About half of all American states essentially refused to comply with the federal government’s so-called REAL ID scheme, a deeply controversial plot to create national identification cards through the back door. Florida was not one of the states to nullify the power grab. Now, though, Adrian Wyllie, the Libertarian Party candidate for governor, has entered the next phase in his plan to bring down what he calls an unconstitutional and dangerous federal plan that must be stopped.
“It is absolutely Orwellian,” he says, adding that the national ID plot is all about control. “Unless we fight this, we will never know privacy or freedom of travel in America again.” Aside from the constitutional problems — the federal government has no authority under the U.S. Constitution to meddle with drivers’ licenses or issue mandates about them to states — the Big Brother component is deeply troubling, Wyllie explains.
“The federal government wants control over all aspects of our daily lives, and is using the several states as their foot soldiers to accomplish it,” he tells The New American. “We already know that they collect staggering amounts of information on every American, every day. They monitor our phone calls, our emails, and our internet activity.”
REAL ID, though, will make the surveillance regime even more Orwellian, giving the feds “additional tools to monitor and restrict our travels as well,” says the insurgent gubernatorial contender. “The facial recognition biometric data collected from the new drivers’ license ‘photos’ are being integrated with government surveillance and street-level cameras throughout Florida, and likely in other states as well.”
The potential for abuse is massive. “These computer systems have the capability of identifying your face automatically through the windshield of your vehicle in a fraction of a second as you pass by them at highway speed,” he says, echoing widespread concerns among privacy and civil-liberties activists.
For Wyllie, enough is enough. After battling the national ID scheme for almost three years, the father and small-business owner was arrested earlier this month for driving without a license. It was all part of the plan, however.
When he realized what was going on with REAL ID — a federal mandate passed in 2005 purporting to set national “standards” for state drivers’ licenses, and much more — Wyllie knew he had to do something. So, he proudly surrendered his license in May of 2011, and then called various law enforcement agencies to inform them of his actions.
The next month, he received a ticket, and was eventually fined $116 for driving without a valid license. He took it to court — media and supporters in tow — but was unsuccessful the first time around. Apparently a simple traffic ticket would not be enough to stop REAL ID. He decided to keep driving anyway, hoping to eventually be caught and brought before a court, where his effort might be more successful in front of a jury of his peers.
The idea behind getting arrested, Wyllie said about his one-man campaign to stop REAL ID, is to have the judicial branch strike down the federal scheme entirely. “My civil disobedience provided the potential opportunity to have the law ruled unconstitutional in court,” he says, adding that he could not in good conscience ask others to fight the federal ID scheme if he was not willing to put himself at risk to do it as well. “Because I was finally arrested in early May for driving with no valid license, I now have the legal standing to mount that court challenge.”
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Photo: Adrian Wyllie