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Oppose a National ID card
February 6, 2002 6:14 AM   Subscribe

Oppose a National ID card, this article tells the many reasons and abuses of freedom that will take place.
posted by Budge (32 comments total)

 
But proponents don't have to list the advantages or benefits. They're just assumed. Shout "National ID to Stop Terrorists!" and everybody shuts their brains down and says, "Yes." There is no discussion about this, there is no argument. Anybody who doesn't want a national ID system is an Anti-American terrorist-hugger.



And the social security card is not an ID card. The SSA's own info pamphlets state that you don't have to give your SSN to anybody. They also say, "you may be denied access to services" for refusal to provide your SSN. See, it really isn't an ID card.
posted by yesster at 6:44 AM on February 6, 2002


Denied services. Like employment. Or an education. Or health care. Or...well, you get the point.
posted by UnReality at 6:50 AM on February 6, 2002


I don't see anything wrong with it.

In the article :
"Today, you can be denied a license for failing to pay child support, failure to pay traffic and other fines (including library fines), being a non-resident alien, and for hundreds of other "offenses"."

What's wrong with that? Driving is a PRIVILEGE not a RIGHT. You have obligations to pay child support. If you don't want to pay child support, don't go around knocking up someone. If get fines, pay them. What do you want? A free ride? If you are an illegal alien, what are you doing here anyway?

We basically have an National ID card... It's called a Driver's License.
posted by LinemanBear at 7:12 AM on February 6, 2002


Driving is a PRIVILEGE not a RIGHT.

oh, please. driving is not a privilege, it's a necessity.
posted by mcsweetie at 7:18 AM on February 6, 2002


McSweetie, my sister gets along fine without driving. In fact, she hasn't been in a car in weeks... everything she needs is within walking or transit distance of our downtown apartment. Driving is a priviledge, not a right, and with some of the things I've seen in just the past few days on the road, I wish it was less of a general priviledge.
posted by SpecialK at 7:39 AM on February 6, 2002


....Ontopic:

Slightly presumptuous in the link, aren't we? "reasons and abuses of freedom that will take place." (emphasis mine)

Now. About these abuses.

How the hell would a national ID card force us to get permission before we travel, work, rent, get med care, use financial services, and make many purchases??? Sorry, does not compute. They collect your drivers license number in a lot of cases now to do a credit check on you so that they can figure out if you can pay it or not. The airline industry would never stand for yet another hassle for its customers ... it's close to collapse already. Commercial interests would never allow a restriction to be put on purchasing "certain items"... that's unheard of, and it would last about as long as prohibition and work about as well, unless they're talking about firearms and explosives, which are -already- controlled.

"Could be denied for any reason..." Yeah, same with your credit report currently. Same reasons, even. Next?

"Will create an outlaw class..." Gee, we don't have one already? What percent of our population is in prison now or has been in prison in the past for a felony in which they lost a lot of their rights?

This is unresearched extremist panic-inducing bullshit. Can someone link a real article about the national ID card?
posted by SpecialK at 7:46 AM on February 6, 2002


SpecialK, you're sister's really lucky. What I wouldn't give for a good public transit system where I live. I would love not to have to ever drive. I walk a half hour to work every day. But I have to drive sometimes, and if I was denied a license because I had to pay child support (or some other reason that has nothing to do with how well I drive), I'd be stuck and pretty mad.
posted by jojo at 7:48 AM on February 6, 2002


You are right; driving is a privilege, not a right. Although in America it seems more like an obligation. Like you aren't really an American if you don't drive, or at least aspire to drive. Unfortunately it is a necessity for the vast majority of Americans who live in rural areas, suburban areas, or insufficiently dense cities.

But what the hell does driving have to do with child support? How about you go down to Home Depot and try to buy ten cans of spray paint with cash and without ID, and see what happens?
posted by donkeymon at 7:54 AM on February 6, 2002


driving is a privilege, not a right.

