Sunday, July 19, 2009

National ID Cards - Already Here!

Are you aware that there is a activity being implemented by Janet Napolitano of Homeland Security to have everyone "Stamped" with a National ID card? "My goal is simple: To have the most effective system in place to inform the American people about threats to our country". (Like returning vets from combat, gun owners, and other "extremists" to use her word).

The Real ID Act passed without a debate, eluding due process. Thanks Congress!

Have we had any say in this operation? No, we have not! How can the government undertake such a thing without consenting with fellow Americans?

Did you know this is already happpening in at least six states? (Arizona, Michigan, New York, Texas, Washington, and Vermont. Kansas and Florida are now considering this device also). They are implanting a microchip called an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification chip) into each driver's license. These microchips the size of a "dot" broadcast radio waves that can transmit all kinds of information about you over a distance of up to 30 feet.

Original Intent
Originally, these chips were designed for manufacturing purposes. They could track a variety of details pertaining to articles produced and their distribution throughout the country. Then other groups heard about them. They are now used by veterinarians to implant your favorite pets medical data, as well as, your name, address, phone number, and insurance/financial information. God knows who else uses them.

The Downside
So what's the big deal? These chips and the information they contain can easily be hacked by computer geeks for various devious uses. Worse yet, these chips could also be scanned by "authorized" government officials at say protest demonstrations, gun shows, Tea Parties, or any other public gatherings deemed unsupportive of government or considered to be "subversive activities". Lists of these individuals could be compiled and tracked by whoever has these scanners for whatever purpose they want.

This sounds like George Orwell's "Big Brother". Haven't read this classic? You should! It describes a tyranical government that controls your everday activity from the time you get up until you retire at night.

RFID Critics claim these chips will enable identity crooks to commit ID crimes and victims would be totally unaware they were violated, until it's too late to do anything.

The Upside
Proponents say that these chips are not designed to identify people, but rather just to hold valid information about you. Now used in all US ePassports and electronic pass cards, these chips can be scanned without your knowledge through a pocket, purse, or backpack. They are supposed to "make it easier to pull the right record faster to help make border flows faster." Are you buying this argument? Would you like to buy the Brooklyn Bridge as well?

Granted, your privacy is already compromised by the advent of cellular phones. They all have tracking devices embeded inside them. However, they can be turned off! Homeland Security (and who knows who else) can use these trackers to pinpoint you location while using your phone.

Doesn't RFID technology go beyond government security? Couldn't it have a more serious potential if used for other intended purposes? Should we permit their use?


  1. I understand and share your "Big Brother" fears. But you seem to be OK with the fact that Big Brothers Bush and Cheney ILLEGALLY spied on American citizens without their consent.

    I'd like to hear your solution to stopping illegal immigration. A national ID card seems like a perfect solution - no ID card = deportation. Do you have a better one?

  2. You said:

    "These chips and the information they contain can easily be hacked by computer geeks for various devious uses."

    Easily hacked? Where did you get this info? I've been a computer geek for 30 years. And I can tell you that you are mistaken. With proper encryption, they would be extremely secure.

  3. Nick,
    Without repeating the whole article, here is a quote and a link to it regarding "hacking" RFID chips.

    "Potential investors should be told how a hacker can simply walk by a chipped person and clone his or her VeriChip signal, a threat demonstrated by security researcher Jonathan Westhues months ago," says McIntyre, who is a former federal bank examiner.

  4. Nick,
    I don't know how you reached the conclusion that I was OK with the Bush Administration's invasion of personal privacy - especially the Patriot Act. They were equally as guilty in "stealing" our inalienable rights including the right to privacy. These are crimes against the US Constitution (as well as us!) and the provisions in it.

    The problem is that people just aren't aware of how their personal freedoms are being eroded a little bit at a time. Obama, isn't the first and certainly won't be the last to infringe on our freedoms. We need to wake up!

    As for the problem if illegal immigrants, (which by the way, has nothing to do with this topic) let's start by saying that in order to fix the problem we shouldn't have to give everybody a national ID number. We already have one - Social Security numbers! Besides, it's very scary to think we should all have chips implanted for ID purposes. There are too many ways this technology can be abused and used in unlawful ways.

    If you think RFID chips should be implanted into illegals, good luck. You won't get all of them to submit for the implants. They will remain "underground" like they do now. What incentives will they have to do so?

    Granted this is no solution to the bigger issue and perhaps I should consider expanding this into a full-blown topic for further investigation and discussion.

  5. OK, I stand corrected about your attitude about Bush and Cheney. I apologize for assuming that your rant wasn't just aimed at the current administration.

    Regarding the RFID debate - I never suggested any human be implanted with a chip. I was referring to a national ID card, where the chip is embedded in your drivers license or state ID. I thought you were too, since that was the subject of the post.

    I disagree with your statement that national ID cards and enforcing immigration laws have nothing to do with each other. To me they go hand-in-hand.

    The fact is, that I believe we should have a national drivers license. That way whacko states like California, NY, and Massachusetts can't decide on their own to legitimize illegals by giving them official state IDs.

    Now, regarding the "easily hacked by a computer geek" statement. First of all, the article you referenced is a year and a half old. You know that when talking about technology, that's ancient history. But even if the technology hasn't changed, the hacker would have to build the device. Also, the hacker would have to get close enough to the victim to touch him, according to that article. So your contention that it's "easily" done by any computer geek is inaccurate.

    And as I said, with encryption, having access to the contents of the chip does no good unless you've got the encryption key to decrypt that data.

    Another thing I have a problem with is your assumption that just because the government has the capability to do something, that they will take advantage of that capability. The government has the capability today to come to your house and take you away and lock you away forever if they wanted to. Why aren't you afraid of that? They also have the capability to go to a gun show, and record all the license plate numbers in the parking lot. So why not protest against license plates?

    At least the current administration is being public with what they're doing, not hiding behind locked doors like in the Bush days.

    Thanks for a great discussion. It makes both of us think more about where the country is going and how we can keep an eye on what's going on with our government officials.