Tuesday, May 8, 2007

PrivacyActivism's comments to DHS on Real ID

In conjunction with Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN) and the The Fairfax County Privacy Council (FCPC), PrivacyActivism has submitted official comments to the Department of Homeland Security calling for the draft rule to be withdrawn. From the overview:

The draft rules proposed by DHS to implement the Real ID Act are fatally flawed. Focusing on how to best implement an Act as deeply flawed as this one is not in the best interests of individuals or the states; therefore we recommend that the proposed rule be withdrawn. Ultimately, Privacyactivism believes that the Real ID Act should be repealed, but understands that this is outside of the scope of this rulemaking process. Privacyactivism’s comments will therefore focus on the lack of privacy protections in the proposed rule, and why the lack of these protections require the withdrawal of the proposed rule.


Specifically, our comments will cover these areas: 1) The general lack of privacy and security protections; 2) the difficulty of compliance; 3) exceptions in the draft rule that lead to inadequate security; 4) the cost involved.



See our full comments for the details.

Deborah

13 comments:

jon said...

My comments are here. A few excerpts:

Many of my issues have been covered in more detail by other groups filing comments; for example, the DHS privacy advisory board's comments cover the absolute lack of privacy protection in the regulation; the ACLU discusses issues of individual rights; Governor Butch Otter's mail to you highlights that the unequivocal first priority of REAL ID must be the preservation of personal freedom, commerce and mobility, while protecting the privacy of our citizens and the security of their personal information; PrivacyActivism's comments discuss the difficulty of compliance.

There are two areas where I would like to go into more detail. First of all, as a citizen of a state (Washington) that has decided to opt out of Real ID, I am concerned that despite Real ID's voluntary nature, I will essentially become a second-class citizen, with great difficulty accessing federal buildings to engage in my constitutionally-protected activities. The regulation's requirement of a different color for non-compliant ID strikes me as an extremely unpleasant echo of totalitarian regimes elsewhere. Over time, as Real ID becomes institutionalized, I worry that the loss of my rights will accelerate, and that I'll be subject to discrimination because "I don't have Real ID". I believe that it is DHS's responsibility while promulgating the regulation to put safeguards in place to ensure that this doesn't happen.

Secondly, as somebody with an extensive background in software engineering and computer security (I'm on the National Academies' CSTB panel "Software for Dependable Systems: Sufficient Evidence?") I would especially like to highlight several major risks of the current proposal.

...

While some of the issues I bring up could be addressed by fixes to the proposed regulations, others cannot; and the sum total is enough that the regulations appear to me to be unsalvageable.

For all of these reasons, I ask that the current proposed regulations be withdrawn.

I am sympathetic to the DHS' situation in this matter; because of the wording of the Real ID Act, and the necessary protection of states' rights, in many ways your hands are tied. I would strongly encourage your Department to report back to Congress that the Real ID Act of 2005 cannot be implemented in a way that is compatible with our shared goal of keeping the country more secure, and to request a repeal of the act -- followed by a public debate on how best to implement the 9/11 Comission's recommendation of improving the security of driver's licenses.

Greg said...

My comments (tracking number 80232082) are similar in broad content to the above two, though nowhere near as detailed. But they were filed earlier!

It would be fascinating to know how many emailed comments were sent in. For ease of use, it was definitely number 1.

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