Real ID and PASS ID

f21-banner-4Pennsylvania state Representative Sam Rohrer addressed the conference attendees on the Real ID Act, a federal law that is all but dead in the water as many states have rejected the implementation of this federal proposal to coordinate private citizen information databases under the Department of Homeland Security.

Rohrer went on to discuss the successor program to Real ID, Senate Bill 1261,the Providing Aditional Security to the States Act (PASS ID), which is by and large a rehashing of Real ID with some significant expansions of data sharing.  It was given hearings before the Senate Homeland Security Committee on July 15th.

PASS ID carries on the philosophy of the Obama administration to create “preventive detention” systems to assist law enforcement  and terrorism fighting, but extends the idea of who is a potential criminal to virtually all citizens.  This philosophy is supported by “intelligence-led policing”, the view that the more that is known by law enforcement about a person then the greater opportunity to prevent a crime before it occurs.  This idea brings to mind the storyline of the movie “Minority Report” but we can’t suspend our disbelief for this piece of legislation.

PASS ID is supposed to correct the “problems” with Real ID that led states to reject it, but it incorporates much of the previous law’s DNA, such as RFID chip assignment via drivers’ licenses, biometric ID requirements, and other features.  In essence, PASS ID will bring the US into a global biometric ID system with all US citizens required to be enrolled in order to travel or carry on official business.  The National Conference of State Legislatures and the National Governors Association have both come out in support of PASS ID.

Rohrer listed some major problems with PASS ID, including its violation of both the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution, its requirement for mandatory facial image capture, its massive shift of power and control to the Department of Homeland Security, and the requirement that after the 6th year from the passage of the act all non-complying licenses will not be allowed to be recognized by any state.

For those who have the idea “I’ve done nothing wrong, so I have nothing to fear”, the Electronic Privacy Information Center has detailed numerous concerns, including the problems of how this data collection and retention lead to significant privacy concerns, how the use of facial recognition technology can allow tracking of people in real time (even non-criminals), and how the technology built by companies such as 3VR can even build watch lists and send reports on individuals to those with access to the databases, and the technology’s claim that with long range cameras an individual’s face can be identified up to 6 blocks from the location of the camera.

As if this isn’t problematic enough, the NLETS program, to network over 30,000 agencies worldwide to share the data collected from the facial recognition information collected through biometric drivers’ licenses, is lurking in the background.  The connection of NLETS to Interpol creates a portal for international surveillance of individuals, regardless of suspicion of criminal or terroristic activity.

Rohrer closed by requesting citizens to become educated about this issue and then continually contact your elected officials at the federal, state and local levels to oppose the radical erosion of privacy and freedom rights of law-abiding American citizens.

Series NavigationPatrick Wood- Dark Moon Rising: The Technetronic EraMark Lerner- International ID- Federal Control of Drivers Licenses