Real ID

Album Cover: Various Positions

"Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew ya."
Leonard Cohen / Hallelujah

Posted on May 09, 2005 8:31 AM in Miscellaneous
Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.

Is anyone else concerned by the fact that the government can attach something like the Real ID Act to a seemingly unopposable military spending bill and let something so monumental slip under the radar?

According to

Barry Steinhardt, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's technology and liberty program, says: "It's going to result in everyone, from the 7-Eleven store to the bank and airlines, demanding to see the ID card. They're going to scan it in. They're going to have all the data on it from the front of the card...It's going to be not just a national ID card but a national database."

At the moment, state driver's licenses aren't easy for bars, banks, airlines and so on to swipe through card readers because they're not uniform; some may have barcodes but no magnetic stripes, for instance, and some may lack both. Steinhardt predicts the federalized IDs will be a gold mine for government agencies and marketers. Also, he notes that the Supreme Court ruled last year that police can demand to see ID from law-abiding U.S. citizens.

What in God's name does homeland security have to do with marketing? It's bad enough that the government can already see, via debit card purchases, the places I get gas, the places I shop at, the type of entertainment that I enjoy, etc. The Real ID card is only going to take this information availability to a whole new level. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, it's pretty much a done deal and will go into affect in May of 2008.

Moving into a log cabin up on Mount Rainier is looking better every day.

Update: If you're against the idea of the Real ID Act, you can go to and voice your concerns (via Slashdot).


Ryan on May 09, 2005 at 11:06 AM:

It's bad enough that the government can already see take, via debit card purchases taxes, the places I get gas money I earn, the places I shop at money I spend, the type of entertainment that I enjoy money I leave behind when I die, etc...

If we want the federal government to be less powerful, then we must take away all of its unjust power even if it is using some of that power in a way we agree with. As long as we uphold confiscatory taxation, anti-gun laws, etc., we will have the FBI, NSA, CIA, etc. pushing for more ways to more efficiently collect data on you and I for "Homeland Security." And apparently the marketers happen to get in on the data as well (as they do with the US Census).

No big surprise, is it? This is what government does: it grows.


Post Comments

If you feel like commenting on the above item, use the form below. Your email address will be used for personal contact reasons only, and will not be shown on this website.


Email Address:



Check this box if you hate spam.