This has got to be one of the more inane memes floating around. Just because our society has bought into something doesn't make it true/right.
posted by rushmc at 8:07 AM on February 6, 2002


Driving argument aside; that article sounded like a lot of pie-in-the-sky hippie alarmism to me.
posted by TiggleTaggleTiger at 8:10 AM on February 6, 2002


Water is a privilege
Health care is a privilege
Freedom is a privilege
Breathing is a privilege
Everything is a privilege if someone can take it away from you, and there is nothing that another cannot take away.

I am not gung ho for driving, but I figure it is as much of a right as anything else I do, no less so than bathing.

Also, I despise the National ID thing, go figure.
posted by thirteen at 8:13 AM on February 6, 2002


This article is the perhaps the worst argument I've seen against national ID cards. I've heard arguments that this ID card would also somehow discriminate against minorities. I just have to sit down for a second before saying "What?!" in my best blonde accent.

Before people start worrying about ID cards, they first need to worry about putting up a secure border between the United States and any other foreign country - this means a fence between the US and Mexico and Canada. This means having real immigration procedures when you re-enter the US from Canada and Mexico. Only then does the argument for a National ID Card become valid. If you let anyone in and out of the country at will, how secure is your country anyway? It would be really hard to enforce a National ID Card law with this open border.

Secondly, the United States needs to set up immigration as you leave the country. As in you have to go through immigration (passport and all) to leave the US whether it be by air, land, or water. This just makes sense. Many other 1st-world countries (and some 3rd-world) have had this policy in effect since the 50s and 60s. This serves to tell Immigration when someone has overstayed their visa, which, until September 11th, the government really didn't pursue because they had and still have almost no way of tracking who leaves unless they go through passenger manifests for every departure vehicle. Some may argue that this violates your privacy to leave the country without the government knowing. I ask those people what they (the people) are hiding or what they think the government is going to do with the information (destination and your name). The only people who need to fear exiting immigration procedures are criminals and those who overstay their visa (or had no visa in the first place). If you want a more secure country, you need to sacrifice a little bit of time for exiting procedures.

Now, in coordination with and after the former two policies are made into law, then a National ID card becomes a question. What does a National ID card do? It's a form of identification. For Hong Kong, it lets legal persons enter/exit the country quickly, it proves that I'm a resident if the police do a random check for illegal immigrants, it makes the territory (SAR) more secure. This same sort of policy could be initiated in the States. What are you giving up by having this card? The government could very easily make collection of your ID card number illegal by police during spot checks (only collected if arrested). I don't know how it is tied to employment, etc (bwg could answer that question better than I could).

Regardless, I feel that people are over-reacting and reacting too quickly as well as worrying too quickly. The argument for an ID card is pointless until the borders are fully secure.
posted by pooldemon at 8:48 AM on February 6, 2002


Nice point, thirteen.

-Mars
posted by Mars Saxman at 9:01 AM on February 6, 2002


You know, it's absurd to debate this as if it's never been tried before. Germany, Belgium and Spain all have compulsory national ID cards. Other European countries have voluntary ones.

How is it working for them? Benefits? Problems? There's a substantial non-US contingent on MeFi. Let's hear from them.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 9:11 AM on February 6, 2002


pooldemon: this means a fence between the US and Mexico
wouldn't have somewhat negative effects on the californian economy?
found this whilst googling for links - "Would-be migrants will find gainful employment in Mexico, generating electricity for California,"
posted by asok at 9:13 AM on February 6, 2002


pooldemon, I completely fail to see the connection you're trying to make between a national ID card and locking down the US borders. Other than the fact that both sound pretty orwellian to me, they don't sound like they have much to do with each other... am I just missing sarcasm?
posted by ook at 9:16 AM on February 6, 2002


pooldemon: this means a fence between the US and Mexico

wouldn't have somewhat negative effects on the californian economy?


It means that workers need visas, nothing more. Just because they've used illegal workers in the past, doesn't make it legal or right.

pooldemon, I completely fail to see the connection you're trying to make between a national ID card and locking down the US borders. Other than the fact that both sound pretty orwellian to me, they don't sound like they have much to do with each other... am I just missing sarcasm?

