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February 11, 2005 7:07 AM   Subscribe

US House of Representatives approves national electronic ID cards. Under the rules, which passed by a 261 - 161 vote , federal employees would reject licenses or identity cards that don't comply, which could curb Americans' access to airplanes, trains, national parks, federal courthouses and other areas controlled by the federal government. More at c|net.
posted by dejah420 (98 comments total)

 
As per my understanding of US law, doesn't the Senate and POTUS have to approve this, before it becomes law? What are those chances?
posted by daksya at 7:11 AM on February 11, 2005


yeah, what are the chances? I guess even Bush lovers should be very wary of this thing
posted by matteo at 7:14 AM on February 11, 2005


This has been news in Utah for a few days now, since our regulations on obtaining a driver's license were apparently too lax to meet the requirements of H.R. 418. Our Legislature is already all over it. They're such patriots.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:18 AM on February 11, 2005


As per my understanding of US law, doesn't the Senate and POTUS have to approve this, before it becomes law? What are those chances?

Of the Senate? I don't know. By the President. 110%, I'd say.
posted by bitmage at 7:26 AM on February 11, 2005


yeah, what are the chances? I guess even Bush lovers should be very wary of this thing

I don't know about Bush lovers in general, but his truly evangelical supporters probably won't like it- mark of the beast and all that. I've read more than a few evangelical polemics against Social Security numbers, I cannot imagine that a national ID card is going to go over well with that base of his constituency.
posted by headspace at 7:27 AM on February 11, 2005


Maybe it's just cause I've spent so much time reading science fiction and dystopian fiction written by the generation that fought WWII, but I'm just astounded to see legislation like this in the US. We're talking about a 50 year shift from not needing ID at all, to needing to carry a federally mandated ID on you at all times to be able to access any services as a "citizen".

And there's not revolution in the streets...people are so scared that they'll allow the regime to roll right over them if they can be convinced it's for their "safety."

And maybe it's because I'm feeling a little pre-camp hassidic. How much easier does this make the government's job when they want to round "undesirables" up?
posted by dejah420 at 7:27 AM on February 11, 2005


When I get on an airplane and someone shows ID, I'd like to be sure they are who they say they are," said Rep. Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican, during a floor debate that started Wednesday.

Yeah, right. If that come from the mouth of Kennedy that wouldn't have made any difference, it pretty much explains the tactique of scaring people into comformity.

It seems to me that Davis would rather know that Joe Abdulla is probably an arab then check if Abdulla has a bomb in his shoes ! Whoa, it's so pretty fucking important to know what's your name ..and if you wear Nike shoes, that's mmmerican shoes they don't harbor bombs do they ?

But there's a positive: my american friends used to tell me I live in a sucky police state with national id card (police here can stop you, search you with probable cause and bring you to police station for identification IF you don't bring an ID card with you) ..welll guess you'll be in my same situation shortly, sucker :)

Shhhh dissent is treason !!
posted by elpapacito at 7:30 AM on February 11, 2005


Eight republican Nays. Two from the Floridian Diaz-Balarts, one from the Floridian Ros-Lehtinen (gotta keep the Cuban-Americans happy), and one from the enigma that is Chris Smith.

This leaves Pombo, Young, Paul, and Wilson as the four Republican Reps who might still have spines.
posted by trharlan at 7:30 AM on February 11, 2005


If this gets past the Senate and the President signs it, we can all expect another efficiently-run point of service where we can go out and easily get the cards in a timely fashion.
posted by Captaintripps at 7:34 AM on February 11, 2005


Shouldn't the fundies be freaking out about "the mark of the beast," about now?

Maybe we can get 'em on our side for a change. Strange bedfellows and all that...
posted by jonmc at 7:34 AM on February 11, 2005


Gee, isn't this the same sort of shit we used to make fun of in the movies, when the Nazi border guard would demand "Your papers please!"? And as Americans we'd get superior smiles on our faces, knowing that as free citizens in a free country, we didn't have to show our papers to anyone? (Well, as long as we weren't black or Japanese-American.)

And I just watched that Stalag 17 movie, where the International Red Cross is a good organization that enforces the Geneva Conventions to make sure American POWs aren't mistreated. Now the International Red Cross is the organization we hide prisoners from, so that we can violate the Geneva Conventions, which are quaint.

And in the movies, the Germans always want to surrender to us, because we give them chocolates, rather than to the Russians, who will kill them. But now we see video of American troops executing helpless wounded prisoners against orders, and following orders to shoot solders' pet dogs.

Can we just go back to watching those old movies where we Americans were decent people who believed in something?

Because this movie where we're consumed with fear and letting go of everything we believe in, in order to grasp at some security, I don't think it's going to have a happy ending.
posted by orthogonality at 7:41 AM on February 11, 2005


So when will the Senate and POTUS vote/decide on this?
posted by daksya at 7:41 AM on February 11, 2005


The only requirements that may affect New York are the face imaging software. Otherwise, none of these requirements are outside the way this state already handles drivers' licenses. Most states seem to match these criteria. What a set of useless legislation. What a waste of time.
posted by Captaintripps at 7:42 AM on February 11, 2005


daksya: It does not appear to be on the calendar for the Senate yet.
posted by Captaintripps at 7:47 AM on February 11, 2005


Just what exactly is it about this legislation that so scares you wusses?

Also, a piece of identification is very different from 'papers' authorizing travel in a country that is the epicenter of a major war. If I read that right, you are basing your fears on a movie?

