Who Needs A No-Fly List When You Can Just Ground 91 Million Citizens?

from the you-know-what-a-valid-driver's-license-is-good-for?-DRIVING,-citizen. dept

Great news for people who think there’s just too damn much freedom in this country: the government’s “no-fly” list is about to get much, much longer.

The citizens of several US states may soon find that they can’t use their drivers’ licenses to get into federal facilities or even board planes.

Enforcement of a 2005 federal law that sets identification standards, known as “Real ID,” has been long-delayed. But now Department of Homeland Security officials say enforcement is imminent. The “Real ID” law requires states to implement certain security features before they issue IDs and verify the legal residency of anyone to whom they issue an ID card.

For the residents of Alaska, California, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, Minnesota and Washington (along with American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands), this means their ID cards are perfectly legal within those states, but only as long as they stay in those states. (And, apparently, never need to enter a government building — like, say, to acquire a new, compliant ID card).

States that have not complied with the REAL ID Act — including Missouri and Minnesota, which both passed legislation telling the federal government to take a hike — will not be granted extensions. Residents in those states will now unofficially join countless others on the government’s “can’t board a plane” list. On the bright side, they’ll at least have some idea as to why they’ve been denied access, but will be similarly limited in their redress options. (Move to another state?)

The rationale behind the law — which carries with it privacy-undermining data sharing requirements — is, of course, terrorist-related.

The statute is in part a response to the suggestion of the 9/11 Commission, which noted that four of the 19 hijackers used state-issued ID cards to board planes.

Not that the new law would prevent the same thing from happening. It may make it slightly more difficult to do so, but it’s not as though a halfway decent fake wouldn’t fool our nation’s crack team of under-qualified security guards, who seem much more interested in dumping out breast milk and feeling up people with medical conditions. For that matter, it’s been proven more than once that having an approved government ID really isn’t integral to the boarding process.

There are other options available for residents of these states, should the TSA move forward with enforcing the REAL ID law. (The DHS has suggested it won’t be waiting around for the holdout states and territories.) But these options are mostly useless. The New York Times reports people will be allowed to present other government-issued ID, like passports — something domestic travelers rarely carry with them.

The federal government is now forcing states into compliance with the law by using the sort of leverage it never should: its constituents. It’s robbing law-abiding citizens of the ability to board airplanes or enter government buildings to force states to fall in line.

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Comments on “Who Needs A No-Fly List When You Can Just Ground 91 Million Citizens?”

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tom (profile) says:

Federal hypocrisy at its worst. My state, OK, is one of the ones that refuses to fully comply with the RealID act. So even though I am a natural born US citizen, I may lose the ability to travel via any means where the govt has placed TSA troops. Meanwhile, in states that both comply with RealID and allow illegal invaders to obtain driver’s licenses, said illegal invaders will be allowed to travel.

One positive. I won’t have to worry about serving on Federal juries. If they won’t let me in the Federal Courthouse because my OK driver’s license doesn’t meet their magic standards, I can’t serve.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If they won’t let me in the Federal Courthouse because my OK driver’s license doesn’t meet their magic standards, I can’t serve.

You’re thinking entirely too rationally. You’ll still be required to serve and expected to show up. When you fail to show up because the guards won’t let you in, you’ll be held in contempt of court for failure to appear. We have already seen cases where “Government division A prevented me from meeting my obligation” was not considered a valid excuse by Government division B. See, for example, non-citizens who were detained by law enforcment for so long that they missed their immigration hearings, and were then deported for failure to appear.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

>I wonder, when the next terroristic attack happen what will be the next trope?

After the shoe bomber made his attempt and we suddenly all had to take off our shoes to board an airplane, the popular joke was that “it’s a good thing he didn’t have the bomb in his underwear.”

So much for that.

My prediction for the next trope: Claims of a app that causes iPhone batteries to explode. Not real of course, but the TSA won’t allow you to take your iPhone on a flight. Unless you unlock it and let them image the contents for examination.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It has already happened? Where have you been?

You can be held indefinitely without any justification, but upon the mere accusation from the right person that you might be a terrorist.

Your property can be relieved from you at any time by any law enforcement official without just cause through civil forfeiture.

