September 8, 2008
Fatal Flaws of the TWIC Scheme
By James Wilson

Quote of the Day:

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” - H.L. Mencken

Subject: The Five Fatal Flaws of ANY ID Card Scheme

A few weeks ago we introduced Lowell Rogers to you. He's a tugboat engineer. His employer is about to be brought under a security/identity scheme -- a Real ID card of sorts for maritime employees. It's called the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC).

Apparently, since the Department of Homeland Security can't get Real ID implemented, due to the largest state rebellion since the Civil War, they've decided to pick us off -- one occupation at a time.

TWIC will snag 700,000 to 1,000,000 workers.

But Lowell Rogers won't take the card. He'd sooner give up his job. He wants to take a stand. But he can't do it alone.

And Lowell Rogers shouldn't have to take the card. ID card schemes just don't work. These showy security plans have five fatal flaws . . .

First, ID card schemes invade the privacy of law-abiding citizens and make them much more vulnerable to identity theft.

Second, ID card schemes are also a tax. TWIC cards come with a brand new registration fee, and require maritime and transportation workers to endure government red tape. Here's an example:

Industry magazine "Workboat" reported that Hurricane Katrina damaged a Coast Guard regional exam center (REC). 60,000 historical files were damaged and 1,000 applications were lost. The inconvenience and stress of the hurricane and levy failure were bad enough for New Orleans, but then mariners working the Mississippi River had to suffer sleepless nights and repeat the application process, wondering if they would pass a second time.

Third, we can't say ID card schemes do nothing, but they do "next to nothing" to prevent a terrorist attack. Credentialing is the weakest thing you can do to prevent terrorism, because it fails to deal with the most important issue in preventing crime -- the criminal's motivation. If a terrorist needs a credential to commit his crime, he can obtain it fraudulently, or he can go somewhere else to commit his crime.

Fourth, it adds yet another priority to a priority-laden bureaucracy. Focus is valuable in preventing acts of terror. This government has promoted showy technological "fixes." That’s only good for the contractors providing the government with scanning equipment and so forth.

When everything is your focus, nothing is your focus. What is the government going to do with the files of 1 million more citizens?

Fifth, ID card schemes represent a reaction based on unnecessary fear. As we point out at our "I Am NOT Afraid" campaign, you have a better chance of drowning in your bathtub or your neighbor's pool, than you do of dying due to the actions of a foreign terrorist attack in the United States. You have about the same odds of winning the lottery or getting struck by lightening, that you do of being killed by a terrorist, here in "the homeland."

When will this overreaction -- this willingness to be terrorized -- stop? Now would be a good time.

Remember after 9-11 when chest-thumping talk-radio hosts and politicians said that the terrorists wanted to take away our, "unique American way of life?" Well, once we all have Real IDs, haven't we lost the War on Terror? ...haven't we let the terrorists change our unique, American way of life?

It's up to you to stand by Lowell Rogers and stop this first incremental step towards a Real ID card. You can use our Educate the Powerful System to tell your Representative and two Senators to repeal and defund the TWIC card.

And when you're done, please let others know about Lowell Rogers and the TWIC card. First, pass this message on to your friends. Then, go to our blog and "Digg" the message so that even more people will see it.

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Jim Babka
President, Inc.

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