Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Identity crisis in America: Is the government overstepping its boundaries?

by State Senator Mike Folmer (PA-48)

Every federal and state-elected official took an oath to uphold the U.S. and Pennsylvania constitutions. It is imperative those in public office start taking these oaths seriously, be­cause each day that goes by, more and more of our rights and freedoms are being lost, and government's appetite for collecting personal and private data continues to grow.

I believe the most egregious example of government overreaching into personal lives is the federal Real ID Act. Designed to protect Americans in post-9/11 society, Real ID would create a national identification card. Proponents of the act believe Americans should be stripped of essential liberties for the greater safety of the country.

The federal government says this plan will protect Americans from terror­ists. I disagree. I believe it is a clear violation of the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, redefining privacy as we know it, and creating a mountain of new bureaucracy and increasing fees and taxes—all without making us any safer.

That is why I have reintroduced legislation (Senate Bill 621) that would exempt Pennsylvania from compliance with this unfunded feder­al mandate. Eleven states, including South Carolina, New Hampshire, Maine, Montana and Virginia, have already enacted similar statutes.

If Pennsylvania were to comply with REAL ID, in January 2010, driver's licenses would become a standardized national identification card with a machine-readable zone containing valuable personal information. PennDOT would then be required to link into a massive na­tional database, opening the door to the possibility of major security breaches.

In addition, transportation departments would retain digital scans of identification documents, including birth certificates and Social Security cards, for at least 10 years or seven years for a paper copy.

I understand the threat Pennsylvanians face on our own soil, but under REAL ID, that vulnerability is magnified times 50 and leaves us all exposed.

REAL ID also threatens privacy rights by empowering the Department of Homeland Security to collect biometric data, including fingerprints and eye scans, as well as placing Radio Frequency Identification chips in every American's driver's license. A proposal by State Senator Shirley Kitchen, (D-Philadelphia), Senate Bill 623, would prohibit government bodies from capturing or releasing biometric data without an individual's approval or knowledge and prevent a slippery slope toward rights being stripped away.

Other requirements of REAL ID that take law-abiding citizens down a dangerous path are: what confidential data can be collected from driver's licenses; where and how long it can be stored; and who is authorized to obtain, share, trade or sell that information.

With one swipe of a license, an establishment can collect your personal data and use it for marketing purposes. State Senator John Wozniak's, (D-Clearfield), proposed legislation (Senate Bill 622) would restrict information that can be made available from driver's licenses for marketing or other purposes beyond law enforcement.

If we don't exempt ourselves from REAL ID by the end of 2009, we are in real danger. This act is a major violation of Americans' right to privacy and another example of the federal government overstepping its boundaries with the states -- all with an anticipated unfunded federal mandate cost of $11 billion to already financially strapped states.

The assault on our right to privacy must end. Together, this package of bills can slow the increased flow of data in our daily lives.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Implantable Chip Designed To Kill Dissidents, Hired-Help

Saudi files killer tracking chip patent

Implantable chip German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) spokeswoman Stephanie Krüger revealed Friday that the DPMA received an application from a Saudi Arabian citizen for a patent on his new invention.

The invention? Two versions of a subcutaneous chip to be implanted in humans: The first of which, according to the Jeddah-based inventor, is solely for “…the purposes of determining its geographical location.”

The inventor claims the device would use GPS tracking technology and would radio its location—and, therefore, the implantee’s—to a remote tracking center.

Now, I can think of really good uses for such a gadget, such as tracking politicians who are wont to take bribes in the form of free vacations at lavish resorts.

But then there’s the “B” model, which would—in the inventor’s words:

“…be suited for tracking fugitives from justice, terrorists, illegal immigrants, criminals, political opponents, defectors, domestic help, and Saudi Arabians who don’t return home from pilgrimages.

“In recent times the number of people sought by security forces has increased…I apply for these reasons and for reasons of state security and the security of citizens.”

In the “B” version, a controller need but press a button, sending a signal to the implant which then releases a lethal dose of cyanide into the bloodstream of the implantee.

Note that among the potential targets of this ghastly Orwellian device is listed “domestic help.” You return from a hard day’s work sentencing rape victims to torture and prison, to find that the maid hasn’t dusted your favorite beheading sword. Well, a simple touch of a button and her dinner plans are Kaput!

And if you don’t return to Saudi Arabia from your pilgrimage to, say, Las Vegas, a brief radio signal will fix your defecting tuchas.

Need I comment on the immoral, Hitlerian mindset of this—obviously well-educated and intelligent—Saudi? Likely not, but I will anyway.

Apparently, it doesn’t even occur to this lunatic that the Germans might not want to track and kill immigrants and butlers.

One wonders how typical this insane mentality may be among the rest of Saudi intelligentsia. Or the dimwits, for that matter. From all reports it seems to be the norm, rather than the exception.

But I digress…

DPMA spokeswoman Krüger added:

“Foreigners are allowed to apply for patents in Germany through a native representative, in this case it was a Munich law firm…Most people apply for a patent in several countries, and this inventor probably did too.

“While the application is still pending further paperwork on [the inventor’s] part, the invention will probably be found to violate paragraph two of the German Patent Law—which does not allow inventions that transgress public order or good morals.”

The law firm, DTS Munich, which represented the evil sonuvabitch inventor, "…resigned from representation of this case last week," a spokesman said without stating why.

Why? Well, gee, could it be… I dunno… that they finally read the patent application?

Note: If you would like to read about life in Saudi Arabia from the perspective of someone neither evil or insane and possessed of an excellent command of English, I suggest the Saudi Jeans Blog.