Liberty Underground has screeched several times about Real ID and it’s problems. The Florida Libertarian Party Chair even went so far as to voluntarily surrender his driver license rather than renew it using REAL ID, then dare the cops to arrest him for driving without a license.
They eventually did ticket him (after being baited on the air, in public) but unfortunately what has not happened since is a concerted, planned and executed challenge to the law itself.
As written here there’s another person “caught in the net” who lost their license and can’t renew it due to “failing” the document test. The article referenced makes the very clear (and correct) point that REAL ID would not have stopped 9/11, nor any of the other attacks that have taken place since.
But that’s not why REAL ID is bad. One does not argue against something because it might be ineffective. After all, ineffective government is (at worst) wasting its own time, during which period of time it cannot harass you or worse! One argues against REAL ID because (1) it’s unconstitutional, (2) it’s more dangerous than the alternative (doing nothing.)
REAL ID is both.
First, constitutionality. There is a constitutionally-recognized right to travel. Don’t believe me. Go look it up. REAL ID (along with all such “licensure” of commonly-used conveyances by private parties for personal transport) is therefore constitutionally impermissible. Of course this is inconvenient to argue, as one must then actually give a damn about the Constitution in the first place — and most people don’t. They therefore turn to esoteric nonsense instead of the foundation with their discussion when it comes to issues such as this. (The same thing, incidentally, happens with the Second Amendment — what part of “shall not be infringed” is difficult to parse?)
More important to this specific debate, however, is what happens to the data? It’s one thing to simply see a passport or birth certificate, a utility bill or two or something bearing a tax ID number.
It is another entirely to scan such documents into a database run by the government!
This database is now the hacker target for identity theft. Anyone who manages to steal Florida’s database of these documents now has photos, social security numbers, birth certificate or passport information and verified home addresses for everyone who has a driver license in the state.
If you believe that database will not be penetrated and stolen you’re a fool. It probably already has been and if it hasn’t it definitely will be.
This is the real problem with such a system — it provides for zero accountability and recompense if the data is stolen. And it will be. It cannot provide recompense since the government can only obtain the funds it would pay damages with (if it ever did, which it won’t) by taxing the very people who are injured. There is thus no possible way for any breach of security to ever be compensated — period.
That is where the real problem lies. Not only is the entire premise of such “licensure” unconstitutional in the first instance, REAL ID presents an impossible-to-mitigate risk to everyone in any state who has this data stored and presents that database as the target for organized criminal identify theft — both here in the United States and in nations such as China.
What we ought to be talking about are these two points — not “inconvenience” but unconstitutionality, along with the impossible-to-mitigate or compensate risk without any associated benefit.