Arizona says no to REAL ID
Posted by kandylini on June 17, 2008
Source: War on You.
Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano signed a bill today that prohibits the implementation of the REAL ID in Arizona. SB2677 received a Final vote of approval in the House last week by an overwhelming margin of 51 to 1. Napolitano’s signature was uncertain until today when she signed the bill into law.
The bill prohibits implementation of the REAL ID Act of 2005, which was passed by Congress as part of a supplemental spending bill for tsunami relief and the War on Terror. The bill did not receive a hearing in either the House or the Senate, and the public was largely unaware of it until it had already been signed into law.
“Everyone thinks that the REAL ID is just about protecting us against terrorism,” said co-sponsor Senator Karen Johnson (R-18). “But it really represents a cash cow for technology companies as well as the birth of the National ID card, complete with all the biometric information that technology can handle – face recognition, fingerprints, etc.”
“Corporations which specialize in selling identity cards stand to gain millions of dollars in profits if the Real ID Act is implemented,” said Johnson, “so, of course, they’re eager for everyone to be required to carry a National ID card everywhere they go.” Two of those corporations are Digimarc ID Systems and L-1 – the Number 1 and Number 2 companies for the manufacture of state driver’s licenses and identity cards. L-1 is considered the main driver behind the REAL ID and last year had nearly $100 million in federal contracts involving identity cards. Digimarc spent $350,000 in the first six months of 2007 lobbying Congress on the Real ID Act. Apparently the two companies are soon to be merged, resulting in a powerhouse corporation, pushing the “identification-as-security” concept to the maximum in order to increase company profits as they add more and more biometric features to state driver’s licenses.
“It’s misguided to think that identification equals security,” says Johnson. “Identification is just identification – it doesn’t prove intent and it doesn’t stop terrorists. Indeed, terrorists will forge documents – as they always have – to obtain the identification they want to commit crimes. Making U.S. citizens carry identity papers to board a plane or enter a government building stinks,” says Johnson. “It’s odious, onerous, and a violation of our civil liberties.”
“I refuse to be tagged and numbered,” said Johnson. “Requiring people to carry papers takes away their freedom. There are other, better ways to stop terrorism and to protect us against criminals. The federal government needs to butt out and let the states handle driver licensing. It’s not the business of the Dept. of Homeland Security to tell us how to run our state.“