Saturday, January 19, 2002

National Identification Cards
There's a lot of debate on the subject of national identification cards. A good number of organizations are pointing towards (often uncited) polls that suggest that the American public is willing to embrace such cards. Any measures that can help prevent another tragedy like the terrorist acts on Septermber 11th are worth considering. But we also have to keep in mind that our civil liberties might be placed into peril by setting up a system that could amount to an internal passport system. There are also many potential risks that could come about because of the use of a national identification system.

The most recent frenzy of opinion back and forth on the value of such a system was initiated by a multi-state organization that includes amongst its members the motor vehicle administrators for all of the states. This organization, the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA), is recommending standardization of practices for the issuance of Driver's licenses, security features on the licenses to reduce fraud, and a database of information shared by government and private organizations to enable them to use the cards for verification purposes.

Much has been written on the subject, and there is no doubt that debate will continue. Here are links to articles and web sites where some issues are being raised on Driver's Licenses as national identification cards:

New Security Standards Urged For Driver's License
(Information Week, January 9, 2002)
"Under the proposals, the databases associated with the new licenses would let nongovernment entities such as airlines, retailers, and banks access information about individuals to verify their identities. "

States Seek National ID Funds
(Washington Post, January 14, 2002)

All 50 states agree to upgrade driver's licenses
(The Boston Globe, January 14, 2002)

National ID card an idea that stirs lots of questions
(Union-Tribune Publishing Co., January 14, 2002)
Some interesting questions regarding problems that a national ID system might bring with it.

The Case for a National ID Card
(Time Magazine, January 14, 2002)
We should have a national ID because it will keep our senators from being strip searched at the airport?

ACLU Skewers DMV Proposal As ‘De Facto’ National ID
(Washington Post, January 15, 2002)

Not-So Smart: The national ID debate goes on
(National Review, Jauary 16, 2002)

ALERT: National ID Cards from DMV?
(Electronic Frontier Foundation ACTION ALERT, Jauary 16, 2002)
The EFF is urging people to contact the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators to voice their concerns with proposed changes to driver's licenses.

National ID Cards: 5 Reasons Why They Should Be Rejected
Some very good points worth careful consideration.

Special Task Force on Identification Security
(American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, January 2002)
Recommendations and expected results of the use of Driver's licenses as secure identification cards adhering to national standards.

Wild Card: We need a better ID, but not a national superego
(Wall Street Journal Opinion Page, January 16, 2002)
Delaware's Former Governor Pete du Pont has an alternative suggestion, which is being put into action by Delaware Representative Mike Castle.

Delaware Division of Motor Vehicles
While silent on the subject of a national ID system, they do have information about the types of information you need to provide them when you apply for a driver's license in Delaware.
- William Slawski

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