Thursday, March 01, 2007

New burgeoning problems with the national ID

At Feministing, they are considering new dangers that may, and probably will, arise from the implmentation of a national ID in the United States.

...the REAL ID Act of 2005, which establishes a national database of personal data based on state drivers license and ID records, could put domestic violence victims in harm's way.


REAL ID "would create a national database with the personal data of 245 million license and state ID cardholders, yet there is still no plan for adequate privacy and security safeguards."

From the ACSBlog:
The REAL ID Act threatens Maryland’s address confidentiality program, and this threat has the potential to harm Maryland’s domestic violence victims. The Maryland Safe At Home program allows victims of domestic violence to use a substitute address when interacting with the state.29 Victims register with the state, and the program forwards mail received at the substitute address while keeping the actual residential address confidential. A participant in the Safe At Home program can request that the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration use the substitute address, thereby allowing the domestic violence victim to keep her residential address off driver’s license and vehicle registration lists, among others.30 Having the substitute address on her state identification card also aids the victim in using the substitute address with private sector organizations, such as a bank, allowing her to maintain the confidentiality of her residential address.

The REAL ID Act requirement that state driver’s licenses and identification cards must list a person’s actual address is a grave threat to this program.31 Including data collection requirements without adequate privacy safeguards would put these victims at risk. The state of Maryland should not make it more difficult for a domestic abuse victim to hide from her abuser. Though the 2005 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act requested that the Department of Homeland Security “consider the needs” of people in confidentiality programs,32 there is no guarantee that the Safe At Home program will be able to continue if Maryland implements the REAL ID Act.

Ngo further explains that government officials ranging from Sheriff's Deputies to DMV workers will have complete access to the nationwide REAL ID database. Accordingly, any official with access to one of the "tens of thousands of entrance points" into the database could use it track down the personal information of domestic violence victims--or anyone else with a driver's license or other state issued ID.

And this is really a quite serious problem, and it has been for years now. The government and businesses attempts to preserve privacy have too often been a joke. At this point we have all received the letter. You know, the one where you a re warned that a database was left open, a system was hacked, or a laptop with critical personal data of millions was lost.

These are our lives. Our financial lives, our vital stats, our medical profiles, etc. And it is slipping though the hands of those in which we entrust it.

Now the government wants it ALL, how long before it falls into the wrong hands?

How long until it is abused, and used to hunt down someone for revenge or venial cruelty?

It's time to go and talk to your representatives.

No comments: