Real ID Act–Do We Want This Type of “Security”?

The Department of Homeland Security plans to use a private corporation chosen by the federal government to implement the REAL ID Act. The plan calls for the outsourcing of all drivers license and ID card checks to a private corporation, who would then charge the states for each check performed.

Arguments are presented on both sides of the issue regarding the necessity of a National I.D. card, although in the age of Halliburton and our Vice President, there is certainly strong public skepticism as to whether the I.D. card should be outsourced to a private corporation–i.e. the public interest certainly wasn’t well served by the outsourcing of defense contracts to Halliburton.

The arguments made in favor of a National I.D. card include:

Easy identification in banks or at national borders without a passport, making the identity card the equivalent of a passport;
In states that do not issue identity cards, private companies require such documents, such as drivers’ licenses, which are not suited for identification purposes;

All humans carry personal identification which cannot be falsified–DNA. In the near future, DNA sequencing hashes may become the preferred method of personal identification. The use of identity cards would be a lesser evil compared to the possibility of privacy risks associated with the daily use of DNA for identification purposes.

The arguments against the National ID cards include:

Cards with a centralized database could be used to track anyone’s movements and private life, Private investigators would obviously love them) endangering privacy

The requirement to carry any identity card at all times can lead to arbitrary requests from card controllers, including the police. This could lead to a situation in which carrying a card becomes almost mandatory by law, as in the present case of social security cards, which are widely used as ID;

In many instances, other forms of documentation such as driver’s license, passport, or Medicare card can serve a similar function, and thus an ID card is not needed.

In this writer’s view, the fact that we have already entered the 2008 election campaign in earnest strongly suggests that most politicians will steer clear of the Real ID Act if they can, since the privacy/”Big Brother” issues still weigh heavily on American minds. Obviously, if there is another terrorist attack on U.S. soil, this attitude will likely change quickly.