Smart Card Alliance Not Particularly Concerned About Privacy Implications Of REAL ID Act

from the not-their-privacy dept

For a few years now, many have been pushing for the “REAL ID Act” which would effectively create a national ID program. The supporters of the law suggest that it would somehow make us safer, ignoring plenty of evidence that it would do the opposite by making identity theft that much easier. It’s also never clearly explained how this makes anyone any safer. It certainly does make it a lot easier for people to be tracked — and as we’ve seen lately, governments have a hard time resisting the urge to misuse these tools to snoop on people, even when they have no legal right to the information. So, when these very real concerns are brought up by folks like Jim Harper at Cato, you would think that supporters of the Act would have a decent response on the security and privacy issues — but instead, they brush it off as “nothing to worry about.” Harper points to the quotes from Randy Vanderhoof, the Smart Card Alliance’s executive director, saying: “Privacy concerns are all perception and hype and no substance but carry considerable weight with state legislators because no one wants to be accused of being soft on privacy.” It’s nice of him to brush off the security and privacy concerns of everyone else without backing up his statements — but the problem is that, if he’s wrong (and he’s very wrong) it’s not quite a system where you can put the genie back in the bottle after the data has been leaked. Given how many stories we’ve seen this year alone about government data leaks, I’d say that there’s plenty of substance to the concerns — and anyone brushing them aside has lost touch with what’s actually happening.

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Comments on “Smart Card Alliance Not Particularly Concerned About Privacy Implications Of REAL ID Act”

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Someone Who Knows says:

REAL ID ACT is discriminatory

The REAL ID Act is infused with discrimatory policies that would systematically exclude millions of people who wouldn’t even qualify for such an ID. Trying to cover it up as a security issue is ludicrous. The reason why theres so many gaps in a plan like this is because they are more concerned with its exclusivity rather than with its actual supposed function of security.

Casper says:

Not a good solution

The REAL ID Act is not a good solution. It’s just a political move. That said, our current system works like shit. If a non-citizen can walk in and get a drivers license without having to prove a work visa or resident alien status, we have a problem. That should be one of the easiest things to prevent from happening. Just like the kid who walked into the DMV wearing an obviously fake beard and mustache and got a license… why was he able to do this without at least being delayed while they investigated?

At some point we need to make a new ID system that can not be faked so easily. Whether it is by finger print, retinal scan, or whatever, as long as it is something that can uniquely identify someone. While I’m sure it is possible, I doubt ID theft would be as high if your eye was the key.

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