Maine rejects Real ID Act!

HEre's the happey C|Net news story. Maine rejects the Real ID Act. Maine overwhelmingly rejected federal requirements for national identification cards on Thursday, marking the first formal state opposition to controversial legislation scheduled to go in effect for Americans next year. Both chambers of the Maine legislature approved a resolution saying the state flatly "refuses" to force its citizens to use driver's licenses that comply with digital ID standards, which were established under the 2005 Real ID Act. It asks the U.S. Congress to repeal the law.

The Maine legislature is hoping that congress will repeal Real ID.

Eat your heart out New Hampshire, you can no longer be the first stae to do this, although you came awfully close last year.


HD Movies and TV; Too HD?

The New York Times must have really enjoyed putting together their article on High Definition movies in the porn industry today. The article features pictures of (fully clothed) stars, and goes into a bit of detail in explaining how HD has been a tribulation for the industry.

While some in this industry think that high def is exactly what porn customers want, others worry that high def is getting too detailed. For example, they quote the actress Stormy Daniels thus: “I’m not 100 percent sure why anyone would want to see their porn in HD.” Among the issues discussed are razor burn, now remarkably visible, and tiny pimples that can only be hidden by shifting to a different camera angle.

Now I’m not being salacious here, I just want to make a point. The porn business is echoing the controversy over HDTV in the respectable TV industry. (Is the TV business ever respectable?) It’s the federal government that is dragging the TV biz to HD, and the TV biz has been awful slow to get there. HDTV clearly produces exciting sports, but it’s generally known that old reruns will look terrible in HD. TV studio scenery and sets in the past were knocked together very simply, with just enough detail to fool the low-res camera. Now we’ll be able to see the sets are all plywood with nails. Etc.

Worse, the HDTV camera will favor different faces. (I suspect this is less of an issue for the porn business.) One of the great skills directors have is that they can find people whom the camera will love, who will look riveting and wonderful on TV and in movies. Many great stars look remarkably ordinary to us in everyday life. HD changes the rules, because it will make some “bankable” big name stars look awful.

The president of Canadian Broadcasting went to the natural extreme, saying that HDTV "has no business model." He claimed a complete lack of motivation for advertisers to pay more to have their plugs shown during an HD show verses an Standard Def show, although many advertisers disagree.


Lawmakers question cost and purpose of federal ID program:

I love this Vermont story, because it has a great quote, and it rqaises one of my favorite issues. VErmont is looking at spending millions to implement Real ID. Here's the A.P. story, at the boston.com website (for The Boston Globe). Here's the lovely quote:
Lawmakers questioned the value of the program, which is aimed at reducing terrorism.

"I don't think it is accomplishing anything," said Sen. Phil Scott, R-Washington. "Are we trying to shut people out or make them safer?"

And here's a quote about passports:
One way to cut costs might be to issue passports for every Vermonter.

The Tide is Turning?

The Tide may be Turning for Real ID. Criticims keep mounting, and we no longer have a do-nothing congress. Here's one indicator of change, from the last election. New York's new governor, Elliot Spitzer, thinks it's a really bad idea to deny driver's licenses (and therefore insurance) to illegal immigrants. He's thinking about NOT requiring a valid Soc Sec number obtain a driver's license, at least for now. Read about it here, in The New York Sun (Jan 19, 2007), in an article by Jacob Gershman.

That article also reports a protest by a group that disagrees. Before I show you that quote, I want to point out an obvious truth about security, which groups like this just don't understand. The terrorists who perpetrated 9/11 had driver's licenses because they were easy to obtain. If they were planning a 9/11-like attack today, they would either start by obtaining other ID that's easy to get, or they would pay through the nose to get fake, good quality driver's licenses anyway. Serious terrorists have enormous amounts of money available to them, so making an illegal driver's license cost $10,000 instead of $100 or nothing won't even slow them down. Here's the quote:
Now, one New York group, the Coalition for a Secure Driver's License, says the governor is poised to repeal Governor Pataki's order and is urging the governor to reconsider changing a policy that it says is helping to thwart terrorist attacks.

"The 9/11 Commission pointed out that the 19 terrorists had at least 35 licenses," a board member of the coalition who lost his 23-year-old son in the World Trade Center attack, Peter Gadiel, said. "These licenses were the keys that enabled them to rent cars and open bank accounts, get credits cards, and buy flight lessons. It gave them everything they needed to plan, rehearse, and carry out their attacks."

Mr. Gadiel, a Republican who has also advocated for stricter border laws, said it was "insane" that the governor is considering extending licenses to illegal immigrants.


At last, action in the Senate!

A story by K. C. Jones for Information Week reports that two senators have threatened to repeal Real ID unless changes are made. Of course the story reports this:
[Senator] Akaka echoed complaints from hundreds of groups -- including the National Rifle Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, and associations representing state lawmakers -- in criticizing the legislation. He noted that the law was attached to defense spending, tsunami relief, and terror prevention. He said the proposal was not subjected to scrutiny, floor debate, or hearings before Congress was "forced" to pass it.

The other senator is John Sununu. Here's Senator Akaka again:
"It's taken DHS over a year and a half just to issue the regulations," he said. "Expecting the states to execute the new system in even less time is unrealistic.

And also:
"If the new state databases are compromised, they will provide one-stop access to virtually all information necessary to commit identity theft," he said.

Go, Senate, Go!

Georgia Rebels!

That's Georgia ReBELS, accent on the last syllable. Their lawmakers are really upset about Real ID, according to this story. Here's a key quote:
State Sen. Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg) says the act's requirements are an invasion of privacy, could open the door to identity fraud and will cost Georgia taxpayers as much as $85 million to implement.

What identity inof would be available to fraudsters? Here's another, familiar quote from the story, and well-put, too:
Imagine a massive database accessible by government officials throughout the U.S. containing your name, address, photograph, Social Security number, birth certificate, citizenship status — and possibly even your fingerprints and retinal scan.

The story I've quoted was filed by Carlos Compos for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. It also mentions the current estimate of the nation-wide cost: $11 billion.

The EU decides to adopt a uniform license:

The European Union will adopt uniform driver's and motorcyclist licenses. There will be a common data base of shared information. Is the EU falling into the Real ID trap? I think not, the differences are refreshing.

First, the obvious goal is safer driving. A goal of the common data base is to keep people who lose their licenses for drunk driving from getting another valid license in yet another country.