If you don't like it, don't get a drivers license. Simple as that. ;-P
posted by mischief at 7:50 AM on February 11, 2005


What can I say? Welcome Squid Overlords.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 7:53 AM on February 11, 2005


From the third link:
which could curb Americans' access to airplanes, trains, national parks, federal courthouses and other areas controlled by the federal government

So I would have to have a drivers licence to take a train? What about a bus? The subway? A taxi?

I'm one of those "no purse" females. Unless I'm driving, I hardly ever carry a wallet much less a purse. I can see the future and it looks like I'm going to have to start carrying at least a wallet.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:54 AM on February 11, 2005


Did anyone actualy RTFA?

All of this faux-1984 hysteria is ridiculous. All the damn legislation consists of is a minimum requirement for your driver's license that you already have. You already have to show that to get on the airplane. All this legislation does is require that the card have sufficient indicia of reliability so that it can be confirmed that it isn't a fake ID.

No, you don't have to have it on you at all times. The hysterical histrionics on this site are amazing. You won't be stopped and have your papers demanded. No where is that even mentioned. But don't let that stop you from tripping over yourselves to be melodramatic.

But now your state will have to make your DL a little more efficient. So at the times where you already have to produce ID, it will be easier to recognize as legitimate and not fake.
posted by dios at 7:55 AM on February 11, 2005


Licensing should be left to the states. Tenth amendment issue.
posted by raysmj at 7:55 AM on February 11, 2005


mischief shrugs blandly: "If you don't like it, don't get a drivers license. Simple as that. ;-P"

And you won't be able to travel on any plane, train, or ship, or enter any Federal building your taxes pay for, or get any services you're entitled to as a citizen.

Yes, and "love it or leave it."

Except, you'd need a National ID Card to get a passport.
posted by orthogonality at 7:57 AM on February 11, 2005


Licensing should be left to the states.

Technically, this bill does leave licensing to the states. It simply sets minimum standards for personal identification, for the form of the id, and for sharing information. It does not say anything about licensing standards themselves.

Not saying that I agree with the bill, but get your facts straight.
posted by casu marzu at 7:58 AM on February 11, 2005


If you don't have a driver's license, you're still going to need some sort of compliant ID to be recognized by federal employees. This includes security personel at airports.
posted by splatta at 7:59 AM on February 11, 2005


daksya: It does not appear to be on the calendar for the Senate yet.

NPR yesterday seemed to think that passage in the Senate was fairly unlikely. I'm writing to my (Rebublican) Senators today, just to make sure they know I'd like it to stay wildly unlikely.
posted by anastasiav at 8:00 AM on February 11, 2005


Except, you'd need a National ID Card to get a passport.
posted by orthogonality at 7:57 AM PST on February 11


No, ortho. That is incorrect. You have to have your birth certificate and a social security card to get a passport.

There is no such thing in existence or as a product of this bill called "a National ID card." But don't let that stop you in your crusade to convince us all that the end is nigh.
posted by dios at 8:00 AM on February 11, 2005


Did you RTFA, dios?

States would be required to demand proof of the person's Social Security number and confirm that number with the Social Security Administration. They would also have to scan in documents showing the person's date of birth and immigration status, and create a massive store "so that the (scanned) images can be retained in electronic storage in a transferable format" permanently.

Another portion of the bill says that states would be required to link their DMV databases if they wished to receive federal funds. Among the information that must be shared: All data fields printed on drivers' licenses and identification cards, and complete drivers' histories, including motor vehicle violations, suspensions and points on licenses.

posted by trharlan at 8:00 AM on February 11, 2005


So I would have to have a drivers licence to take a train? What about a bus? The subway? A taxi?

Those are not federal services (except for Amtrak trains -- and I can't recall ever having to produce an ID to board one of them), so no.
posted by casu marzu at 8:00 AM on February 11, 2005


What is required here is that the states are required to give up the database and driving records to the Feds to create the national DB. I'm not sure why the records need to be part of it. While I don't like it, it is reasonable to assume that a central collection of data is inevitable. Most people don't care or don't understand the impact and the government and companies that benefit are in control. What should be completely unacceptable is that at the same time the government is successfully pulling this shit it is also successfully closing itself off to public scrutiny, which is what makes the expansion of government data consolidation much more risky.
posted by mss at 8:01 AM on February 11, 2005


Trharlan, that would be to issue you your driver's license.
posted by dios at 8:01 AM on February 11, 2005


Section 102 of this bill allows the Secretary of Homeland Security to suspend any law he declares impedes his ability to erect barriers at the country's borders.

Oh yeah, and it also states that his decision can't be reviewed by the courts.

I don't think the Supreme Court will look on this too kindly.

And while I'll be happy if the Senate rejects this vile bill, I'll still be heart-broken and bewildered that it passed in the House.
posted by rocketpup at 8:05 AM on February 11, 2005


mischief: My overriding opposition to this legislation comes from two sources.

First: It is a so-called "unfunded mandate." The Federal Government is in effect forcing the States to make changes to their procedure, major changes in some places, and making those states pay for it. The States do not have to do this, but if their citizens want to travel by air or get any kind of Federal service, their State identification will have to mesh with these guidelines. I abhor unfunded mandates.

Second: My own state already follows most of these provisions, minus the face imaging software. Why should I have to go back and get a new license again?

Some other important reasons, for me, include the idea that I should be able to travel wherever I wish, whenever I wish without the involvement of the Government (though obviously this has slowly been eroded vis a vis air travel); that this legislation will not protect us from terrorism (most of the 9/11 hijackers had legal identification acquired legally, a couple through fraud).
posted by Captaintripps at 8:08 AM on February 11, 2005


Oh yeah, and it also states that his decision can't be reviewed by the courts.
The legislature has the power to remove whatever they want from judicial oversight. It is a constitutional power. Moreover, the Court lacks the jurisdiction of a political question.

And while I'll be happy if the Senate rejects this vile bill, I'll still be heart-broken and bewildered that it passed in the House.
posted by rocketpup at 8:05 AM PST on February 11

You are heartbroken that your state has to include indicia of reliability on your driver's license? Wow. Is your business the fake/novelty ID trade?
posted by dios at 8:11 AM on February 11, 2005


Congressman Reyes offered an amendment to this bill

"Mr. Reyes of Texas moves to recommit the bill H.R. 418 to the Committee on the Judiciary with instructions to report the same back to the House forthwith with the following amendment: At the end of section 203, add the following: (c) Restrictions on Information Contained in Database.--A State motor vehicle database may not include any information about a person's exercise of rights guaranteed under the first, second, or 14th amendment to the Constitution of the United States."--Congressional Record. (link may be temporary)

The amendment failed 243-179.

Privacy advocates, gun owners, you've been sold out.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:14 AM on February 11, 2005


All the damn legislation consists of is a minimum requirement for your driver's license that you already have.

I think the source of anxiety is that the national ID will be linked to a national database. Thus in theory if the requirement to present the ID card became widespread ("what's the harm, we're just asking you to show ID before you go into that store") the government would possess the means to track any citizen's movements from sunup to sundown. That's frightening.

Actually, if the ID contained an RFID tag they wouldn't even have to ask. That's *really* frightening.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 8:14 AM on February 11, 2005


I just had to show a prior driver's license, a passport, a birth certificate, and a Social Security card to get a Massachusetts license. I'm just lucky that I had to get a new SS card a few years ago (my original one had disappeared somewhere along the way) or I'd have been SOL. All this ID mania is not going to stop, or even impede, terrorism, but it sure is going to make Americans more subservient and less able to evade the powers that be. I'd ask what's happening to the country I love, but we all know the answer to that. (Well, all except dios, I guess.)
posted by languagehat at 8:15 AM on February 11, 2005


For what it is worth, this bill that passed was a suggestion of the vaunted 9/11 Commission; the comission that many of you praised here and chastised Bush for not immediately and unequivocably implementing.

Whats the German word for schadenfreude?
posted by dios at 8:15 AM on February 11, 2005


it is reasonable to assume that a central collection of data is inevitable.

Actually, central collection of data has been underway for a long time. This bill is not the opening salvo in that process. Or haven't you heard of the CIA, FBI, IRS, or any number of other federal agencies?

This bill does not establish a so-called national id card. In principle, it is intended to strengthen identification standards to prevent the issuance of fraudulent id's. There are a lot of inherent problems even with this idea, and a lot of voting blocs (including traditionally Republican voting blocs like the NRA) that aren't too keen on this idea.

It is a so-called "unfunded mandate." The Federal Government is in effect forcing the States to make changes to their procedure, major changes in some places, and making those states pay for it.

Concur. This is a huge overreach of federal authority. The House is full of morons.
posted by casu marzu at 8:17 AM on February 11, 2005


Folks, you already have a national ID. It's called your Social Security Number. "They" have been tracking every American citizen with it since birth(!) Even resident aliens get a SSN when they get a work visa.

Try banking, accessing healthcare or many government services without a SSN. You can't get health insurance, car insurance, a credit card, or a bank account without one. Although you CAN get your Illinois FOID (firearm owners ID) without a social security number, you need a drivers license or state ID number to get a FOID card. And to get a DL or state ID, you need a Social Security Number.
posted by eatyourlunch at 8:18 AM on February 11, 2005


at the American Library Association conference last month we passed a resolution basically urging the people who were working on this bill to both exempt library cards and other non-drivers-license related information from being on them, and erring on the side of privacy for the license holder and accountability for the license creator. The biggish issue is that the bill requires all licenses to be able to hold this information on the card which is new and while it sets minimum standards for what MUST be on it, it doesn't have anything to say about what can't or shouldn't be on it. In particular I was drawn to this line of what the DMV must have in order to issue one of these new superlicenses.

Proof of the person's social security account number or verification that the person is not eligible for a social security account number.

What's to keep them from putting your SSN on your license? And then making you carry it around? Identity theft is already a huge problem in the US and it's not just about peopel getting fake drivers licenses, it has much more to do with accessing and forging credit card numbers and/or fraudulent telephone/cell phone account etc. Licenses like this will not help that problem.
posted by jessamyn at 8:18 AM on February 11, 2005


The section 120c link wasn't working for me, but I thought I'd share the verbage. It seems that this would indeed let the Director of Homeland security seize property and people and nobody would have any recourse whatsoever.

Section 102(c) of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 … is amended to read as follows:

“(c) Waiver. —
“(1) In general. — Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall have the authority to waive, and shall waive, all laws such Secretary, in such Secretary’s sole discretion, determines necessary to ensure expeditious construction of the barriers and roads under this section.

