Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Pardon The Interruption...

It's not often I get political. Not here anyway. But there's an issue my home state has been dealing with. In fact, every state has been dealing with. Which has some very serious consequences that in my very humble opinion have been kept largely out of the public domain.

Recently, the Homeland Security Administration passed a new regulation requiring states to adopt new policies regarding the issuance of IDs to residents. It's called the RealID, you may have heard of it. They did so without any real debate in congress.

Their premise for these new policies, they say, is to increase the difficulty of obtaining an state ID under false pretenses. Which is something I and I don't believe anyone else has a problem with. In some states it is all too easy to get an driver's license or ID with false information.

Most states have bent to Homeland Security's demands and agreed to implement the new measures, despite the fact that it will mean millions of dollars of increase expense to the states in order to implement the changes. Which really should be the first red flag for citizens.

I say the first, because their are several. What hasn't received much attention in the public domain is WHAT makes the implementation so expensive. Included in the "upgrades" Homeland Security is attempting to require states to implement is the placement of RFID tags in all IDs.

For those unfamiliar with RFID tags, they are tiny chips which have often been used by manufacturers to reduce loss by tracking products and where they go. An RFID tag, also known as Radio Frequency Identification tags, are a small thing which can be tracked via GPS. Which means if you have one on/in your driver's license as Homeland Security is trying to enforce, you can be tracked anytime as long as you have your ID on you.

"What's the big deal, I don't do anything wrong or go anywhere I shouldn't?" here's the big deal... Even the most secure, safe-guarded systems get hacked. The Pentagon, the CIA, the FBI... It happens. Which means some of the most unscrupulous people in the world would have access to your every single move.

What's more, when asked by opponents what measures Homeland Security plans to take in order to ensure there are no abuses of American Privacy, their only response is to basically say, "We have it handled."

I am proud say that our state governor has refused to comply with the demands of Homeland Security. And furthermore, our governor issued a letter to the head of Homeland Security making it clear he felt certain aspects of RealID were a clear violation of the privacy and security of Americans. In addition, RealIDs make it much easier for nefarious people to get your information and steal your identity.

The ACLU has been fighting the good fight against RealID, but it still shocks me to discover so few people realize just what implementing RealID would mean to each of us.

I am no expert in this area. RealNightmare.org is a website with more information on the subject. The ACLU has several articles on the subject as well.

Only a handful of states have still not bent to the will of the all-powerful Dept. of Homeland Security. Whether your state has or has not bent, I encourage you to explore the issue, pass along the awareness, and consider speaking out to those who are in a position to stop this from happening.

(who promises not to turn this into a political blog) :o)