The Obama administration is making a last-minute effort to fix the controversial Real ID Act before the program’s deadline is reached in December. Changes to the measure, which will be introduced soon in Congress, could add additional privacy safeguards and remove some of the program’s most costly requirements.
The Real ID Act, which was passed as a rider on a 2005 military spending bill, aims to create a standardized national ID card and a system of interconnected state identity databases that would be fully accessible by the federal government. The law requires state ID cards to have a machine-readable mechanism that can be used to electronically extract information about the card-holder. The cards would be required in order to gain access to federal buildings and security-sensitive locations, such as airports.
Real ID has faced intense criticism from privacy advocates and state governments. The implementation costs are far exceeding Congressional estimates and states are facing enormous technical challenges as they attempt to boost the interoperability of their legacy identity database systems in order to meet the law’s requirements. Not a single state was able to implement the program by the original May 2008 deadline, forcing the government to extend the deadline to the end of 2009.
The new deadline is approaching swiftly and the vast majority of states are still not on track. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona and a vocal critic of Real ID, is said to be drafting a new proposal that will scale back the law’s requirements so that it can be reasonably accomplished by states within the allotted time.
The Washington Post reports that the new proposal, which is called Pass ID, could boost the program’s privacy safeguards and eliminate the costly national database requirements. The law would still require the identity cards to include a machine-readable mechanism. According to the Post, the Obama administration has been in talks with the National Governors Association for months in an effort to devise a reasonable compromise.
The Republican leadership in Congress, however, is voicing preemptive opposition to the changes. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), one of the original authors of the Real ID Act, criticized the governors who are struggling to implement the program and argued against weakening the law.
“[If Real ID is weakened] we go right back to where we were on Sept. 10, 2001,” Sensenbrenner told the Post. “Maybe governors should have been in the Capitol when we knew a plane was on its way to Washington wanting to kill a few thousand more people.”
As no state has been able to implement the Real ID Act, the condition of identity validation in the United States is arguably already exactly the same today as it was roughly ten years ago, so the soundness of Sensenbrenner’s criticism is questionable. Shrill invocations of 9/11 aside, the database plan was flawed to begin with and its demise marks a significant improvement.
I won’t pick up a Pass ID either should that gets passed. You can’t fix something that is fundamentally broken and illegitimate.
The Obama administration is fighting to block access to names of visitors to the White House, taking up the Bush administration argument that a president doesn’t have to reveal who comes calling to influence policy decisions.
Despite President Barack Obama’s pledge to introduce a new era of transparency to Washington, and despite two rulings by a federal judge that the records are public, the Secret Service has denied msnbc.com’s request for the names of all White House visitors from Jan. 20 to the present. It also denied a narrower request by the nonpartisan watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which sought logs of visits by executives of coal companies.
CREW says it will file a lawsuit Tuesday against the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the Secret Service.
What he meant was that he’d be totally transparent about what he’s hiding from everyone. See… now everything makes sense.
Note: the below was created from OCRing screencaps of a Flash based chatroom. Excuse the mistakes.
Xaq Fixx 3:39 pm
Alright… Question 1:
Political Identified Profile field, when will it return
As soon as I get confirmation to add it back—it was my intention to add at asap Friday, but then it was unclear what my authority was to do so
The only reason why it was removed was so I could add something else asap
Like an open-ended political affiliation
The US Department of Homeland Security is set to kickstart a controversial new pilot to scan the fingerprints of travellers departing the United States.
From June, US Customs and Border Patrol will take a fingerprint scan of international travellers exiting the United States from Detroit, while the US Transport Security Administration will take fingerprint scans of international travellers exiting the United States from Atlanta.
Biometric technology such as fingerprint scans has been used by US Customs and Border Patrol for several years to gain a biometric record of non-US citizens entering the United States.
But under the Bush Administration, a plan was formulated to also scan outgoing passengers.
Michael Hardin, a senior policy analyst with the US-Visit Program at the United States Department of Homeland Security told a Biometrics Institute conference today that the DHS will use the data from the trial to “inform us as to where to take [exit screening] next.”
“We are trying to ensure we know more about who came and who left,” he said. “We have a large population of illegal immigrants in the United States – we want to make sure the person getting on the plane really is the person the records show to be leaving.”
The original exit scanning legislation planned by the Bush administration stipulated that airlines would be responsible for conducting the exit fingerprints.
But after much protest, Hardin said the new Obama administration re-considered this legislation two weeks ago and is “not as sold that private sector should be agency for exit fingerprints.”
“The new administration feels that perhaps it is more appropriate that Government should take that role.”
So the Obama administration is a little less fascist and a little more socialist. We already knew he was more authoritarian so this shouldn’t surprise anyone. New boss just like the old boss.