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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

National ID Cards

This Op-Ed by Senator Lamar Alexander, Much as I Hate It, We Need a National ID, is a must read for anyone who is interested in this issue. His final paragraph as a teaser:

I still detest the idea of a government ID card. South Africa's experience is a grim reminder of how such documents can be abused. But I'm afraid this is one of the ways Sept. 11 has changed our lives. Instead of pretending we are not creating national ID cards when we obviously are, Congress should carefully create an effective federal document that helps prevent terrorism -- with as much respect for privacy as possible.
Beyond the obvious needs of immigration and protection from terrorists there is a much more prosaic reason for supporting a nation ID card. Identity theft. I think a very strong Libertarian case can be made that one of the responsibilities of government, in line with providing rule of law and enforcement of consequences, is providing citizens a secure and verifiable means of establishing their identity. A person's identity is perhaps their most private possession and it seems to me that the Government should provide protection for that possession.


Blogger honestpartisan said...

Here's one thing that bugs me about the national I.D. card argument, and about arguments swirling around the controversy about requiring states to prove that people with driver's licenses are not illegal immigrants. I assume (based on a lot that I have read) that Al-Qaeda operatives have the bare minimum competence to fake ID's. If we're up against an enemy that can't do that, there's really no danger of terrorism. Given that there can be fakes, I think this issue is a red herring in the war on terror.

3/30/2005 03:08:00 PM  
Blogger tsykoduk said...

Yes, they more then likely do. However, if the state does due diligance to check said ID's - well fakes just fall apart then.

And, honestly, it's not just Al-Qaeda. That is a convient name to put to the picture, but there are lots of terrorist orginizations out there, and lots of people who hate the USA for various reasons (some our fault, some not).

3/30/2005 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

Obviously the usefulness of a national ID card is highly predicated on it's security. This is true for any use as a defense against terrorism as well as protection from identity theft.

A sufficiently secure card, that requires fairly signifigant infrastructure to counterfit is achievable. While there is no way to make a counterfit-proof card, if sophisticated infrastructure is needed for counterfitting that creates an point that can be effectively disrupted.

3/30/2005 03:37:00 PM  

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