TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: FAQ: How Real ID Will Affect You

Re: FAQ: How Real ID Will Affect You

Lisa Minter (
13 May 2005 14:07:47 -0700

Monty Solomon wrote:

> What does that mean for me?

Well, right now we're seeing whole airline flights disrupted because a
person on board _might_ be a terrorist:

"BANGOR, Maine (AP) -- An Air France jetliner en route from Paris to
Boston was diverted to Maine to check on a passenger with nearly the
same name and birthdate as a person on a no-fly list suspected of
terror connections, officials said. "You had a match of the name save
for slight deviation in spelling and the exact date of birth," said
Mark Hatfield, spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration.

So, if your name happens to be the same or nearly the same as a
terrorist or fugitive, you're in trouble.

It means there will be increased risk that you, as an innocent person,
will be locked up because of mistaken identity or false/malicious

This will happen because as you go about your daily business, your
name will be frequently checked against fugitive, terrorist, and pvt
sector risk lists. If there is even a fuzzy match, a red flag will go
up and your desired transaction will be held up. If you're lucky,
your official ID will be scrutizined, perhaps your picture compared
sent in and compared against a database, and after a wait of an hour
or so, you'll be cleared to proceed (assuming there is nothing nasty
or outstanding about you).

But if you're unlucky, the police will be called and you will be
removed in handcuffs. You will sit in a jail cell without any outside
contact until they get around to determine you aren't the terrorist or
serial killer the match-up suggested you were. It's happened that
fingerprints came over the fax fuzzy, so you just might match them and
will be in even worse trouble.

Keep in mind this isn't just government.

The private sector keeps many more lists and is quite sloppy about
accuracy and security. If there's a fuzzy match, you might not get
arrested, but you won't do your banking or be able to cash a check,
get a job, rent an apt, do anything with a credit card, etc. until the
mess is cleared up. You may need to hire a lawyer at big bucks to
unfreeze everything and prove to them -- at your own expense on your
own time -- that you're you and who they fear you are.

Back in school they'd threaten us with darkening our "permanent
record" with a discipline infraction. Well, today we all do have that
'permanent record' and have no control over what goes on it nor who
may see it (except we OURSELVES can't look at it or even know who has
it). The new laws will require checking that permanent record much
more often than now and increasing the risk of flagging.

As all of us go through life, we have our share of problems. A bitter
divorce or romance breakup. Fired from a job. Fight in a bar.
Dispute with our landlord. Disputes with our neighbors. Thanks to
modern LAWS all of these incidents are carefully tracked on our
permanent record and may come back to haunt us. (And give our
creditors an excuse to charge us more!) Sadly, controls are weak and
inaccurate and malicious info can be added as well. As mentioned, we
don't even know the companies who keep this stuff and we can't get at

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