Different River

”You can never step in the same river twice.” –Heraclitus

February 11, 2005

House Approves National Electronic ID Cards

Filed under: — Different River @ 2:09 am

As reported by Declan McCullagh, a noted privacy expert, in CNET:

The U.S. House of Representatives approved on Thursday a sweeping set of rules aimed at forcing states to issue all adults federally approved electronic ID cards, including driver’s licenses.

Under the rules, federal employees would reject licenses or identity cards that don’t comply, which could curb Americans’ access to airplanes, trains, national parks, federal courthouses and other areas controlled by the federal government. The bill was approved by a 261-161 vote.

The measure, called the Real ID Act, says that driver’s licenses and other ID cards must include a digital photograph, anticounterfeiting features and undefined “machine-readable technology, with defined minimum data elements” that could include a magnetic strip or RFID tag. The Department of Homeland Security would be charged with drafting the details of the regulation.

“When I get on an airplane and someone shows ID, I’d like to be sure they are who they say they are,” said Rep. Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican, during a floor debate that started Wednesday.

Another portion of the bill says that states would be required to link their DMV databases if they wished to receive federal funds. Among the information that must be shared: All data fields printed on drivers’ licenses and identification cards, and complete drivers’ histories, including motor vehicle violations, suspensions and points on licenses.

Will someone please explain to me what benefit this legislation provides? And if you are going to say “it prevents terrorism,” please explain to me how a national ID card could possibly prevent terrorism!

Rep. Davis says, “When I get on an airplane and someone shows ID, I’d like to be sure they are who they say they are,” but he doesn’t explain what good it will do for him to know. I’d like to point out that the 9/11 hijackers did show ID when they got on the planes they hijacked, and for most of them they were real IDs obtained legitimately under their real names. Somehow, they still managed to hijack the planes, even with real IDs! Imagine that! (A few of them had real IDs procured using forged documentation; I’d like to know how these new “digital” IDs are not going to be procurable the same way.)

I think it is rather telling that both the ACLU and Gun Owners of America are opposed to this legislation.

Time to call your Senators!

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress