CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering)
has joined a coalition of over 50 leading organizations to oppose REAL
ID, a U.S. government program that would turn state driver's licenses
into national identification cards. The coalition is encouraging
citizens to demonstrate overwhelming opposition to proposed rules for
this program so the government will rethink its dangerously flawed plan.
Congress approved the REAL ID Act in 2005, giving the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security the power to set federal driver's license standards.
The Act also paves the way for a vast shared national database that
could include sensitive personal documents like birth certificates,
medical records, and a multitude of other details about licensees.
"REAL ID conjures up images of jack-booted authorities demanding 'Your
papers, please,'" said Dr. Katherine Albrecht, Founder and Director of
CASPIAN. "Americans instinctively understand the importance of limiting
federal authority over their lives and are resisting this plan in record
In addition to privacy and civil liberties issues raised by the Act,
groups are also denouncing the plan's inherent insecurity. Unifying vast
amounts of personal data in a single interlinked database with multiple
points of access will increase the risk of counterfeiting and identity
Albrecht points out that the plan also raises serious privacy issues. "A
database filled with sensitive personal information on virtually every
adult in the U.S. will be a tempting target for private industry and
marketers -- if the identity thieves don't get to it first," she said.
The numerous problems associated with REAL ID have united a broad
spectrum of trans-partisan, nonpartisan, privacy, consumer, civil
liberty, civil rights, and immigrant organizations. Coalition members
include the American Library Association, the Electronic Privacy
Information Center, and the Consumer Federation of California.
The coalition is urging citizens to submit comments opposing the the
national identification scheme. The draft regulations to implement the
REAL ID Act are open for comment until 5:00 PM EST on May 8, 2007. The
comments can be submitted in one of three ways:
1. Online through the Federal Rulemaking Portal:
http://www.regulations.gov (search for "DHS-2006-0030-0001" and follow
the instructions for submitting comments);
2. Fax to 1-866-466-5370. Your fax must state that you are submitting
comments in response to Notice of Proposed Rulemaking DHS-2006-0030.
3. Postal Mail sent to Department of Homeland Security; Attn: NAC
1-12037; Washington, D.C. 20538. Your letter must state that you are
submitting comments in response to Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
For more information, visit http://www.privacycoalition.org/stoprealid/
Got comments? Email me, dammit!
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