“Your Papers, Citizen?”

Via Digby:

Remember when Alaskan extremist candidate Joe Miller cited East Germany’s border fence as a fine example and we all laughed and laughed because their fence was built to keep their own people in rather than keeping foreign people out?
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Well, the laugh’s on us. We may not be literally building such a fence, but we are creating a virtual one:

If you don’t want it to get even harder for a U.S. citizen to get a passport — now required for travel even to Canada or Mexico — you only have until Monday to let the State Department know.
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The U.S. Department of State is proposing a new Biographical Questionnaire for some passport applicants: The proposed new Form DS-5513 asks for all addresses since birth; lifetime employment history including employers’ and supervisors names, addresses, and telephone numbers; personal details of all siblings; mother’s address one year prior to your birth; any “religious ceremony” around the time of birth; and a variety of other information. According to the proposed form, “failure to provide the information requested may result in … the denial of your U.S. passport application.”
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The State Department estimated that the average respondent would be able to compile all this information in just 45 minutes, which is obviously absurd given the amount of research that is likely to be required to even attempt to complete the form.
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It seems likely that only some, not all, applicants will be required to fill out the new questionnaire, but no criteria have been made public for determining who will be subjected to these additional new written interrogatories. So if the passport examiner wants to deny your application, all they will have to do is give you the impossible new form to complete….

What in the hell is this about?
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If the worry is that non-US citizens are getting passports then they need to change the verification process in a way that’s possible to meet. If it’s about something else, then they need to explain what it is..
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This is Big Brother stuff — they are setting up a series of roadblocks to use “just in case” they want to deny someone a passport. The question is, who and why? Basically, this will potentially deny US citizens the ability to travel outside the country. It may not be a wall, but it functions pretty effectively as one if they want it to.

I’m guessing this may be related to the Governmental-bureaucratic mindset that assumed, per the Gitmo papers, that travelling to Afghanistan after 9/11 was sufficient indication of terrorist sympathies to permit ‘extrajudicial incarceration.’

All this does is give low-level drones new and inventive reasons to fvck up ordinary citizens’ daily lives. I, for example, have not a clue what my parents’ address was a year before I was born — somewhere in Manhattan, and at two different addresses, since they weren’t married at that time. And I can’t just call and ask them (assuming they’d remember, after 56 years) because they’re both dead. It would take me more than 45 minutes to google the city census, or more likely end up paying someone else to do it for me, and I’d still have more than half a century of personal data to compile.

Per the Consumer Traveler website:

There’s more information in the Federal Register notice (also available here as a PDF) and from the Identity Project.
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You can submit comments to the State Dept. online at Regulations.gov until midnight Eastern time on Monday, April 25, 2011. Go here, then click the “Submit a Comment” button at the upper right of the page. If that link doesn’t work for you, it’s probably a problem with the javascript used on the Regulations.gov website. There are alternate instructions for submitting comments by email here.

Wanted to get this up before the deadline. Mandatory disclaimer, the innocent have nothing to hide…

128 replies
  1. 1
    sukabi says:

    that’s just fucking retarded…

    I’ve lived in more than 30 locations since my birth… and most of them have happened since I graduated high school –oh the joys of military life–I don’t remember the last address I lived in prior to this one, where I’ve lived for the last 10 years… and don’t have any records with that info on it… so how in the hell would I be able to compile that information??? and for all my siblings and parents as well???

    someone is suffering from a severe case of headuptheirassitis

  2. 2
    Loneoak says:

    So fucked up. You didn’t note that failing to answer these questions is legally tantamount to perjury.

    Edit: Also, FB friends tell me that this already happens to many people with Muslim-y names. This would just standardize the practice for the rest of us, I guess.

  3. 3
    aimai says:

    Wow. I lived in ten different places in three years at one point during graduate school.

    I also had to dig up a lot of old information for the Indian Embassy when I recently got a visa for India. They wanted to know the dates of my last visit to India *twenty years ago.* I had no idea, kept no record, and couldn’t find my old passport. I tried calling the embassy but of course no response. Finally I put down a round number–just a year no day or month–and they accepted it. But what are you supposed to do if you can’t dig up information like this and a faceless bureaucracy offers you no space to explain? And a legal penalty or a refusal to consider your papers if you omit something?

    aimai

  4. 4
    MikeJ says:

    Sorry, answered prematurely on the previous thread:
    Actually, they’re not. The requirement is if you don’t have a state issued certificate of live birth, you have to do something else to prove you’re a citizen. This is much as it has ever been.

    If you don’t have a birth certificate, how do you prove your citizenship? Baptismal records are good, or hospital birth certs, but one of these on their own isn’t enough. Sounds plenty fine to me.

  5. 5
    cleek says:

    Basically, this will potentially deny US citizens the ability to travel outside the country

    how?

    this isn’t for just anybody. this is only for people who can’t verify their citizenship through standard means. this is for people who don’t have a birth certificate, an expired passport, or any of the other standard ways the passport service uses to verify citizenship.

    this is for the kind of person who would already has a major fucking pain in the ass time getting a US passport because she can’t readily verify her US citizenship. those people already have a hard time traveling outside the US already. a now it’s standardized, to some extent. this is an improvement.

    yeah, it’s a PITA, but what do you want, that the US govt should give a US Passport to any wandering fucknut who can hand over the passport filing fee ? shouldn’t there be at least some kind of validation required?

    chill out. cut down on the Greenwald-level ZOMGEndOfEverything! .

  6. 6
    Martin says:

    I imagine most of this information will be impossible for many people to document. Mother’s address a year prior to birth – what if she’s dead? What if you were adopted? All permanent addresses? I wonder if Petraus or any career military could pull that one off. Surely not in 45 minutes.

    This proposal won’t survive. There’s just too many reasonable cases where people can’t answer the questions, and in that case, anyone could simply declare themselves in that situation. You’re trying to con the feds into giving you a passport, declare yourself an adopted atheist transient. Nothing to answer.

  7. 7
    Comrade Mary says:

    Sorry, Digby and others have been trolled (albeit unintentionally). This was up as a thread on MetaFilter today but was pulled down after it turned out the info was misconstrued. As others have said above, this is for the people who can’t get a passport the standard way. They may even have a better chance than before of getting one now.

  8. 8
    MikeJ says:

    @cleek: BUT THE GUBBMINT WON’T GIVE ME MY PASSPORT UNTIL THEY SEE MY PAPERS! OMGWTFBBQ!!!!!!

  9. 9
    BDeevDad says:

    Between the ages of 18 and 28 I had at least 15 different addresses. Talk about ridiculous.

  10. 10
    MikeJ says:

    @Comrade Mary:

    Digby and others have been trolled (albeit unintentionally).

    Bullshit on the unintentionally. I heard this days ago, and heard it shot down then. People have been flogging this shit since last week trying to get stupid bloggers to bite.

  11. 11
    cleek says:

    @MikeJ:
    HALPHALP i’m being opprressedd!

  12. 12
    Tom Levenson says:

    Submitted my comment.

    This is astonishing bullshit, and the worst kind of security theater.

  13. 13
    sukabi says:

    now for something OT… if you’re a resident of Western Washington and don’t have health insurance, or know someone in that situation, there will be a free health / dental clinic on April 30th at the Tacoma Dome…

    http://www.facebook.com/notes/.....0381984787

  14. 14
    Comrade Mary says:

    ARGHHHH!

    Anyway, on the “unintentionally”, the story started at the Consumer Traveller site, which is not part of the lefty blogosphere. Take a look. They flipped out over something they didn’t understand, and the flipping out spread.

