The Beast Has Awoken – Part 2,
ATM Card Users Are Halfway There
YOWUSA.COM, October 25, 2001
According to an article published on the L.A. Times yesterday, the
national ID card system proposed by Larry Ellison of the Oracle
Corporation is destined for the scrap heap of history that is, if you only
read the headline. What newspaper publishers know is that most
readers tend to go no further than halfway through a story before drawing
a conclusion and then move on. This is sad because the second half
of this article published on the L.A. Times paints a very clear and
chilling warning about this technology -- it is coming!
LA Times, October 24, 2001
ID Card System Failing to Attract Supporters
Calls for a national system of identification cards sparked by the Sept.
11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have gained little
traction, failing to win endorsements from the Bush administration or
Bush spokesman Jimmy Orr said the administration wasn't considering a
mandatory ID program, and Feinstein is backing away from reports of her
said Tuesday that she is preparing legislation that would call for
mandatory IDs with fingerprints and other biometric data only for non
citizens entering the U.S., along with a new database that would allow
immigration authorities to check information from the CIA as well as
state criminal files and other records.
"It's just for people coming into the country," Feinstein
said. "I think this is where we should start."
Some other improvements in the nation's patchwork identity system are
probable, such as the expanded use of "smart cards" for
military and law enforcement personnel.
Senator Feinstein is not put off by the rejection of a national ID
system by the Bush White House, and fellow legislators. The Senator
knows that legislation is somewhat like geology -- it is simply a matter
of time and pressure. For now, it is not politic to refer to her
national ID card as a national ID card, so now it will euphemistically
referred to as a "smart card'" system.
No matter what you call the card, the underlying technology remains the
same and the fact is, there has been no abatement whatsoever in the
deployment of the underlying technologies necessary to make a national ID
system. Further, the FBI is about to take the foundational
technology to the next level.
October 18, 2001
Carnivore: FBI Eyes Packet Taps
Expect the FBI to expand its Internet wiretapping program, says a source
familiar with the plan.
Stewart Baker, a partner with law firm Steptoe & Johnson, is a
former general counsel to the National Security Agency. He says the FBI
has spent the last two years developing a new surveillance architecture
that would concentrate Internet traffic in several key locations where
all packets, not just e-mail, could be wiretapped. It is now
planning to begin implementing this architecture using the powers it has
under existing wiretapping laws.
The FBI has acknowledged a program called Carnivore, which sniffs e-mail
messages, but the new program is more extensive, Baker says.
ISPs, Web hosts, vendors and other firms handling critical Internet
infrastructure should expect the FBI trying to schedule meetings to
deliver the details of their offering, and show the document containing
the technical specifications, Baker said.
The new architecture is different from Carnivore because it would likely
ask for certain types of data communications to be centralized he said.
This kind of packet surveillance now being implemented by the FBI
offers the government the cornerstone it needs in order to build a towards
the possibility of building a truly secure national ID system.
Sniffing The Packets
With Halloween coming up, let's compare computer packets on the
Internet with the little chocolate bars we give to children when they ask
us trick-or-treat. A chocolate bar can be 1 lb., or it can come as a
1 LB sack of bite size pieces. Either way, we’re still dealing with
a pound of chocolate.
By extending our chocolate example to the Internet, we see that it is
not capable of sending something as large as a 1 lb bar of chocolate, so
it breaks it up into send bite sized chunks called packets just like the
candy we pass out on Halloween.
For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the page you are now
looking at is actually a compilation of 10 packets of information that
were individually transmitted across the Internet by a remote web site.
Six of those packets may have taken the same exact course to arrive at
your computer whereas the other four packets may followed completely
different routes and arrived from completely different directions. Nonetheless,
what you see is a web page, and not its many packets. This is the
beauty of the Internet; it thrives in exactly this kind of chaos. That
is, until someone tries to impose an artificial structure upon it.
FBI Control of the Internet
What the FBI is setting out to do with its new packet sniffing scheme
is to change the fundamental nature of the Internet. Once this scheme
is in place, packets will no longer travel in the freely chaotic manner
that they already do, which also gives the Internet a great deal of
flexibility and survivability.
With the FBI packet-filtering scheme, all communication traffic on the
Internet will pass through one or more surveillance gateways belonging to
the FBI. No matter what you are doing, whether you are sending
e-mail, having an on-line chat session, reading a web page, or downloading
a file for your personal digital assistant, the government will have of a
front row seat. Nothing you do will escape examination. Nothing!
Not only does this packet filtering scheme give the government
unparalleled access to your private life, your thoughts, your dreams and
your wishes, it also gives the government an inexpensive way to ensure
that a national ID system can be secure. This is because all of the
data being transferred from a national ID card to a national ID card
server will be forced through a single communication channel and filtered
as one continuous stream of information.
But is this further consolidation of the FBI's power over the Internet
a step forward? Not if we look at present abuses.
LA Times, October 24, 2001
ID Card System Failing to Attract Supporters
Opponents cite fears of racial profiling as police begin demanding cards
of anyone who appears suspicious.
