REAL ID ACT: THE DEATH OF OUR LIBERTY
By Tom DeWeese
I am very concerned about the Real ID and its threat to our personal privacy and total surveillance by government. Most people have been led to believe that Real ID and E-Verify are the answers to controlling illegal immigration and make us safer from fraud, and even terrorist attacks. Not so. Government has repeatedly proven to be untrustworthy and unworthy to be the keepers of our most valuable and precious personal information. Yet, today, most Americans are simply accepting and ignoring the growing government invasion of their lives.
For many years the American Policy Center, has worked directly with the Constitutional Alliance to expose the dangers of empowering government with our personal data, especially through the use of biometrics. The Constitutional Alliance is the nation’s leading expert on personal privacy matters, meeting with government officials and elected representatives at every level to issue their warnings of the dangers of a total surveillance system that is growing at an alarming rate. Now the Alliance has prepared a special report detailing this threat and what can be done about it. The Alliance has provided this vital report to APC to distribute across the nation.
EITHER THE PEOPLE CONTROL GOVERNMENT OR THE GOVERNMENT CONTROLS THE PEOPLE
One former National Security Advisor when asked said people would have to get over it when they learn the real purpose their information is being collected, retained, and shared. We know our information goes from one company to another for money and to the federal government so the government knows more about each of us.
You will learn from the leading identity expert in our country what the truth is about collecting our personal information. If you think our federal government or states care if you are who you say you are, you are wrong. The identity expert does not belong to any advocacy group. This person is doing the work the 9/11 Commission said must happen. This person is not a whistleblower. He is not hiding his identity. He cares and his colleagues care about our country and your safety. Primarily the federal government and states fund their agency.
Congressman Sensenbrenner (R-WI) authored the Real ID Act. Congressman Sensenbrenner is the same individual who authored the USA PATRIOT Act. How the legislation became law is a moot point today. What is important to know is why the law is so dangerous to our liberties now. You cannot reconcile a free society with a surveillance state.
You will learn and be outraged that we still do not know if a person is who they say they are before issuing driver’s licenses. We cannot say if a person has multiple driver’s licenses in multiple states using multiple birth certificates, including the birth certificates of deceased people.
The Constitutional Alliance is a non-partisan group that has existed for many years. As individuals, we have testified all over the country. We have met with presidential candidates, members of congress, committee staff including counsels and provided advice to presidential advisors. Continue to read this series of articles, if not for you, then for the children and grandchildren of today.
The Real ID Act essentially allows DHS (Department of Homeland Security) control over state driver’s licenses. This paper provides solutions that allow Department of Motor Vehicles to know a person is who they say they are, and does not have multiple driver’s licenses in their own name or the names of others. We will show why there is no need for biometrics to obtain a driver’s license.
EVVE AND OFFICIAL PURPOSES – REAL ID ACT
As you read this paper, it will become evident that the Real ID Act was not about keeping our country safer. If the Real ID Act were about keeping our country safer, we would be verifying the authenticity of birth certificates. We also would make sure people are not using the birth certificates of deceased people to obtain driver’s licenses.
The EVVE (Electronic Verification of Vital Events) is a network of databases that allows the verification of birth certificates. EVVE can make it very difficult at the best for an individual to have more than one driver’s license in their name, or another person’s name. EVVE also would prevent the use of fraudulent birth certificates. EVVE has a companion program, FOD (Fact of Death) that would stop people from using the birth certificates of deceased people for acquiring a driver’s license. Neither EVVE nor FOD requires a centralized national database. States are not using EVVE or FOD before issuing driver’s license. EVVE is more accurate than biometrics. . There are state laws that prohibit sharing some biometrics with other states without a warrant.
Today, we are fifteen years out from the Real ID Act becoming law. There was a time during the fifteen years when the majority of states by either state law or resolution prohibited the respective state agencies/departments from implementing the Real ID Act. Because of coercion and deceit, the federal government was able to manipulate states into compliancy. DHS expects Oklahoma, Oregon, and New Jersey, the only remaining states to be Real ID compliant by 1 October 2020. Today, people can actually fly if they have no identification. The people without identification go through additional security procedures.