    ALSO: A PDF that explains things in more detail.

    DO NOT PANIC. THESE ARE LARGE FRIENDLY LETTERS. FOR FUCK’S SAKE PEOPLE.

  15. 15

    Annie Laurie see cleek @ 5 among others. You need to retract this one.

  16. 16

    American citizens should be given passports at birth – discuss.

  17. 17
    LindaH says:

    @MikeJ:

    Sorry, answered prematurely on the previous thread:
    Actually, they’re not. The requirement is if you don’t have a state issued certificate of live birth, you have to do something else to prove you’re a citizen. This is much as it has ever been.

    If you don’t have a birth certificate, how do you prove your citizenship? Baptismal records are good, or hospital birth certs, but one of these on their own isn’t enough. Sounds plenty fine to me.

    Because no one would ever EVER question whether a birth certificate was good enough, or long form enough, or even real. This has never happened in this country, has it Birthers? Once you codify this type of intrusive questioning, it’s very hard to get rid of.

  18. 18
    MikeJ says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Mandatory government ID issued at birth? I’m agin it.

    And of course people will start asking why Obama wasn’t issued one.

  19. 19
    sukabi says:

    @LindaH: I demand to see the dried foreskin of anyone seeking a passport.

  20. 20
    MikeJ says:

    @LindaH: Jesus fuck, read what I said. A state issued birth cert is good enough. These regs are for if you don’t have one.

  21. 21

    My bar code and implanted chip are still working perfectly, thank you.

  22. 22

    When I applied for a passport two years ago, it took me more than 45 minutes because it took months for me to find a copy of my birth certificate… and because when I applied for a copy from my birthstate of Georgia the hoops I had to jump through for THAT weren’t working either.

    These new regulations are not helping to protect people: they are designed to discourage people from getting documentation they need (I needed a passport to get identified for exams, drivers’ license was not enough).

  23. 23
    jnfr says:

    I lived in 30 different places before I hit majority; I quit counting after that. This is just stupid.

  24. 24
    cleek says:

    @TooManyPaulWs:

    they are designed to discourage people from getting documentation they need

    um, no. they are designed to help people who have no documentation – people who already fail to meet the minimum standards for a US passport.

  25. 25
    Martin says:

    @cleek:

    his is only for people who can’t verify their citizenship through standard means.

    Ok, but this is completely backwards to anyone who has dealt with validating information like this. Why is the burden on the individual to verify citizenship when that citizenship is granted by the feds? Shouldn’t the burden be on the feds to properly track that information?

    I know this is 9 degrees of ZOMG, TEH MARK OF THE BEESE, but would a fingerprint record of everyone granted citizenship really be such a horrible thing? Would certainly make it a lot easier to sort out federal services. We wouldn’t need to rely on it in most cases, but as a fallback, it’d be pretty solid.

  26. 26
    Mike M says:

    The proposed regulation does not affect the vast majority of people who can provide documentation of their US citizenship through birth or naturalization. It is an attempt to standardize the request for information from people in some rare circumstances, such as those born and raised outside the US with at least one US citizen parent, but holding a foreign passport. Establishing citizenship in these cases, especially when the US parents have failed to register a child’s birth with the embassy can be very time consuming.

    The law regarding how a child acquires citizenship if born abroad have changed multiple times over the past 70 years, including specific residency requirements for both parent and child. Which law applies to you depends on your date of birth.

  27. 27
    LT says:

    I think this is actually meaningless without knowing who the “some” it affects are.

    They might all be New York Jets players. Which would be fine.

    Edit: Well, I can see most everyone’s sayiog the same. Glad I’m not the only one who stumbled on “some.”

  28. 28
    dand says:

    Basically what I needed to get a security clearance 30 years ago. Stupid for that then, stupid by a geometric increase now for this.

  29. 29
    Shadow's Mom says:

    Ok, first, here is the actual proposed form: http://goo.gl/c6IPI

    Note that Section C regarding mother’s medical care during pregnancy is specific to those who were not born in a hospital or whose birth was not registered within 1 year.

    Sections D, E, and F requesting detailed information about all past residences, jobs, and schools could be an issue for many people.

    Certainly the current passport application does not request this information, and based on the federal register description this would be a supplement to a passport application.

    Regardless, it is unreasonable to ask an individual to be able to provide detailed information about all previous addresses, employment and schools. I posted my comment this afternoon, and I suggest that others do the same. Even if this is intended only for those without a certified birth certificate, it seems unreasonable to ask for information from birth onwards. I don’t know my address at age 5 and everyone who did is dead now

  30. 30
    cleek says:

    @Martin:

    Why is the burden on the individual to verify citizenship when that citizenship is granted by the feds?

    because, having each individual hold onto a couple of pieces of paper, and produce them every ten years in order to get a new passport, is simpler than having the govt try to track each individual throughout their lifetime. if you can prove it once (or your parents proved it for you), just hold onto that paper, or at least remember where you were born so you can get a copy of that paper, should you ever need to. it’s not that difficult. if you’re one of the few who can’t manage to do that, well, the govt has this new long form for you…

    would a fingerprint record of everyone granted citizenship really be such a horrible thing?

    personally, i don’t think so.

    but imagine how many breathless posts the greenwaldians would get out of such a proposal.

  31. 31
    cleek says:

    @Shadow’s Mom:

    Ok, first, here is the actual proposed form:

    are you sure?

    has anyone here ever seen the actual form?

    a PDF on “papersplease.org” is not exactly a official govt publication.

    Regardless, it is unreasonable to ask an individual to be able to provide detailed information about all previous addresses, employment and schools.

    have you applied for a job in the last, oh, ten years?

  32. 32
    Model Citizen says:

    Hey – it’s just like HSPD-12 and the poor slobs in Pasadena at JPL, and the courts said we had to follow that little fail train – while foreign workers were able to get HSPD-12 badges because they’d never smoked pot, they were found working on sensitive projects that would have been classified NOFORN – if they hadn’t been part of NASA. So then we had Pakistanis who’d been in the country for all of two years on an H1B writing code that protects NASA from hackers. Hilarious, right? Well, at least they didn’t smoke pot and get turned down for a badge!

  33. 33

    @MikeJ: PLEASE KINDLY STOP TRYING TO INJECT YOUR FACTS INTO THIS BOUT OF HYSTERIA!

  34. 34
    MikeJ says:

    @Martin:

    Why is the burden on the individual to verify citizenship when that citizenship is granted by the feds? Shouldn’t the burden be on the feds to properly track that information?

    What if we did it your way? What if the federal government lost the paperwork and was unable to prove that you were a citizen? Do you want them keeping track of it or you?

  35. 35
    Shadow's Mom says:

    I have, I was not asked for that much information, back only 10 years generally. That proposed form was pulled from the original post I saw on this topic (of which an excerpt is printed in Anne Laurie’s post).

    Here is the full statement from Identity Project with the link to the copy of the proposed from they were provided by the State Department.

    I agree that this is a bit overblown as not every applicant would be required to complete this form, but it would constitute an onerous burden for many people, particularly as they become older. In the interests of effective and efficient processes, I think a comment at the State Department website is appropriate.

    I can probably list the name of 90% of my employers, but addresses for them? contact information? Not likely. To establish citizenship status should not require this degree of granularity, regardless of a person’s circumstances.

  36. 36
    kdaug says:

    @Martin:

    would a fingerprint record of everyone granted citizenship really be such a horrible thing?

    Don’t know about you, but IRRC there are stamps of my feet on my papers (guess fingerprints can change as you age).

  37. 37
    RSR says:

    no circumcision certificates?

    anyway, I read about this a week or two ago, and it looked to be what folks who aren’t able to provide traditional ID (birth certs., SS#, state ID) might have to submit.

    If it is the case that these extra steps are for people applying without traditional ID, I can’t say I strongly disagree.

    I won’t support such measures to allow people to vote, but for a passport? It’s proof of identity and proof of citizenship. I think a few hoops through which to jump is not out of the question. If you’re not bringing traditional ID to the table, I think the state has a legitimate obligation to demand some details.

  38. 38
    Comrade Mary says:

    I agree that this is a bit overblown as not every applicant would be required to complete this form, but it would constitute an onerous burden for many people, particularly as they become older. In the interests of effective and efficient processes, I think a comment at the State Department website is appropriate.

    It does look like a lot, but what is the current procedure for people without birth certificates who want to get a passport? Are they currently locked out completely? Does this make things easier or harder for them?

  39. 39
    aimai says:

    A lot depends on whether you must come up with all the information listed, or just some of it–that is whether some of this information is alternative. I actually gave birth to my second daughter at home–ie she wasn’t a hospital birth. In order to register her with the state/our town we had to take a special form filled out by the midwife to the town. Our midwife had actually filled it out incorrectly. She had misspelled my daughter’s middle name (my last name, correctly spelled). We got into quite an argument with the clerks at city hall because if they accepted the paper then the misspelled middle name would be our daughters for the rest of her life. We, her parents (with the papers to prove it) could not correct the midwife’s record. However, we were told, we could register her under the wrong name and then a year from now submit a letter from her pediatrician saying he had “always known her” under her real name and *his* testimony would be taken as dispositive and the record would be changed or amended. Try as we might we couldn’t get the clerks to budge. We actually refused to file the paper, went out and located the damned midwife the same day and got her to fill out another form and then filed it.

    Which is by way of saying that there is some tradition of turning to third parties (employers, doctors, neighbors) who can be asked “did you know person X under this name? Did you know them to be a US citizen?”

    aimai

  40. 40
    Martin says:

    @cleek:

    because, having each individual hold onto a couple of pieces of paper, and produce them every ten years in order to get a new passport, is simpler than having the govt try to track each individual throughout their lifetime.

    No, it’s not. I mean, it sounds like it should be, but the edge cases are horrible. Your house burns down and those pieces of paper are lost – what do you have to fall back on? Do we really want to leave this to playing 20 questions, especially when the person providing the answers may have a vested interest in not answering honestly? The government can’t possibly hope to get it right, and the honest citizen gets fucked over trying to protect against that case.

    A fingerprint scan provides a baseline identifier that is difficult to impersonate and nearly impossible to lose. It puts a large burden on the dishonest person trying to get a government service and puts virtually no burden on the honest citizen. Further, you don’t need to rely on it as your primary means of reconciling this information – you can employ it solely as a backup.

    I know the argument against mandatory fingerprinting, but shit, you’re almost guaranteed to have to provide a form of ID that is already tied to your fingerprint and you need to be printed for naturalization, so who isn’t already effectively printed?

  41. 41
    Martin says:

    @kdaug: No there aren’t. That’s the ceremonial piece of paper they send home with dad to show off at the office. It doesn’t mean shit.

  42. 42
    cleek says:

    @Shadow’s Mom:

    I can probably list the name of 90% of my employers, but addresses for them? contact information? Not likely.

    doesn’t matter.

    this kind of thing is done by background check agencies and personnel departments every day, to clear people for employment. they know how to find companies that have moved, have changed owners or names. they can find landlords or rental info. there are databases of addresses. there are databases of address changes. validating employment and residency info is utterly routine.

    you can’t provide all of them? fine. if you can provide 90%, they’ll probably let you slide on the other 10%, if you can give a plausible reason why you can’t come up with it. or maybe they’ll get lucky and stumble across your records for you. again, routine.

    some of the other info:

    any “religious ceremony” around the time of birth

    aka “baptism”, “briss”, etc.. this is simple stuff used to verify that there’s some kind of record of you in a religious community. they don’t actually care what you did, they just some kind of paper trail that can establish you as a citizen.

    this is not big brother stuff. this is basically last-resort effort for people who have somehow failed to maintain the kind of documents the other 99% of us have.

  43. 43
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    How dare that digby take such an issue seriously?
    .
    .

  44. 44
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Martin: If your house burns down, you should be able to get another copy of your birth certificate from the county in which you were born.

    Question for people: If you do not have a birth certificate or certificate of naturalization, what documentation should you need to provide in order to receive a passport? In other words, what would you consider sufficient to demonstrate US citizenship?

  45. 45

    @aimai:

    there is no way in hell i can come up with all the information. i get it, they want to be able to perform the mother of all background checks, should the shit ever hit the fan on any single applicant. the thing for me, many of my employers are no longer in business, at least under that name. mix in some industry inbreeding and plain old ratfuckery, i could probably track down a reasonable employment history with very small gaps, and relevant numbers as contacts,but i damned better let folks who might
    even on a one in a million, get called, get a heads up.

    seriously, with residential history, its a modest week long project.

  46. 46
    Martin says:

    @MikeJ: Then you provide *your* copy of the documentation. It should always be a two-way process – one to protect the government and one to protect the citizen. It’s like getting a receipt for your purchase – both parties have documentation. As things stand now, there’s no independent, reliable way to challenge a citizenship claim, or to establish one. That’s just stupid.

    Sure, there will be a few cases where both the government and the individual lose the documentation, but those will be so few that nobody will really mind the time and energy to verify the shoe size of your first girlfriend.

    There are almost 40 million naturalized citizens in the US. That’s 40 million people that have an additional burden of proof on citizenship. That means a bureaucracy that can support issuing and verifying paperwork for 40 million people. There are fingerprint scanners in damn near every DMV in the nation, all tied into nice big databases, and that hardware is so fucking cheap that you can find it on flash drives now and the fingerprint databases have become pretty standardized. This is a stupid place to maintain big government when it’s so easy to make the process both better and cheaper.

  47. 47
    cleek says:

    @Martin:
    like i said, i’m fine with fingerprinting.

    but, there are cons there, as well: what if the Federal Dept Of Identification loses your info. or it is corrupted. or is destroyed. then what good is your fingerprint? yeah, you still have it, but if the govt doesn’t know how it belongs to anymore…?

    nothing’s perfect.

    Your house burns down and those pieces of paper are lost – what do you have to fall back on?

    you go to the police, file a report. you take that to the DMV, who has your photo on file. you contact the county of your birth, for a new BC, etc.. this stuff happens every day. people don’t become walking non-entities.

  48. 48
    Shadow's Mom says:

    @cleek: I disagree with your assessment of the degree of difficulty that this may impose on those who would be required to complete this biographical data.

    This is the affidavit of birth form currently required by applicants who cannot provide a valid birth certificate. The fact that I can remember the names of 90% of my past employers is lucky for me. I do not remember every address I’ve ever lived at. I could probably give you towns and cities.

    Yes, for someone without a birth or baptismal certificate, asking for additional information may be reasonable. Requesting every residence and employer for an entire lifetime does little to ‘prove’ citizenship and, in my opinion, provides a high barrier to obtaining the passport. Would you consider this acceptable to get a state ID or driver’s license, which now also requires a valid birth certificate?