Second, this is not a rush job. If anything, it might be too slow. The new license will be introduced in seven years, and be mandatory by 2032. (I have some personal experience watching a Swiss bank NOT get ready for the Euro, and I must say it's a good idea not to try to enforce these big changes too quickly.)

The news story I pointed at said nothing about security interests. If the EU tries to make drivers licenses that are good for the business of driving, they ought to manage to do the job well, for a reasonable cost.


Michael Chertoff defends Real ID:

Anne Broache reports on an interview or a talk with Michael Chertoff (the DHS chief) here, for CNET news.com. From the article:
The importance of such documents was magnified by an announcement Wednesday, Chertoff said. Federal authorities reported that they had made more than 1,200 arrests related to immigration violations and unmasked criminal organizations stealing and trafficking in genuine birth certificates and Social Security cards belonging to U.S. citizens.

Common sense, if you know ANYTHING about security, is that Real ID will make traffic in birth certificates and social security cards more expensive and more valuable. They'll still be obtainable, and the temptation to cash in on illegal trafficking will be a sore temptation for some of the thousands of people who will have access, after Real ID is implemented.

Will making it more expensive to get these documents stop terrorists? That's unlikely, as it appears that the terrorists we fear most have billions at their disposal. And the plans to rush Real ID into being in 2008 will create many dozens of serious security loopholes to work the system. Another quote from the article:
Conspicuously absent was any mention of the department's cybersecurity plans. After more than a year of delay, Chertoff hired Gregory Garcia, who had been working as a vice president at the Information Technology Association of America lobby group, as the department's first assistant secretary for cybersecurity. That step came after the department had sustained repeated bashing of its efforts in that realm from members of Congress.

It's a pity that DHS can't make a cybersecurity plan of their own, but they KNOW Real ID will work.


Everybody's afraid of real ID:

The National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures have issued a statement about real ID. Apparently they're afraid to say that they really, really don't like it, so they want to say somehow or other that it's pretty good. But they can't stand it in its current form.
"NGA and NCSL remain eager to work with Congress and the Administration to ease the impact of Real ID and strive for a solution that will ensure the act is implemented in a cost-effective and feasible manner with maximum safety and minimum inconvenience for all Americans."
and in asking Congress and the administration to work for them. The governors and the Conference merely want the administration to notice that Real ID is going to cost $11 billion, and that the deadline of May 2008 is impossible.


Real ID and RFID:

RFID is a side issue for Real ID, and I've been ignoring it. But here's an interesting article from "Citizens Against Government Waste" (CAGW). They feel that Real ID cards should not have an RFID chip. Some quotes:
"RFID may be good for tracking produce, but is an expensive, intrusive way to track people," said CAGW President Tom Schatz. "We strongly urge the Privacy Advisory Committee to adopt this report in its current form."
The subcommittee report, The Use of RFID for Human Identification, finds that RFID technology "is no more resistant to forgery or tampering than any other digital technology ... (and) exposes identification processes to security weaknesses that non-radio-frequency-based processes do not share." Other privacy concerns include an individual's inability to choose when he or she is identified and what information is read. The subcommittee also proposes safeguards for the use of RFID such as notification of and ability to control when and what information is collected and by whom, enhanced security for chip readers and databases, and limited collection and storage of data.
"The use of RFID for human identification burdens taxpayers and leaves Americans vulnerable to potential invasions of privacy with only minimal benefits. We hope DHS will heed the advice of the subcommittee's report and not recommend the use of this expensive and ineffective technology," Schatz concluded.


Protecting identity credentials is costly:

Dan Farber and Larry Dignan, at ZDNET Blogs, have another perspective on Real ID. (I must say, we have covered this point before, but only briefly.) They say that "The more valuable having an identity credential is, the more likely it is to be counterfeited. Consequently, the more money you have to spend to protect it." They mention a case of a DHS official convicted of taking bribes to fake documents, and note that if a credential is valuable, people will pay a lot of money to fake it. They conclude:
Having multiple credentials is not only smart from a "not putting your eggs in a single basket" perspective, it's also more efficient. No sense protecting your Starbucks Coffee Card to the same level you protect a passport. Real security won't come from a single, all-powerful identity credential, but from a healthy ecosystem of useful, practical, and effective identifiers.

And let's be clear: Real ID is an "all eggs in one basket" solution. Its standardization means that EVERYBODY will have equipment to swipe it, and fake RealID cards will be worth tens of thousands. The states will have to hire SO MANY new employees to process Real ID cards; do you suppose they might hire a villain or two along the way?

Well actually, Real ID is not truly an "all eggs in one basket" process. When you consider Passports, you really have two nearly identical eggs for each person to keep in their basket. Please tell me, why do we need passports if we have Real ID? Or vice versa?


"Real ID Woes" in Indiana:

A fine opinion piece in the South Bend Tribune describes how painful real ID will be for Indiana, and asks, is this really necessary? I'm going to quote the entire piece below, and I'll be happy to take it down if requested:
There is cause for concern over the federal Real ID Act and its May 2008 deadline for compliance. We, for example, are worried about how the act will affect Indiana. This is not a state whose Bureau of Motor Vehicles can afford a lot more delays or confusion in the processing of license branch transactions.

You think lines are long and waits are endless now in Indiana's (clockless) license branches? If some predictions are accurate, these will be remembered as the good old days as states struggle to meet demands of the federal legislation to standardize state-issued drivers' licenses.

One prediction came in an editorial this month in the Wall Street Journal. It quoted a consensus of views from the National Conference of State Legislatures, the National Governors Association and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, as saying the Real ID Act will be a major trial for states.

Furthermore, the act will impose a burden mostly unrelieved by federal support. According to the Journal, states put the cost of standardizing drivers' licenses at about $11 billion. So far, Congress has voted all of $40 million for assistance.

Not only will states be left to figure out how to pay the bill for this federal mandate, but many of the efficiencies that states have implemented in recent years -- such as Internet and other types of remote transactions -- will be undone.

People will need to go to their license branches in person. In Indiana, they will be going to some 27 fewer branches than existed prior to this year. When they get there, the demands for documentation will be greater than ever.

Every single driver in the country must apply in person for a new standardized driver's license. That's 245 million of them. And it won't be as simple as turning over the old license for a new one. Applicants will have to produce such documents as original birth certificates and Social Security cards.

According to the comment in the Journal, the consensus report predicts that license branches will have to double their staffs to accommodate the surge of demand. Anyone who has been in the Mishawaka license branch when all terminals are operating and there is standing-room-only in the waiting area has got to wonder how that is possible.