“(2) No judicial review. — Notwithstanding any other provision of law (statutory or nonstatutory), no court shall have jurisdiction —

“(A) to hear any cause or claim arising from any action undertaken, or any decision made, by the Secretary of Homeland Security pursuant to paragraph (1); or

“(B) to order compensatory, declaratory, injunctive, equitable, or any other relief for damage alleged to arise from any such action or decision.”
posted by dejah420 at 8:21 AM on February 11, 2005


Will the ID be required to get into the White House press corps? /Gannon
posted by danOstuporStar at 8:23 AM on February 11, 2005


I just sent letters, both physical and electronic to my Senators. Hope they listen.
posted by Captaintripps at 8:27 AM on February 11, 2005


I wonder if I'll have the option of just getting the card implanted somewhere on my body so I won't have to worry about losing it. That would be so much more convenient than having to remember to carry it around.
posted by evoo at 8:28 AM on February 11, 2005


Will the ID be required ...
posted by danOstuporStar at 8:23 AM PST on February 11


I wonder if I'll have the option of just getting the card implanted somewhere on my body so I won't have to worry about losing it. That would be so much more convenient than having to remember to carry it around.
posted by evoo at 8:28 AM PST on February 11


*head asplodes*

There is NO new ID. Can you people read? There is not some new card that you have to carry. This bill is about changes made to you current driver's license.
posted by dios at 8:31 AM on February 11, 2005


This article on Bruce Schneier's website from a while back seems relevant.
posted by kableh at 8:32 AM on February 11, 2005


Actually, central collection of data has been underway for a long time. This bill is not the opening salvo in that process. Or haven't you heard of the CIA, FBI, IRS, or any number of other federal agencies?

I think the difference here is that each of those are not linked together and apparently are difficult to get linked. While I am in the IRS DB I doubt that I am in the others. In my mind what makes this different is the feds saying 'you must do this and in this way so that we can centrally collect the information' and lay the foundation for future "enhancements" and consolidation. Starting from scratch I think allows them to solve a number of problems inherent with all the currently collected data. Since the ease that data can be collected advances daily this could set the tone for future moves that does enter the realm of total government oversight with no turning back.
posted by mss at 8:36 AM on February 11, 2005


This bill does not establish a so-called national id card.

I think you are quibbling over a name. If the Federal government sets very specific guidelines to make sure that all the states issue similar type cards and then requires you to carry this card if you want to get into a national park, say, or visit a museum in Washington, DC, or board an Amtrak train-- then it would be a National ID in everything but name only.

And what guarantee do we have that once we are all issued our federally approved cards that there would not be more laws passed requiring its use. Maybe you have to show ID in order to mail a package. Maybe to purchase binoculars. Maybe to get a flu shot. If you cannot see anything to be alarmed at by this measure being passed, I would suggest you haven't thought it through.

This is the sort of incremental change that you look back on years later and wonder, "How did things end up like this?"
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:37 AM on February 11, 2005


There is NO new ID. Can you people read? There is not some new card that you have to carry. This bill is about changes made to you current driver's license.

Oh, now you're playing semantics, you rube, you. First of all, when you change something materially, it's not what it once was-- it's different. Whether or not it's "new" depends on how you define "new," I guess. Okay, then, we'll call these "new policies that effect your identification but don't make it a 'new' ID", and conveniently overlook that the un-new ID program will be enacted with the intent of changing the nature of state-issued identification and creating a federally-mandated link of databases.
posted by trharlan at 8:43 AM on February 11, 2005


dios wrote:
The legislature has the power to remove whatever they want from judicial oversight. It is a constitutional power. Moreover, the Court lacks the jurisdiction of a political question.
Could you please show us where, specifically, Congress is granted this power? I am definitely ignorant in this matter, but all that I could find in the Constitution that seems remotely related is Article III, Section II and it doesn't seem to indicate that Congress has the power to render the courts powerless in any and all matters as your statement suggests.

dios wrote:
You are heartbroken that your state has to include indicia of reliability on your driver's license? Wow. Is your business the fake/novelty ID trade?
Have you stopped beating your wife yet?
posted by rocketpup at 8:43 AM on February 11, 2005


You have convinced me that such things are evil, Secret Life. I don't want to end in that place you described.

So now that you have convinced me, I'm all for getting rid of national ID cards. Lets start with our social security cards. So, what do you think? Can we find some common ground here and agree that we should abolish the Social Security Administration so as to prevent the fascistic use of national IDs? We can let people provide for their own security through something like private accounts or something else. But get rid of this Social Security Administration so I have to quit giving that ID number to banks, credit agencies, etc.
posted by dios at 8:46 AM on February 11, 2005


Ooh, ad absurdum.
posted by Captaintripps at 8:48 AM on February 11, 2005


rocketpup, from your own link:
In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.

Congress can remove whatever it wants from the appellate jurisdiction of federal Court. I don't remember, but wasn't that like day one of constitutional law?
posted by dios at 8:53 AM on February 11, 2005


Licensing should be left to the states. Tenth amendment issue.

I agree completely. Not the Federal Govmt's business.
posted by TetrisKid at 8:55 AM on February 11, 2005


The Social Security number was not originally meant to be a national ID, and the card still has no address identification, etc. Your number stays with you for life, and has a number tied to the place in which you received it. Much of the expansion of its use came from states for driver's license purposes, and financial service companies, etc. Some of these institutions - states, colleges and universities, etc. - have already switched to something other than the SS number for such purposes, given the risk of identity theft.
posted by raysmj at 8:58 AM on February 11, 2005


I'm as much of a civil libertarian as the next guy, but I think a national ID (or at least standardized practices for issuing state IDs) could be a good thing.