  49. 49
    AAA Bonds says:

    If this is all accurate, and it actually goes down, it will be harder to get a U.S. passport than to receive in-state tuition at most public colleges.

    If you’ve never had to apply to do that, God bless you and keep you.

  50. 50
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal: Thing is, if they get a brother’s name and contact the brother; the brother says “Yeah, I was in first grade when he was born. We lived at such and such an address. Etc.” Should be enough. Or establish that your parents were citizens. I mean, provide the information that you have; I am guessing that it will be enough.

  51. 51
    Roger Moore says:

    @cleek:

    because, having each individual hold onto a couple of pieces of paper, and produce them every ten years in order to get a new passport, is simpler than having the govt try to track each individual throughout their lifetime.

    Actually once you’ve gotten your passport, you don’t need that other stuff again. A passport is considered to be an adequate proof of identity and citizenship, so your old passport is all the paperwork you need to get your new one. That’s part of the reason they want to be cautious about issuing passports to people without solid evidence of citizenship.

  52. 52
    PeakVT says:

    The problems I see with the proposal are 1) it will mostly apply to people born to poor parents, which means in this country it would disproportionately affect non-whites, and 2) it potentially could cause people to drop out of the application process, which would not be a good outcome.

  53. 53
    Corner Stone says:

    At this point, anyone who wants to see my pen!s is more than welcome to take a look.

  54. 54
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    These are the current requirements for someone without primary evidence of US citizenship (e.g. birth certificate or naturalization records). Do you really think there has been a change, or are they standardizing things?

  55. 55
    JD Rhoades says:

    all addresses since birth; lifetime employment history including employers’ and supervisors names, addresses, and telephone numbers; personal details of all siblings;

    I had to provide all of this on my Bar application. And yes, it was a HUGE PITA.

  56. 56
    Corner Stone says:

    Personally, I prefer Moen faucets over Kohler.

  57. 57
    cec says:

    sadly, “the innocent have nothing to hide” should be a new tag

  58. 58
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @JD Rhoades: Had to do all of that for the Ohio Bar; for Wisconsin, I just had to do the past 10 years and attach any previous Bar apps from other states. Since I did WI exactly 10 years after OH, they got my whole life anyway.

  59. 59

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    should be, and in most cases will be.

    but to play the what if game, suppose i get arrested in a foreign country while engaging in my “performance art”, suppose this ires the locals to a great degree, now, somehow, what to do with me gets kicked around the u.s. embassy and out to the state department. they are no fans of my work either. so they look for any excuse then to disclaim me as a u.s. citizen.

  60. 60
    mclaren says:

    @cleek:

    how?

    Mission creep.

    Are you retarded?

    Don’t you know how this always works?

    How this has always worked?

    First, they place these “extra” requirements on only the troublemakers…the problem people…and then military personnel…and then the kids in schools…and then prison inmates.

    Gradually, bit by bit, each of these insane requirements gets placed on people outside the core group of “problem” individuals until the circle of those required to answer these insane unanswerable questions widens and widens and widens. Eventually everyone has to fulfill these requirements.

    That’s how it works. That’s how it has always worked.

    “The social security number will never be used as a personal identification.”

    Until it was used to keep track of army personnel. And then prison inmates. And then, slowly but surely…everyone.

    this isn’t for just anybody. this is only for people who can’t verify their citizenship through standard means. this is for people who don’t have a birth certificate, an expired passport, or any of the other standard ways the passport service uses to verify citizenship.

    This IS for everybody. Eventually (and much sooner than you think) this will be for everyone.

    And then, they once this crazy form becomes standard and required, they will place even more extreme requirements on people who want to get a passport.

    Loyalty oaths. Polygraph tests. fMRI tests to check if you’re “subversive.” A check of your voting record. A scan of all posts you’ve ever made and all the websites you’ve ever visited (now stored helpfully in an NSA computer) to see if you have “anti-American tendencies.”

    And it’ll go on…and on…and on…and on.

    You’re really not very fucking bright, are you? This is the way it has always worked. “Don’t worry, citizens, these special measures will only be employed against enemies of the state — and only for the duration of the emergency.”

    Yeah.

    Right.

    Gimme a goddamn break.

  61. 61
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal: You are in a foreign country, right? You have a passport.

  62. 62
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @mclaren: Come on, the NSA already has everything about you on file. They are tracking you through your phone and probably have a keystroke logger hooked to your computer. Don’t bother pulling the shades; they’ve got infrared cameras anyway.

  63. 63
    Roger Moore says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal:
    Bad what if game. How did you get into that foreign country except with a passport? Once you have the passport, you’ve already proven your citizenship and the people at the State Department have to accept it. Even if you’ve lost your passport, you can establish that you once had it by giving them the passport number and some kind of ID to prove who you are.

  64. 64
    Shadow's Mom says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: None of those requirements demand that, on pain of denial, you provide documentation of every address at which you have lived, every job (with supervisor and address) you’ve ever had, and every school you have attended.

    The secondary requirements you list actually seem quite reasonable. A combination of documentation based on specific circumstances and included some set of ‘early history’ records that can include a record from a family Bible, and affidavits from someone who knows that you were born a citizen.

  65. 65
    drkrick says:

    My father and his parents spent several years in the early ’60’s trying to prove my grandfather’s eligibility for Social Security. His native state didn’t record births at the time and the church with the baptismal records had burned down decades earlier. In that case, affadavits from his siblings apparently weren’t enough, and part of the frustration was the lack of a clear standard when the usual documentation didn’t exist. He eventually started to get the checks, but I suspect it was on the basis of “if he wasn’t 65 when they started the process, he probably is now.”

    I say all that to say this – getting a passport should probably be at least as rigorous as starting Social Security old age payments. The fact that this lays out the alternative process is probably a good thing.

  66. 66
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Shadow’s Mom:Do you think that an incomplete answer like “Fourth Street School, Geneva, Illinois” won’t be adequate? I got a Top Secret clearance with answers like that.

  67. 67
    Another Bob says:

    I know this is off-topic, and I also realize that the specific ads that appear on this website are not under the control of the proprietor, but jeez it pisses me off to come to a site like this and have to see an ad like the one that says “Defund Planned Parenthood — your tax dollars are killing millions of babies”. I can understand and tolerate a respectful conservative campaign ad at a site like this, but I think it’s wrong for the company that buys space here to put up in-your-face shit like that. I think it’s safe to say that readers at conservative web sites never have to put up with liberals shitting on their doorsteps like that. I’m getting angry and fed up with having to see such bullying wing-nut rhetoric everywhere I turn these days.

  68. 68
    Martin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: And how do you authenticate yourself to get the birth certificate? (I know the answer, but the answer is illustrative).

    And forging a birth certificate isn’t very hard. Trust me.

  69. 69
    mclaren says:

    Are you drunk?

    I still don’t have my birth certificate and no way to get it. I’d need a drivers license to travel the 3000 miles to the place that has my birth certificate, and I can’t get on a plane without picture ID. I can’t even get on a Greyhound bus without picture ID.

    I’m an unperson, and I couldn’t answer 90% of these questions. I have no idea what the hell address my mom lived at a year before she was married and that’s 3000 miles away on the opposite coast. My parents moved 3000 miles when I was 9. All that information is lost in the mists of time, and there’s no way to find it as far as I know. Not even a private investigator could turn up this info. My parents are dead, everyone who knew them is dead, most of their relatives are dead, there’s just no way to answer almost all of these questions. It’s goofy.

