Monday, March 24, 2008
Sun Mar 23, 2008 at 01:59:49 PM PDT
It's just beyond me why more Congressional Democrats have not seized upon Real ID as an issue that could split the Republican party down the middle.
From almost every perspective, the 2005 Real ID Act is reprehensible. Its most obnoxious component creates in effect a national ID card by imposing draconian restrictions upon how states may issue drivers licenses. It requires the states to conduct expensive (and essentially impossible) background checks, and create and share databases with extensive personal information for all drivers. It also requires that airline passengers and anyone seeking to enter a federal building in the future must present a Real ID, or face extensive screening and delays. There's every reason to believe that in the not too distant future, the uses of this nascent national ID card would be extended both in public and private spheres until it became nearly impossible to do without one. Furthermore, the state databases would almost certainly be fed into federal systems, including data-mining programs like Total Information Awareness (or whatever the government is calling its Orwellian program now). It's hard to believe as well that these vast state databases could be kept secure from snoopers and identity-thieves, when so many "low-level" employees will have direct, daily access to them. Real ID is a nightmarishly bad idea.
Drafted by the slightly daft James Sensenbrenner and inserted in the conference report for a must-pass emergency appropriation bill (for tsunami relief), Real ID was enacted without debate, without hearings, without input from Democrats. Like the Patriot Act, also rushed through in an underhanded and undemocratic way, Real ID gives the federal government sweeping powers – some of them apparently unconstitutional – while suppressing the means to resist it. For example, Real ID has a provision stripping courts of jurisdiction in any federal seizure of private land in the "vicinity" of national borders, for vaguely defined security purposes....(Click here for remainder of post.)