Here's why: functionally, you already have to have some kind of ID to be part of mainstream life in America -- to get a bank account, to get into buildings (especially in New York), to get around the country (even Greyhound is checking IDs now), to pick up packages from the post office. Right now, marginalized people who don't keep their documents in order (eg, homeless people, foster kids aging out of the system) and "normal" folks who for some reason lose their documents, are often caught up in a Kafkaesque situation when they try to get a state ID: because they don't have the supporting ID (birth certificate, utility bill, etc) to get the state IDthey can't get the supporting ID without a state ID.

We need a rationalized, nationalized system of providing IDs, with issuance based on actually identifying a person (eg, biometrics) rather than demanding an arbitrary set of papers. IDs should be reconceptualized as a *right* rather than a privilege, because in practice an ID is required to fully take part in modern life.
posted by insideout at 9:00 AM on February 11, 2005


what guarantee do we have that once we are all issued our federally approved cards that there would not be more laws passed requiring its use.

None. The citizens in a democracy have no recourse against unpopular actions taken by their government.

The jackbooted Republican thugs who man every public transit turnstile, library checkout, and coffee counter are salivating at the very thought of scanning every citizen's ID for every entry, exit, phone call, and transaction in order to send it to Big Brother's database.

In fact, only the people of Metafilter are opposed to this action. I'm reporting you all to the Department of Homeland security right now.
posted by casu marzu at 9:07 AM on February 11, 2005


Unfortunately, that does not appear to be what you are getting with H.R. 418, insideout. Or, rather, you're getting that with a bunch of other stuff added in.
posted by Captaintripps at 9:08 AM on February 11, 2005


I find myself agreeing with dios, here. Exactly why this is a big deal eludes me.
posted by kyrademon at 9:09 AM on February 11, 2005


We need a rationalized, nationalized system of providing IDs, with issuance based on actually identifying a person (eg, biometrics) rather than demanding an arbitrary set of papers. IDs should be reconceptualized as a *right* rather than a privilege, because in practice an ID is required to fully take part in modern life.

But on a Federal scale, there are so many people with fingers in the pie that the odds of a rationalized system approach nil. Streamlined, rational systems aren't something the US Federal government excels at.
posted by COBRA! at 9:10 AM on February 11, 2005


Here's the letter I sent to my Senators:

Dear Senator Schumer,

I would like to voice my opposition to H.R. 418, passed by the House today. When this bill reaches the Senate, I hope that you and Senator Clinton will vigorously oppose it.

New York already follows most of these provisions, minus the face imaging software. Why should I have to go back and get a new license again?

This unfunded mandate will require an already cash-strapped State to shell out more money to make changes. If we do not make those changes, New Yorkers would not be able to get any Federal services they may require or travel on the modes of transit specified by the House Bill.

I also worry about the national database of citizens this bill would create. While I will not go into melodramatic histrionics over this, I find this development of great concern and it only adds to my opposition.

This bill does not protect us from terrorism, which I know was not the primary impetus of the bill. However, this argument has been used to support REAL ID. The attacks of September 11, 2001 were conducted mostly by men in possession of legal American identification, according to the extracts of the Commission's report.

Finally, I simply want to be able to travel wherever I wish, whenever I wish with the least Government involvement. This has slowly been eroded through the aviation industry and terrorism. While I find the standards today reasonable, I find no changes to the identification process necessary. If terrorists are here to present identification, we've already failed.

Thank you for your time and keep up the great work for the Empire State.
posted by Captaintripps at 9:14 AM on February 11, 2005


Moreover, the Court lacks the jurisdiction of a political question.

If only.


Can we find some common ground here and agree that we should abolish the Social Security Administration
[...]

I believe that's being worked on as we speak.


OP - Cap'n, terrorists don't pass laws. Wait, scratch that. Congressmen don't fly planes into buildings. You should be blaming Congress and the aviation industry.
posted by trondant at 9:20 AM on February 11, 2005


I find myself agreeing with dios, here. Exactly why this is a big deal eludes me.

Again, IF the requirement to present and have read the ID card (or if, heaven forbid, that is bypassed by the inclusion of an RFID tag) and IF this data is collected in a central, federally controlled database this will allow the emergence of a whole range of nightmarish scenarios. Sure you have to supply your current "national ID" (SSN) when doing things like applying for a bank loan, filing taxes etc. But the power, for evil or good, of a database is in the ability to link data from different sources. Do you really want the government to be able to identify everyone who read the latest anti-Bush book and then quietly bump each of these people up on the IRS's "next-to-be-audited" list? It could easily happen and you'd never know.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 9:22 AM on February 11, 2005


trondant: You silly pedant! Seriously, though, I probably should've worded it "the aviation industry and concomitant laws and regulations passed in the wake of terrorist activicty," but I'm sure the Senators or whoever reads these things for them will get the idea.
posted by Captaintripps at 9:29 AM on February 11, 2005


dios wrote:
Congress can remove whatever it wants from the appellate jurisdiction of federal Court. I don't remember, but wasn't that like day one of constitutional law?
Your guess is perhaps better than mine at what happens on day one of Constitutional Law, but my Google monkeys have unearthed the concept of Constitutional restraints to Congress's power to limit apellate jurisdiction. The court can't be limited from reviewing a question of the Constitutionality of a law it's passed.