You can be charged and denied legal counsel because you are too rich while the government or IRS completely seizes ALL of your financial assets effectively leaving you defenseless.

You CAN be silenced with either a Court Gag order or NSL, or secret stamp on any object! You have NO 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th amendment rights in line at the TSA.

You can have your guns removed from your person or property by law enforcement without even probable cause.

In short EVERY Amendment to the Constitution has been suspended by various agencies in one form or another, and SCOTUS has already declared anything within 100 miles of the border a constitution free zone with affects just a touch over 50% of the US population.

Maybe you don’t get it, but the constitution is already dead and YOU just like ME long with the REST of US will receive just exactly the RIGHTS “THEY DECIDE” TO LET US HAVE!

And at the end of the day, a cop can waste your ass if they just don’t like you and EVERYONE in the court system will accept their words “that you threatened them justifying their actions” over irrefutable video evidence!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

It might have been something either so outrageous that I didnt think it stood a chance of passing or so underplayed that it seemed harmless and inconsequential and I forgot about it either way.

After reading a bit about it, it seems like it was passed as a rider on another must-pass bill. How unsurprising. It seems like all the most unfavorable laws are being snuck in must-pass bulls as riders. This needs to be outlawed asap.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Real ID was immensely popular with the conspiracy theory crowd a few years back. It was “dictated by the New World Order!!!”, proof of a “North American Union by 2010!!!” and of course the “The mark of the beast!!!”

That’s the sort of thing that makes credible news sources – that want to remain credible – stop talking about it.

Nor was noncompliance to be a major issue; when Congress passed the 2005 Real ID act they insisted compliance by states would be voluntary.

TRX (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Arkansas started putting a magnetic strip on their driver’s licenses a while back. When the DMV couldn’t explain what might be encoded on it, I ran my shiny-new driver’s license through my Magnaflux machine. I’ve been doing that with replacements ever since.

I imagine any RFID devices would be geshtupfed by the Magnaflux as well…

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I imagine any RFID devices would be geshtupfed by the Magnaflux as well.

Depends on the type of RFID, transmitting vs. receiving. An outfit I worked with was using RFID keys which were essentially high tech radio antennas. A base station transmitted a signal then reported back which keys had been detected within range of the transmitter. The keys themselves were otherwise inert.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

… and apparently a strong enough magnet can induce enough current to destroy the antenna too.

Wierd. I first started out thinking of keys which just stored a value via stored magnetic charge vs. antenna based, and you take it back around that way via antennas.

A powerful magnet is a great way to wipe the contents of any magnetic storage medium, from RFID keys to hard drives, but it’d take a pretty powerful magnet to fry an RFID antenna, though I suppose not impossible.

Tom (profile) says:

I would suggest reading the requirements for a license in California. ANYONE can get one. This includes visitors from overseas who only have a border crossing card. (Which is only valid for 72 hours). They even have the AB60 license which states “Not for Federal Purposes”. To make it worse, the DMV will accept any documents you provide, all you have to do is sign a form stating the “documents” you provide are legitimate. To make it worse, the DMV will take your thumbprint, but they won’t cross check it against any database. So, anyone can get an unlimited number of licenses straight from the DMV, with little or no repercussions. If you don’t believe me, go to the California DMV website, and read the requirements yourself.

I fully understand the privacy argument. But you also need to look the massive amounts of fraud taking place. Now that 200 million voting records are out in public, it won’t take long for our elections to be compromised. Once you understand both sides of the argument, then you can decide.

Casey S. (profile) says:

As a Minnesota resident...

I have the option of getting an ‘enhanced’ DL or ID card that meets the Real ID requirements, so Minnesota residents are not completely SOL. Considering that only ~7000 (as of Sept. 2015) have done so though, indicates that a lot a people are not aware of the issue or don’t want an ‘enhanced’ ID.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: As a Minnesota resident...

I have the option of getting an ‘enhanced’ DL or ID card that meets the Real ID requirements

From what I understand, the enhanced DL looks different from the standard DL in Minnesota, and people have been accused of having a fake DL because they had an enhanced one. That has to have been fixed by now, but I am still seeing people complain about it.

ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: As a Minnesota resident...

This may be, but comparing my standard license to the sample enhanced ID on the states website there are few differences. From what I see it adds the word ‘Enhanced’ to the title and adds a small US flag, otherwise it looks the same from what I can tell.

The problem, at least from what I read, was that it was thicker than the normal license (since it had a RFID chip,) and less flimsy. And while it looked on the face like a Minnesota DL, it didn’t feel like one. One article I read said that someone with an enhanced DL had six security guards at a casino detain him and question him, only to be released when a police officer showed up and verified that it was a real DL.

Anon says:


It’s a giant game of chicken. “I dare you to tell a third of the population they are not allowed to fly…”

Does anyone seriously tihnk this is going to happen? At the very least, the airlines would not stand for losing a third of their customers. (And primarily it seems, ones who live too far to drive to the popular destinations.) It will be interesting if it comes to local national guard being called out by the governor to force TSA to let people into airports and onto planes. Methinks the feds will cave before then.

This is an example of the political problems in Canada. When a government gets a parliamentary majority, it is a law unto itself for five years. Typically, the only real restraint is the array of provincial governments with contrary agendas. When the feds tried to enforce a long-gun registry for example, several provinces refused to implement the necessary pieces. Finally, it seems the USA needs to use states as a counter to a totally disfunctional congress.

tqk (profile) says:

Re: Obviously...

This is an example of the political problems in Canada. When a government gets a parliamentary majority, it is a law unto itself for five years. Typically, the only real restraint is the array of provincial governments with contrary agendas.

You state an instance of consistency which doesn’t exist. When I moved from one province to another, I was told to identify myself with the (federal) Employment Insurance scheme to get my “proof of S.I.N.” (Social Insurance Number) so I could then find employment in that province. This federal agency wouldn’t accept a Canadian passport it had issued as valid ID. They insisted instead on a provincially issued birth certificate (which anyone can buy through the mail).

Anonymous Coward says:

“Enforcement of a 2005 federal law that sets identification standards, known as “Real ID,” has been long-delayed. But now Department of Homeland Security officials say enforcement is imminent.”

Even having a “real ID” does no good when the TSA claims your Washington DC issued drivers license is no good.


CH says:


You know you don’t need a photo ID to travel, right? You know that they just want to make sure you’re who you say you are, right? You know that all the ID check does is check that the person that’s getting on the plane matches the person that bought the ticket. You know that if you don’t have an ID they just ask you questions from public record to verify you are who you say you are…

Yes, some state IDs will no longer be accepted because in the eyes of the federal government they no longer are secure enough to verify someone’s identity. You’ll still be able to fly though, it’s just a little longer to get through security.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Clickbait-y

That’s not so. Straight from TSA:


I live in one of the states on the shit list, or one of the states that gave the feds the middle finger, whatever your point of view is. Word is the TSA will begin enforcing the federal ID rules sometime in 2016.

Anonymous Coward says:

Blood donor card

I somehow lost my drivers license during a trip out of state. When I got to the airport to return home, I knew there’d be a hassle, but I also knew that I could get through so I wasn’t sweating it. After several escalations to supervisors, I finally got through security by showing my years-old, faded, blood donor card. They didn’t like any of my other credit cards, insurance cards, employee badge, etc. They wanted something with both my name and my address on it, which the blood donor card did. Security theater…

Personanongrata says:

Cast Off the Repressive Yoke of US government Tyranny

The statute is in part a response to the suggestion of the 9/11 Commission, which noted that four of the 19 hijackers used state-issued ID cards to board planes.

The federal government’s point is?

From The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (aka 9/11 Commission) report:

Twenty-two of the 23 hijacker applications were approved. 205 ~ Staff Statements: Monograph on 9/11 and Terrorist Travel, Chapter 2, Chronology (page 29).



All of the terrorists involved in the US terror attacks of 11Sept2001 had visas approved by the US Department of State.

Does this mean that the validity of all passports and visas issued by the US government should now be in question and all persons in possession of such documents be forbidden the freedom to travel?