    Every address I’ve lived at? Get real. I couldn’t begin to answer those questions. Maybe the first three or four, and after that…fuhgeddaboudit.

    It’s insane. The obvious purpose of this stuff is to prevent most of the population from getting a passport. It’s a kinder gentler way of doing what the Third Reich did in 1934: putting up barricades in the train station and stationing brownshirts to make sure no one could leave the country. The Benighted States of Amnesias is going down the tubes, our leaders know it, and the want to make goddamn sure the population can’t flee like rats jumping from a sinking ship. Too much danger to the tax base.

  70. 70
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Martin: For the county of my birth, it is fill out the form, offer ID, and pay.

  71. 71
    Martin says:

    Hmm. Mclaren, using her personal situation presents a compelling case that certain citizens could be deported to Pakistan. Maybe there’s an upside to this plan after all.

  72. 72
    Mandramas says:

    It is weird that a country as USA don’t have a federal, granted at birth, ID Card schema, and have to use a lot of disparate replacement like driver licenses, state cards or social security number.

  73. 73
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mandramas: There has traditionally been a very broad dislike in the Anglo-American world for any kind of mandated ID.

  74. 74
    Ron says:

    I luckily wouldn’t have to fill out the part about where my mother lived or any of that, but I couldn’t produce addresses of apartments I rented while I went to college if my life depended on it right now. And who the hell remembers the information of every job they had in high school? This is just insane.

  75. 75
    Martin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: It was pretty easy for me to get a copy of mine. In fact, it was easy enough that anyone who had gotten my drivers license for 60 seconds and knew the first 3 digits of my SS could have gotten a copy of it. Is that really the level of security we want to rely on for determining citizenship?

  76. 76
    mclaren says:

    @Martin:

    Spoken like a classic sociopath. Let me guess: you’re a manager or a supervisor, right? Only someone in a position of authority could be as simultaneously stupid and clueless.

    Here’s a head’s up, halfwit: different states have different requirements for getting a copy of your ID. The state where I was born requires that I submit picture ID. Since I lost my drivers license, I can’t do that. In order to get a drivers license, I must submit a copy of my birth certificate. Catch-22.

    You’re too stupid and too sociopathic to be anything but a high-level manager, probably a VP at a major corporation. And I bet when one of your employees gets cancer and your corporation cancels her insurance and then fires her, you make fun of her while she breaks down weeping and the guard escorts her out the door.

  77. 77
    Martin says:

    @Mandramas: NOBAMA WANTS TO TRACK YOUR MOVEMENTS SO HE CAN VAPORIZE YOU WITH A SPACE LAZAR IF YOU QUESTION HIS CITIZENSHIP ON THE INTERWEBS!

    Yes, the reason we don’t have a national ID is because politicians listen to insane people.

  78. 78
    Martin says:

    @mclaren: Should we take a vote on who agrees with me? I don’t think you’d like that outcome.

  79. 79
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Martin: My BC would only establish that a person named Omnes Omnibus was born in such and such a place on August 3, 19XX and, as a result, was a natural born US Citizen. I would then need to show that I am that person in order to get the passport.

  80. 80
    Mandramas says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Yeah, I guess that should have an Amendment granting american citizens the right of do not have an identification number restricting their liberty.

  81. 81
    matt says:

    Guess I got trolled too. However the call for comments at the Register was far from clear, even when reading it specifically for “this is for people without birth certs”.

    Oh well, at least my email to them wasn’t inaccurate:

    Just a question: What kind of national
    security state worth its salt does not have this
    information already in hand?

  82. 82
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Martin: She would probably enjoy it. She could feel special.

  83. 83
    Shadow's Mom says:

    @mclaren: Interesting, where is your birth certificate that you would have to physically go there to obtain a copy? I obtained mine and my partner’s via snail mail and it only required that I provide some current form of proof of residence, including an option for using utility or telephone bills. In fact, the laxity of documentation for obtaining a certified copy is slightly unnerving, but at least you must provide something. NY here: http://www.health.state.ny.us/...../birth.htm

    @Omnes Omnibus: It’s not that it would be, it’s that it could be. The proposed form allows for wider options for an agency to deny an applicant on the basis of incomplete information.

  84. 84
    Ron says:

    @Shadow’s Mom: I don’t know if I could even name that much. I had some temp job working for uh. “some company” in college on and off doing data entry. I also had plenty of very temp jobs through a temp agency. couldn’t recall any of them now. I’m glad I have a birth certificate or I’d be screwed with this.

  85. 85
    JerseyJeffersonian says:

    It is a Cosmic Fact, that once a bureaucracy has the bit between their teeth, they always go to excess. You want proof of this statement? Look at the behavior of the TSA. The incentives for the bureaucracy all lie in the direction of “being safe”. “Being safe”, of course, meaning that they don’t want to be found to have ever missed anything that would cast them in a bad light. So you can bet your bippy that the usage of the form will go WAY beyond legitimate need. They’ll do whatever they have the power to do to cram their idiocies down your throat in order to cover their asses.

  86. 86
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Shadow’s Mom: This simply shows the information being requested. It does not show the guidelines or regulations for use. In a situation where a person does not have primary evidence, it does make some sense to ask for a wide variety of secondary evidence. Are they asking for a lot here? Yes. More than they need? Yes. I do not, however, think this is a plot to make it harder to get passports.

  87. 87
    Shadow's Mom says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I don’t think it’s a plot either; but I also agree with @JerseyJeffersonian that once a bureaucracy institutes some complicated process, the process takes on a life of its own and, like a cancer, rapidly outgrows the intended benefit and purpose.

  88. 88
    Martin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Ok. So what documentation do you need to provide in order to get a driver’s license?

    So, if you got a copy of my birth certificate using a photocopy of my CA drivers license, then rent a place in say, Florida, under my name, get a utility bill, bring it and the birth certificate to the DMV and get an official FL drivers license as me, with your photo and your new address. FL almost certainly doesn’t check with CA when issuing a new license. Now you have two forms of ID, one being a photo ID that the state will verify. You can now get a replacement social security card issued to you under my name.

    Ultimately, your biggest risk is that I already have a passport and the State Department may bust you as I think issuance and renewal are different processes (they used to be), but if you start out in Mississippi, those odds go down drastically as less than one person in five has a passport. Once you get a passport under my identity, I’m fucked and it’s going to be damn hard for me to prove to them that I’m the real me when I can’t provide any better documentation of my identity than you can unless we start playing 20 questions. You, after all, have the stronger credentials.

  89. 89

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    ah yes, but, if they go back and check the info i provide, then find a discrepancy, they disclaim me,claim i lied to get a passport, and am not a citizen of the united states, and they won’t guarantee how i am handled. i am a citizen of nowhere. i cannot be deported, if even offered that humane alternative. like the guy from who knows what country originally who lived in an airport for 20 years.

  90. 90
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Shadow’s Mom: I will ask you the question I asked above. What evidence of US citizenship would you consider sufficient for the issuance of a passport?

  91. 91
    Martin says:

    @Shadow’s Mom: Right, like the test needed in order to vote? Or requiring that you physically go to federal offices to receive benefits? There are as many or more cases of bureaucracies easing requirements as there are cases of them making things harder. If only there were some easy electronic way for me to file my taxes and get my refund deposited in my bank account within a week. Unpossible!

  92. 92
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @mclaren: Are you kidding? 3000 miles to get your birth certificate? It takes a letter to the state you were born in and a fee, $6.00 last time I had to do it.

