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.


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