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."


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