    Now, if that doesn’t work for you, I’d be interested in hearing why not. Seriously.

  93. 93
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal: What makes you think they are not going to do it anyway? If you go do your thing tomorrow (I am assuming it is vile and involves both the US flag and bodily secretions), why couldn’t the US just claim a paperwork mix-up and leave you stranded?

  94. 94
    Martin says:

    @Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason: $6? Shit, NY charged me $15. Very much to the credit of the Empire State, I got mine in a week from the date I faxed them the paperwork.

  95. 95
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Martin: You are right about all of that and I have been fingerprinted multiple times (none of them incident to an arrest, thank you for asking), but I doubt biometrics for the general population are going to catch on any time soon.

  96. 96
    Shadow's Mom says:

    I think that the current requirements are adequate for the issuance of a passport, including the current secondary documentation requirements for those poor sods who do not have, and cannot obtain, a birth certificate.

    I know in California, if you lose your driver’s license, you do not need a birth certificate to replace it because you are already on file and they have taken thumb prints as part of the process for the past 10 years (so anyone who has had a CDL has renewed at least one time).

    @Martin: I concede your point, but maintain that these updated requirements are excessive and unreasonable.

  97. 97
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @Martin: I just went to the website. It’s up to $30 now (NY for me, too.) Sheesh.

    @mclaren: OK. That’s some catch, that Catch-22.

  98. 98
    mclaren says:

    @Martin:

    You really are too ignorant to walk and chew gum at the same time. You can’t just be a VP, I’m betting you’re a full CEO. Only a full CEO could be this stupid.

    All states have face recognition in their drivers license facial database. If anyone tried to get a drivers license under your name, they’d run a comparison with the facial database and pull up the images and compare ’em and nail the fool who tried to get a drivers license in your name. In fact, that’s the standard way criminals who try to get fake IDs get caught.

    I know this for a fact because in my state, when I lost my drivers license previously (4 years back) I was able to go into the local DMV and they just pulled up my image from my previous license and looked at me and said, “Yep, it’s you,” and I paid my fee and got my replacement drivers license. Then they instituted these insane new ID requirements and forget it.

    And since you’re so stupid, Martin, you’ll undoubtedly ask “So how did you get a drivers license in the first place?”

    By showing my birth certificate in a state 1500 miles away and decades ago. Ever since then, when I moved to a new state, I just showed my current drivers license and provided proof of residence, which is easy.

    But suddenly, 4 years ago, all sort of insane new ID requirements. It’s gotten so bad that in the state where I live, women who got married are being refused drivers licenses because their married name doesn’t match their birth certificate.

    It’s insane, insane, insane, insane, insane, insane. And it’s only going to get worse.

  99. 99
    ppcli says:

    @JerseyJeffersonian: You don’t have to guess what would happen. You can just look at what happens in an actual case. I was asked for almost all of this information when I applied for naturalized citizenship a couple of years ago. I was asked for every address, every employer, etc. since I had become a resident of the U.S., which in my case was around 28 years. I didn’t come close to having all that information, and it wasn’t a problem. Every other naturalized citizen I spoke with said the same thing – who can answer all those questions? – unless they had only been here three years as a spouse and had started documenting everything from the get-go. (There is an “answer to the best of your knowledge” proviso, and I expect that there is one in the form at issue here too.)

    There are an infinite number of hoops to jump through to become a citizen, but being required to provide an *exact and complete* answer to every insanely detailed question isn’t one of them. And I sincerely doubt if getting a passport for a citizen is going to be anywhere near as difficult as becoming a citizen. So I expect that this rule will be interpreted generously too. People need to relax about this.

  100. 100

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    dude, the american flag thing is passe, no one respects the symbolism, anymore.

    the point i am making is that the information requested seems more about finding outs, for inconvenient cases, than actually reasonably considering a person’s claim to the rights of citizenship.

  101. 101
    Martin says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I had to go through a background check for my job, so I too have been fingerprinted.

    The problem with the current state of personal identification in the US is that each issuance of identification relies on one or more weaker forms of identification. It’s exactly the opposite of what it should be since you can build stronger and stronger credentials from a very weak base. If you start from fingerprints or similarly strong biometric data, you can still have your ID stolen, but short of you chopping off my fingers, I can very reliably provide doubt to your stolen ID without any effort on my part.

  102. 102
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Shadow’s Mom: Secondary evidence is always going to be subject to judgment calls. I just am not sure that the new form, if adopted, will actually make the process more onerous or more subject to improper denials.

  103. 103
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal: That is an interpretation, but again, if you did not have primary evidence of citizenship when you applied for a passport under the current system, you had to provide other evidence. If the US wants to disown you, it can go back and look at that evidence and find it wanting. This form does not create a new trap.

    ETA: This has been, I think, an interesting and informative discussion. Unfortunately, I need to get some sleep, so I need to bail. Cheers.

  104. 104
    Gozer says:

    Jayzuz…I’m not even 30 yet and I couldn’t fill out that shit. I know people who have Top Secret/SCI clearances that couldn’t get a passport under those requirements…

  105. 105
    mclaren says:

    @Martin:

    The problem with the current state of personal identification in the US is that each issuance of identification relies on one or more weaker forms of identification. It’s exactly the opposite of what it should be since you can build stronger and stronger credentials from a very weak base.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. Hopelessly wrong and irremediably stupid.

    Bruce Schneier has hammered away again and again at this stupid and foolish misconception.

    The stronger you make the ID requirements, the more you narrow down all ID to a single point of attack. And someone will always figure out a way to get through that single point of attack. Always. Then, once they do, they have bulletproof ironclad ID that everyone trusts, making terrorist much safer and more secure.

    Let’s take a simple example:

    You want a really strong form of ID. So you create a biometric ID storing someone’s iris scan on their passport. Completely untouchable! 100% secure! Right?

    Wrong. Hopelessly stupid and dismally foolish. Because the iris scan has to be stored someone on the passport. Let’s say it’s stored on the RFID. So someone walks past you at the airport and scans the RFID with a powerful antenna and grabs the digital iris scan. Now they can clone it. Then they jostle you so you drop your passport and they step on it and crunch the RFID. Now the RFID on your passport is dead (you can do this yourself with a hammer).

    They pull the data they’ve grabbed from your RFID, substitute their iris scan for yours, and program another RFID. Then they forge your passport. Bingo. Now they’re you.

    People who keep talking about allegedly “stronger” forms of ID don’t realize that no form of ID is strong enough. If they use DNA as in the movie Gattaca, the bad guys just bribe someone in the bureaucracy to change the database to it points to their DNA instead of yours. The more supposedly “secure” the ID, the more valuable it becomes, and therefore the more high-end pro thieves and organized crime hackers it attacts. It’s like drugs: the more valuable the drugs are, the greater the expertise and of the drug dealers. In Mexico when drugs were cheap, street guys dealt drugs. In recent years, drugs have become so lucrative that ex-military antiterror personnel went rogue and became drug dealers, creating a new gang called the Zetas. And this gang has all the expertise of law enforcement: wiretapping skills, countersurveillance skills, expert marksmen, combat skills, you name it. So now Los Zetas is battling for control of all the Mexican cartels.

    It’s the same way with ID. With California’s new supposedly “secure” ID with fancy holograms and yadda yadda, a forged CA drivers license will become super-valuable. Therefore organized crime people will get into the act and you’ll start to see big industrial factories using holograms and every state-of-the-art technology cranking out super-high-priced CA drivers license forgeries.