You are not missing any sarcasm. And perhaps I was misunderstood - I don't mean lockdown. I mean making these real international borders. They are not one of the fifty states; they are not part of the country. There is nothing special about them (okay, maybe NAFTA).* Do you see US Immigration letting the French or Chinese non-residents waltz in and out of the country in an airport? What's the difference?

*And before anyone says anything about Europe having very few fences, I'll remind you that 1) the landscape makes it a bit difficult in some places and [more importantly] 2) the European Union is a special case - proved by the creation of the Euro passport.

And, very simply, I was stating that a National ID card is pretty useless (and any law thereof is hard to enforce) without secure borders.
posted by pooldemon at 9:28 AM on February 6, 2002


pooldemon, I agree with ook-- I still don't see the connection.

But if the US is worried about secure borders, it should start by looking at the INS. I don't know the inner workings of the INS, but being an alien and all, I've been dealing with it on and off for the past 6 years. From all that I've experienced, it is a shoddy operation. I've heard that they type in all I-94's by HAND. (I-94's are the documents that everyone fills out when they arrive in AND leave the country) The government DOES know when you leave. The information isn't accessible until many months later is all.

And someone said, we already have a national ID. it's our drivers license. All the things I would need my ID card for in Korea, I would need my driver's license for in the US. They translate to the same thing in my book.
posted by jojo at 9:33 AM on February 6, 2002


The only people who need to fear exiting immigration procedures are criminals and those who overstay their visa

And the only people who would need to fear police searches of their home, phone taps, email surveillance, or random drug testing would be criminals. So why don't we allow those, too?

Because we don't live in a totalitarian state.

That's the whole heart of the civil liberties vs. catch-the-terrorists issue. Yes, increasing restrictions on everybody would make it easier for the government to catch the bad guys. But the more power of this sort the government has, the wider their definition of "bad guys" tends to expand. Until someday it might include you. (It already includes me. And based on the tenor of conversation in the drug war threads, I'll bet it includes a lot of MeFi-ites.) And then where are you?

What makes America great, IMHO, is the fact that in general it places so few restrictions on the lives of average americans -- even going so far as to support some freedoms that many consider questionable (gun control, anyone?)

It worries me that so many Americans seem so willing to abandon those freedoms at the first opportunity. Tightening border controls to the point where you need permission to leave a country -- which is, effectively, what you're describing -- that's a lockdown, as far as I'm concerned, and a really terrible idea.

And I'm glad you brought up Europe: I don't buy the geography argument -- simply for reasons of size, both our borders would be immensely difficult to control effectively. And I'm not sure I accept the idea of the EU being a "special case" either... perhaps it is, but even so, the idea of us closing our borders even as they open theirs strikes me as ironic at the very least. We're supposed to be the land of the free, ain't we?

To return to the topic. Yes, this article overstates the problems with a national ID by describing them as inevitabilites rather than possibilities. But all of the results listed there are possibilities, and I don't trust the current administration -- or any of the past five or ten administrations before it -- to have the good faith to not overuse that power once it's given to them.
posted by ook at 9:38 AM on February 6, 2002


I am actually unclear on the concept of how an ID card would help us catch the bad guys because you have to card them first right?

"Pardon me Mr. anti-American terrorist, but could you please let me see your ID card?"
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:09 AM on February 6, 2002


The EEF link posted in the Mefi sidebar about Driver's Licenses as a National ID:

Driving is optional, holding a license is not?
posted by jeffhoward at 10:51 AM on February 6, 2002


I believe the idea is to make it impossible to live in, or even enter, the United States without the ID card, and to then make it impossible for terrorists to get the ID card.