There are four Official Purposes that the federal government requires a person to have a Real ID compliant driver’s license. 1) Accessing federal buildings. 2) Entering nuclear power plants. 3) Boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft. 4) Any other purpose established by the Secretary of Homeland Security. There is an exclusion for federal buildings. Any federal building where a person would apply for, or receive federal benefits does not require a Real ID compliant driver’s license. If a national park required identification before the Real ID Act became law, then you should take a compliant Real ID compliant license or other acceptable federal ID document to the park now.
The fourth Official Purpose is one of the most egregious reasons that the Real ID Act is a threat to our freedom. We, at the Constitutional Alliance refer to the fourth Official Purpose as the Dictator Clause. Former Secretary of DHS, Michael Chertoff is on record as saying that a Real ID compliant license could be required to cash checks, hire a baby sitter, or any other reason the Secretary of DHS deems appropriate. The Secretary can add any Official Purpose he or she would like. Congress cannot stop the Secretary without new legislation/law. Once a Secretary adds an Official Purpose, another Secretary of DHS down the road cannot remove any Official Purposes.
OFFICAL PURPOSES AND BIOMETRICS, BIOMETRICS AND BIOMETRICS
Even should congress want to remove an Official Purpose that a Secretary added, the legislation would have to be veto proof. Veto proof requires a 2/3 vote in both the senate and the house. The reason the legislation would need to be veto proof is a president is not going to override his or her own Secretary of DHS.
If a new Official Purpose become part of the Real ID Act, a state will lose compliant status if the state does not comply with any Official Purpose, new or otherwise. Every three years, on a rolling basis, states will face recertification. Failure to comply with any Official Purpose results in a state losing certification, and thus people in the state would not be able to use their previously compliant license to fly unless they had an alternative acceptable federal identification document.
If in fact all states are Real ID compliant by 1 October 2020, what might be some of the Official Purposes that a republican or democrat president would want their Secretary of DHS to add? A republican might require a compliant license to send money out of the country using MoneyGram or Western Union. Requiring a compliant license to send money out of the country would adversely affect people who are in our country that do not have a lawful presence. A democrat might require a compliant license to purchase a weapon and/or ammunition. Many Second Amendment supporters would object vehemently thinking such a requirement would lead to registering weapons and purchasers of ammunition. We are only providing a taste of what you can expect will happen.
The Real ID Act also requires a high-resolution digital facial image/photograph that is compatible with facial recognition software. Many people were not familiar with facial recognition technology except for what they watched at the movies or on television. The technology is not as accurate as depicted by Hollywood. The issue of accuracy is not the only reason we should object to the use of facial recognition technology. The technology will improve with time; it already has. The addition of using Artificial Intelligence will only increase the accuracy.
You might wonder what the problem is with using facial recognition technology. The problem is state Department of Motor Vehicle databases have become a repository of biometric samples/data/templates. Biometrics are simply measurements of the body that are unique to each individual. The high-resolution digital facial image is a biometric just as fingerprints, DNA, and iris scans are a biometric. The Real ID Act allows DHS to add a requirement for states to collect fingerprints and iris scans. The FBI has a program today that the FBI expects all states will eventually participate in, the Interstate Photo System. This program ultimately will allow for state and the federal government to share biometric photos.
There is a provision within the Real ID Act that allows a person to use federally issued identification documents such as a passport, passport card, military ID, and other federally issued ID’s in place of a Real ID compliant license. What all the federal identification documents allowed have in common with a Real ID compliant license is the incorporating of biometrics in the identification document.
THE CHILLING EFFECT OF DOMESTIC SURVEILLANCE
Our government has spent in excess of ten billion dollars, and states have spent hundreds of millions of dollars and yet, we are not safe or arguably even safer than before 9/11. Perceived security is worse than no security, because when you have perceived security the steps that should happen for real security go by the wayside.
