[IP] Real ID = National ID (fwd from dave at farber.net)

John Kelsey kelsey.j at ix.netcom.com
Wed May 11 07:45:17 PDT 2005

>From: Justin <justin-cypherpunks at soze.net>
>Sent: May 9, 2005 3:55 PM
>To: cypherpunks at al-qaeda.net
>Subject: Re: [IP] Real ID = National ID (fwd from dave at farber.net)

>What do we need "security" for?  We need security because a lot of
>people hate the U.S., and because we won't close our borders, and
>because society has become too diverse.  

Drivers license security is being pursued because a bunch of people
want to be able to reliably use drivers licenses as ID cards for their
own purposes.  That can be for TSA screening of passneger names
(though I think it's fantasy to imagine that this will really prevent
terrorists from flying, and it has endless creepy totalitarian uses),
or for making it harder to get a bank account without submitting your
true name so you get taxed and monitored, or making it easier for
the folks running various "preferred shopper" card programs to make
you give them the right information, or keeping you from reselling
your airline tickets.  (Note that the whole market segmentation/price
discrimination scheme that this threatened has basically died by now,
but we're still stuck with binding names to airline tickets.)  

>There is a significant correlation between cultural
>diversity/proximity and social unrest.  That does not require people
>of different races; put white klansmen next to white members of the
>Black Panthers and you have the same thing.

This is *very* dependent on the cultures in question.  For the most
part, Japanese and Korean immigrants (to take a couple easy examples)
make wonderful neighbors, though they're members of a different race
and culture and often a different religion.  On the other hand, turn
of the century Irish immigrants were English-speaking Christians, but
they made nightmarish neighbors.  And neither of those have much to do
with terrorism (as opposed to low-level crime, public drunkenness,
imported criminal gangs, etc.).  The Irish in the US have never been
much of a terrorist threat, though things are very different in the

>None of those three core problems will be solved by RealID.
>Therefore, while RealID may make some difference at the margins, it
>cannot be very effective.

Well, it depends on what your goal is.  If your goal is
harder-to-forge drivers licenses for all kinds of good and bad
purposes, then it may help.  If your goal is seriously stopping
terrorism or shutting down illegal immigration, it probably won't have
much of an impact.


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