    Bruce Schneier has been over this and over it and over it, and no one pays attention. The key is not to create “stronger” ID. That never works. It only makes forging that supposedly “strong” ID more lucrative and therefore creates a huge incentive to do it. The way to do security is to pay attention to patterns of risk and deal with them appropriately.

    Most of the 9/11 hijackers had a valid drivers license.

    Forged drivers licenses weren’t the problem with 9/11. The problem was shady guys taking flight school lessons in Florida and telling the instructors they didn’t need to know how to land. If Feds had paid attention to that instead of obsessing over the mythical “strength” of ID, 9/11 wouldn’t have happened. The other problem that caused 9/11 was a weak 757 cabin door. If the cabin door had been reinforced, 9/11 wouldn’t have happened.

    All this horseshit about “strengthening” ID is pointless. It never works. It only makes the “strong” ID so valuable that the file clerks sell the data or take bribes to change the info in the databases and get rich.

    “Strong” ID is a myth. The key to security, as Bruce Scheier keeps pointing out, is to observe behavior patterns, not waste time on strenghtening ID that only gathers more and more information into a single database and thereby creates a much more lucrative single point of attack for people who want to forge the ID.

  106. 106
    mvr says:

    Looks like a bonanza for geneology websites. That’s the only way I could find out all that info, since my folks are dead. And perhaps also for the hypnotism folks I’d have to go to to find out the names of my supervisors of my teen age jobs. And, hell, even that won’t work for my first job after my paper route. I didn’t learn their names when I worked there and just called them ‘um’ all the time. As in “Um, I think we need to get some more of the green ink for that printer.”

  107. 107
    different church-lady says:

    @Shadow’s Mom:

    @mclaren: Interesting, where is your birth certificate that you would have to physically go there to obtain a copy?

    mclaren was born in the state of Righteous Anger. They don’t have postal service there.

  108. 108
  109. 109
    Greyjoy says:

    You know, there are people who will do things like drive your car across the country for you when you relocate. All Mclaren has to do is hire one, have THEM drive WITH her to whatever nook and cranny contains the secret sacred documents of her birth, get the damn birth certificate and hopefully 50 more copies of it so this never happens again, drive back, and get her ID. Jesus. It’s not THAT hard. And before embarking on that enterprise, surely a PHONE CALL to the agency holding the birth certificate might speed the process up a bit. I can only assume that Mclaren still has a copy of her formerly valid ID, and maybe a credit card, and probably a social security number, and I’d be willing to bet that speaking to an ACTUAL PERSON and explaining the situation would provide some needed oil to get the situation moving. If not: hire person to drive you, go there, get the fucking certificate and drive back. Honestly.

  110. 110
    Bill Murray says:

    really isn’t this just the codification of how we are going to prevent anchor babies from getting back to the US? So we maybe lose a few performance artists along the way, maybe some mimes, most of them are liberals, so plus one for the new laws

  111. 111
    Mnemosyne says:

    I’m guessing that mclaren lives in Colorado, because they’re the only state that has identification requirements so ridiculous that teenagers couldn’t get learners’ permits because a passport was no longer considered an acceptable way of identifying yourself.

    Of course, being mclaren, she has projected this out into the rest of the country and assumes that this is the state of the nation rather than the fact that she lives in a totally fucked-up state.

  112. 112
    Greyjoy says:

    @Bill Murray: I should think it’d be a much more comprehensive way to track one’s populace without having to hire people to do it. Instead, make the citizen do it for you. Whatever movement they made throughout their lives prior to getting their passport is now documented, and certainly whatever movement they make *with* the passport will also be documented, with very little chance for error. Perfect solution.

    I also see no need for organized crime to start creating state-of-the-art ID-creating factories when it would be simpler and much more effective to just get one of their guys hired at the DMV.

  113. 113
    cleek says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Actually once you’ve gotten your passport, you don’t need that other stuff again.

    unless you lose your passport.

  114. 114
    cleek says:

    @mclaren:

    This IS for everybody.

    no, it isn’t.
    your latest slippery slope fantasy is not reality.

  115. 115
    Mandramas says:

    @mclaren: That is nonsense. If you believes that a hard to fake ID will prevent an terrorist attack, you are nuts. The ID’s function is to prevent identity theft, not to warrant you are a good american citizen.
    If an ID is hard to fake, it will have a lot less fake ID’s on the population; eventually any ID could be faked, of course. The goal is to reduce the amount of fake IDs.

  116. 116
    Glennsyank13 says:

    If you aren’t a citizen of the US, why does the US care if you leave?

  117. 117
    Mandramas says:

    @Glennsyank13: Well maybe because US cheap ID protocol allow you to identify domestically with a passport.
    And because, in a sense, a Passport grant you a protection as a citizen in a foreign country.

  118. 118
    Maude says:

    @cleek:
    Your passport is on record. You can ask them to verify.
    Write the number down and keep it.
    Last week, I opened a new checking account.
    The questions verify your past address and phone number.
    The time before, when I got a checking account, no such thing, it was easier. Has to be because of 9/11.

    Edit, I used my passport as ID.
    Also, traveling in another country, I never handed my passport to anyone, I kept a hold on it. It was the only thing I had to prove I was a US citizen.

  119. 119
    tess says:

    @TooManyPaulWs: If you need a certified copy of your birth certificate, there’s a service called VitaChek. It’s more expensive than going to the health department in the county where you were born, but they get the job done.

    We accept passport applications where I work. I can tell you now that a big problem is elderly people born at home, which may not seem common, but some states (ahem, NC) didn’t even require things like birth or death certificates until the 1930s. You’d be surprised how many people go visit their grandkids while they do a semester abroad.

    I get that it isn’t for everyone, but the inconsistencies between what we hear from our regional office and what’s in the rule book and even what gets presented at training seminars means they really don’t have the staff/ability to handle this type of new path to passports for those with documentation issues.

    ETA: had said they were the biggest problem. They aren’t: it’s the people who bring in a 7-year-old to translate federal documents for them. And the idiot college students who didn’t read their orientation packet and think that we actually issue them the passport, so showing up a week in advance of their trip is feasible.

  120. 120
    dino goposaur says:

    45 minutes per question, not the entire form.

    Also, it is not perjury to state “I cannot remember”

  121. 121
    nathaniel says:

    As people have pointed out, but I will point out again as many of you seem to not understand this, these requiremetns only apply to people who can not prove their identity the traditional way. This is very few people. For these people these requirements make it easier than the existing process, because it actually now defines what you need to do to prove your identity.

    As someone who has undegone security investigatiosn of various sorts, I can tell you if you can’t remember something it is okay. I hold a top secret clearance and on my investigation form I have listed the name and address of a private tutoring insitution in Korea as my place of employment and my residence in that country for a period of a year. I have no clue if the school is still in existance, I certainly don’t have anyway to contact anyone there anymore, but the limited info I did provide satisfied the requirement for a TS clearance. the same will apply here, get somewhere in the neighborhood with a reasonable explanation of why you don’t remember more, they will be happy.

  122. 122
    Lol says:

    My gf managed to lose all her papers and we were 4500 miles from her birthplace. You have to be thorough an methodical but we pieced together everything to get her a new ID (last state she got one was on the other side of the country) and eventually a passport. Gov’t workers will help you find a way if you explain your situation and not act like an asshole.

    I’m guessing mclaren took one look at the problem and gave up when it couldn’t be solved right away. Of course, that *is* the Firebagger way…

  123. 123
    different church-lady says:

    @Glennsyank13: Pssst… they don’t care when you leave. They care when you come back.

    @Lol:

    Gov’t workers will help you find a way if you explain your situation and not act like an asshole …. I’m guessing mclaren took one look at the problem and gave up when it couldn’t be solved right away.

    You don’t think there’s a connection, do you?

  124. 124
    Humber Dinglepencker says:

    This proposal reminds me of the stuff my friends used to write after dropping a mega-load of pure LSD. This proposal actually makes sense then my friends’ writings.

  125. 125
    dhd says:

    The Canadian passport application is pretty annoying but even it is better than this proposal.

    In Canada you have to have someone who has known you for two years who has a passport to sign your photos and your application, or if you can’t do this, go before a judge. They used to require that the person be a lawyer, doctor, or public official, and they couldn’t be related to you, and various other annoyances.

    Since the US started requiring a passport to enter, thankfully Canada made it a bit easier. Looks like the US has it backwards, as usual.

  126. 126
    mclaren says:

    @Mandramas:

    That is nonsense. If you believes that a hard to fake ID will prevent an terrorist attack, you are nuts. The ID’s function is to prevent identity theft, not to warrant you are a good american citizen.

    Thank you for demonstrating your ignorance and stupidity in public. You’ve just told us that one of the foremost security experts in America, Bruce Schneier, is full of “nonsense.” You should write the Pentagon and the White House and explain this, since Schneier consults with them on security issues. I’m sure the Pentagon and White House would be grateful for the opportunity to learn from your expertise in doing nothing related to security and having no experience whatsoever in the subject. No doubt, the Pentagon and White House will immediately dismiss Bruce Schneier and hire you, since Schneier’s nearly thirty years as a security expert clearly aren’t anywhere near as valuable as your total lack of experience and complete absence of knowledge of the subject.

    Here’s what Schneier had to say about the subject of “strong ID.” Schneier wrote this essay back in 2004. He’s repeated these facts ever since. But ignorant incompetent fools like you never seem to pay attention:

    As a security technologist, I regularly encounter people who say the United States should adopt a national ID card. How could such a program not make us more secure, they ask?

    The suggestion, when it’s made by a thoughtful civic-minded person like Nicholas Kristof (Star-Tribune, March 18), often takes on a tone that is regretful and ambivalent: Yes, indeed, the card would be a minor invasion of our privacy, and undoubtedly it would add to the growing list of interruptions and delays we encounter every day; but we live in dangerous times, we live in a new world.

    It all sounds so reasonable, but there’s a lot to disagree with in such an attitude.

    The potential privacy encroachments of an ID card system are far from minor. And the interruptions and delays caused by incessant ID checks could easily proliferate into a persistent traffic jam in office lobbies and airports and hospital waiting rooms and shopping malls.

    But my primary objection isn’t the totalitarian potential of national IDs, nor the likelihood that they’ll create a whole immense new class of social and economic dislocations. Nor is it the opportunities they will create for colossal boondoggles by government contractors. My objection to the national ID card, at least for the purposes of this essay, is much simpler:

    It won’t work. It won’t make us more secure.

    In fact, everything I’ve learned about security over the last 20 years tells me that once it is put in place, a national ID card program will actually make us less secure.

    My argument may not be obvious, but it’s not hard to follow, either. It centers around the notion that security must be evaluated not based on how it works, but on how it fails.

    It doesn’t really matter how well an ID card works when used by the hundreds of millions of honest people that would carry it. What matters is how the system might fail when used by someone intent on subverting that system: how it fails naturally, how it can be made to fail, and how failures might be exploited.

    The first problem is the card itself. No matter how unforgeable we make it, it will be forged. And even worse, people will get legitimate cards in fraudulent names.

    Two of the 9/11 terrorists had valid Virginia driver’s licenses in fake names. And even if we could guarantee that everyone who issued national ID cards couldn’t be bribed, initial cardholder identity would be determined by other identity documents … all of which would be easier to forge.

    Not that there would ever be such thing as a single ID card. Currently about 20 percent of all identity documents are lost per year. An entirely separate security system would have to be developed for people who lost their card, a system that itself is capable of abuse.

    Additionally, any ID system involves people… people who regularly make mistakes. We all have stories of bartenders falling for obviously fake IDs, or sloppy ID checks at airports and government buildings. It’s not simply a matter of training; checking IDs is a mind-numbingly boring task, one that is guaranteed to have failures. Biometrics such as thumbprints show some promise here, but bring with them their own set of exploitable failure modes.

    But the main problem with any ID system is that it requires the existence of a database. In this case it would have to be an immense database of private and sensitive information on every American — one widely and instantaneously accessible from airline check-in stations, police cars, schools, and so on.

    The security risks are enormous. Such a database would be a kludge of existing databases; databases that are incompatible, full of erroneous data, and unreliable. As computer scientists, we do not know how to keep a database of this magnitude secure, whether from outside hackers or the thousands of insiders authorized to access it.

    And when the inevitable worms, viruses, or random failures happen and the database goes down, what then? Is America supposed to shut down until it’s restored?

    Proponents of national ID cards want us to assume all these problems, and the tens of billions of dollars such a system would cost — for what? For the promise of being able to identify someone?

    What good would it have been to know the names of Timothy McVeigh, the Unabomber, or the DC snipers before they were arrested? Palestinian suicide bombers generally have no history of terrorism. The goal is here is to know someone’s intentions, and their identity has very little to do with that.

    And there are security benefits in having a variety of different ID documents. A single national ID is an exceedingly valuable document, and accordingly there’s greater incentive to forge it. There is more security in alert guards paying attention to subtle social cues than bored minimum-wage guards blindly checking IDs.

    That’s why, when someone asks me to rate the security of a national ID card on a scale of one to 10, I can’t give an answer. It doesn’t even belong on a scale.

    Bruce Schneier, “A National ID Card Wouldn’t Make Us Safer,” 2004

    mandramas goes on to make a fool of himself by gibbering:

    If an ID is hard to fake, it will have a lot less fake ID’s on the population; eventually any ID could be faked, of course. The goal is to reduce the amount of fake IDs.

    Obviously and foolishly false.

    The worry is that if driving licences become worth thousands of dollars instead of mere hundreds, organised crime could move into the bogus-ID business in a big way.

    “Secure Documents: Faking It,” The Economist, 14 June 2011.

    Trying to eliminate fake IDs by making them harder to counterfeit is like trying to eliminate illegal drugs by stepping up enforcement and making them harder to obtain.

    It’s stupid, it has never worked, and it will never work.

  127. 127
    mclaren says:

    @Mandramas:

    The ID’s function is to prevent identity theft, not to warrant you are a good american citizen.

    Provably false.

    The entire function of an ID to generate identity theft. In fact, identity theft can’t even exist without the ID.

    And the more stringent the ID requirement, the more lucrative identity theft becomes. Moreover, the more importance the government places on worthless pointless bullshit like cards and magstripes and scans and other useless horseshit, the more the government creates a single point of failure that makes it even easier to steal someone’s identity.

    Think about it: as Schneier points out, if there are multiple forms of ID, then to successfully steal someone’s identity, and identity thief must forge many different kinds of cards and successfully penetrate and undermine many different databases. But with a single “strong” form of ID, an identity thief only has to worm his way into a single database…only has to forge a single card.

    A “strong” ID card is an identity thief’s paradise.

  128. 128
    Mandramas says:

    @mclaren: Ok. You’re nuts. Thanks for the clarification.

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