What we do know as a fact is law enforcement has used facial recognition technology/software to identify people who have attended protests and political rallies. I italicize the word identity because biometrics in and of themselves do not establish a person’s identity. Breeder documents establish identity. A birth certificate is a primary form of identification and a breeder document. A social security card is a secondary form of identification, but is also a breeder document. . States and the federal government can decide and agree on what additional breeder documents would be acceptable and how to verify them.
The Constitutional Alliance has written in the past about the Chilling Effect that using facial recognition on protesters and people at political rallies has. We have First Amendment rights to protect freedom of assembly, and our right to seek redress of our grievances. The Chilling Effect simply defined is using fear or intimation to prevent a person or group from communicating their thoughts with others. We know the Chilling Effect is real. The Chilling Effect, the fear and intimation is why when we vote others cannot shows signs or demonstrate within specific distances of the polling stations. Studies have been done showing journalists alter what they write because of the Chilling Effect of the government surveilling journalists.
The Chilling Effect of government surveillance is exponentially growing. The use of Automatic License Plate Readers (can scan tens of thousands of license plates in minutes), facial recognition, using malware to spy on people’s computers, Stingray devices that mimic cell phone towers, voice recognition, paying travel agents and motel chains to report their guest registries, and many other invasive techniques and tactics all add to the Chilling Effect. In addition, a major electronic retailer notified the government when suspicious software or programs appeared on a person’s computer when the retailer repaired the computer.
As more and more of what our government does to watch all of us becomes common knowledge, the Chilling Effect will only grow. At this time, the federal government has issued a Request for Proposal – a bid for a company to develop the technology to read a person’s heartbeat through walls. Your heartbeat is unique to you and a biometric. It may seem farfetched, but we assure you it is not. A visit to the Constitutional Alliance’s web site confirms everything you read in this paper. We spend thousands of hours reviewing proposed legislation, all news related to biometrics, and laws around the country that threaten our liberties.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND WHAT TO EXPECT WITH FUTURE LEGISLATION
Another First Amendment right we have is to practice our sincerely held religious beliefs. In the past, when invited we went to Amish and Mennonite communities. There are Jewish people who reached out to us that also have an objection to having their photograph taken. Just as with the Amish people, some Jewish people honor their understanding of the Second Commandment. A growing number of Baptist and Southern Baptist Christians have contacted the Constitutional Alliance regarding their objection to having their photograph taken.
This brings me to a very serious issue for Christians of different denominations. At this time, nearly every country in the world has what some refer to as national biometric identity scheme. Some countries such as the United States do not acknowledge they have a national biometric identity scheme. The Real ID Act is a national identity scheme and more, despite DHS’s contention otherwise.
Are there national identity schemes? The answer is no. The reason the answer is no is because all countries use international standards for the collection, retention, and sharing of biometrics. There are international or global telecommunication networks currently in place to facilitate global biometric information sharing. The words used to illustrate global information sharing is global interoperability. Whether you are in Paris, Texas or in Paris, France, you are subject to the use of facial recognition technology. This is actually true in nearly every country on earth.
By 2030, all countries have agreed to use international standards for biometric collection, retention, and sharing. Today, eighty percent of all people whether they know it or not, have their biometrics in government databases. Donkeys are literally used to carry the tables, computers, biometrics scanners and//or cameras needed to enroll people in the most remote area of countries. India’s 1.4 billion people have nearly all been enrolled already.
Many Christians rightfully understand the enrollment process for a global system of identification and financial control is well underway. Two pieces of legislation introduced in congress leave no doubt about this enrollment process. The Photo Identification Security Act requires a Real ID compliant license or alternative acceptable federal ID document for all financial institutions – not defined what a financial institution is. The Legal Workforce Act requires all workers, for all companies, regardless of size to have employees cleared by DHS and requires the biometrics of prospective and current employees.
Both pieces of legislation died because not all states have Real ID certification yet. Expect to see both of these pieces of legislation again in the near future. People will literally not be able to buy, sell, travel, or work without a Real ID compliant driver’s license, or other federally acceptable biometric identification documents.