Now, I admit this seems irelevant to this bill, assuming that it can't be interpreted to say that the Director of Homeland Security can suspend the Constitution if it's getting in the way of his wall(s).

But can this law be interpreted to apply to case law? Can the Directory of Homeland Security suspend Miranda, thus weakening the effectiveness of the Fifth Amendment? What non-constitutional rights might he be able to suspend?

If it's legal, it still sucks, and anyone that would vote to give a single person or organization the right to overturn all laws without judicial oversight is out of his/her mind.
posted by rocketpup at 9:29 AM on February 11, 2005


None. The citizens in a democracy have no recourse against unpopular actions taken by their government.

You say this (facetiously) at a time when we cannot carry nail clippers, nail files, or knitting needles on board airplanes. Everyone agrees that nail clippers are no threat, but there seems to be no way to change this unpopular action.

My point is that it will be small, seemingly innocuous-- hardly worth the bother of fighting-- changes that will end up with having to show ID no matter where you go or what you do. Maybe I am just more private than you are but I don't really feel the need to have my movements at all times being monitored. Whereas the government would love nothing more, I'm sure.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:37 AM on February 11, 2005


The court can't be limited from reviewing a question of the Constitutionality of a law it's passed.

Absolutley it can. I don't know where you are getting your information, but it is plain in the Constitution.
posted by dios at 9:39 AM on February 11, 2005


To clarify: there are two types of jurisdiction in the Supreme Court: Original and Appellate. The original jurisdiction of the court is enumerated in the Constitution and cannot be touched. Everything else is appellate, which Congress could completely strip if it so desired.
posted by dios at 9:42 AM on February 11, 2005


If all that was going on here was creating a national standard for driver's licenses, they could have done that without mandating the linked database. This is a national ID issued by states.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:50 AM on February 11, 2005


Aside from yet another expansion of the federal role in our lives, this has nothing to do with 'fighting' terrorism. I feel like the last Republican on this island America for Christ's sake. Who are these guys in D.C.? Did someone perform a mass lobotomy on these dolts?

This will not prevent shit.

For the love of God already, 19 fucks got onto planes and took unsuspecting souls by surprise. Was it devastating? Yes. Was it a tragedy? Yes. Did that single act deserve the 3 years of absolute insanity that has followed it? You decide.

I'm not shocked anymore by the assholes that look at stuff like this as "no big deal". These are typically the same dicks that are ok with the war, ok with the Patriot Act, ok with the unbelievable expansion of government.

9/11 didn't change everything. George Bush did.

Not a single thing this Administration has done would prevent another 9/11 - except the barring of box cutter knives on planes. We've not heard the last of Bin Laden. He is still waiting to deliver the knock out punch to our Society...and it won't come in the form of some "spectacular" event. It could be a simple as one dirty bomb strapped to some asshole in a populated area. Bin Laden waits and watches our government freak the fuck out as it creates new departments, drafts endless legislation, slowly saps our freedoms, goes deeper and deeper into debt. He laughs at us, and he's probably right to at this point.

I know this guy that got mugged. He went on with his life, believe it or not - albeit with a tad more caution about where he went and when. To the folks that see this as no big deal, consider the bad things that have happened in your life; things, that at the time, you had no control over. Did you freak the fuck out? Did you put yourself into debt and ruin relationships with neighbors and relatives because of it? Did you literally turn your life upside down because of it? No....I suspect you learned from it and moved on.
posted by j.p. Hung at 9:53 AM on February 11, 2005


Will I need to show my new ID card if I plan to smuggle a dirty bomb into the country on a conatainer ship?
posted by eatitlive at 9:53 AM on February 11, 2005


I wonder if I'll have the option of just getting the card implanted somewhere on my body so I won't have to worry about losing it.

That would be nice, but what would really be great is if they could attach electrodes from the card to my spine, so they could send small bursts of intense pain through my lower cortex whenever I think unhappy or anti-authoritarian thoughts. I'd be consumed with Pavlovian happiness.
posted by fungible at 9:59 AM on February 11, 2005


Here's the letter I sent to my Senators:...

For anyone who wants to get up and follow in Captaintripps footsteps, here is a list of contact information for the US Senate. Democracy only works when we do.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:59 AM on February 11, 2005


What's to keep them from putting your SSN on your license?

Many states already do this, jessamyn, though the SSN is often algorithmically encoded so it isn't obvious to casual inspection that it's on there.

And then making you carry it around?

Not a goddamned thing.

Like dios, I can't get too worked up over this — fighting this bill is closing the barn door after the horses have packed up, gotten out, and booked a flight to China. We already have a national ID number which is in fact linked (through its appearance on state ID and elsewhere) to your address and criminal and financial history, your purchasing habits (if you use a credit card), your utility usage, etc. These databases are being consolidated constantly — there won't be a moment when the government decides to create The Mother Of All Databases; you'll just wake up one day and find that it's slowly been accomplished during the last several decades. The last time I was pulled over by a cop he was able to pull up — instantly, over the radio — my Selective Service registration, criminal history, and current address despite the fact that the ID I gave him was seven years old, expired, from another state, and issued to me when I was a minor living with my parents.

And we already have (in Hiibel vs. Nevada) a Supreme Court ruling that states can enact laws requiring you to produce ID on demand. So congratulations, folks, we're pretty much there.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:06 AM on February 11, 2005


So then why this legislation Ishmael?
posted by j.p. Hung at 10:14 AM on February 11, 2005


So then why this legislation Ishmael?

