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Thursday, February 21, 2008

National ID card, a good thing or bad thing?

A lady on Action Alert was all concerned about a national ID card, or what the Homeland security office has direct to the states to provide drivers license information to the federal government. Is it a good thing or bad thing? Come back with your comments, I've given you mine below.

This lady's concerns as highlighted in this statement below are surveillance, privacy and identity theft. Her additional concern is the government would use his information against innocent people.

The federal effort to create a national identity card, called the Real ID card, would take us one step closer to a surveillance society, erode our right to privacy and put our personal information at risk.

Okay, I understand that. However her assumption is that the national ID card would provide the government with more information and a more efficient means to track individuals. A fair question.

Let's begin with what information the average citizen gives away voluntarily to governments and commercial industries.

1. When you are born you give the government your legal name, your birthdate, the legal names of your parents and over the last 20 years or so biometric information such as footprints. This information is stored by the government as a birth certificate.

2. Before you are one-year-old your parents must apply for your a Social Security number for you because of an IRS mandate. You give the Social Security office your legal name backed up your birth certificate. The Social Security office stores this information and assigned to a number.

3. When you register for gradeschool, high school and college you provide them a great deal of private information. They store this in a government database along with a transcript of your grades from grade 1 through college.

4. When you get a job you supply the employer your personal information and your Social Security number. They store this information in a database.

5. In most states, personal property specifically cars boats and livestock must be registered with the county that you live in. This is linked to your Social Security number, your address and your legal name.

6. If you apply anywhere for credit whether it be at a department store or a credit card you must supply all your personal information including your Social Security number. This information is again stored in a database with a credit lender.

7. If you were my age, you required to register for the draft again supplying and updating personal information in a Social Security number. In my case I also had to take an intelligence test any medical physical. All this information was stored in a database.

8. If you work for the government, military or private company that requires a clearance then you have to supply all the personal information again and also provide your fingerprints which are stored in a database in the government and in the company.

9. If you buy a house, the information about the house including its assessed value location, address your legal name as the owner. This information is stored in a public database available for anyone to look at. Fairfax County where you live as this database online. Just type in your address and it will come back with the name of the owner, you.

10. If during your lifetime you get credit or a mortgage of any type all your personal information including your Social Security number ends up in the hands of the three major credit bureaus. Again this information is stored in a database and Current on almost a daily basis. This was done without your knowledge or consent. And what do these three credit bureaus do with your information? Why they sell it to people who are in the credit business. They also provide the inquirer your Social Security number and your credit scores and details on any problems that you have been credit past and present.

11. If you receive medical assistance at any facility they will collect your personal information and your Social Security number. Again they will store this in a database.

12. If you get a library card you must supply your legal name and address and prove that you live in the jurisdiction of the library. They store this in the database and assign you a number.

13. If you apply for a driver's license you need to supply a per certificate proving who you are. Then your name, address, height, weight, eye color and hair color or recorded on the license and in a database.

14. Google knows of anything you've written and placed on the Internet. Type in my name them watch what comes out. They also know your phone number and your address. Everyone in the world can do a reverse lookup on your phone number and get your address. God knows what other information they have.

15. If you apply for a passport you need to supply a birth certificate, a picture and all your personal information. They store the second database.

16. When you get married you supply your personal information and also take a blood test. This information is stored in the database.

17. If you commit a crime, the information about that crime and your legal name and I believe your address is made public. Anyone can ask for, newspapers do it regularly and report it in their police column for everyone to read.

I'm sure you can think of many other instances where you have voluntarily provided information to, I have listed enough.

First point. The commercial and governmental agencies that have your personal information that you voluntarily gave to them share information to other governmental agencies and companies with a right to know. And that's just about everybody. Where they do with this information? Stored in a database. So you're personal information exists in databases all over the country and even throughout the world. If you are worried about personal information getting in the hands of government and private and industry, you are too late you a more provided it unless you were born in the backwoods and never signed for or applied for anything. Therefore we already live in a surveillance society. If the government or criminal wants to find you they/he will, you cannot hide.

Second point. The ladies concerned about privacy. Privacy of what? Half the world knows the important things about you, the things that can be used to find you order go after your possessions and money.

Third point. Personal information at risk. Get real. With all your information is stored in dozens if not hundreds of databases both paper and electronic do you really think you have protection from identity theft. I have a personal experience with that, my son's credit card was used by someone else to run up thousands. It's a major hassle to get that straightened out. The problem is that every time you provide anyone access to your cards or IDs your information is at considerable risk and in many cases is stored by who you gave it to. Wal-Mart anyone?
Your point, Innocent citizens. If you falsify any of the information talked about above then you're no longer innocent so I have to assume that the information you provide is accurate so that you could be an innocent citizen.

So what harm will a national ID card and related database cause you over and above the harm that started been provided to many institutions by you voluntarily? I can't think of any.

On the other hand, I can see some real value to the country in knowing that anyone's identification has been backed up by the best source data possible so that it can be proven that you are an innocent civilian. A national ID card will not make any more information available to the government that it doesn't already have. The critical thing is the information while the pedigree.

This pedigree associated with an ID is actually a boon, it allows those in the marketplace that will provide you credit or job greater assurance that you are you. Same thing in legal situations. Being able to prove who you are can be of great benefit to the police to prove you are innocent.

However if you are guilty of fraud or crime you will have great concern. I for one want those who commit fraud and crimes to be caught more easily because I am the one paying for the police to find the bad guys.
Comments are encouraged.

Liberty or Death


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