Tuesday, May 07, 2002

another look at national id cards
Eric Peters, an automotive columnist for the Washingtom Times weighs in with his perspective on a new piece of legislation introduced into the House of Representatives last week. Why a writer on automobiles? Well, the law doesn't call itself a national identification system. It goes to some ends to distinquish itself from such a system.

What it calls for is biometric information being included on driver's licenses. And a means by which any transaction requiring the use of a driver's license be able to verify the identity of the person involved. This means financial transactions. The information would be kept in a database.
Though they hotly deny that their bill (and companion legislation in the Senate) would create a national-I.D. card that could be used to monitor and track the doings and affairs of every adult American, that's nonetheless exactly what Reps. Moran and Davis have set in motion. Their bill would give the federal government and its minions unprecedented access to information about our daily lives.

Every financial transaction, every trip, each time we produce a driver's license to conduct business would be noted and recorded in a government database. The encrypted microchip would also be used for voter-registration purposes — perhaps even keeping overt track of our political preferences. Our lives would become an open book for any government snoop or busybody who wants a look-see.

And with the national-ID "smart card" almost certainly being linked-at first, or after Americans get used to the idea — to our financial lives in every critical respect, there will be very little the government, its myriad agencies (including the IRS), and even "authorized" private-sector contractors won't know about us, or be able to find out.
I'm hardpressed to say how this wouldn't be a national ID system either.

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