To further the process of centralizing databases and to increase the amount of information that gets put in them. Mainly, of course, to look "tough on terrorism."
posted by IshmaelGraves at 10:26 AM on February 11, 2005


We already have a national ID number which is in fact linked (through its appearance on state ID and elsewhere

I have a state ID with no Social Security number on it, but a state driver's license number instead Imagine! But I had a post more or less stating the same earlier. Never mind, I guess.
posted by raysmj at 10:27 AM on February 11, 2005


Oh, and I wasn't asked for my SS number when I when to the driver registration bureau, so it's not encoded.
posted by raysmj at 10:30 AM on February 11, 2005


Whats the German word for schadenfreude?

it's Papieren.

say it aloud, dios: Papieren

get some practice
posted by matteo at 10:32 AM on February 11, 2005


ok, Godwin
posted by matteo at 10:33 AM on February 11, 2005


I really don't understand the big deal about this. I come from a state whose licenses look like they were made in photoshop in approximately ten minutes. Photos are still optional. My license has been not considered valid enough to get a piercing (at age 20!) or buy booze. I just use my passport for all purposes of identification. Oddly enough, it's accepted anywhere but video rental stores, which insist upon a DL # for all accounts.

Why I can use a passport to enter a foreign country but not rent a movie is beyond me.

Also, strangely enough, a passport would not fit the description of "acceptable identity" provided by the house as it does not provide any address, past or present. Again, I can travel abroad but not get on a domestic flight... Ridiculous.

Both foreign countries I've lived in (Germany, Iceland) have had national identity cards/numbers for years and years and without the sort of problems with identity theft that run rampant in the States. It doesn't seem to me like it would be the big deal that Americans make it out to be.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 10:34 AM on February 11, 2005


State rules on Social Security card use in driver registration, as of Jan. 2003.
posted by raysmj at 10:37 AM on February 11, 2005


Standardized drivers' licences? Erm... isn't there a war somewhere we should be arguing about?
posted by koeselitz at 11:11 AM on February 11, 2005


The legislation as written has a pretty aggressive timeline. Three years from passage to everyone having a valid under the new rules ID. If you take a state that doesn't meet the requirements now, especially if they don't have digital pictures and magstripes/bar codes, a lot of new equipment must be budgeted, sourced, installed and then training provided. Once that is done you have to process everyone with an old ID while still issuing new IDs. Assume you could do all the prep in one year. In my provinces case DL are good for five years. So you'd be better than doubling the throughput of your licencing system. Plus all the extra work required to issue lost SSN
posted by Mitheral at 11:17 AM on February 11, 2005


I, for one, welcome this necessary intrusion into our privacy by our Republican overlords.
posted by paddbear at 11:27 AM on February 11, 2005


Mitheral: there's no way my state MVA will have all that stuff done in three years. Hell, the people standing in line there right now probably won't have their licenses in the three years.

Do you really want the government to be able to identify everyone who read the latest anti-Bush book and then quietly bump each of these people up on the IRS's "next-to-be-audited" list? It could easily happen and you'd never know.

Yeah, because all of the thousands of contractors and government workers who would be in on it would never breathe a word. Just like JFK was murdered by the CIA, the FBI, the mafia, the Russians, Castro, and Elvis.

If you're that paranoid that someone wants to know what you buy for your library, pay cash. That's what I do.

I'm not shocked anymore by the assholes that look at stuff like this as "no big deal". These are typically the same dicks that are ok with the war, ok with the Patriot Act, ok with the unbelievable expansion of government.

You mean Congressional Democrats, right?
posted by casu marzu at 11:35 AM on February 11, 2005


Everything else is appellate, which Congress could completely strip if it so desired.

Even if that were true, the jurisdiction to review the constitutionality of that case would still be there. It would just be at some other court than the US Supreme Court; effectively, a different court would be the court of final review for that jurisdiction. The judicial power of the federal courts extends to all cases arising from the Constitution or federal law, among other places. That's right smack in Article 3, big as life and twice as ugly. Congress might be able to shuffle around just which court gets to hear what, but they don't have the authority to declare that some laws are immune from review by any court whatsoever.

And if you look around, you'll find that real, honest-to-god constitutional scholars disagree with each other about whether or not it would be constitutional for Congress to strip the Court of some part of its appellate jurisdiction because it doesn't like the Court's decisions either retrospectively or prospectively. Maybe Congress can legitimately do that, maybe it can't.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:39 AM on February 11, 2005


You mean Congressional Democrats, right?

daaaaaaaamn!

that said, my main issue with this lies with the rfid part. the cnet article mentions it, but i couldn't find anything in the bill that specifically mentions it.

if it's truly possible that they plan to put rfid in these standardized i.d.'s and that doesn't scare some of you, you've become comfortably numb.
posted by lord_wolf at 11:57 AM on February 11, 2005


The Republicans have nearly finished building the intrusive bureaucracy that they always railed against while simultaneously bankrupting the country and practicing nation-building in the Middle East.

When did this become Bizarro-world?
posted by bshort at 12:08 PM on February 11, 2005


Why I can use a passport to enter a foreign country but not rent a movie is beyond me.

Also, strangely enough, a passport would not fit the description of "acceptable identity" provided by the house as it does not provide any address, past or present. Again, I can travel abroad but not get on a domestic flight... Ridiculous.

