Maine rejects Real ID Act!
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.
A clearinghouse of stories about how the states will be required to spend $250 million to create standardized, machine-readable driver's licenses, to make it easier for hackers, thieves and credit bureaus to track your every move.
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?"
One way to cut costs might be to issue passports for every Vermonter.
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.
[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.
"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.
"If the new state databases are compromised, they will provide one-stop access to virtually all information necessary to commit identity theft," he said.
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.
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 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.
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.
"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.
"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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
Earnhardt said Friday's AAMVAnet problems were no surprise.The article discusses a period when no drivers could be served at all because access to AAMVAnet was down.
"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.
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."
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.
"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.
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."
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.”
... 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!
(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 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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
“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.
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.
"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.And here's the most serious statement I've read about how Real ID could place our private data at risk:
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.
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."
"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."
"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.
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."
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."
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."
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.
"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.
[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.
[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.
* 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.