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Some States Say National ID Cards 'Make Life Easier' 287

Posted by Zonk
from the that's-one-opinion dept.
VE3OGG writes "Some places, like Maine, have outright rejected the idea of a nationally mandated ID card amid privacy, legal and security concerns. On the other side of the fence some states, such as California and New Jersey, have said that they welcome the National ID card and that it will make 'life easier'. One New Jersey official said 'All you are getting in e-government for the most part are things that don't require strong two-factor identification,' the official said referring to security that requires something beyond a user name and password. 'But as we move forward and start to deliver more and more complicated services, I think that people for the most part will want to know their government has implemented strong measures [with National ID cards]'."
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Some States Say National ID Cards 'Make Life Easier'

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  • by COMON$ (806135) * on Friday February 09, 2007 @04:37PM (#17953378) Journal
    A national ID system while expensive would be a great thing to phase in over 10 years or so. Law enforcement could verify IDs easier with mobile identification systems. State Troopers would have an easier time tracking criminals. ID systems could be created for businesses that sell controlled substances. Not to mention the cleaner National databases. The list goes on.
  • by eln (21727) on Friday February 09, 2007 @04:47PM (#17953528) Homepage
    What they could do is make it a ticketable, even jailable, offense to be in a state without an indentification card for that state.

    That would violate the Constitution. Specifically, Article IV Section I states: "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State."

    The way I read this, it means any state would have to accept your state-issued ID card (a public record) as valid identification. For the same reason, I don't think any state could require presentation of a national ID card to enter that state. Not to mention that even if they could, stopping everyone at the border of each state to check ID would have a seriously detrimental impact on interstate commerce and probably go a long way toward killing the national economy.
  • by abroadst (541007) on Friday February 09, 2007 @04:51PM (#17953594)
  • by denoir (960304) on Friday February 09, 2007 @04:55PM (#17953654)
    As a citizen of one of the most bureaucratized and administered countries in the world (Sweden) I can tell you that standardized ID cards are extremely convenient - especially in their electronic form. Everything from banking to ordering a new passport or paying the taxes can be done with the same system.

    They've now started adding biometrics to the physical ID card. Fingerprint instead of pin code. The idea is to use it when boarding an aircraft or buying groceries etc with essentially no need for human involvement.

    The question however isn't if it makes life easier or not. The relevant question is if the cost associated with it is worth it. Having a permanent unique identifier attached that can be traced, well, anywhere is not a good thing if governments or corporations abuse it. It requires privacy laws and trust that the privacy laws will be respected. Ultimately it boils down to the question: do you trust the government not to screw you over and to protect you from corporate interests? My own answers are perhaps and probably. Right now there are some worrying ideas being floated by the politicians about wiretapping and Internet traffic sniffing so my first answer might change.

    Still, at this point they haven't dramatically screwed up - I mean like a patriot act level of breach of trust. So right now I'm agnostic about how good this system is.

    It is in fact convenient and efficient with an axiomatic foundation of trust that can be used for communication and exchange of services at many levels of society. One just has to hope that the foundation isn't rotten.

  • Re:Mixed Feelings (Score:2, Informative)

    by DrJokepu (918326) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:40PM (#17954576)
    I live in an European country where national ID cards have been introduced for a long time. It is a standard credit card-sized plastic card containing personal data and a photo without any electronic/biometric/etc. stuff in it, so it's quite cheap to produce. Anyway, there are two problems with them:
    • Identity theft is a real problem here. Once you have lost your ID card, you have lost your identity, and the odds are good that someone will use it for a fraud and even if you have reported it stolen to the police, if the people who used your identity got caught they will say that you have actually sold your card to them and it is quite hard to prove the contrary.
    • Once it is obligatory to have an ID card with yourself, the police won't stop bugging you at the most random places and times, demanding to show them your card. It's quite annoying. I wish they were as successful in catching criminals as in bugging ordinary people.
  • by UpnAtom (551727) on Friday February 09, 2007 @05:41PM (#17954588) Homepage

    According to Prevent Genocide International, No other factor [than ID cards] was more significant in facilitating the speed and magnitude of the 100 days of mass killing in Rwanda. About 1 million people butchered.

    From the same page [preventgenocide.org]:

    In Nazi Germany in July 1938, only a few months before Kristallnacht, the infamous "J-stamp" was introduced on ID cards and later on passports. The use of specially marked "J-stamp" ID cards by Nazi Germany preceded the yellow Star of David badges. In Norway, where yellow cloth badges were not introduced, the stamped ID card was used in the identification of more than 750 Jews deported to death camps in Poland.

    They also provide a 'nice' table:

    Genocide: Nazi Germany (1938-1945), Rwanda (1990-1994)

    Mass Expulsion: Ethiopia (Persons with Eritrean affiliation 1998), Bhutan (Lhotshampas, 1991), Vietnam (Hoa ethnic Chinese 1978-1979), France (Alsace-Lorraine 1918-1920)

    Forced Relocation: USSR (ethnic Koreans 1937, Volga Germans 1941, Kalmyks, Karachai, 1943, Crimean Tatars, Meshkhetian Turks Chechens, Ingush, Balkars 1944, ethnic Greeks, 1949)

    Group Denationalization: Cambodia (ethnic Vietnamese 1993), Myanmar (Rohingya Arakanese 1992), Syria (Kurds 1962)

    In regard to the UK cattle tagging ID card system, The Times reported [timesonline.co.uk]:

    David Blunkett, was no better. On the subject of identity cards he once said: No one should fear correct identification. Those words always remind me of one the more distressing details of the Eichmann trial: how he told his executioner that the fate of those killed in the Holocaust was sealed by their answers to the 1939 census on religious background recorded on paper for a Hollerith machine, an early mechanical computer. Quite literally, their cards were marked.

    Needless to say, lesser abuses than these are far more common.

    The UK system is unbelievably scary. Going far beyond the punchcard Hollerith machine, our ID cards are backed by the National Identity Register, a database designed to merge all government databases and commercial data trails into a personal surveillance dossier [bristol-no2id.org.uk] that makes 1984 look respectful.

    So scared is the Govt of the public finding out about this that they are secretly forcing passport renewers [renewforfreedom.org] on to this Orwellian database from March 26th.

    They are also forcing doctors to betray their patients' confidence and upload your private medical records to another insecure national database [thebigoptout.org], again without telling you.

    I'm sorry if you haven't been warned about this before: NO2ID [no2id.net] has a budget around 1000 times smaller than the Home Office but you do still have a few weeks to protect yourself. Click the 3 links above and most importantly, read the NO2ID newsletter [no2id.net].

  • by Enigma2175 (179646) on Friday February 09, 2007 @06:27PM (#17955706) Homepage Journal

    Is anyone else weirded out that a piece of paper Certifying your Birth, your License to Drive and your Social Security card are the main means of identifying you?


    A Social Security card is not and has never been a form of identification. The card simply shows that a certain name has a certain SSN, it does not show that the person carrying the card is the person named on the card.

You know that feeling when you're leaning back on a stool and it starts to tip over? Well, that's how I feel all the time. -- Steven Wright

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