compact allows for the sharing of information from each DMV member’s database. Last year I had the opportunity to question Mr. Williams, the Program Director of the Real ID Act for DHS. It was interesting that he admitted he did not understand biometrics. What was more revealing was his statement that the federal government has no relationship with AAMVA. According to Director Williams, what the AAMVA does is between the administration and individual states. In reality the federal government does have a relationship with AAMVA.
In 1994, when the North American Free Trade Agreement was signed by President Clinton, the AAMVA began consideration of what is called the Driver’s License Agreement. The DLA calls for Mexico to be included in the sharing of information contained in DMV databases. Yes, people in Mexico would have indirect access to your personal information contained in state DMV databases.
What you might find most objectionable is that American tax dollars have been used to facilitate the DLA. The Department of Transportation has issued grant money to states, encouraging participation in the DLA.
Real ID and other legislation are about control and greed – not security!
The federal government is going to great lengths to insure all Americans are enrolled into a single, global biometric identification system. As explained earlier, with the use of facial recognition, the government not only gains information about each person, but is also able to identify each individual in public. There is also the issue of indirect control through intimidation when citizens realize they are being identified with CCTV and facial recognition.
“Your papers please” is a phrase that is referred to when one is speaking about living in a totalitarian society. Facial recognition and CCTV are the technological equivalent of asking for your papers. The greed element of Real ID, PASS ID and the REAL ID Repeal and Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2009 is just as devious as the control element.
It does cost corporations a great deal of money when people and goods are slowed at our borders. What many multi-national corporations want are seamless borders. Seamless borders allow for people and goods to move across borders in a very expeditious manner. Time is money; if both people and goods are thoroughly inspected at our borders it would take quite a bit of time.
The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative allows for state driver’s licenses to be used at border crossings. These driver’s licenses are called Enhanced Driver’s Licenses. EDL’s utilize both RFID technology and facial recognition. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it should. E-Passports utilize the same technologies.
Dr. Katherine Albrecht (http://www.spychips.com) has done incredible research on RFID technology.
She has elaborated on the health risks and the privacy consequences of using RFID technology.
Some states have elected to issue EDL’s. Secretary Napolitano is on record as saying she would like all states to issue them. With an EDL, a person does not have to physically hand their driver’s license to a border patrol agent. The person simply flashes their EDL at a RFID reader and then proceeds forward. It sounds very convenient. EDL’s cost about half of what a passport costs.
The fact is we are not thoroughly inspecting the people and goods that enter our country. Keep
in mind that the DHS has a goal of intercepting only 29 percent of the people and goods that enter the country through border checkpoints. The DLA, Real ID, PASS ID and the REAL ID Repeal and Identification Security Enhancement Act of 2009 all benefit multi-national corporations by creating seamless borders that are not secure. These seamless borders are good for many purposes, but not for security.
By Mark Lerner
http://www.republicmagazine.com Subscribe Online or Call 1-866-437-6570 Issue 18 • Republic Magazine 15