[Politech] John Gilmore on showing ID when entering buildings [priv]

From: Declan McCullagh (declan@private)
Date: Mon Sep 29 2003 - 21:59:37 PDT

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    [I've been in plenty of courthouses, including state, federal district, and 
    federal appeals in the last two weeks, and have never had to show ID. --Declan]
    To: Declan McCullagh <declan@private>
    cc: politech@private, BSteinhardt@private
    Subject: Re: [Politech] ACLU's Barry Steinhardt on showing ID and "building 
    privacy" [priv]
    Date: Mon, 29 Sep 2003 12:55:05 -0700
    From: John Gilmore <gnu@private>
    The simple way to not show ID going into buildings is to not patronize
    businesses that persist in making you enter ID-checking buildings.
    This is what the free market is all about.  I've rejected many
    different businesses for exactly that reason.  There was one parking
    lot at the Embarcadero Center that insisted on "searching my trunk" if
    I was going to park there.  Needless to say, they never got a cent
    from me, but they did get an earful.
    At buildings which insist on ID, I refuse to show it.  I phone the
    business inside, and tell them that the building is refusing to let me
    come in to do business with them.  Meanwhile I'm hanging around in the
    lobby, nagging the guards about why they thought that making people
    show an ID was going to keep a plane from flying into the building,
    making them nervous, and raising questions in the minds of the other
    people entering the building.  Usually the business I'm visiting sends
    somebody down to "sign me in", which gets me in without an ID.  (If
    not I just leave.)  And I make it an issue with the business, "Have
    you objected to this policy?  What was the response?  What will you do
    to pursue the issue?"  If the answers are unsatisfactory (to me) then
    I take my business elsewhere.
    There was a big rash of this right after 9/11, but it died out within
    a few months afterward in most places.  We discovered, however, that
    Oakland has a law requiring hotels to ask for ID, and letting cops
    look over the ID records anytime they want.  It was passed to try to
    curb prostitution!!!  Talk about hitting a fly with a sledgehammer...
    and of course, it is not uniformly enforced.
    When it comes to government buildings, different rules apply.  You
    often have no choice about whether to enter (e.g. to endure an IRS
    audit, or to come to a courtroom to respond to a lawsuit).  In those
    cases I believe there are viable court challenges to any imposed ID
    Subject: [Fwd: [Politech] Jim Harper takes issue with need-new-laws views
             on building privacy [priv]]
    From: jason <jaegner@private>
    To: Declan McCullagh <declan@private>
    Date: 29 Sep 2003 21:59:37 -0400
    Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
    Jim makes a great point.  Don't surrender your right to privacy in light
    of the threat of terrorism.
    We're the perfect target for terrorism because of the freedoms that
    present a catch-22 situation for our publicly elected representatives:
    How can you protect your constituents and preserve their
    constitutionally guaranteed freedoms at the same time?
    It's a tough question and history doesn't help as much as it does on
    other issues. On one hand, one could argue that the 2nd Amendment is
    enough to protect privacy and the general welfare of the public.  On the
    other hand, it could be argued that the former argument would plunge us
    back into the Wild West.
    At the end of the day, I think it all comes down to the willingness of
    the people to engage in the process of our republic.  In other words,
    vote but don't vote one way because someone tells you to.  Get involved,
    understand the issues, and THEN vote.
    Apathy is the enemy of democracy and capitalism is the enemy of a
    republic.  The success of our country has always been a result of the
    balance between these ideological principles.
    Hopefully, people haven't given up yet.  I know I haven't.  :)
    From: Majstoll@private
    Message-ID: <a8.22e736e1.2caa5bb1@private>
    Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 00:08:17 EDT
    Subject: Declaring War on Building ID Policies
    To: declan@private
    Declan - please share with your readers  - Mike Stollenwerk:
    Barry Steinhardt is right to ask for more rules on private use of data on 
    government IDs - government invented the IDs and ID numbers for government 
    transactions, and should have front loaded the law with a general 
    prohibition on non-governmental actor use of ID and ID numbers.
    But Jim Harper of Privacilla.org makes a good point that individuals need 
    to stick up for their rights to refuse to carry or show ID or disclose 
    sensitive information.
    US persons should start sticking up for their rights to refuse to carry or 
    show ID or disclose personal information generally - and make it personal 
    when you do it so everybody remembers you.  I do this often - 
    where the New Yorker hotel threatens to call the Police Antiterrorism Squad 
    against me in an audio file because I failed to let the front desk copy a 
    But also there are rules in force to use against building managers and 
    hotels demanding to see ID, or copy the data from them:
    1.  Some states prohibit the use of ID swiping machines - more should join 
    2.  MasterCard and VISA strictly prohibit merchants from demanding to see 
    additional ID when using your signed credit card - report violators at 
    3.  Over a dozen states have laws against merchants recording personal 
    info. on credit card slips - in California, it is class actionable under 
    Civil Code Section 1747.8; and in New York, such practices violate New York 
    Law:  "ARTICLE 29-A, Section 520-a  3. No person, firm, partnership or 
    corporation which accepts credit cards for the transaction of business 
    shall require  the  credit  card
    holder  to  write  on  the  credit card transaction form, nor shall it 
    write or cause to be written on such form, any personal identification
    information, including but not limited to  the  credit  card  holder`s 
    address  or  telephone number, that is not required by the credit card
    issuer to complete the credit  card  transaction;  provided,  however, 
    that  the  credit  card  holder`s  address and telephone number may be 
    required on such form where (i)  such  information  is  necessary  for 
    shipping,  delivery  or  installation  of purchased merchandise or for 
    special orders; (ii) authorization from the credit card issuer  as  to 
    the  availability  of credit is not required by the issuer to complete the 
    credit card transaction; or (iii) the person, firm, partnership or 
    corporation processes credit card transactions by mailing  transaction 
    forms to a designated bankcard center for settlement. ..
    6.   Whenever  there  shall  be  a  violation  of  this  section  an 
    application may be made by the attorney general in  the  name  of  the
    people  of  the  state  of  New  York  to  a  court  or justice having 
    jurisdiction by a special proceeding to issue an injunction, and  upon
    notice  to  the  defendant  of  not less than five days, to enjoin and 
    restrain the continuance of such violation; and if it shall appear  to
    the  satisfaction  of  the court or justice that the defendant has, in 
    fact, violated this section, an injunction may be issued by the  court
    or  justice, enjoining and restraining any further violations, without 
    requiring proof that any person has, in fact, been injured or  damaged
    thereby.  In any such proceeding, the court may make allowances to the 
    attorney general as provided in paragraph six of  subdivision  (a)  of 
    section  eighty-three  hundred  three  of  the  civil practice law and 
    rules, and direct restitution. In connection with  any  such  proposed 
    application  the attorney general is authorized to take proof and make a 
    determination of the  relevant  facts  and  to  issue  subpoenas  in 
    accordance with the civil practice law and rules."
    But in the end, ending silly ID checks will require that people stop 
    carrying them and/or refuse to show them.  Most buildings will have 
    procedures for this case, requiring tenants to come down to the lobby and 
    escort folks - do this a few hundred times a day and the ID checks will go 
    away.  Airports too can be re-opened for the public again as well - it will 
    take some lawsuits and protesters, but it can be done.
    Mike S.
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