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Tuesday, May 10, 2005


Bruce Schneier's post on the REAL ID act, and his linked posts on National IDs and security in genera,l are must reads. I have never been a big advocate of a national ID card because it would greatly enhance security, although I do think it could have some small benefits there if done right. An ID that is more difficult it is to obtain and forge will require a more extensive infrastructure to support that process. It is easier to identify and disrupt an extensive infrastructure than a minimal one. However, as I said, this effect will be minor, and one could certainly argue that it is not worth it. I am of the belief though that identity is part of a person's property and that the government is responsible for protecting a person's property. I expect the government to be able to authenticate ownership of a peice of land, of a vehicle, and I don't think it unreasonable to expect (or at least desire) the government to be able to authenticate ownership of a specific identity to a specific person. Identity theft is theft of the most basic 'property' a person owns, and their should ideally be processes to make that more difficult. I am open to claims that given current technology or real world limitations this is not possible, or that an attempt to do so would lead to greater abuses and more security. One aspect of this debate that I am generally pretty dismissive of though is that such a thing would erode privacy. I am of the opinion that privacy is pretty much an impossibility in a globalized technological environment. I would much prefer that all the 'lists' were subject to public scruntiny and oversight than to for them to exist in the shadows. I take it as a give though, that these lists will exist, and we will all be on them. All that being said though, I don't see anything in particular to like, and quite a bit to dislike, about the REAL ID act. (via Instapundit)


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