And they say the history of large government databases and identity
cards is filled with cases of mistaken identity and improper use.
A case in point is the FBI-run National Crime Information Center, which
compiles information on suspects and arrest records from all 50 states.
Some 500,000 officials have access to the database, and a 1993 General
Accounting Office study found that the FBI didn't keep track of misuse.
Among the hundreds of cases of misuse, the agency found that operators
were selling information to private detectives, helping criminals, and
in one case, assisting a former law enforcement officer who used the
data to track down and kill his girlfriend. Just this year, an FBI
manager in Las Vegas and nine others were charged in a scheme to sell
FBI files to criminal suspects.
Those inside the Internet community who understand the technical
aspects of what is currently happening are greatly concerned. They
see the maturation of many prerequisite technologies coming to a point of
convergence where all that is necessary is a governmental mandate
including an open standard for user interface appliances. After
that, will the technological refinements will come in short order.
For everyone else outside of the Internet, it is a much more murky
issue. For most Americans, the Internet, as marvelous as it is,
remains a black hole on the other side of their computer modem. Data
is communicated to all points all across the globe and back again, yet
it's very difficult for them to understand how it all works. This is
why the public debate is focused on the human issues; such as prophecy,
theology, legalities and so forth.
While the computer illiteracy debate is to what form of the mark of the
beast will take on, those inside the computer industry seen nothing to
speculate about because they see what is here today and they understand
precisely how this kind of technology can evolve.
Simply put, those who work in the Internet understand what is happening
just as thoroughly as the men and women who worked on the Manhattan
Project to build the first atomic bomb. And what they see is frightening.
Touching The Beast
In my first article in this series, The
Beast Has Awoken, I used the analogy of boiling a frog alive in water
to demonstrate how we are being slowly acclimated to the foundational
technology necessary for the implementation of a national ID system. The
subsequent reader feedback shows that a few were able to grasp my meaning
quickly, but many did not because it can be very difficult it visualize
technological progression if you do not work in the field.
To make it visible, the following sequence of graphics will demonstrate
a sample 5-year progression using a security communications device that
we’ve all become accustomed to seeing perched on the customer side of
the grocery store checkout lane. Namely, that's the ATM card reader
we use to swipe our ATM and credit cards when we purchase groceries,
hardware, clothing, etc.
Whether or not you are purchasing something in the mall, the ATM card
swipe device is technology we've all come to expect. We understand
that cryptic little messages it presents asking us if we want cash back
and other choices.
The initial form of a national ID card could very likely be designed
around these very devices because they are installed all across America,
completely networked, completely functional, and this system is proven,
tested and trusted.
So in this example we will soon see that in 2001, another massive
catastrophic attack by bioterrorists has prompted Congress to create a
national ID card system in the hope that it can help make things more
secure by tracking possible terrorists.
2001 – Just Getting Started
From a technology standpoint, the first year will move slowly because
it will be a year devoted more to paper form enrollments and to educating
the public in general.
Once the new national ID system has been announced, application forms
will be available in banks, post offices and government buildings.
Most of the sign-ups for the new national ID card will happen in the
banks, which will see this as an excellent way for them to avoid the
expense of printing checks and ATM cards.
We will most likely receive a national ID form application with our
next bank statement, along with a nice letter from the bank explaining to
us the various features and benefits, including the fact that their ATM
machines been tested and are fully compliant with the new national ID
2002- First Voluntary Use of National ID Cards
As we enter into the next year of the program, bank will have begun
issuing brand new ATM cards through the national ID system.
The new national ID cards will work just the same as our old bank ATM
cards, except that they can also be used as a primary piece of
identification when a photo ID is not required.
When making a retail ATM purchase, we will use our national ID card,
which also now happens to be our ATM card just as we would ATM card or
credit card. As we also do now, we will enter our personal
As the year rolls on, companies in the Silicon Valley will have
developed extensive linkages between the national ID System and bankcard
institutions. As these linkages are added to the system, Oracle
Corp., of course receives a little added bonus for the new licensing
scheme but this is not seen by you, the end user. What you will see
is another form appearing in your credit card statement saying that you
can now link your credit card to your national ID card.
When you go to a retail store and pay by swiping a national ID card,
the ATM terminal will then display options to you as to whether you want
to use a credit card or your ATM account to pay for the transaction.
2003- Your National ID Cards Is Also Your License to Drive
Shortly after the approval of a national ID card back in 2001, motor
vehicle departments in every state in the union will have initiated
an internal dialogue on how to link the national ID card and driver's
license as well.
When applying for a license or renewing a license, many Americans are
now accustomed to being photographed and fingerprinted. By 2003, we
will begin to see states rolling out their new driver's license ID based
on the national ID card. Of course, the state of California will most
likely be right up there at the top of the early adopter list.
Beginning in 2003, if you do not already possess a national ID card,
your application for a national I.D. card will be required at the
time you renew your driver's license or are granted a new driver's
license. At that time you will be photographed and fingerprinted
according to the new standards.
