The Senate Homeland Secuirty Committee hearing this Wednesday on “Reevaluating the REAL ID Act” was a sham, in which the only”opponents” or “critics” of the current REAL-ID law allowed to testify were those who prefer the PASS-ID bill to substitute an alternate national ID card mandate. Critics of any national ID need not apply to be heard as part of this debate between Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum.
Eevn the few positive features of the PASS-ID bill came under attack. Senator Collins of Maine wanted to know whether the bill would allow the sort of airport “security” measures that are used in Israel (notorious for ethnic profiling), and specifically whether the PASS-ID provision that, ““no person shall be denied boarding a commercial aircraft solely on the basis of failure to present a driver’s license or identification card issued pursuant to this subtitle,” would still allow denail of boarding, regardless of ID, solely on the basis of “behavioural profiling”. And the National Retail Association wants to make sure that the PASS-ID prohibition on non-governmental scanning or use of machine-readable (bar-code, mag stripe, or RFID) data on government-issued ID cards would still allow stores to skim this data in order to profile patterns of “suspicious” merchandise returns. Would anyone object, they want to know, to an exception to this provision that would allow scanning and tracking of machine-readable ID data to detect or prevent “fraud or other illegal activity”?
Yes, we would object to such an open-ended exception. More importantly, we object to any mandatory national ID. So do tens of millions of Americans, regardless of whether Congress does’t want our views to be part of the debate.