Thursday, May 22, 2008

You are available to everyone.

So now, our regular state-issued I.D.s may no longer be good enough to allow American citizens to enter to go on commercial aircraft, enter nuclear power plants, or go into federal government offices. We must now have national I.D.’s, identification cards issued and assembled by the Federal government. That part, I can kind of understand. My thing is, implementing this new National I.D. card will cost the country billions of dollars, and it seems like a way to make it easier for the government to spy on its citizens.

Some Republican named F. James Sensenbrenner in the U.S. Senate knew that the Real I.D. act, as a bill on its own, would not survive under critical and practical speculation when trying to get it signed by G.W. Bush. So, in May 2005, he pinned it on as a rider; which means he attached the Real I.D. provision onto to another Bill that had nothing to do with it. The Bill was passed, and the Real I.D. successfully followed without any questioning or examination. The law was basically enforced on us without going through any kind of democratic approach. It would probably be wrong of me to say that I expect this behavior from a Republican…….but I’ll say it anyway.

I’m a bit of a paranoid. What I’m really afraid of is the submission of personal information and the manipulation of it in the hands of corrupt DMV employees or corrupt government officials. Accordingly, implementing this new law will help put that into action. When we apply for these cards, things like your birth certificate, social security card and things of that nature will have to be brought to the DMV office. They take those physical documents, scan them, and then store them on file in their computers, on a database that officials in the whole country unobtrusively have access to.

Centralizing the databases of identification for all of America’s citizens will make it that much easier for identity thieves to either hack the databases and take information, buy the info from a cop or politician or corporate entity who has it, or duplicate and forge identification for themselves. Instead of our address and social security numbers being bureaucratically separated by state, they’re all dumped into one database, which eliminates the search and research process for an identity thief.

Another argument against the Real I.D. act is the invasion of privacy, as federal government figures can easily go into the centralized information database and monitor anyone’s activity (tickets you’ve gotten on your car, felonies, possibly political or religious status, etc.). I’m not so passionately against this, although I’m well aware that I should be. There really isn’t much for me to hide, although I guess they can judge and unfairly persecute me if they see activity that speaks of something they’re against. Not even considering that putting this Act into play will endanger people who are trying to hide from their abusive partners, people in the witness protection program, juries that need their identities hidden from criminals on trial, etc.

The law is supposed to quell illegal immigration and terrorists’ entry into this country. It supposedly will make it harder for immigration to bring the proper papers and evidence that this country should provide asylum for them, although I specifically remember being told that this country was built for people of all nations to come and pursue opportunities. What the law really does is make the President our own personal terrorist instead.


  1. Don't Feed The PixiesMay 22, 2008 at 10:45 AM

    The argument for these cards always goes along the lines "If you are innocent then you don't need to be afraid, because you have nothing to hide" - however what we are talking about here is a law that says you can be arrested or detained for not carrying a piece of plastic - thus stopping police dealing with actual criminals.

    The actual card use as a deterrant to terrosim is minimal at best - anyone involved in this is smart enough to fake an ID and unless it carries info like "Is a member of the mudjahadeen" its unlikely to stop someone blowing up a building.

    Aside from the fact that our government here recently managed to lose thousands of people's personal banking information in the post we have to ask ourselves if we are prepared to sacrifice our freedoms for the sake of irrational fear.

    Since when have criminals and terrorists given a shit about the law?

  2. Don't Feed The PixiesMay 23, 2008 at 11:36 AM

    we don't have the ID cards in place, but they are being "phased in" on a voluntary basis first

    Big Brother Is Watching

  3. I have had many conversations about this and have heard interesting responses. So many pros and cons. It would be nice to have a national system - better data, better tracking -- you could use the data to advocate for policy changes. On the other hand, these "tracking" systems are what led to many genocides and wars in other countries. You would find many immigrants and refugees very adverse to any kind of recording system (and rightly so). I don't like the idea of big brother, but yet, people don't seem to mind scanning all of the food they buy with a "discount" card at grocery stores ... very unaware that all of their buying habits are being studied.

    I've been told by other Europeans that North Americans are the most paranoid about privacy. That everyone else seems to have no problem with this kind of sharing, as we (including Canadians) tend to be raised in a culture of fear. That made me stop and pause ... am I just being overly paranoid? Or do I foresee a future like Gataca (the movie) ....?

  4. Bobbb - Citizen of EarthMay 28, 2008 at 2:57 PM

    Too late for paranoia
    They have already got your number
    It's right there on the card

    When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for the Jews,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a Jew.

    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out

    Martin Niemöller 1934

  5. The Clandestine SamuraiMay 30, 2008 at 8:29 AM

    That was good!


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