The Real ID Act rules allow DHS to add to the biometrics required for a Real ID compliant license. The FBI has one of the world’s largest biometric databases. Other agencies and departments of the federal government that collect and retain your biometrics augment the FBI database.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BIOMETRIC DATABASE AND HOW ABOUT NO PHOTO
If you have ever had a background check, your fingerprints are most likely in the FBI’s biometric Next Generation Identification database. One out of two adults in our country have their high resolution, digital facial image/photograph in the FBI’s database. There is nothing to prevent the DHS from requiring your DNA, Iris Scan, or other biometrics for a Real ID compliant license.
A question often asked does a Real ID compliant license have a RFID chip. Currently the answer is no, but DHS can require going forward a RFID chip in a compliant license.
Under the provisions of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, an EDL (Enhanced Driver’s License) does have a RFID chip. People often confuse an EDL with a Real ID compliant license. This is easy to understand because an EDL is acceptable for any purpose a Real ID compliant license is required. EDL’s, unlike Real ID compliant driver’s licenses allow a person also to travel to specific countries within the Western Hemisphere without a Visa or passport.
We have discussed the Chilling Effect of a surveillance state and the use of invasive technologies, including the possibility of a RFID chip incorporated into a Real ID compliant license under the provisions of the Real ID Act law and subsequent rule-making provisions. What we have not discussed is what happens if a person chooses, and their state allows for the issuance of a non-Real ID compliant driver’s license.
The truth is a person who has a non-compliant license is a second-class citizen unless the person has a federally acceptable identification document. The person cannot fly, visit federal building, or do other things we always consider rights. With additional Official Purposes, the erosion of our rights increases. The erosion of rights especially exists for people who have valid without photo licenses based on their sincerely held religious beliefs. Many states require valid with photo licenses to vote, pick up prescriptions, and other purposes. Today, multiple states issue valid without photos driver’s licenses.
Consider if states were actually verifying the authenticity of birth certificates, the birth certificate would be proof of citizenship and identity. There would be no need to send DHS any of our personal information much less our biometrics. In an earlier article of this series of articles we spoke about an identity expert who is trying to do everything he and his colleagues can do to inform the public of how at risk we all are. There will be an email exchange between a state legislator and this expert that will leave you questioning anything good you have heard about the Real ID Act 2005.
The federal government and states have spent billions and billions of dollars, and we have secure identification documents with document integrity or we do not. It is insane that our federal government and states cannot assure us that our licenses do not have document integrity. Whether a license has a photo or not does not make the license any less of an identification document. Licenses have numbers, and if a person loses their license, the person can report it. If for any reason is license is lost or stolen, reporting the license as lost or stolen resulting in the invalidating of the license in question.
Multiple states today issue valid without photo ID’s. There is no evidence to support valid without photo ID holders are committing more fraud or any other crimes. Valid without photo ID holders have to provide documentation that other license or ID holders do not.
PROBLEMS WE AND OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE LICKED DOWN THE ROAD
We have already witnessed women wanting to escape abusive situations tracked down by people who have access to DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) databases. Either the abusive men have access to the information in a DMV database, or people the abusive men know do have access to the databases. Real ID requires a person to provide two current bills such as electric, gas, mortgage payment receipt, rental receipts, as proof of address. You cannot use a P.O. Box as an address. Several women’s groups have objected to this requirement of the Real ID Act 2005. . We respectfully ask that you speak to abused women and ask them how they feel about the Real ID Act and having their physical address on their driver’s license.
There are additional onerous requirements such as providing all marriage certificates, divorce decrees, or any other documents that resulted in name changes before obtaining a Real ID compliant license. If a man or woman changed their name because of a marriage or divorce several times, all the documents that authorized name changes are required. In many cases, people do not have the original or certified copies of said documents, and obtaining them is very costly.
If it seems like a lot of your personal documents and/or PII (Personal Identifiable Information), including your biometrics are necessary and retained in DMV databases it is because it is true. The compromising of the information in DMV databases has led to identity theft. One of the requirements of the Real ID Act is state DMV databases are linked. There is a central hub. It is up to each state to decide how much information they will share with other states and the federal government, except what is on the front of the license. What is on the front of the license is in the central hub. Many entities outside of state and the federal government also have access to the central hub.
