national identity card

The RealID Act goes into effect in May 2008. It was slipped into a 2005 war funding and tsunami relief bill, bypassing actual democratic processes. This is the same way so much of these new police state programs have been enacted.

Here is one of the many worrisome issues with Real ID, go to the ACLU’s site for more details.

How is Real ID a true national identity card system?

Although individual states’ driver’s licenses may continue to exhibit cosmetic differences, under Real ID they would contain a standardized set of information collected by all 50 states, in standard format, encoded on a standardized “machine-readable” zone. And although individual states would still maintain their own databases, by requiring them to be interlinked, Real ID would bring into being what is, for all practical purposes, a single distributed database. In short, underneath each state’s pretty designs they are really a single standardized national card. Local DMV offices may continue to appear to be state offices, but under Real ID they would become agents acting on behalf of the federal government, charged with administering what amounts to an internal passport without which no one will be able to function in America.

What’s wrong with a national identity card?

The true problem is not the piece of plastic itself, but the construction of a larger network of identity papers, databases, status and identity checks and access control points – in short, what has been called an “internal passport.” If the old driver’s license represented a license to drive – the government’s very specific permission to operate a vehicle on the public roadways – the fear is that the new documents will become tantamount to a license to leave your house.

National IDs would violate privacy by helping to consolidate data. There is an enormous and ever-increasing amount of data being collected about Americans today. One’s grocery store, for example, might use a “loyalty card” to keep detailed records of what you buy, while Amazon keeps records of what you read, the airlines keep track of where you fly, and so on. This can be an invasion of privacy, but our privacy has actually been protected by the fact that all this information still remains scattered across many different databases. But once the government, landlords, employers, or other powerful forces gain the ability to draw together all this information, our privacy will really be destroyed. And that is exactly what a national identity system would facilitate.

A national ID like Real ID would also facilitate tracking. When a police officer or security guard scans your ID card with his pocket bar-code reader, for example, it will likely create a permanent record of that check, including the time and your location. How long before office buildings, doctors’ offices, gas stations, highway tolls, subways and buses incorporate the ID card into their security or payment systems for greater efficiency? The end result could be a situation where citizens’ movements inside their own country are monitored and recorded through these “internal passports.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: