There’s an article today on cnn.com discussing the privacy concerns over the federal REAL ID act. I basically agree with many of the concerns, including whether the massive databases needed to support the national ID will be safe, the possibility of massive infringement on privacy, not to mention the easy accessibility of your data to a talented hacker (or government official):
EFF says on its Web site that the information in the databases will lay the groundwork for “a wide range of surveillance activities” by government and businesses that “will be able to easily read your private information” because of the bar code required on each card.
The databases will provide a one-stop shop for identity thieves, adds the ACLU on its Web site, and the U.S. “surveillance society” and private sector will have access to the system “for the routine tracking, monitoring and regulation of individuals’ movements and activities.”
The civil liberties watchdog dubs the IDs “internal passports” and claims it wouldn’t be long before office buildings, gas stations, toll booths, subways and buses begin accessing the system.
But no one seems to address something else that concerns me. The main point of these identity cards is to prevent terrorism. Says Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff:
“It is simply unreasonable to expect our border inspectors to be able to detect forgeries on documents that range from baptismal certificates from small towns in Texas to cards that purport to reflect citizenship privileges in a province somewhere in Canada.”
Even if we could get rid of forgeries (which we can’t, because they will always exist to some degree), it wouldn’t matter. Has everyone forgotten that the 9/11 hijackers entered this country legally using Saudi Arabian passports and US visas? Don’t infringe upon my privacy and security on the (false) pretense of preventing terrorism.