As is the case, we guess, with most Americans, the cost and inconvenience would be less troubling if they served a genuine purpose -- if, for example, they would make the country more secure against terrorists or at least more resistant to illegal immigration. Without any reason to think that either is the case, the cost to taxpayers (and in BMV patron frustration) hardly seems warranted.

Considering the belated shared consternation of the governors, state legislators and BMV administrators, we all should be pleased that the Real ID deadline still is 18 months away. The deadline should be pushed back at least until the expiration of current licenses and ID cards -- or Congress could revisit the central question: Is this thing necessary?

Good ol' pyramid-style reporting:

These days, many newspaper articles lead with a teaser and gradually get around to the revelation. I prefer "pyramid-style", which used to be the norm in reparting: you start with what's most important and gradually drift to minutiae. The great values of this style are:
  1. You find out right away what each story's about.
  2. You can read as much as you like, quit when the detail seems not worth the effort.

Well, Micahel Sanchez of the Albequerque Tribune seems to be an old-fashioned pyramid guy, at least in this story. (Perhaps that's because he's actually a New Mexico State Senator.) Here's his lead sentence:
Congress has dictated sweeping changes to how states will issue driver's licenses, but if changes aren't made it's going to cost taxpayers time, money and a lot of aggravation.
The rest of the story backs up this assertion in great detail. If you've been reading this website, you'll be familiar with what he has to say, and he certainly says it well.


Using a "pointer database" with Real ID:

Warning, we're going to get a bit technical here: I learned from an article at GCN Home, by Wilson P. Dizard III, that a trucker data base has been suggested as a model for Real ID. The problem people want to solve here is that checking everyone's documents in 50 states all the time, to satisfy Real ID security requirements, will hopelessly overload access to federal data bases. If so, you may spend five days renewing your license instead of an hour or two.

The suggested trucker data base is a called a "pointer data base" because, instead of containing actual data (like the details of your birth certificate), it merely notes whether such data exists in another data base. Checking a pointer data base to see whether a candidate already has other state driver's licenses would be much faster than checking other states' data bases to read the candidates other licenses if they exist.

This suggestion raises several red flags for me, for your consideration:
(1) It's possible there are ways to "game" a pointer system to subvert its level of security. I hope to get a comment from Bruce Schneier on this risk. In any case this is a new thing, and its basic level of security has not been tested yet, I think.
(2) Some states are already implementing computer software for Real ID, in order not to fall behind. Each of them is either assuming there will be a pointer data base or not; some of them will have reworking to do, depending on whether a pointer DB is used. This is just one of many, many possible examnples to show the risk of working ahead with neither final specs nor an agreed upon, common design.

More timetable for Real ID:

The DHS says it will issue "draft" specs for Real ID by year end. Jonathan Frenkel, director of law enforcement policy at DHS, says the draft regulations will better explain the broad mandates in the Real ID Act of 2005. The specs have been long coming because the DHS wanted to "get them right the first time." (It's quite hard to get something right the first time, but by now the DHS coud have issued four drafts, and easily gotten it right the fourth time, sooner!)

Frenkel also believes the DHS has tried to make its intentions as clear as possible so states could take steps before regulations are released for comment. Many states have in fact gone ahead with development, and it will be wonderful if we do not hear squeals of agony from them when the specs are final. The whole point of publishing specs is that it's really, really hard to get know what they are until they are final.


Oct. 2006: An Excellent Technical Review

In PC World, Anuch Yegyazarian reviews the state of Real ID, its technical problemsand prospects. The article, Ral IDs real problems, is clear and farily detailed. Some quotes:
Without knowing which technology to use, states can't even begin soliciting bids from firms to produce the cards. They can't finalize deals. They can't get delivery of product, install the new equipment, train their workers, or run trials to ensure that the system is free of glitches.
The DMV must verify your name, date of birth, social security number, residence, prior licenses, and immigration status before it issues a new license. The problem is, according to the states, only one of the several national databases that would allow state DMVs to check all that information is actually accessible to those DMVs.
Before the system could function, all government entities involved would have to get those other databases securely online, standardize on file formats and authentication procedures, and create the network and server infrastructure to store and shuttle all that data. All of it needs to happen so that, for example, Florida's DMV can ascertain which John Smith is applying for a new license, and can access the proper records in a timely fashion.


Now Texas feel the heat:

An article in the Brownsville Herald (Texas) by Elizabeth Pierson quotes a spokesperson thus: "[It will] cost the state an estimated $268 million. The money will go toward paying for technology and hiring more than 700 employees to handle the increased traffic."

There's an estimate that an additional three million people (almost double the current number) will need licenses; Texas will no longer be able to accept the Mexican "matricula consular" as proof of identity; and all licenses will expire and require renewal. (One of Texas's current efficiencies is that some licenses never expire.)

'Real ID' Mandate Is Impractical:

An unsigned opinion piece in TheLedger.com (mid-Florida) speaks eloquently to the impracticality of implementing Real ID in 2008. The piece ends:
State officials aren't necessarily opposed to carrying Congress' water and establishing a reliable ID system in the name of national security. What the states would like is more financial help from Congress and a little more time to meet the mandates. "Even with full funding and aggressive state implementation plans," the study said, "the difficulties of complying with yet unpublished regulations by the statutory deadline of May 2008 are insurmountable."

Congress can't wave a magic wand and create a national ID card. And neither can the states. The Real ID Act sets the states up for failure. Passing the buck in such cavalier fashion won't make America safer, it will only create discord in the federal-state homeland security partnership.


Deep-six Real ID:

"Deep-six Real ID" is the title of an (unsigned) opinion piece in the Baltimore Sun online that goes right to the point:
A better idea would be to junk the so-called Real ID plan altogether. Verifying citizenship should not be a state responsibility. The local departments of motor vehicles have been put in the impossible position of authenticating birth certificates and passports and immigration documents when their real job is trying to make sure people who get licenses know how to drive.
Politicians seeking simple answers to complex problems are rarely successful. But Congress' boneheaded plan to convert 50 state driver's license bureaus into de facto immigration and homeland security agencies is proving every bit the disaster critics anticipated.

Congress' mandate to re-license all 245 million drivers in the nation within five years beginning May 2008 in order to verify their citizenship will cost more than $11 billion and can't possibly be accomplished on schedule, according to a survey of state officials charged with performing the task. Federal regulators haven't even issued guidelines for the program yet.

