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Posted: 5/6/2002 9:56:38 AM EDT
The National Review May 6, 2002, Your Papers, Please Will terrorists be stopped by extra paperwork? By Eric Peters http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/comment-peters050602.asp The national I.D. card — complete with computer chips and biometric "tags," such as fingerprints or retinal scans — has come one step closer to becoming a creepy reality. Last week, Reps. James P. Moran and Thomas M. Davis introduced legislation that would require its adoption by all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Though they hotly deny that their bill (and companion legislation in the Senate) would create a national-I.D. card that could be used to monitor and track the doings and affairs of every adult American, that's nonetheless exactly what Reps. Moran and Davis have set in motion. Their bill would give the federal government and its minions unprecedented access to information about our daily lives. Every financial transaction, every trip, each time we produce a driver's license to conduct business would be noted and recorded in a government database. The encrypted microchip would also be used for voter-registration purposes — perhaps even keeping overt track of our political preferences. Our lives would become an open book for any government snoop or busybody who wants a look-see. And with the national-ID "smart card" almost certainly being linked-at first, or after Americans get used to the idea — to our financial lives in every critical respect, there will be very little the government, its myriad agencies (including the IRS), and even "authorized" private-sector contractors won't know about us, or be able to find out. "Now, if it's decided subsequently to use the computer chip to a greater degree, that would have to be dealt with legislatively as well," said Rep. Moran the other day. How reassuring. And what of these "biometric" tags — fingerprints or retinal scans-our representatives are so glibly advocating? Until now, only criminals or suspected criminals have had to submit to being fingerprinted. Why? So they can be kept better track of. Now Reps. Moran and Davis want to treat the entire population of the United States as de facto criminals — for what else are we to call people the government believes need to be monitored so closely? (And how much easier it will be — once the government decides to "expand" that which is considered "criminal" conduct — to identify and deal with "enemies of the state.") The best response its advocates can come up with for these criticisms is an insistence that (in the words of Rep. Moran) "It's not a national I.D. system." Well, then, what exactly is it? The end result of the legislation introduced in Congress would be to create a national-ID card in everything but name. And if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck . . . well, isn't it a duck?
Link Posted: 5/6/2002 9:58:40 AM EDT
But according to its backers, the national I.D. (or whatever they prefer to call it) would never, ever be abused. It would exist solely for our benefit — to protect us — and we should trust the government. We're being asked to assume that the federal government of the United States is incapable of misusing its power over us — reams of evidence (and all experience of human nature) to the contrary notwithstanding. It's an argument only a tool or a fool could offer — and only a simpleton could accept. Chris Hoofnagle of the Electronic Privacy Information Center has called the proposal "a system that will erode individual freedom and increase governmental power without significantly improving safety." He and other civil libertarians ridicule the government's straw man — that a national I.D. will prevent future terrorist attacks. They argue, convincingly, that professional criminals or would-be terrorists will always find a way to get around such a system. That's been proven true time and again throughout history: A well-funded disciple of Osama bin Laden is simply not going to be stopped by . . . paperwork. But the average citizen would find himself under the ever-present watchful eye of government. As with gun control, the national-I.D. proposal would only result in diminished freedom and privacy for law-abiding citizens, who pose no threat to honest government and who are not properly the object of such police-state tactics. We're not quite yet at the stage of jackbooted thugs demanding "Your papers, please!" — but neither is that day as remote as we may like to imagine. The national-I.D. card is a terrible idea born of good intentions — and must be reconsidered before we find ourselves getting more than we bargained for. — Eric Peters is an automotive columnist for the Washington Times.
Link Posted: 5/6/2002 10:02:15 AM EDT
Its a national ID system no matter how thin you slice it. Besides, the thing nobody is talking about, suppose we all get these things.Who, besides the government is going to use them? Are all business owners now supposed to go out and buy a retinal scanning system? [whacko]
Link Posted: 5/6/2002 10:07:06 AM EDT
Remember when the leftists burned their draft cards? I'm not sure, but I don't think plastic and silicone are fireproof.
Link Posted: 5/6/2002 10:12:49 AM EDT
You know strong magnets do a number on computer chip!
Link Posted: 5/6/2002 10:35:58 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 5/6/2002 10:39:12 AM EDT by NOVA5]
Originally Posted By Diss_ipator: You know strong magnets do a number on computer chip!
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acttuly they dont bother the chips(the ones civvys can buy at local stores), just the orgnization of the magnetic medium of floppy and hard disks. ot the stripes on credit cards and licesnse. you could leave the chip entirely functional but basicly worthless by leaving a decently strong magnet on it. you can mailorder them rather easily. a friend annoyed UPS one time when he ordered a powerful magnet (500LBs pull or somthin like that) seems the place he bought it from didnt pack it very well. they had to basicly jerk the package off their shevles as that sucker would to its best to adhear to the shelf. 500LB magnet would pretty well erase anything on a hardrive if exposed for a significant amount of time. a quick swipe may get a bot of corrupted data if you cause the heads to impact the disks surface. but it should pretty much nuke (hey theres a idea... microwave the ID) the chip.
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