I live in Texas, Bush Country, they allow my passport as an ID for everything for several years now. Funny since the only reference to Texas is the city it was issued which is far from where I live. Also, it clearly tells all: “I’m no Texan by birth.”
When I do present it, I’m treated like I’m official{not sure what though} and they leave me alone. Rarely do they take a close look at it other than the picture, then smile at me. So when I’m cashing a check, referencing the passport is never done on the check like you would see when issuing a State ID. Odd, no, odder is my local TomThumb/Randalls cashing a check for cash only w/o any ID or even those stupid Store Card, plus no surge charge.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:04 PM on February 11, 2005


dios says:
Everything else is appellate, which Congress could completely strip if it so desired.

and earlier on the same subject:
Absolutley it can. I don't know where you are getting your information, but it is plain in the Constitution.

Having read the relevant article, I'd have to say that, while it may be in the Constitution, it's anything but plain.

ROU_Xenophobe replies:
Even if that were true, the jurisdiction to review the constitutionality of that case would still be there. It would just be at some other court than the US Supreme Court; effectively, a different court would be the court of final review for that jurisdiction. The judicial power of the federal courts extends to all cases arising from the Constitution or federal law, among other places. That's right smack in Article 3, big as life and twice as ugly. Congress might be able to shuffle around just which court gets to hear what, but they don't have the authority to declare that some laws are immune from review by any court whatsoever.

And if you look around, you'll find that real, honest-to-god constitutional scholars disagree with each other about whether or not it would be constitutional for Congress to strip the Court of some part of its appellate jurisdiction because it doesn't like the Court's decisions either retrospectively or prospectively. Maybe Congress can legitimately do that, maybe it can't.


I've been reading about US vs. Klein 1871, which seems to support the idea that the courts won't easily give up their jurisdiction even in the face of a supposed Constitutional fait accompli. Much like the Bible, it's all open to interpretation. Damn those activist judges!
posted by rocketpup at 3:36 PM on February 11, 2005


thomcatspike : And oddly enough, I spent the past four years in Massachusetts. You would think that New England liberals would be down with everyone leaving the country as often as possible, but no. Still had to show a DL to get a movie.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:09 PM on February 11, 2005


Next will be the announcement that Diebold will be a prime contractor in this.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:14 PM on February 11, 2005


"I'm not shocked anymore by the assholes that look at stuff like this as "no big deal". These are typically the same dicks that are ok with the war, ok with the Patriot Act, ok with the unbelievable expansion of government."

Like, um... every country in Europe? They already have these over there, don't they?

posted by koeselitz at 5:30 PM on February 11, 2005


All the damn legislation consists of is a minimum requirement for your driver's license that you already have.

dios - Inch by inch man. Slippery slope. Frog in tepid water, etc. etc. Each step is innocuous in and of itself. Almost stupid to fight really...and yet eventually....wouldn't a very centralized government with one man (or oligarchy) making the policy decisions be SOO much more...um, efficient?

There is NO new ID.

-There is NO income tax coming (1872-1894), the tollways will be shut down as soon as the highways are paid for, your Social Security number will only be used for the social security system, etc. etc. etc. I tire.

But yeah, lets all not worry and trust the government.


Is your business the fake/novelty ID trade?

Funny you should ask, I suspect the trade in fake IDs to skyrocket.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:00 PM on February 11, 2005


To say nothing of the genuine ID trade. I see a stock opportunity!
posted by IndigoJones at 6:30 PM on February 11, 2005


Why can't I buy beer in Texas with a US passport? ... A national ID would cause total chaos at the TABC
posted by fourstar at 6:45 PM on February 11, 2005


those of us who don't have licenses and use our passports as id won't be able to anymore? we'll still have to get one of these, even if we don't drive? even if our passports remain valid id?

(i'd be happier if everyone was just forced to get a passport--maybe people would travel more)
posted by amberglow at 6:59 PM on February 11, 2005


You have to remember that another one of the subtexts for the Real ID Act is to curb illegal immigration. Since states will be requiring a Social Security Number to get a drivers' license (and for those non-drivers out there you would obtain a "non-drivers' license" or "state ID card"), that basically stops illegal aliens from driving legally, means that they can't get on planes, means that they can't obtain any benefits. Because no one in the GOP will support banning drivers' licenses for illegal immigrants at the state level in the border states (economy too reliant on illegals being paid $5 an hour, when USians would demand at least $10), the plot is to either ban licenses for illegals with the citizen initative (like Arizona did recently) or have the feds overrule states giving licenses to illegals.

The scary thing to look out for is a national ID card that isn't. This is the David Dreier Bonner Plan, aka HR 98. We've talked about the rage constituents have for Dreier many times before. Dreier plans on making the Social Security Card like a drivers' license, with a photograph, but the card will somehow have the terms "not valid for identification", as if that would stop people from using it as identification. Enforcing standards for identifications and sharing minimal information about each person, the address, and legal status in the country doesn't strike me as that intrusive. Anything more, though, and they should be smacked down hard.
posted by calwatch at 10:37 PM on February 11, 2005


Dreier plans on making the Social Security Card like a drivers' license, with a photograph, but the card will somehow have the terms "not valid for identification"

My social security card, issued when I was but a wee tot, has "not to be used as identification" clearly entered upon it. Thus far, it's still being used as a tracking number, despite the text on the card.
posted by dejah420 at 11:31 AM on February 12, 2005


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