What's more, this national identification process will neither weed out terrorists nor make a dent in the flow of illegal immigration - the two problems it was devised to address.

Many state governors want to get rid of Real ID. The states' federal congress people should get on the same page.


Pay up or Shut up, say our governors ...

In August, "Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff called on state legislators Thursday to embrace new federal driver's license requirements to strengthen security, but state lawmakers later demanded that Congress either fund the program or drop it." So says ERIK SCHELZIG, Associated Press Writer, in a FoxNews article. Chertoff tried to persuade the governors of the importance of this program to national security. (If you've been reading this blog, you know that's at best a vague hope!) But the governors zeroed in on the money, with total estimates now in the billions. "NCSL members later voted to approve a resolution to demand Congress either find a way to pay for the Real ID Act - or to repeal it by the end of 2007."

Now I shall editorialize. There's a strange logical disconnect going on here! Congress has the power to repeal this law or to fund it. Congress people represent their constituents who live in - you guessed it - states! The governors of these very states are really upset with Real ID. Why aren't their congressional representatives taking action? Why Not???????


Tell me again: WHO needs a Real ID license?

One aspect of Real ID that will magnify the cost of drivers licenses is that many non-drivers will need them. Toddlers will need them to fly, for example. But even people who never fly, never drive and never go to federal court (and I'm including a LOT of inner city grownup residents here) will need to get Real ID licenses if another dumb law passes. The idea here is to require all VOTERS to show a Real ID card.

This idea has come up several times and proposed House legislation is currently discussed by Nicole Gaouette in an article in the L.A. Times online, here.

I'm not going to spend much time on this aspect of Real ID, for a simple reason: our courts have many times declared laws unconstitutional that place any undue burden in front of people trying to vote. I think that a long, frustrating day at the motor vehicle bureau will qualify as an undue burden. I hope this issue does NOT have to be fought out in the courts!

The pricetag increases to: $11 billion over five years!

In June 2005, I wrote that Congressman Sensenbrenner thought Real ID would cost each state about $2 million to implement. At that time, some states were complaining his estimate was way low, with maybe $20 million required per state (and that's not federal money!). Now, analysts have surveyed 47 of the states' Motor vehicle administrations, and then new estinate seems to be $11 billion over five years to implement Real ID. And the federal government still isn't paying. Our states will be reaching for this money somehow, and getting very little value out of it. Here's my source: Eric Kelderman, a writer for Stateline.org, and his article is here. Some quotes:
State officials are asking the federal government for more time and money to comply with the 2005 Real ID act, which was passed to keep driver’s licenses out of the hands of terrorists and to make it tougher for illegal immigrants to get state-issued IDs. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has yet to issue specific guidelines for the law.
States have objected to the law for several reasons, but mostly because it may require all license holders to make an in-person visit to get the new identification within five years of the 2008 deadline. Currently, states offer a number of alternatives for renewing licenses -- such as through the mail or Internet -- which take less time and state personnel to process.
Legislatures in Kentucky, New Hampshire and Washington state already have considered bills to reject the Real ID mandates, and several more could follow that path if the rules are not modified, said Matt Sundeen, a transportation specialist with NCSL.


Something Positive about real ID:

A security expert, Phil Windley, said something positive about Real ID (in an interview Podcast) that, I'm afraid, makes good sense. He says that in the long run, if left to themselves, states will develop something like real ID. For example, the states are working hard now to standardize their criminal and offense data because sharing it is critical in catching criminals. Similarly, they will find advantages in tightening and standardizing driver's licenses over time. So - you might think - perhaps we should grin and bear Real ID.

But there are two important differences between the current real ID legislation, and what states might eventually do, that militate heavily, I believe, against Real ID:

  1. Real ID is officially on a tight time table. Given less than two years, there's only time to do it wrong, producing an insecure, hackable, error-prone, horribly expensive and time-wasting system.

  2. Left to themselves, states may standardize liceses for drivers, but Real Id is for almost everyone, including toddlers who want to fly or enter a federal building. Real ID forces the states to enroll far more people than they would likely reach on their own, and we'll all have to sacrifice our time (standing in line) and pay more state fees and taxes, to cover them.


Rel $$ from the DHS:

New Hampshire and Kentucky are each receiving $3,000,000 from the DHS to implelemnt "pilot" Real ID projects. We'll definitely want to se where this money goes, and how well it covers implementation of real ID. I believe the DHS has still not properly defined what Real ID is, so it will also be interesting to see how much of this money can be spent soon.

NH is an interesting choice, as this state nearly opted out of Real ID altogether. There may still be interesting limits to NH's involvement, as shown in an AP article published in the Nashua Telegraph article online (Aug 9, 2006), by Anne Saunders:
Motor Vehicles Director Virginia Beecher told the committee she has no intention of sharing driver information with a national database, except for the system that now exists to identify problem drivers to police.

“We would protect state’s rights and individual privacy,” she said.


Security: balancing cost against value:

Bruce Schneier, in his weblogs and books, is eloquent and clear on this subject: all security procedures are a tradeoff of cost against value. No procedures are perfect, and we have a finite amount of money to spend on security. It's unfortunate that security laws and materials are usually adopted on emotional grounds, or because they clearly look useful, without any consideration of balancing cost. Here's a wonderful example, by Beverly Wang (associated Press writer), reported in boston.com news:
CONCORD, N.H. --Forcing people to show passports or national ID cards at Canadian border crossings is an inconvenient, money-wasting invasion of privacy that won't protect against terrorism, according to one Democrat running in the 1st Congressional District.

"Surely a terrorist could figure out how to walk through the woods to avoid the border guards," said Carol Shea-Porter of Rochester. "The program would cost billions of dollars to implement, inconvenience millions of honest people, and would only create the illusion of safety."


AAMVAnet - A bottleneck?

Suppose you're a state motor vehicle agency. According to Real ID, you have to check people's social security numbers to renew a drivers license. You already need to check whether each person has points or revocations in other state databases. You might use the AAMVAnet network to make all these accesses. AAMVAnet will get perhaps ten or a hundred times its current traffic when all fifty states are using it to make all checks reauired by RFID. It's possible htis network will be beefed up in time, but it's a bottleneck right now, according to this story in the Decatur Daily by Eric Fleischauer.Some quotes:
Earnhardt said Friday's AAMVAnet problems were no surprise.

"As more and more states go through AAMVAnet, it hasn't been able to handle the volume," she said.

AAMVAnet is the conduit most states use to access various databases involved in driver license applications and renewals. Alabama uses the service for commercial driver license information, problem-driver point systems and Social Security number verification.
The article discusses a period when no drivers could be served at all because access to AAMVAnet was down.
Morgan County License Commissioner Sue Baker Roan could do nothing about the computer glitch that brought her office to a halt, so she busied herself handing out coffee and soft drinks to generally understanding applicants.

"It just makes you sick," Roan said. "We try so hard to give good service, and then something like this happens. It's hard on the public, and it's stressful for all of us."


OKAY, Let's Summarize:

I'm finding more news stories about other states, such as Montana and Virginia. Each story plays similar tunes: extra cost; Real ID not defined, don't know what to do; unfunded mandate; hire more motor vehicle bureau employees ... I'm going to stop posting similar stories for now.

It's safe to say that the problems with Real ID are becoming obvious. Why doesn't any congress person have the guts to DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT?

One news story claimed that with the Real ID law, the federal government was "prodding" states to improve the quality of their ID checking on drivers licenses. But of course that's a joke. Real ID is forcing states to do nothing for several years while waiting to see what the rules of the game will be.

A reprieve for passports?

On July 4, I blogged about how passports are in the same fix as Real ID, with a law requiring changes that haven't been specified by the DHS. The passport deadline is a lot sooner, in 2007. Well according to this article by Faith Bremner in the Detroit Free Press:
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., inserted a provision into the 2007 Homeland Security spending bill that would postpone the requirement until June 1, 2009. The Senate unanimously approved the bill Thursday. The House must still approve the change.

Please bear in mind that postponements don't solve anything either. If Real ID gets postponed a few times, all states will be in limbo, unable to modernize, improve or fix their drivers licenses, until they finally find out what they are supposed to implement.

Nevada's in the dark!

Valerie Miller writes along familiar lines in the Nevada Business Press. HEre story makes two amazing points that I'd like to emphasize:

  1. There's no way for a state to apply for the paltry $40 million that the Real ID law's supposed to give them, to implement it.
  2. The TSA is making no plans to force people to show Real ID licenses (and validate them) when we fly. There's no coordination here!
Some quotes:
"We don't have a Real ID budget," admitted Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles spokesman Tom Jacobs. "Until the feds decide what the rules will be, there isn't a state in the union that can say what it will cost."
Lines at local DMVs might be out the door if and when Real ID becomes mandated.

The key part of those rules will be the technology used to authenticate the papers needed for the new license. ...

This year's federal budget included $40 million in grants to states for the new ID program, but Nevada officials haven't seen any money. "There is no mechanism in place to apply for the grants," said Steve George, Gov. Kenny Guinn's press secretary.

Same-o, Same-o in Texas:

Lisa Sandberg wrote an article at MySa.com with a Texan take on real ID:
Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, D-San Antonio, said Texans could see license fees jump to more than $100, from the $24 they now pay, when the federal government begins requiring states to issue uniform drivers' licenses — what many consider a de-facto national ID card.

The change also would eliminate the convenience of online and mail renewals and would even require renewing motorists to produce both their Social Security cards and their birth certificates in person at Department of Public Safety offices. ...
"If the federal government wanted a national ID card, they should have passed it on the national level. We're looking at a huge unfunded mandate," Van De Putte said. ...
"The REAL ID Act will make it a little harder for terrorists to get documents, but it won't make it impossible," said Jim Harper, director of information policy studies at the Cato Institute, a Washington-based libertarian think tank. "It'll give states information on the law abiding but it doesn't protect against the law breaker."

And Wyoming's unhappy:

An article by Rena Delbridge in the online StarTribune.net bemoans what Wyoming faces in the Real Id law:
Wyoming redesigned its licenses just two years ago, O’Connor said, and although Cowboy State licenses are one of the most difficult to reproduce illegally, they’ll no longer be adequate under the Real ID rules.
Along with a new design, the licenses will be much more difficult to obtain or renew, O’Connor said. People will see an end to renewals by mail. They’ll have to go to Driver Services armed with a certified copy of a birth certificate, a Social Security number and, if applicable, a marriage license or proof of legal change of name. That will probably increase the average time it takes a person at Driver Services from about 15 minutes to 45 or even 60 minutes, he said....
So far the federal act simply sets forth guidelines; apparently no hard and fast rules are ready, O’Connor said. That leaves states a little in limbo as to what to do and on what timeline.

“This is just another unfunded mandate,” Rep. Mary Gilmore, D-Natrona, said. “It is taking local power, state power, away. I resent these kinds of things terribly.”

Collateral Damage from the Real ID Law:

The authors of the Real ID law seem to truly hate terrorists and foreigners. The difficulties that this law raises for them could keep many of them out of the USA in the future, and we may become less of a cosmopolitan nation as a result. One of the side issues of the Real ID law is that it forbids keeping foreign refuges who have offered "material support" to terrorists. Unfortunately this vague phrase includes people who offered a goat, or a drink of water to terrorists at gunpoint or under threat of rape. Apparently we don't want "your tired, your poor", anymore. An article (July 22, 2006) by Peter Sachs at www.journalnow.com discusses these issues.

Long Lines for Licenses ...

Alabama is trying to become Real-ID-ready as fast as possible, which means that they now check people's Id as carefully sa they think the Real ID law will require. An article by Tiffeny Hurtado in the Decatur Daily discusses the pain foreign residents experience as they line up from 5:30 a.m. for a license.
... Athens and Hartselle have problems because of Real I.D. In Athens, people have arrived as early as 5 a.m. to be first in line. The office gives out numbers, and a number above 10 means another day in line.
Imagine that, a motor vehicle office that can process ten people per day due to all the checking required!

The Voice of Doom in California ...

Linda Gledhill writes, in an online San Francisco Chronicle piece:
(07-24) 04:00 PDT Sacramento -- Starting in 2008, all 22 million licensed California drivers will be required to go in person to a DMV office and prove their identity and address with three different documents before getting a new, federally approved state license.

The sheer size and scope of that task -- required by a federal law passed in the wake of Sept. 11 -- already has the state Department of Motor Vehicles worried about lines that would make current complaints about the agency's notoriously slow service seem trivial.

The article notes that Cal. has budgeted $18 million to pay staff just to plan how to phase in the new licenses. It also notes that no federal money at all has been given to states for Real ID work, despite the Real ID law, which does allocate paltry amounts to every state.

It may take several years to process those 22 million drivers at Cal.'s 169 offices. But - the writer seems to have missed this - many people who do not have drivers licences must be processed as well, such as every kid who wants to fly or enter a federal building.


A touch of sanity in California:

California's Governor S. apparently made a few last moment changes in a budget bill. One change was NOT to move $10 million into an air quality effort, because the $10 million would have been moved FROM the motor vehicles department's budget to implement Real ID. They're probably going to need that money ...
Read the story here , in a June 30, 2006 Capital Notes story.

Passports and Real ID: IN THE SAME FIX!

A serious problem for Real ID is that, over a year after the law was passed, the format of drivers licenses is signifigantly undefined. The DHS is empowered to add requirements, and must clarify many vague terms in the law. Until the DHS speaks, no state can really develop the computer systems necessary to support Real ID licenses.

Well - incredibly - many passports are in the same fix! A 2004 law required people entering the US with passports from the Americas, the Caribbean and Bermuda to conform to standards to be specified by the DHS. The passports MUST be used in 2007 for sea and air travel, and in 2008 for all travel. But after two years, the DHS has not defined this passport format! Two senators have introduced a bill to postpone this passport law, which is described as a "train wreck," but the DHS insists it is on schedule to meet the law (ignoring, I guess, the time everyone else will need to implement what they specify). I learned about all this from a June 30, 2006 story at GovExec.com by Chris Strohm, a writer for Congress Daily.

Our heroes for trying to delay this law are Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, Here are some quotes:
Senate appropriators moved Thursday to push back a deadline for travelers entering and leaving the United States to have a secure, government-approved identification document, with lawmakers saying the delay is needed to avoid a bureaucratic jam at the nation's borders.
State and DHS have been developing requirements for a new Passport Card to meet the requirements. The card is expected to contain biometric identifiers, such as fingerprints, but it has not yet been determined whether it also will include other, more controversial technology, such as radio frequency identification chips.

Leahy said the looming deadline is "a train wreck on the horizon" because State and DHS lack sufficient coordination and have not involved the Canadian government enough. "It will be far easier and less harmful to fix these problems before this system goes into effect than to have to mop up the mess afterward," he said.

The Leahy-Stevens amendment also would require Homeland Security and State to certify to Congress that several policies and technology standards are met before the program moves forward.
DHS spokesman Jarrod Agen said a notice of proposed rulemaking will be "coming soon" to meet the law's requirements. He could not offer a more specific time frame. But he said the department does not see a need for an extension.

"The whole Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is to close a loophole which exists in travel throughout the Western Hemisphere ... so therefore we are going forward with the deadlines as they are," Agen said.
"I think it is unlikely they will be able to get all the new cards or traditional passports out to the affected population in time so there will not be a disruption next year," said C. Stewart Verdery, former DHS assistant secretary for policy and planning and now a principle with Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti in Washington.

"Everybody's got to have something, including a one-time traveler coming from Kansas or New Mexico who may never have heard of this thing," he said.


"Right now Canada is waiting for technical specs on what they would have to build just to give their people something that would be readable by our readers," Verdery said. "We haven't given them any guidance."


Michigan - caught in mid-upgrade

Apparently Michigan has started upgrading their very old and out of date computer systems to handle drivers licenses better, but now they are stuck, not knowing how much the Real ID specs - that have not been finalized nor formalized yet - will cause them to redo their computer changes.
John Pulley wrote about this story at Fcw.com. Here's a long quote from an excellent story:
Takai, Michigan’s CIO, is in a double bind. She is in the midst of updating a 30-year-old computer system that state officials use to manage driver’s licenses. If she had the luxury of time, she would postpone the upgrade to ensure the new system’s compatibility with Real ID’s requirements. But with retirement looming for the few remaining employees who are proficient in an older technology, Takai can’t wait.

She is running two races with separate clocks and finish lines. Her strategy is to upgrade the old system and hope it will be compatible with requirements of the Real ID Act. “All we can do is guess at what we think the implementation is going to be,” she said. “If we get it wrong, we’re going to have a brand new system that we will have to go back in and change.”

Takai’s dilemma is unusually thorny, but states generally agree that implementing the Real ID Act poses big problems because of insufficient time and money. “States believe that this time frame is unreasonable, costly and potentially impossible to meet,” the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, wrote in an April letter to the Homeland Security Department.

In addition, CIOs rue the federal government’s unwillingness to seek ideas from states about how to implement the Real ID Act — an attitude that is not without precedent.

Real ID: Invitation to snoop ...

A California reporter discusses concerns that the Federal government with use the Real ID driver data bases for unwarranted surveillance. Here are some quotes from Mike Gardner's June 25, 2006 column in SignOn San Diego:
“Once we start telling Californians that they have to march to DMV, show proof of birth and proof of residency, all hell will break loose,” said state Senate President Pro Tempore Don Perata, D-Oakland. ...
SACRAMENTO – In the name of national security, California motorists probably will confront more hassles and higher fees when it's time to renew their licenses to drive. ...
But privacy advocates fear the license law will lead to another expansion of government snooping, a concern heightened by revelations of the secret tracking of banking transactions and phone calls.

“An identification card is always the front-end of a national surveillance system,” said Jim Harper, an analyst at the Cato Institute based in Washington, D.C.

Kevin Keenan, executive director of the San Diego area chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, warned, “This lays the infrastructure for total surveillance. That's not a free society. That's not what our founding fathers signed up for. ...”
Congress made the Real ID Act voluntary – at least technically. But the punishment for not accepting the guidelines will be severe. Licenses issued by states that do not comply will not be recognized as identification to board airplanes, open bank accounts or enter Social Security offices.

“From the far left we hear wishful thinking that we don't have to comply, but that's not the reality,” said state Sen. Gil Cedillo, D-Los Angeles, who is carrying legislation, SB 1160, designed to enact state compliance.


What if Real ID cards are: too expensive?

Let's imagine a world in which real ID cards are required for the majority of the poplulation, in order to have any dealings with the government. And for the moment let's assume that states refuse to lose money on them. Real ID cards will cost about $150 to get or to renew.

A lot of people will simply not be able to afford Real ID cards, and yet must have dealings eith the federal government. The cards could be a hardship for every member of large families below the poverty level. (Everyone who gets social security benefits may have to have a Real ID card.) Who will pay for their Real ID cards?

It would be quite an irony if states are allowed to charge such costs back to the federal government, which has, for now, made Real ID an unfunded mandate.

What is "official purpose"?

