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Funding a Recent Issue for National Identity Programs

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This winter an ambitious new White House proposal would authenticate Americans digital identity using  NSTIC  or the National Strategy for Trusted Identity in Cyberspace by voluntary adoption of a new digital national identifier.   However, federal spending trends are leaning to defund programs which require centralized identity management systems.

This winter an ambitious new White House proposal would authenticate Americans digital identity using NSTIC or the National Strategy for Trusted Identity in Cyberspace by voluntary adoption of a new digital national identifier.   However, federal spending trends are leaning to defund programs which require centralized identity management systems.

The Senate stepped forward in December by defunding an expensive DHS database infrastructure which would have been used to collect identity data nationwide.  A 2005 law gives DHS the power to determine the "federal purpose" of centralized national identity articles.   The Real ID Act required  networked "hubs" for States to maintain federalized drivers licenses and to function as an internal passport.  The law earned a reputation as a national identity program, dangerous to privacy and civil liberty.  It also became unpopular with State governors as an unfunded mandate.  In the Summer of 2009, the Real ID program was declared "DOA" or dead on arrival.  However, the United States government continued to finance benchmark programs across the country for everything from biometric  facial recognition technology(FRT) conversions to the centralized license data aggregate, known as the "Real ID hub" .     

Following the 2010 midterm elections, Congress favored trends to cut spending.   In an occluded move  on the part of freshly elected Hawaiian Senator Inouye, benchmark spending for the development of the hubs  were retroactively defunded . Ironically enough, through a  massive appropriations bill . Attempts were made before the election to resurrect favorable use through states incorporation of "gold star" verifications and tamper proof laminates.  Most States recognized the program as a fiscal "tar baby", opting for minimal benchmark concessions without creating recurring expense. 

Defunding Real ID provides only temporary relief to federal fiscal demands and privacy concerns over national identity articles moving forward.  For instance, insecure RFID technologies have been successfully attached to Green Cards for lawful US immigrants and newer US passports.  

The move to defund Real ID's data hub suggests a move away from centralizing existing identity systems to cut costs.  The NSTIC proposal moves forward under White House approval in the next 2 weeks.  However, if the Real ID Act were repealed, there may not be a federal requirement to adopt NSTIC program budgets or their required technologies.   Current adoption of the 2005 national identity regulations are also still considered voluntary.

Some believe DHS was given too much power to determine what identity can be used for.  The broad scope for use and development of Real ID's hub and concurrent expenses alarmed segments of the public. Some are calling to repeal the Real ID Act .  Legally there is no limit to the range of identity requirements for "federal purposes".  National identity is still at the disposal of DHS.   

Citizens voluntary adoption of identity requirements for healthcare, travel, or education are not currently linked.   However,  NSTIC has unaddressed potential to centralize  one digital identifier for these federal systems and it would do it under the watchful eye of the national cybersecurity apparatus.

SEE ALSO: The costs and burdens of governed identity

 

http://www.511Campaign.org

Sheila Dean is the blog editor for BeatTheChip.org and speaks for the 5-11 Campaign, an anti-national ID advocacy campaign. Sheila promotes American Bill of Rights retention and deliverance from the federal banking system. She also produces (more...)
 

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