In the latest newsletter from The Liberator, there is this scary, scary threat to civil liberties...
Get ready for a national ID -- as early as next month.
In February the U.S. House of Representatives voted 261-161 to send H.R. 418,the "REAL ID Act of 2005," to the Senate. All but 8 Republicans supported thebill; three-quarters of Democrats opposed it.
The Senate is expected to pass the bill. And the REAL ID is strongly backed bythe Bush administration.
The REAL ID Act essentially turns state drivers' licenses into national IDcards, with extraordinary powers. Ominously, the bill gives authority to theSecretary of Homeland Security to unilaterally add additional informationrequirements.
Here are some details:
* The REAL ID Act would establish a vast centrally-coordinated national databaseof ID holders and their personal information, including, for starters, name,date of birth, place of residence, Social Security number, photograph, physicaldescription and possibly much more. Far more information could be required atthe Secretary of Homeland Security's wish.
* The ID would essentially be an internal passport that would have to be shownbefore buying a gun from a dealer, or accessing planes, trains, national parks,court houses, etc. It will be impossible to function normally in America withoutit.
* The national database would be shared with Canada and Mexico. "There are nolimits on what happens to the database of sensitive information on Americansonce it leaves the United States for Canada and Mexico -- or perhaps othercountries," said libertarian Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), who denounced the billin Congress.
* By calling for the use of "common machine-readable technology," the REAL IDAct paves the way for the federal government to force every state to putradio-frequency identification (RFID) chips into these ID cards. As CongressmanRon Paul notes: "This legislation gives authority to the Secretary of HomelandSecurity to expand required information on driver's licenses, potentiallyincluding such biometric information as retina scans, finger prints, DNAinformation, and even Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) radio trackingtechnology. Including such technology as RFID would mean that the federalgovernment, as well as the governments of Canada and Mexico, would know whereAmericans are at all times of the day and night."The REAL ID bill is more than a civil liberties nightmare. It exposes everyAmerican to terrible accidental or criminal abuse. Even a small percentage oferrors would cause major personal and social disruption. And the IDs would beirresistible targets for forgers and identity thieves.The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a major online civil liberties group,says: "The Senate needs to be reminded that such proposals have always beenrejected for good reason: our privacy and civil liberties are at the core ofwhat it means to be an American citizen."
Want to learn more -- and maybe do something about it? EFF has created a sitewhere concerned citizens can get more information and easily send an email totheir senators, expressing their concerns about the REAL ID proposal:https://secure.eff.org/site/Advocacy?JServSessionIdr001=85n57gc8b1.app13b&page=UserAction&cmd=display&id=119