RFID, Real ID, Cintra, and the Trans Texas Corridor-A Few QuestionsSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


RFID, Real ID, Cintra, and the Trans Texas Corridor-A Few Questions

26 July 2006 at 10:34:37 AM

Have read that those using the NAFTA superhighway (our leg being the TTC) would be obligated to use a passport/RFID system when coming from Mexico into the United States or vice versa. According to this Homeland Security document, information about the people doing so will be kept and tracked in a national database. (If you've read "No Place to Hide", you know about the Sentri/LexusNexus databases that collect and store massive amounts of information about every citizen). For example, p 9.

(2) Global Enrollment System (GES) - is a web-based system used to collect information for travelers and vehicles that are registered in SENTRI/NEXUS. Applicants’ data (for example, biographic data, photo of traveler, results of background check) is stored in a GES database. At the time of our fieldwork, CBP had incorporated all local POE databases into a centralized database except for one POE at Champlain, New York.

If you read this document, you'll see that the RFID methods are not secure.(Be sure to read the part, on page 19, about how contractor facilities haven't been evaluated to see if, say, banking transfer information is secure. )And, in fact, in at least one vendor case, people using the system weren't told that RFID and databases were involved in the tracking.

CBP has not informed all travelers about the use of RFID technology in CBP’s trusted travelers program and the possibility that applicants’ data may be shared with other agencies. CBP completed the GES PIA in December 2005 and plans to use the PIA to address privacy related issues for SENTRI/NEXUS and FAST. However, the GES PIA has not been approved by the Secretary and published in the Federal Register. Our review of the GES PIA determined that it does not specifically mention each of the agencies with which CBP shares FAST data. Furthermore, we determined that not all SENTRI/NEXUS and FAST travelers are notified of the use of RFID either in writing or verbally. Last, there is an inconsistent approach to informing individuals at the POEs about the use of RFID - some POEs informed individuals in writing or verbally while others did not.

The widespread adoption of the RFID technology in the federal government can raise privacy concerns from citizens. A GAO report raised several privacy concerns related to the use of RFID technology to track the movement of individuals traveling within the United States. Specifically, the GAO report identified issues associated with RFID implementation including notifying individuals about the existence or use of the RFID technology; tracking an individual’s movements; profiling an individual’s habits; and allowing for secondary uses of information.

It isn't only the mention of collecting info in a database, or tracking people by RFID signal and thus knowing people's movements, it's also the "secondary uses of information". If, say, this info was put into a Choicepoint-like *private* database over which government has little or no control, and then that info is sold for other purposes, all without the person travelling the highway's permission, is this something the traveller WANTS to happen?

Tom Ridge in 2003

One area in which we have made progress is the Free and Secure Trade, or FAST, program, administered through the BTS Bureau of Customs and Border Protection. Through FAST, importers, commercial carriers, and truck drivers who enroll in the program and meet agreed-upon security criteria are entitled to expedited clearance at the Northern Border. Using electronic data transmission and transponder technology, we expedite clearance of approved trade participants to focus our security efforts and inspections where they are needed most – on high-risk commerce – while ensuring that legitimate, low-risk commerce faces no unnecessary delays. Similar programs including NEXUS and SENTRI are being used to expedite the processing of people on the Northern and Southern borders, by enabling pre-screened travelers to use dedicated lanes at various ports of entry, including Blaine, Washington; Buffalo, New York; Detroit, Michigan; Port Huron, Michigan; El Paso, Texas; and San Ysidro, California.

Question: Anyone coming and going from Mexico would have to enroll in this program to have access to the TTC. What about truckers from the United States who get on, at, say, Dallas? Won't a US citizen that is a trucker have to have this RFID badge or sticker?

What if use of this type of pass becomes something like the horrific TSA database, where flyers end up on a No Fly List for no discernible reason and it's almost impossible, due to its secretiveness and inaccessibility, to get OFF it? Maybe you'd go to travel the ONE major highway, which at that point is the TTC TOLL road, and you'd be pulled over almost immediately by a cop who would frisk you... all because you had been placed on a DHS list.

I also read on the CASPIAN website (authors of "Spychips") that in Illinois, in order to try to persuade people who were not using the RFID stickers to do so on toll roads, that people who decided to pay cash were potentially going to be penalized by paying a higher toll. In other words, perhaps the TTC couldn't *make* people use the RFID tags, but if you don't, brother, you're going to be coughing up more money..... that will line the pockets of Cintra.

Admittedly, I don't like RFID. I consider that a whole lot of initiatives (including trying to chip my poultry and other farm animals) are being pushed by the RFID industry, which sees putting RFID into everything that moves or not as a lucrative industry.

My last question has to do with Real ID, which my representative, Chet Edwards voted for (and I have him on video record saying that he likes-it was not an accidental voting), and I am against. (Side note: I saw the other day that driver's licence costs may go up to $100 because, while the federal govt mandated real id, it provided no funds to the state to implement it). What I wonder is, will the RFID readers on the highway read the DL, so that even if you paid cash, you would still find your movements tracked and your information collected in a massive DHS database?

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