The federal government is going to be voting on emergency funding for the troops, which is a good thing. I’m sure they could use the money. The real concern I have is the Real ID Act that has been added as a rider to this bill. This bill would require the following information to be present on your drivers license and available via a “common machine-readable technology” (most likely RFID tags that allow scanners to read such information wirelessly from up to 30 feet away):
- The person’s full legal name.
- The person’s date of birth.
- The person’s gender.
- The person’s driver’s license or identification card number.
- A digital photograph of the person.
- The person’s address of principle residence.
- The person’s signature.
- Physical security features designed to prevent tampering, counterfeiting, or duplication of the document for fraudulent purposes.
- A common machine-readable technology, with defined minimum data elements.
This is a complete victory for identification thieves who will now be able to glean such information with a quick scan of your drivers license. Everything they need to assume your identity is stored, digitally, on a little piece of plastic that thousands of people lose daily and everyone hands over to a total stranger at least once a day. It’s not too late to fight this bill. You can fax your Senators at UnRealID.com and you can also mail Congressment Sensenbrenner at firstname.lastname@example.org. Below is my email to him (feel free to copy and paste and send this to your senators).
Dear Congressmen Sensenbrenner,
I’m emailing from the state of Washington with my concerns over your Real ID Act. The bill states that a drivers license must contain my full legal name, date of birth, gender, license number, digital photo of myself, my principle address (not a PO BOX or work address) and my signature. This means anyone with a camera phone will have more than enough information with a quick click of the shutter. It makes me quite uneasy to know that many judges, cops and women could have such information readily available to stalkers, rapists and other criminals.
To make matters worse you have required a common machine-readable technology, which would be decided upon by the Dept. of Homeland Security. From what I have read they are leaning towards the use of RFID technology, which would make such identification cards easily readable with the proper equipment (which is quite affordable) from anyone within 30 feet of my person.
The centralized database also concerns me. This would, essentially, give the darker element of the internet a single point of access to enough personal information to wreak total havoc in the area of identification theft.
Please, reconsider this disastrous piece of legislation.
Joseph C. Stump
The worst part is they plan on linking all of the state databases together into a centralized location. I give it a year, maybe two, before some hacker/cracker hacks his/her way into the database and hase enough information to, literally, hold the public hostage.
UPDATE: I just got an email back from a good friend who works on The Hill with regards to the Real ID Act.
It will be law sometime in the near future. The Senate is considering the supplemental appropriations conference report that contains Real ID. It’s a conference report, so it cannot be amended in any way. It will likely be on the president’s desk sometime in a the next week or
Sounds rather bleak, but it shouldn’t stop you from faxing/emailing/calling your Senators.