Scott Hardie | May 13, 2005
The national identification card, commonly called Real ID, is about to become mandated by law. (link)

What do you think?

I, for one, have zero sense of privacy about identity, which all of you know because I made you sign up for this site with your real names. :-) Obviously, I object to identity thieves, personal stalkers and junk marketers using my personal information for crime or harassment, but the information being freely available does not bother me in the least. So personally, I'm unable to oppose the card on privacy grounds.

I also don't know how it could be an inconvenience. I've read claims that the need for constant checks of your identity at hospitals, banks, libraries, shopping malls, train stations, airports, bars, restaurants, you-name-it will cumulatively add up to big delays nationwide. But in terms of common sense, that ignores the gap between customers, and more importantly: Huh? Wouldn't it make things faster if all of your identity checks could be done with a swipe of a single electronic card, instead of the driver's license, birth certificate, social security card, library card, military ID card, etc. you're currently often asked to provide? And don't all of the above-named businesses regularly check your ID anyway?

So I guess what I'm saying is, while I don't have any reason to favor the Real ID, I also don't agree with the reasons for opposing it. So somebody fill me in.

John E Gunter | May 13, 2005
It looks to me that some of the problems that the states that are opposing this change have is they'll foot the bill. While I don't want my state having to pay more money and possibly start imposing an income tax on me, like other states do, I do think it's important for all states to have a standard to follow as far as identification cards are concerned.

Imagine how much easier it would be to identify who you are if all drivers licenses were the same, as far as how their layout is concerned . I've said this before and still maintain this opinion, if you aren't doing anything illegal, you have nothing to fear.

Now, that doesn't mean we shouldn't pay attention to what is happening with our rights, privacy, etc. But, as long as we are not headed toward some kind of state where my freedom has been taken away from me, I don't have a problem with changes that help the police identify individuals.

While the argument can be used that it would be possible to use an id card against you to harass you or such, that same ID card could be used to clear you of a crime! Guess I'm a glass half full kind of guy!


Anna Gregoline | May 13, 2005
What kind of terror would I go through if I lost this card though? How many doors could it open for someone else, as far as identity theft goes? My sister had her wallet stolen and was still dealing with the repurcussions YEARS later, and that's just with credit cards and a driver's license. That's my only concern.

John E Gunter | May 13, 2005
Well, can't speak for anyone else's state, but it looks like Florida is already in the process of adapting the card. I read an article about it last week and from the pictures in the paper and the description of the level of security they were allowed to talk about, loosing the ID card would be a lot less painful that your current driver's license.

Current licenses have what, 1 picture that is fairly easily replaced. The new license (ID card), if I remember correctly has 1 picture roughly where your current license does, and then it has another one toward the middle of the card that is kind of scanned into the card. Then it has a 3rd one that can only be seen with a special light, which is imbedded in the card.

When I read it I thought that's going to be a very difficult if not impossible card to fake. Plus, it's not made from the same materials anymore. The new cards are made from a stronger material, can't remember for sure what they said it was, but the card is designed to last much longer and not get damaged/destroyed as easily.

I would say that the cost of faking one of these cards is so prohibitive that it would take the finances of a state or small country to handle. Ok, maybe not quite that expensive, but it sure sounds prohibitive enough that common criminals won't be stealing your identity that way anymore.


Kris Weberg | May 13, 2005
Ah, but identity theft isn't about presenting a card with someone else's picture on it, it's about things like your SSN, DOB, license number, and so on. With those things, someone in the know can do things like get credit cards for themselves in YOUR name, etc.

Putting everything on one card would seem to me to make ID theft just that much easier.

More to the point, at present, only a few kins of people show up in Federal databases. Criminals, military personnel, and people with gov't jobs.

This card will be the first time in American history that a comprehensive federal-level catalogue of all citizens would exist. Such a database isn't just one-stop shopping for ID thieves, it's also instant, impossibly easy access to your life anytime the government feels like it at a level previously reserved for people involved in national security and/or crime.

It's your government deciding to handle you and everyone around you with the same degree of surveillance as these others. Your national ID number would tie in to, oh, let's see, your voting card and registration, for example, and -- as a driver's license -- your home address. Do you want all of that info in one place, or on one card? Isn't that deeply problematic if, say, someone gets ahold of it?

Plus, as has been pointed out, this will have to be paid for somehow by governmental organizations. And guess who foots that bill?

Another case of a badly-considered solution to a histrionically-framed problem whose real solution would be better application of existing procedures and statutes.

Jackie Mason | May 14, 2005
[hidden by request]

Patrick Little | May 14, 2005
Well here is the other side, not that it helped...


Jackie Mason | May 14, 2005
[hidden by request]

Kris Weberg | May 14, 2005
I'm not claiming the whole goverment is out to get us with the Real ID program, just that the program makes it that much easier for individual sleazes to mess with people's lives for financial and/or political purposes, while simultaneously doing little that will really affect the problems that law is meant to address.

Anna Gregoline | May 16, 2005
What Kris said - it seems like more of a threat to personal information and safety than a benefit to catching criminals or terrorists.

Amy Austin | May 18, 2005
"1984" was a great work of literature(/fiction?) for a reason.

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