Several additional things about the REAL ID act which strike me as worthy of comment.
First is the strange fact that the media doesn’t seem to be mentioning it at all. I wasn’t able to find a story on it on any of the major US news outlets’ websites. This is *enormous* news, and it seems that it is being intentionally ignored. Come on, folks, forget journalistic integrity, where’s you nose for a good controversy? If I had any doubts before that our media is told what to say by the government, the last ones have vanished. Blogs, it appears, are the only real news outlet that we have left.
Next, if you’re looking for a good explanation of what has happened, and why it matters, I think that Bruce Schneier’s blog is one of the best. The great thing about this ID card, as Bruce very clearly explains, is how easy it makes identity theft. Since all your personal information is conveniently encoded in a machine-readable format on the card itself, it’s a one-stop-shop for identity theft. And that doesn’t even take into effect what happens when the unpatched Windows 2000 server running the database is hacked. Or, maybe it will be an ultra-hardened SE Linux or Sun server. It doesn’t matter. It will be such a high-profile target, it’s just a matter of time.
And, from the EPIC page, via Bruce’s writeup, came this delight:
Only two groups–Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License and Numbers USA–support the controversial national ID plan.
Yeah, that’s Numbers USA, the folks whose website is powered by some of the best code I ever wrote. It makes me uncomfortable to think about it. I realize that I was more than a little unkind the last time I mentioned them. Roy is a really nice guy, has the best of intentions, and explains his goals so rationally, it’s hard to disagree with him. I just think that their focus on their single issue renders them absolutely devoid of peripheral vision.