By James Baxter, NMA President
Apparently, wearing a paper bag, or some other disguise, is the only way drivers and passengers will be able to maintain their anonymity, and a little privacy, as they cruise the roadways of America. At least that’s what is in store for us as “Real ID” reaches full bloom, and the states move forward on implementation.
Florida, one of the early adopters of Real ID requirements, is on the cusp of implementing a full blown 24-7 universal government operated surveillance system that will monitor and track any person who ventures beyond the confines of their residence. I hasten to add that there are no public initiatives, at this time, to place surveillance devices in private homes. Before that would be attempted it will be necessary for the public to become accustomed to cameras on most roadways and intersections, unfortunately, a process that is well underway.
The heart of the Florida program, the key building block, is the digital image of faces currently applied to drivers licenses and state I.D. cards. Cameras, stationary and mobile, capture the faces of drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and any other target of interest and those images are immediately passed to a central database that identifies the person, and gathers all recorded information on that person (e.g. Social Security number, criminal record, civil court activity, licenses, permits, registrations, and any other information accumulated by public agencies). This entire task can be completed and the information relayed back to curious public servants, and private contractors, in a claimed 0.04 seconds.
It’s hard to believe that this can be done so quickly, when it can take weeks or months for the same public agencies to respond to a citizen request for public information?
Right now, it appears the only defenses against this kind surveillance and monitoring, are the foregoing of licenses and I.D. cards, extremely impractical, always wearing a paper bag or mask when in public, again not very practical, or perhaps, just perhaps, telling our elected representatives that we don’t want to live under this kind of Orwellian regime.