Shortly after the year ends, credit card companies send out a summary of all the charges made against an account for the entire year, neatly divided into various types of charges to help customers with their income tax preparation. Every item shows the date, the time – down to the minute – the location, and the amount of the charge. This information was collected from the insertion, or swipe of a credit card, or the mere touching of a spot with a speed-pass key.
This marvelous technology saves time, reduces errors, and streamlines the flow of information. Hundreds of millions of people use this information exchange system. In fact, many people have their pay check deposited into their bank electronically, and pay their bills electronically and rarely write checks or handle cash, except for the pocket change that is necessary for small purchases.
This is the same technology that will provide the foundation for the REAL-ID system now under construction. The card used is an “Enhanced Drivers License.” The “enhancement” is a magnetic strip, or an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification Device), that stores whatever information that may be programmed into it.
The first stage of the system will require the use of this card to board commercial airplanes, to enter federal buildings, and may be used in lieu of a passport in bordering countries. If this system is fully implemented, the government will have, and be able to instantly produce, a record of every person’s air travel, border crossing, and visit to a federal building – in the same way credit card companies produce annual summaries for their customers.
So what? Consider stages two, and three, and who knows what else.
The federal government regulates every bank and credit union. Every bank account requires an identification number assigned by the government. A minor regulatory change can require this number to be from an Enhanced Drivers License. These financial institutions are required to file regular reports to the government electronically.
Every credit card charge eventually gets posted to a bank account somewhere. It would be a very small programming step to attach individual financial information to the personal record created by the REAL-ID database. This would result in a record of both travel and purchases – complete with date, time, location and amount.
Beginning to get the picture? Add to this database the record that employers are required to report to the federal government: gross income, taxes paid, and the net amount deposited into the bank account. Once the REAL-ID database is created, there is nothing to prevent this information from being added.
When this system is in place, “Big Brother” can simply punch a button and analyze the life of anyone, anytime. The profile can be quite detailed, showing travel, what merchandise was purchased, where, and when it was obtained. It can match income records with deposits and expenditures, and reveal any disparity in taxes paid.
This is only a skeletal picture of a premature system that can ultimately contain every detail about every person in the nation – from birth to death.
This is necessary, we are told, to weed out terrorists. People who are obeying the law will have nothing to fear, we are told. This system will make every American safer, we are told.
The fact is that every American will be in jeopardy if this system is ever fully implemented. Some unseen, unknown, unaccountable person will have access to the most private information about every person. A simple flag on an individual record could lock out that person from his bank account, from his credit cards, and from travel. A person victimized by this situation would be at the mercy of the government - essentially, enslaved.
People who have had a credit card purchase denied know this feeling, but they have the option of using another card, or paying cash. If the magic number is from an Enhanced Drivers License, there is no other card. There is no place to turn.
This system ignores the constitutional guarantee that every citizen is secure in his person, house, papers, and effects.
The government has no constitutional authority to gather this information unless a warrant has been issued by a judge after reviewing an affidavit showing probable cause of a crime; unless, of course, the information is given voluntarily. So far, no one is “forced” to obtain an Enhanced Drivers’ License, unless, of course, he wants to drive a car, board an airplane, or visit a federal building.
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