We covered the Chilling Effect but not addressed the underlying issue of why countries all over the world surveil their own citizens. Take a step back and consider all the challenges our country faces. Immigration reform, rising national debt, out of control student debt, a pandemic, under-funded pension plans, income disparity, racism, identity politics, endless wars, the war on drugs, healthcare reform, an education crisis, a federal government usurping power from states, and on and on. In other countries, some challenges may be the same as ours, but other countries may have problems unique to their own country.
The Constitutional Alliance identified each of these challenges over a decade ago, and correctly said none of the challenges would improve. An honest assessment recognizes we were correct. We looked at the challenges/problems as balls that a juggler is juggling. Whether in our country or other countries it is only a matter of time before balls start dropping when solutions to problems fail to occur.
When large countries such as ours fails to address problems, our own economy and the world’s economy will suffer. Critical mass will eventually occur and the result is a severe global recession or depression. We cannot tell you which balls will fall first or exactly when they will start dropping, but do not doubt we are far off. It is not just in our country but also in other countries around the world where political tribalism has taken hold. The time will come when people take their anger out at the government instead of one another. We have already seen this in some countries.
THE CONCLUSION – WHAT WE MUST PREPARED FOR AND CAN DO
Riots will occur all over the world. Governments will want to find the provocateurs. The people will have little or no say in how governments control the people. This is when people all over the world will learn that biometrics is the linchpin of a surveillance state.
You should know it is not difficult for government to find out whom a cell phone belongs to, who’s name a house is in, and whom owns a car. Knowing these things does not tell a person, who is on the cell phone in question. If you see a person, walking into a home it does not have to be the owner. Knowing the registered owner of car does not mean that is the person driving the car. Voice recognition, facial recognition, and other biometrics reveal who is on a phone, driving a car, or walking into a house. Now you understand why biometrics is the linchpin of a surveillance state.
The Constitutional Alliance researches all biometrics news from around the world. We have members in every state of our country. People reach out to us from all states and many countries around the world. The information we publish appears in articles and blogs throughout the United States and many countries around the world.
It is not a secret that in our country and other countries, governments want to place a person’s DNA on their birth certificate or other breeder documents. Law enforcement and others have discussed this in our country going back years. At one law enforcement conference an officer stated by 2025 DNA on birth certificates will happen. This will open the door for all kinds of abuse by government and corporations
There are literally thousands and thousands of Real ID compliant licenses issued by unscrupulous DMV employees in many Real ID compliant states. Stories abound from all over the country about Real ID compliant licenses fraudulently obtained. The madness of Real ID needs to end.
The Real ID Act is possible to repeal but it requires a surgical approach. There are two parts to the Real ID Act and one has nothing to do with state driver’s licenses. In addition, the Real ID Act repeals Section 7212 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. Section 7212 gives control of state driver’s licenses similar to the way the Real ID Act does. The repeal of Section 7212 must remain in place.
Repealing the Real ID Act is not enough. We, the citizens of the United States must make sure law enforcement requires a warrant to use facial recognition, voice recognition and other biometrics in all states around the country. Never out of fear, can we allow our rights to erode or our say in government to go by the wayside.
Party politics, race, ethnicity, and other factors that divide us must stop. Because the Constitutional Alliance receives daily requests from individuals and groups, we will organize and lead an effort nationally to assist in legal action in states around the country. Sign up for our newsletter on our web site, www.constitutionalalliance.org and join us. Our first major action will occur In May, but we will inform those who sign up for our newsletter what we are planning each step of the way starting in the end of March.
Yes, we are asking that you visit the Constitutional Alliance web site and sign up for our newsletter. The newsletter serves as the best way to stay informed about proposed legislation, and state and national laws. You want to know about your options before the surveillance state is out of control. Sign up for the newsletter at www.constitutionalalliance.org and you will learn how the data collected about each of us is already affecting you. Share this series of articles with everyone you know, and ask those people to do the same.