Archive for June 12th, 2012

News Digest 6/12/12

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 5:00 pm by

The return of REAL ID

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm by

Passport 2

On May 11, 2012 the United States entered its fourth consecutive year of non-compliance with the Department of Homeland Security’s REAL ID regulations. Together with the Obama administration’s pledge not to enforce Real ID regulations and the imposing account of 25 states openly opting out of the program, it appeared REAL ID was dead in the water.

Yet despite this overwhelming opposition, REAL ID seems poised to make a troublesome return in January 2013. REAL ID, a relative of the Next Generation Identification (NGI) initiative, was a federal program that aimed to raise and standardize the security features of driver’s licenses and identification cards, as well as heightening boarder security. At a recent Homeland Security hearing, the new deadline for individual compliance was set at January 15, 2013.

If this deadline is enforced, come January 15, those lacking a passport or federally recognized “REAL ID” could be prohibited from entering federal buildings, airports, or other destinations requiring what the DHS calls “official federal documentation.”

In tandem with the growing biometric database capable of digitally storing and recognizing finger and palm prints, iris scans, and even facial measurements, the REAL ID security parameters raise serious privacy concerns.

Aside from the disturbing notion of the FBI recording and tracking millions of Americans on a daily basis, the personal nature of REAL ID security questions border on the absurd.

Those applying for a passport canexpect to see a new debatably voluntary questionnaire. Used to supplement an application that is “insufficient or of questionable authenticity,” the survey asks shockingly private questions such as “Were you circumcised?” and “Who was present at your birth?”

As January 15 looms closer, it is likely we can expect to see an increase in these type of intrusive security measures, as the newest federal surveillance system prepares to come online.

Nothing to hide is not an excuse for apathy

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 at 7:39 am by

PrivacyI’m a sucker for lists. They seem to provide a nice, logical progression of information that needs to be known. Last week, I provided a list from the Electronic Frontier Foundation regarding FAQs about CISPA. This week, I’ve run across another interesting list from the ACLU. Jay Stanley provides six answers to the question, “Why should I care about surveillance if I have nothing to hide?”

He brought this up in response to a couple of commentators.

A commentator on my recent post about the DEA installing license plate scanners on the nation’s interstate highways asks, “If you aren’t doing anything illegal why would you care if someone captures your license plate number?”

Another commentator countered: “If I’m not doing anything illegal, why do the police need to record my license plate number?”…

But the original poster’s point is a frequent refrain: “Why should I care about surveillance if I have nothing to hide?”

Mr. Stanley has six answers to that question.

Some people do have something to hide, but not something that the government ought to gain the power to reveal.
You may not have anything to hide, but the government may think you do.
Are you sure you have nothing to hide?
Everybody hides many things even though they’re not wrong.
You may not care about hiding it, but you may still be discriminated against because of it.
Privacy is about much broader values than just “hiding things.”

Stanley goes in depth with each of the answers at the ACLU web page.