The same article I quoted just previously raises, apparently, an important constitutional issue in the Real ID law. Apparently Real ID cards will be required for federal "official purposes," but that term is undefined in the law. The term could be interpreted to mean that you can not vote in a federal election without a Real ID card. (Such an interpretation would probably be unconstitutional, as the courts have repeatedly struck down laws that make it signifigantly harder to qualify to vote.) But basically, without a definition of the term, it's impossible to anticipate who must buy equipment and pay guards to enforce the law.

In any case, many definitions of "official purpose" will require each state to bite the cost of supplying Real ID cards to far more people than registered drivers. And it's clear states will be losing money to supply these cards unless they are incredibly expensive.

States are more aware of the painful wait for the DHS ...

A web article at ContactLess News discusses awareness of the wait for the DHS to properly define Real ID so that it can be implmented. (With obvious hindsight, congress should NEVER have passed this law without requiring DHS to add its specification to the law first.) The writer, Andy Williams, says:
The act gave states until May 11, 2008 to comply. But comply with what? A year has passed since the act's adoption and the overseeing federal agency, the Department of Homeland Security, has yet to develop rules that would spell out those compliance measures. For example, what kind of ID card will be required? Will it have to have an RFID chip? And, most importantly, when will the rules for complying with Real ID even be issued?

According to Jarrod Agen, DHS spokesman, the first draft of the regulations won't even be published in the Federal Register until the second half of 2006. Then, there must follow public hearings and public input, so final rules aren't likely until early next year, he added. That would give states just a little more than a year to meet the guidelines.

The article also mentions joint recommendations by three groups to the DHS (AAMVA, governors and state legislators):

  • A potential 75% increase annually in visits to motor vehicle agencies.
  • The need for additional staff, facilities, training and equipment.
  • Only flexible regulations can ensure compliance.
  • Even if the regulations were in place now, there still isn't enough time to implement the requirements as defined by the statute. "The absence of timely regulations, systems and resources will ultimately overwhelm all good intentions," the document notes.
  • Implementation costs will be significant ... States are in the process of conducting a fiscal impact survey to accurately define the level of resources needed to meet federal standards.


The Really No Idea Act!

A story in Detroit's MetroTimes (by Ben LeFebvre) adds to my previous post; I'm not the only one aware of the DHS not finalizing Real ID. Here are a few long quotes from this article, which is right on:
"Unfortunately, we are in a bit of a holding pattern, awaiting instructions from the Department of Homeland Security," says Kelly Chesney, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of State.

Meanwhile, as the Department of Homeland Security attempts to determine the specifics of how the act will be implemented, questions about potential costs — both in terms of the dollar burden to states and the toll on individual privacy — continue to be raised about what amounts to a national ID program that will consolidate detailed personal information on a vast computer database.
And here's the most serious statement I've read about how Real ID could place our private data at risk:
Particularly upsetting for civil libertarians concerned about the Big Brother capabilities of both government and corporations is the amount of information to be contained on a single card. One requirement of the new ID will be that it use "common machine-readable technology" to store information about a person. That could mean a bar code, a magnetic strip or, more ominously, what's known as a radio frequency identification tag (RFID). As University of Washington School of Law professor Anita Ramasastry reported in a column for CNN.com, such tags emit radio frequency signals that would "allow the government to track the movement of our cards and us."

"Private businesses," Ramasastry adds, "may be able to use remote scanners to read RFID tags too, and add to the digital dossiers they may already be compiling. If different merchants combine their data — you can imagine the sorts of profiles that will develop. And unlike with a grocery store checkout, we may have no idea the scan is even occurring; no telltale beep will alert us."


Why is it problemm that the DHS has not issued its Real ID regulations yet?

I've often complained here that it is not possible for the states to develop their Real ID licenses, as required by law, until the DHS gets through specifying them. There's simply no guessing what small change the DHS might require that would force a lot of software to be rewritten and hardware to be modified or repurchased.

If you think it's "obvious" what should be on a drivers license, check out this Montana <,a href=http://www.bismarcktribune.com/articles/2006/05/19/news/topnews/114930.txt>story in the Bismarck Tribune by Tom Rqaafferty. Montana has been imaginative about solving some license problems, and in the process they have added features to their licenses that the DHS might force on everyone else; or the DHS might force Montana to drop them. The story mentions thesse features:

  • A second photo that will become blurry if photocopied.
  • Licenses of people under 21 are printed vertically instead of horizontally, to make it easy to see that they are (probably still) underage.

The idea of distinguishing licenses for people underage could be troubling, if the Real ID licenses will be valid for eight years (one possibility). A person could be 28 and have an "underrage" license, which means that people may not check them carefully before selling liquor or cigs.
The DHS probably is not interested in liquor or cigs; it's intetested in terrorism. So the DHS is more likely to require all licenses to be printed the same way, for ease of scanning and reading.


Maine Wants to give up.

A story in Bangor Daily News quotes Secretary of State Matt Dunlap:
"I don't see how we could possibly meet all its requirements. I don't see how any state could meet all the requirements by the deadline." ... "It is a huge, unfunded federal mandate," he said, "and it is totally unrealistic in its timelines."

Maine recently spent $14 million to computerize and speed up the licensing process, and is now looking at a new law that will create long lines to renew, and make licenses cost over $100.
"It simply can't be done in a couple of years," he said. Dunlap is joined in his criticism of the law by the National Governors Association and the National Conference of State Legislatures, which issued a report last month critical of the lack of funding and unrealistic implementation schedule.


Resitance is Building (2) ...

An article in the free Internet Press has more quotes from a National Governors Association meeting:
Concerns are so great that last week, the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures and the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators issued a report saying that the states have not been given the time or money to comply with the law and that they need at least another eight years.
... "It's absolutely absurd," said Gov. Mike Huckabee, of Arkansas, chairman of the National Governors Association, which takes a stand on issues only when it has a broad consensus. "The time frame is unrealistic; the lack of funding is inexcusable."

Another concern, Huckabee, a Republican, said, is "whether this is a role that you really want to turn over to an entry-level, front-line, desk person at the D.M.V."

"If we're at a point that we need a national I.D. card, then let's do that," Huckabee said. "But let's not act like we're addressing this at a federal level and then blame the states if they mess it up. There's not a governor in America that wants that responsibility."

Resistance is building (1) ...

