Real ID: Connecting the Dots

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by Donna Holt

The desire by our federal government to implement a national tracking and ID system did not start with the REAL ID Act in 2005. Under the guise of security, it has been attempted numerous times in the past, even during Ronald Reagan’s administration. The Senate voted against a national ID card system three separate times.

The Real ID Act of 2005, which reads like a manual for a national ID card, was finally passed without debate after being added as a rider to a larger must-pass bill providing emergency funding for the Iraq War and Tsunami relief. It has become the biometric enrollment phase of a plan to implement a terribly invasive tracking system, largely without public knowledge or approval.

Through careful research of source documents by the three entities driving this system, it becomes apparent that REAL ID is merely the current face of a far larger,international government and private economic effort to collect, store, and distribute the sensitive biometric data of citizens to use for the twin purposes of government tracking and economic control.

The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) have collectively set all the standards for REAL ID document scanning, storage, data encryption, barcode and layout design to comply with their 2005 international driver’s license system. Under REAL ID, AAMVA is the hub and backbone of the database system set up by L-1 Identity Solutions to store and share information between all 50 states and 6 U.S. territories. It is obvious that what is at issue is much more than standardized driver’s licenses. This effort extends worldwide, threatening every person alive today.

Although very legitimate security concerns exist in this age of terrorism, this Act extends far beyond terrorism prevention or illegal immigration. I ask that you keep that broad picture in mind, as you vote on this issue today.

REAL ID mandates a certain picture quality compliant with ICAO global standards. Biometric data is produced from a simple digital photograph using a software program which measures and analyzes the unique, personally identifiable characteristics of the face resulting in a unique number or “code” developed from a formula which converts a digital biometric sample to biometric “face print” data. Under REAL ID biometric facial recognition technology, you become a number literally worn on your face which is read by computer, tracked by surveillance camera, and distributed worldwide.

The failures of the software are highly documented even in the 144 page report by AAMVA’s “International Biometric Group” (IBG). The report “anticipates”, the linked database requirements of REAL ID for 300 million drivers. Page 10 of this IBG report reveals “synopsis of facial image recognition performance is POOR. Test results on a 100-person database showed only 53% of multiple enrollees were identified correctly.” In other words, you have a 47% chance of being incorrectly identified using the existing facial recognition software. A law-abiding citizen could be mistaken for a criminal or terrorist. Or a terrorist could slip through the cracks as the result of this failure.


The CIAO is behind a common international passport system that stores individual personal and biometric information on a RFID chip built into all passports since 2007. The AAMVA recognizes ICAO standards and “enables” this scheme with use in the EDL (enhanced driver’s license) offered as an alternative under Real ID. A hand-held RFID reader is available on Ebay for as little as $40 that can capture the stored information from as far away as 70 ft. to enable the cloning of those ID cards.

Now we are expected to trust this same group with the safety of our sensitive personal identifying information even though their history of failures is so well documented. There have been countless reports of data system hacking and abuse by authorized users. Such security breaches highlight significant personal dangers and prove that the only secure data is uncollected data.

Hot Deals for Hot Destinations.

Together, DHS, AAMVA and ICAO are fulfilling the elements of a global biometric system. This system destroys national sovereignty and constitutional authority by removing control of government from the people and establishing government control over the people. It endangers our safety through the broad use of data sharing making identity theft a real threat and at a tremendous cost that neither the state nor the tax-payers can afford. The enrollment of American citizens into an international biometric system of identification and tracking constitutes the heart of the REAL ID issue. A secure driver’s license is not the ultimate goal or certainly the ultimate result of the REAL ID Act. And it is unfortunately clear that the ultimate purpose is government tracking and economic control.

For this reason, twenty-one states have passed legislation opposing the REAL ID Act. Eleven of those states have gone further by passing laws specifically prohibiting compliance with REAL ID.

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Companion House and Senate bills will be heard in the House and Senate Transportation Committees of the Virginia General Assembly on Thursday, February 5, 2009 beginning at 8:30AM. Virginia citizens are being encouraged to attend in support of H.B.1587 and S.B.1431.

Click here to read more of Donna Holt’s articles

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0 Responses to Real ID: Connecting the Dots

  1. M. Roberts May 19, 2009 at 11:05 am #

    I just stumbled upon this article today. I’m wondering where you can get the information of the states in opposition? I’m sure my state is not one of those!! Thanks!

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