Previous post on Alabama’s courageous Representative Cam Ward’s efforts to stop this awful piece of legislation here. The Alabama effort to oppose Real ID from the grassroots is at: Please support this effort in any way you can.

As noted in that earlier post, the deadline for states to kowtow to Washington’s Real ID mandate is next month and freedom-loving state legislators, like Cam Ward, are doing their best to oppose a major step towards turning this nation into a police state. Rep. Ward’s Joint House Resolution (HJR 13), which would prevent Alabama from participating in the Real ID program and affirm our constitutional rights to privacy and freedom of movement, is currently stalled in the Rules Committee and is not being added to the floor calendar for a vote thanks to the efforts of House Majority Leader Ken Guin. Please let Rep. Guin know your thoughts and feelings on his stance toward personal privacy and freedom to travel:

Representative Ken Guin (D)
House Majority Leader

State House:
Room 517-E
11 S. Union Street
Montgomery, AL 36130
(334) 242-7674

Post Office Box 470
Carbon Hill, AL 35549
Work Phone: (205) 924-0061
FAX: (205) 924-0040

During Session:
Out of Session:

Steve Gordon has the contact info for the other members of the Rules Committee, who are currently lacking spine. Make it rain. I’d like to see a flood of phone calls, correspondence and, if you see any of these folks out–tell them to support HJR 13 and oppose Real ID.

Thanks to Shana for the heads-up!

Presumably Rep. Guin wants Alabama to be a good little state and submit to the dictates of our federal mandarins. That sounds a bit dramatic, but what’s at stake requires a bit of drama and much more. If you think that credit card company security breaches and university data leaks are bad, you ain’t see nothin yet. What I have trouble wrapping my mind around is anyone who’s been to the DMV or been screwed by the Post Office or folks who’ve seen the destruction that wrong-door SWAT raids can wreak supporting creating a massive database full of sensitive personal data to be run by the same type of folks. Bureaucrats are good at doing the same thing over and over again, which is fine. There are plenty of rote jobs that need people to competently do the same task ad infinitum. They fail miserably in a dynamic system, however, you know, like maintaining a huge database that will be a prime target for criminal hackers and other data thieves.

Not only would such a database (or series of linked databases) be targeted by data thieves (not to mention the temptation to leak data by corrupt government employees), but it wouldn’t make us any safer. Security guru Bruce Schneier has pointed out over and over again that ID cards cannot make us safer. His informative book Beyond Fear: Thinking Sensibly About Security takes on many topics, but addresses IDs and ID checks as security measures and finds them to be worthless. (Reviews.) Also, my friend and former colleague Jim Harper has authored a book entitled: Identity Crisis: How Identification is Overused and Misunderstood, which ably demonstrates the function of identification in society and why in most transactions and relationships we don’t need “identification” as the term is commonly understood today. (Full disclosure: I helped Jim research and edit the book, so any errors are likely due to me:).

That’s all for now. Alabamians, please contact Rep. Guin and the other committee members and strongly urge them to move forward with HJR 13. Also, thank Rep. Ward when you get a chance.