When you receive your new national ID card it will already be tied to
your master national ID account, so you will not have to do anything new
in order to make sure that your existing bank accounts and credit cards
will work properly. This will be done through a central information
clearing house operated by the governent, or a contractor under government
Then, the new national ID card will have a different appearance, as it
will show your photo ID which is necessary for driver's license. It
will have a special copper conductor pad, which will be connected to a
substrate layer within the card itself. Within this substrate layer
will be at digital image of your thumb print, and the only way the card
will work when swiped through an ATM reader is if your thumb is pressed on
the conductor pad.
The obvious advantage to you, will be that you'll no longer need to
remember a personal identification number. Also, you are the only
one who can use the card.
2004 – New Palmprint Ensures Faster Checkouts
Until now, the entire national ID card solution has not required new
equipment to be installed in banks or retail locations. This is
because up to this point, the entire national security ID scheme has been
based around the present day ATM swipe device technology. However, with
this device will now come a peculiar problem that happens more often with
those who have the thumb print national ID card.
A persistent problem with biometric technology is that it is not 100%
accurate. Actually, the typical accuracy rate for these types of
devices is roughly 85%. Consequently, those who do not hold card
just right may have to swipe at several times in order for it to register.
This will create a demand for a more convenient and reliable solution.
Enter the full screen touchpad and the full palm print.
Touch screen technology has been in America for many years. We're
used to seeing them in malls, convention centers, airport and hotel
lobbies, where we stand in front of a computer's workstation with no
keyboard and touch the screen in answer to the questions it presents.
A much smaller version of the familiar touch screen can be adapted to
the swipe reader in present day check stance without changing this size of
the reader. This is important because retailers value every square
inch of space and if a new device requires new space it presents new
problems and is therefore more slowly adopted.
The new touch pad will allow us to use our palmprint in lieu of our
national ID card, which we can still use if we choose. With this new
enhancement, we do not even need to carry our national ID card.
If we are stopped by a policeman on our way to the mall because of a
minor traffic violation, the policeman will have a portable version of the
same type of device that we will use to make our purchase in the mall once
we finally arrive. So even our being stopped by an officer will not
longer require carrying physical identification.
2005 – Advanced Biometric Sampling
By the year 2005, we will have become so accustomed to our national ID
System that there will be little resistance, if any to the final phase of
the deployment. This will, in the form of advanced biometric data
sampling, include retinal scans and DNA sampling beginning at birth.
Now, our grocery store ATM device will let us our palm print or retinal
scan for ID. The national ID card we have been using for the last 4
years will be obsolete.
This will be bad news for criminals as they will have become rather
adept at forging national ID cards. This in turn will serve as the
principal reason why the government will mandate the fifth and final stage
of the deployment, and do away with national ID cards altogether.
In the last phase of the deployment, the human body will be the
national ID card. There will be no other card.
As a final note, the sample national ID card deployment scheme shows
above deals with passive security systems. A passive security system
requires you, the user, to interact with it by putting yourself in
proximity to it or by voluntarily interacting with it in some way or
An active system on the other hand does not require your participation,
and it can find you where and when it chooses and observe whatever you are
doing. (In my next installment in this series, I will discuss active
security system issues.)
Then Comes The Real Beast
If in 2005 our government has abandoned much of our rights, and the
present day abuses we see within the FBI using the existing systems today
proliferates into a nightmare tomorrow, what will it look like?
One of the most currently voiced assumptions about this system is that
a bureaucrat working in some anonymous office somewhere can push a button
and make your entire identity disappear.
This will not happen, because if your identity disappears completely,
then you'd be a person with nothing left to lose, and a person with
nothing left to lose is by a definition a terrorist. Therefore, the
government will not punish you for what it feels are your transgressions
by making your records disappear. Rather, it will divert your time
energy and money by injecting damaging and fictitious records into your
national ID. Regardless of how that information gets into your file.
It will be incumbent upon you to clean up the mass if you want to carry on
with your life. We already understand this problem today and this is
why many of us have a credit report printed for us every year to see who
is saying what about us.
The potential for abuse, fraud, and harassment boggles the mind.
This is why we must not allow this to happen as a kneekerk reaction to
another catastrophic event. Rather, we must take action now and
force the issue of a national ID card out into the open and as a
We need a digital persona amendment stated clearly in our Constitution.
We cannot afford to let lawyers decide this issue in the lower courts, as
most Americans cannot even afford the least expensive attorney.
We need a constitutional amendment that very clearly defines our right
of privacy, our access to information without redactions, deletions or
changes. However, most importantly this constitutional right must
give us the ability to sue individually anyone (whether they work for the
government or not) who has injured or harassed us or has smeared our
reputation through access to our national ID file. There must also be a
severe mandatory sentence for anyone (whether they work for the government
or not) who uses our national ID file to commit a crime.
Folks, the wave is coming and it is relentless. Do we change our
fate by riding it, or will we just let it crash down upon us sending us
all to a sandy and airless bottom?