Big government folks, people from gun control guys to vote control guys, should appreciate the idea of a biometric database. The libertarian in me isn’t sure sure about this idea:
The immigration reform measure the Senate began debating yesterday would create a national biometric database of virtually every adult in the U.S., in what privacy groups fear could be the first step to a ubiquitous national identification system.
Buried in the more than 800 pages of the bipartisan legislation (.pdf) is language mandating the creation of the innocuously-named “photo tool,” a massive federal database administered by the Department of Homeland Security and containing names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver’s license or other state-issued photo ID.
Employers would be obliged to look up every new hire in the database to verify that they match their photo.
This piece of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act is aimed at curbing employment of undocumented immigrants. But privacy advocates fear the inevitable mission creep, ending with the proof of self being required at polling places, to rent a house, buy a gun, open a bank account, acquire credit, board a plane or even attend a sporting event or log on the internet. Think of it as a government version of Foursquare, with Big Brother cataloging every check-in.
The ramifications are pretty scary. How far are we willing to go for the sake of security?
Most countries – I’d say almost all but the US – have a national ID card. There’s nothing scary about it. It’s certainly not tyranny. The ramifications don’t scare me at all.
I think there is a real over-use of the word tyranny. Most of the industrialized world has ID cards, the need to show them or check in, even register when you move to a new location. Yet you’re free to live as you want, even if you have to show a card more often. Tyranny should be reserved for, well, tyrannical governments that deny opportunity and freedom and control your choices.
I think there is a real over-use of the word tyranny. Most of the industrialized world has ID cards, the need to show them or check in, even register when you move to a new location.
I’m not sure where I am on the whole ID card thing. In many ways I can get on board. Further, adding this type of biometric database could well satisfy conservatives.
Think of it, if there was a National ID card that every citizen/legal resident had to carry and present when moving from residence to residence or using transit, that card could also be used as proof of identity when receiving welfare, medicaid, hospital services and obtaining a ballot at a polling place.
The benefits of an ever expanding government are alluring.
That’s how it is in most European countries – to vote, get benefits, get health care, etc., you show your card. That would get me on board with voter ID – if every citizen had a card as a matter of course, then there wouldn’t be the potential discrimination. I’m fine with having that for collecting government benefits. It seems common sensical.
I don’t see that connected to tyranny – tyranny can happen with or without an ID card, it arises when society breaks down and people want someone to “fix” it, or the institutions that hold leaders accountable cease to function. I don’t think either of those will happen here.
That’s how it is in most European countries – to vote, get benefits, get health care, etc., you show your card. That would get me on board with voter ID
You seem to have internalized the “European Way”.
I think his point was that many industrialized nations have a national ID system without falling into “tyranny” as we understand the word. Tyranny in practice is a very severe thing, and no one is going to say that the UK is subject to it even with a national ID card. But just as the word “nazi” gets thrown around all the time without any real relevance, the right likes to cry out “tyranny” whenever any right is remotely burdened.
But just as the word “nazi” gets thrown around all the time without any real relevance, the right likes to cry out “tyranny” whenever any right is remotely burdened.
So, I don’t get the whole thing.
On the one hand, we have a group of people that supports Voter ID and an opposite group that objects to the same.
Then, we have the supporting Voter ID group opposed to National ID and the above opposing group supporting National ID.
Very strange indeed.
I think that the line is crossed when the government creates databases meant to track individuals. This would be the national ID system that folks fear. It being used to track travel, purchases and other free acts. Providing proof of ID is not meant to be a tracking purpose.