Librarians, who like super heroes have the common good in mind

While reading the American Library Associations (ALA) Direct 5/2/2007 today I stumbled upon an article that made me "pleased pleased pleased," I totally stole that line from the Brit comedy "Coupling." If you have never seen it DO! Anyway, back from my tangent...ALA Direct mentioned how the ALA is taking an anti-Real ID Act stance. And as I read the article I realized that I am a little ashamed that I don't know more about the topic so I decided to do some research today.

From an ALA (see below) article I learned that the United States government is currently trying to pass the Real ID Act, which would in essence create a database of information that would contain images of birth certificates, marriage licenses, divorce papers, and social security numbers for more than 240 million people in the United States; a database that has no controls set as to how this information will be accessed.

According to information compiled on Wikipedia from government sources, the Real ID Act was part of the 2005 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief a bill that was supposed to: Establish the national standards for state-issued drivers licenses and non-driver's identification cards; Waive laws that interfere with construction of physical barriers at the borders; Update and tighten the laws on application for asylum and deportation of aliens for terrorist activities; and Introduce rules covering "delivery bonds" (basically these are like bail bond, but are for aliens that have been released pending hearings); Fund some reports and pilot projects related to border security; and Change visa limits for temporary workers, nurses, and Australian citizens. (Why only Australians? Beats me...?)

President Bush is supposed to soon be signing an $82 billion bill that covers not only this Real ID Act, that falls under a military spending bill that is part and parcel of the "war on terror." I am so tired of the things that this administration is trying to push through Congress for the "Safety of the American people!" Do people just turn a deaf ear to that expression now? It feels so futile to question an administration about its foreign policy when we are fed half-truths or treated like children who don't need to know the real truths, as they might frighten us!

While sources assure that the bill will be further scrutinized before anything is decided, due to the fact that the bill raises serious questions about a citizens privacy, I am still not sure what this will all mean for America. Since its unpassed inception into the possibility of law, "Eight states have passed laws rejecting Real ID, many expressing privacy concerns, and more than 25 others, including Vermont, have introduced bills condemning the program." (American Civil Liberties).

That is my diatribe!


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