US Indymedia Global Indymedia Publish About us
Printed from Boston IMC :
IVAW Winter Soldier

Winter Soldier
Brad Presente

Other Local News

Spare Change News
Open Media Boston
Somerville Voices
Cradle of Liberty
The Sword and Shield

Local Radio Shows

WMBR 88.1 FM
What's Left
WEDS at 8:00 pm
Local Edition
FRI (alt) at 5:30 pm

WMFO 91.5 FM
Socialist Alternative
SUN 11:00 am

WZBC 90.3 FM
Sounds of Dissent
SAT at 11:00 am
Truth and Justice Radio
SUN at 6:00 am

Create account Log in
Comment on this article | View comments | Email this article | Printer-friendly version
Commentary :: Human Rights
Senators McCain, Lieberman, Clinton renew the Push for a National ID card
22 Sep 2004
just what the title says
go the source for proper formatting and embedded links. feel free to drop me an email.

Up until September 11th, there was hardly any mention of a national identification card being implemented in this country. I don't recall ever hearing of the notion being recommended as policy in America. 9/11 changed all that. Some current and former political leaders, commentators, technology leaders and others called for the implemention of such a card. However, Americans should by now know that their social security number is a de facto federal identification number or National ID as Americans.

In 2002 when Congress reconvened, Senator Durbin (D-ILL) went as far as to introduce a bill that called for national standards for state issued driver's licenses. This proposal included the use of biometric indentifiers, numerical identifiers and a centralized database to be accessed by federal authorities. Lucky for us, the bill went nowhere in the Senate.

The next salvo was fired by the 9/11 Commission that was created and funded by the Congress and President. In it's recently issued final report, the the Commission recommended target="_blank" national standards for drivers licenses. At a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on August 16th, Senator McCain (R-Arizona) while questioning 9/11 commission chairman Thomas Kean noted that a national ID card is a fundemental issue that will have to be addressed by "we as a nation."

Apparantly McCain has already made up his mind. On September 7th, Senators McCain, Lieberman, Clinton and others introduced A bill to implement the recommendations of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. Two days later, an identical bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT).

Both bills have several co-sponsors and contain language that would among other things, regulate minimum standards for birth certificates, social security cards, driver's licenses and personal identification cards. The most telling language contained in this section of the bill is as follows:
security standards to ensure that driver's licenses and identification cards are--
`(i) resistant to tampering, alteration, or counterfeiting; and
`(ii) capable of accommodating a digital photograph or other unique identifier;In not so many words this points to the requirement of biometric identifiers such as fingerprints or iris scans being required for issuance of these cards. What the bill doesn't mention is the storage of the information in a centralized database to be accessed by federal or state authorities. This will be left up to Secretary of the Dept. of Homeland Security in consultation with "the Department of Transportation, the chief driver licensing official of each State, any other State organization that issues personal identification cards, and any organization, determined appropriate by the Secretary, that represents the interests of the States."

This is part of a larger campaign to make biometric identifiers a standard for all identification programs being acted on by the federal government. Starting next year, all new passports issued to US citizens will have chips that contain the holder's biometric data. This will of course be stored in a centralized database in Washington. Many foreign visitors are now required to submit biometric identifiers upon entering the country as well.

The number one organization that "represents the issues of the states" in the matter of driver's licenses is the American Assocation of Motor Vehicle Administrators. For several years the AAMVA has been working on proposals for state, national and international standards, including the use of the biometric identifiers. The AAMVA will be the group that isses any standards approved by the Congress. Members of Congress and the AAMVA will tell us that they want to institute this de facto National ID so as to better combat the serious problem of identity theft. The existence of a license and national identifiers is what opens us up to these problems in the first place. No amount of tweaking will ever change this.

In an op-ed piece published in April, security expert Bruce Schneier explained that
"It won't work. It won't make us more secure.

In fact, everything I've learned about security over the last 20 years tells me that once it is put in place, a national ID card program will actually make us less secure.

My argument may not be obvious, but it's not hard to follow, either. It centers around the notion that security must be evaluated not based on how it works, but on how it fails.

It doesn't really matter how well an ID card works when used by the hundreds of millions of honest people that would carry it. What matters is how the system might fail when used by someone intent on subverting that system: how it fails naturally, how it can be made to fail, and how failures might be exploited.

The first problem is the card itself. No matter how unforgeable we make it, it will be forged. And even worse, people will get legitimate cards in fraudulent names.

Two of the 9/11 terrorists had valid Virginia driver's licenses in fake names. And even if we could guarantee that everyone who issued national ID cards couldn't be bribed, initial cardholder identity would be determined by other identity documents ... all of which would be easier to forge."Trading our privacy for this scheme isn't going to make anyone safer.

To date, only a few Congressman have spoken out against the idea. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Texas) being chief among them. The defeat of this and other proposals is going to be accomplished by grass roots organizations and individuals across America. Rep. Paul wrote in a recent column that, "A national identification card, in whatever form it may take, will allow the federal government to inappropriately monitor the movements and transactions of every American. History shows that governments inevitably use the power to monitor the actions of people in harmful ways. Claims that the government will protect the privacy of Americans when implementing a national identification card ring hollow." Dr. Paul is absolutely right and goes on to correctly point towards our history with the social security system as glaring evidence.

If we Americas are going to turn back the tide against the encroachments on our freedom and liberties, then it is vitally important for us to stop the Congress and President from instituting a "Soviet-style interntal passport system". The only way for us to stop this proposal dead in it's tracks is for Americans to put an immense ammount of pressure on our representatives in OUR Congress.

This work is in the public domain
Add a quick comment
Your name Your email


Text Format
Anti-spam Enter the following number into the box:
To add more detailed comments, or to upload files, see the full comment form.


enators McCain, Lieberman, Clinton renew the Push for a National ID card: BULLSHIT!
22 Sep 2004
National I.D. was pushed under Reagan. It's been brought up many times, in the House. (Over 15 years!)
WE, as Americans, must call, write and pressure our Federal Representatives. Tell them to kill the Bill for good!
And please, vote!