The US government demanding of it’s citizens, under penalty of loss of freedom to travel, the use of new and so-called improved form of identification is simply another mechanism of control being set into place by a totalitarian government in fear of it’s own citizens.

How is the water frogs?

Revolt Slaves, Revolt!

Whoever says:


The DHS isn’t going to shut down air travel for all those Californians and Texans. It simply won’t happen. Perhaps there will be some kind of compromise, but a full shut down (apart from people with passports): not going to happen.

California knows this, which puts the DHS on a weak footing. The consequences of enforcing this ID requirement are too much.

Fluffy (profile) says:

120 day notice

I’m a Minnesota resident, and the latest info from the company I work for is that 120 day notice is required before the TSA can enforce the no-fly. Our understanding is that actual official publication of the intent to enforce hasn’t occurred yet. From the DHS real-id-public-faqs, it says that until enforcement begins, state driver licenses from all states will be accepted.

Anonymous Coward says:

State’s rights has been a fig leaf for some pretty shady stuff, but this is the one time where I think there is place for a principled stand against the government. States should be able to set the requirement for their own ID, and the feds should pound sand if they don’t like it. Grounding US citizens over what amounts to a prop in security theater is a form of tyranny.

Anonymous Coward says:

Most states refused when real ID came out. There was no system setup to deal with it on such a large basis. The government’s idea was to offer a paltry sum so that states would jump on the extra money only to find out implementing it would cost far far more. Nearly every state that looked at the program thought the expense was way too much to develop it.

The basic revolt was so bad by states not taking up the bait of piece meal funding that the feds decided to extend the implementation time, praying that some one would eventually develop the system.

Now that they have a sucker who did, it’s time to put on the squeeze for the rest of them to fall in line.

jilocasin (profile) says:

Who knew the US had a Schengen Agreement?

Wow, I never realized that the US had it’s own Schengen Agreement, or that it was so close to being suspended.

For years American (as in U.S. of A.) citizens have enjoyed the freedom to travel between states without presenting papers. After realizing that the The Articles of Confederation [or what Europe is presently trying with the European Union] wasn’t working, we got that shiny new fangled Constitution. Sure there were some dark times; slavery, civil war, commies, but for the most part people were free to travel between states without any form of government issued ID.

I guess we’ll all have a nice story to tell our grandkids, how back in the day you could travel from one end of this country to the other with nothing more than the clothes on your back.

Sure, it’s only about boarding airplanes, now. Next it’ll be trains, and boats, and buses, and cars. Finally, even walking across a border will require the proper government approved ID.

Just look at how many governors [granted, mostly republican governors at the moment, but have you seen the current republican presidential candidates?] want to dictate just which immigrants should be allowed in their states?

On the bright side, once everyone has their passport we can try to get all 67 stamps, 50 states, 16 territories, and the District of Columbia. It’ll be even better than collecting all of those state quarters.

Whatever (profile) says:


I have to say, this is one of those wonderful anti-government scare articles that makes Fox News look reasonable.

91 million people didn’t lose a right to travel. That’s crap. 91 Million people live in states which refuse to properly control and administer their ID systems in a manner that makes them meet a standard published more than 10 years ago.

If you want to lay the problem somewhere, lay it at the feet of the states who refuse to offer proper and complete services to their citizens. They had 10 years to get their shit together, and failed in a massive, massive way.

Spaceman Spiff (profile) says:

This is revolting

And so will be millions of US Citizens when this is enacted! In any case, I was surprised to hear Illinois is not Real ID compliant – I was under the impression that it was, especially after I moved here from Massachusetts and had to provide my birth certificate or passport, and proof of residency, in order to get an Illinois drivers license. I guess it was just an example of Illinois’ over-aggressive bureaucracy.

Michael Leo Lively (profile) says:

I am so disappointed in the Second Amendment Crowd

So, the Second Amendment is all we have left and those guys aren’t going to risk their right to bear arms to defend the rest of the constitution…, Which is good because there is a 99% chance they will shoot the wrong persons. Furthermore Command and Control warfare, the only possible effective tactic they would have, will not be considered because they will be too busy offing, “Libtards” sic, Ni**ers and Muslims much to the delight of the Power Elite.

You’re going down, humanity!

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