Thursday, April 21, 2011

Homeland Insecurity this week.

This week saw the Brits tear us a new one con brio (or 'with gusto' if you prefer) regarding our shameful billion-dollar TWIC card program.

If you're not in the know, a TWIC (transport Worker Identification Credential) card is used for nothing at all, but is required if you work in port areas of the US- it's not a valid ID for port entry (requiring an accompaniment with a Merchant Mariner's Credential, company ID or driver's license), but you must have it when you must present your other ID.

Essentially, it's an ID card given to you by an out-of-work aerospace contractor, that keeps the out-of-work contractor running until they can successfully find someone to design them a new ship or airplane for the US Navy that someone will actually fucking buy.
Since the US Defense budget is no longer guaranteed to grow annually by double digit percentages, in anticipation, the Ministry of Truth (known as the Department of Homeland Security) is looking to expand the TWIC program to include any one or any thing who has anything to do with moving anything anywhere in the US. This does not include the 15-20% of truck drivers who are coming in from our friendly NAFTA neighbors, of course. It's all about the safety of our children, so that more of us can be assured that we're safely giving $100 bucks and a day of lost wages for the good of the defense contracting industry.

Counterfeiting the TWIC card is almost impossible, due to the high tech computer chip embedded in the card, and which is not available to private industries, with the exception of bus passes, phone cards, and anyone who feels like reprogramming them using an RFID scanner that you can buy through pet-supply wholesalers for people who want to put an implantable ID in the family dog.
Christ, I wish I was lying about that. Look up how to spoof a bus pass in the UK. For about $80 in parts and a $5 card at an internet cafe,(to download a .pdf on actually programming the chips) you can invalidate a $1,000,000,000 security system. After that, it's simply a matter of gluing a new printed sticker on the face of a UK bus pass, and you have a TWIC card.
I don't know which is worse: the fact that DHS is so careless with their billion dollar shame show that they couldn't even be bothered to use a unique source for their ID cards, or that the multi-billion dollar port security program still can't stop a determined rowboater from blowing the ever-loving hell out of any ship anywhere in the US using an 8-foot dinghy, a pair of oars and a couple of 5-gallon jugs of diesel fuel mixed in with $10 worth of lawn fertilizer.

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