Resistance is building against the real ID act. I'm sure this has a lot to do with the fact that May 2008 is closer than it used to be, and the act is still not finished (no specs from the DHS after a year of waiting). Here are some comments from the online version of Jurist (Pitttsburgh PA Univ law school), article by Jamie Sterling:
State lawmakers have expressed concern about possible problems expected to accompany the implementation of the REAL ID Act [PDF text, UPI backgrounder], fearing that the law cannot be enacted before the May 2008 deadline.
Since the law passed Congress [JURIST report] last May, states have said that the compliance process is too large and too expensive to undertake and complete by the deadline. New York City passed a resolution asking that the law be repealed, Kentucky and Washington are currently considering passing such resolutions, and the New Hampshire House passed a bill [text] last week that would allow the state to opt out of compliance with the act entirely.
...the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators [official website] teamed up and released a report [PDF text] concluding that states are unprepared to implement the law [press release] and may need up to eight years to acquire the requisite money and time to successfully enact the legislation. These organizations hope the report will "bring state concerns about REAL ID to the attention of the Department of Homeland Security."


Declan McCullagh on Real ID:

Declan McCullagh is CNET News.com's chief political correspondent. He has gained fame on the net for his discussions of many aspects of the law that interest web citizens, Intellectual Property and Media people. He has a FAQ on Real ID. His FAQ is - I would say - rather evenhanded. Here's where it gets interesting:
Is this a national ID card?
It depends on whom you ask. Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's technology and liberty program, says: "It's going to result in everyone, from the 7-Eleven store to the bank and airlines, demanding to see the ID card. They're going to scan it in. They're going to have all the data on it from the front of the card...It's going to be not just a national ID card but a national database."

McCullagh's new column (4/17/06) is titled "Perspective: The Real ID rebellion." In it, he discusses New hampshire's rebellion: they have passed a state law forbidding NH from participating in Real ID. Here are two more interesting quotes:
While New Hampshire may be the first, it's not alone. Other state politicians are seething over how the federales are strong-arming them on national IDs.

The National Governors Association, hardly a bunch of libertarians, has called the Real ID Act "unworkable and counterproductive." The National Conference of State Legislatures wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff in October, asking him to defer to states' expertise.

No doubt much of the political outcry is over money and would evaporate if the Feds wrote checks to cover the cost of upgrading state computer systems. (The governors' press release baldly admits they're "asking Congress to fund the changes required" by the Real ID Act. One taxpayer watchdog group puts the cost at $90 per Real ID card.)

That would be a shame. Privacy and autonomy are even better reasons to be skeptical of this scheme.

And he also notes that Real ID might conflict with the Tenth Amendment to the constitution:
"Having a national ID would promote a surveillance society that we should all dread," Jim Harper, the director of information policy studies at the free-market Cato Institute, told the state Senate committee last week.

The sad thing is that the U.S. Constitution was written to prohibit the federal government from taking such drastic steps. The long-forgotten Tenth Amendment says that powers not explicitly delegated to the Feds "are reserved to the states" or to the people.


Our Story so far ...

A nice column by Justine Nicholas at www.LewRockwell.com sums up the current Real ID controversy, noting the strange bedfellows forming for and against it, and making a few other interesting points. She quotes an opponent saying "You need ID to get ID. And no ID means no work." And she notes that New Jersey may actually have a more secure system for requiring ID than the federal Real ID system (the federal law overrides state laws).

She aptly focuses on the hysteria to do anything in the name of security, so that:
[Proponents] have been joined by hysterical officials and laypeople who will endorse anything that can be attached to the word "security," however tenuously. So we see people who find nothing wrong with creating the Police State of America joining forces with those who claim to oppose governmental control of people’s lives.

"You need ID to get ID. And no ID means no work."

A nice column by Justine Nicholas at www.LewRockwell.com sums up the current Real ID controversy, noting the strange bedfellows forming for and against it, and making a few other interesting points. She quotes an opponent saying "You need ID to get ID. And no ID means no work." And she notes that New Jersey may actually have a more secure system for requiring ID than the federal real ID system (the federal law overrides state laws).

She aptly focuses on the hysteria to do anything in the name of security, so that:
[Proponents] have been joined by hysterical officials and laypeople who will endorse anything that can be attached to the word "security," however tenuously. So we see people who find nothing wrong with creating the Police State of America joining forces with those who claim to oppose governmental control of people’s lives.


The Devil is in the Details (and here they come):

You probably remember that the real ID law is not complete. The law requires the DHS to specify additional requirements that every state must meet. A news story at Security Document World lists recommendations that an organization called the Document Security Alliance (DSA) has made to the DHS. (No telling whether the DHS is listening, of course.) The DSA "is made up of approximately 70 industry members and representatives from 20 federal government organizations including the United States Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Departments of Homeland Security, Treasury and Transportation, along with the Social Security Administration, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the Government Printing Office." This group has apparently looked at issues of compatibility, retention, verifiability and authentication, and they've made a lot of recommendations. At the very least, they are showing us how complicated (and expensive) it may be to "do Real ID right." Here are some of their concerns:
* electronic scanning and archiving for document capture, retention and storage;
* electronic verification of applicant information;
* 2D Barcodes as the standard overt machine-readable technology for carrying data;
* incorporation of new technologies to enable cross-jurisdictional point of inspection human and machine-readable ID authentication (such as barcodes, digital watermarks and optical media);
* support for current major issuing methods (Over-the-Counter, Central, Hybrid) with security process improvements;
* document durability and performance standards including the use of composite cards, PVC and polyester, polycarbonate, Teslin or other card materials that can meet the performance requirements yet are also compatible with current typical personalization equipment presently being used in secure ID issuance systems;
* 5-year validity period for identity credentials
* physical security of materials and facilities ;
* training on fraudulent documents and human-verifiable and machine-readable features of credentials.

Here's one small sample point: some states believe they are already in compliance with the Real ID act, but if the DHS accepts these recommendations and establishes challenging standards for the required degree of detail used to scan paper documents, all states may have to buy new systems and rescan everything their citizens have already produced.

The DSA'a website is www.documentsecurityalliance.com. You will find two interesting, short papers here at their site.


Britain tries the National ID:

Britain apparently is setting up a national ID including biometric ID. First will come the national register (data base) and then the plastic cards. Here's an angry article claiming (among other things) that the rate of people turning age 16 will exceed the rate of people who can be biometrically ID'd in a year. (In other words, the registry will never be complete.)

Keep an eye on the british National ID. They have less privacy protection and rights than Americans, and the government may still have a very hard time managing the registry. Here's a web site fighting against the British National ID.