Unfortunately, many terrorists cannot be accurately labelled as such until after they have committed a terrorist act, but they can be more effectively targetted by targetting the type of people that terrorists ostensibly are, such as foreigners from countries we don't like, ultra right- or left-wing activists, and so forth. While the validity of this categorization is obviously specious at best, it will be easy to add to the list such groups as felons, drug users, government criticizers, communists, abortionist doctors, obscene artists, cab drivers, AIDS patients, lawyers, CEOs, left-handers, or whoever the prevailing panic of the moment points at.

So you can see where the problem comes in, if you happen to fall into a disenfranchised group, but don't happen to be a terrorist.
posted by donkeymon at 10:56 AM on February 6, 2002


Here's a better article arguing against National ID cards.
posted by yesster at 1:03 PM on February 6, 2002


Here's a better article arguing against National ID cards.
posted by yesster at 1:08 PM on February 6, 2002


McSweetie, my sister gets along fine without driving.

good for her, but I live 12 miles from the nearest grocery store, 32.5 miles from my job, and 50 miles from my school. and I'm sure there are occasions when someone else has to drive her someplace.
posted by mcsweetie at 1:33 PM on February 6, 2002


So it's a necessity for you, but not everyone. How's the view at the center of the world?
posted by darukaru at 2:17 PM on February 6, 2002


So it's a necessity for you, but not everyone. How's the view at the center of the world?

yeah, since my situation is such an isolated and uncommon one.
posted by mcsweetie at 3:01 PM on February 6, 2002


KirkJobSluder - shouldn't that be : "Pardon me Mr. anti-American terrorist, but could you please let me see your perfectly forged ID card?"
posted by Nauip at 4:14 PM on February 6, 2002


All the things I would need my ID card for in Korea, I would need my driver's license for in the US. They translate to the same thing in my book.

Exactly, which is the article's point, though its alarmist tone buries it a bit. We presume that there's nothing wrong with the idea of a national ID, though no proponent has demonstrated why we need them, or how they will be any more useful or secure than the current scheme of using state issued IDs/driver's licenses/passports as legitimate identification.

We presume that our legislators -- in their infinite wisdom -- will be honourable about the IDs, even though they have not been with the de rigeur national ID, driver's licenses.

We presume that the system will be secure so that people who are in the country illegally and are seeking the assimilation provided by a "local" ID won't be able to get the cards, even though (through bribery and insider connections) they were able to get driver's licenses without much trouble, and will immediately begin working to find ways to get National IDs if they feel them necessary.

If someone can explain how a national ID could make us more secure and how these major drawbacks will be avoided, then thinking people may be swayed. Until then, it will continue to be viewed as a panacea for all our ills only by those who haven't done any analysis of possible negative consequences of implementation.
posted by Dreama at 4:16 PM on February 6, 2002


McSweetie, my sister gets along fine without driving.

good for her, but I live 12 miles from the nearest grocery store, 32.5 miles from my job, and 50 miles from my school. and I'm sure there are occasions when someone else has to drive her someplace.

So it's a necessity for you, but not everyone. How's the view at the center of the world?


You accuse McSweetie of residing at the center of the world? How do you justify that when he merely told of his experiences in reference to someone else's? His examples are bit more extreme than mine but I am very much in the same situation that he is - as is 95% of the population in the area I live in. We require vehicles for employment and services to be accessible. Why that shocks you is beyond my grasp.

Yeah darukaru, sure, when I travel to "the City that makes it's own gravy" (NYC) I generally drive to a nearby small city and take a $20, two hour bus ride in and use public transport while I'm there (except in the past when I had to haul band equipment to CBGB's in which case public transport was out of the question.) If you came to my town by bus and didn't have someone else to drive you around, your first act would be to rent a car or you would drastically limit your options. Since you list your location as Pittsburgh and I happen to have a few friends in that area (one in Squirrel Hill area, one in Green Tree and two in the city proper) I'd like to comment that EVERY one of them finds a vehicle to be a neccessity for their professions. It seems to me that you are being somewhat more centric than McSweetie by a long shot.
posted by RevGreg at 7:29 PM on February 6, 2002


As you wish, but 95% of my family and friends find Pittsburgh's public transportation system quite adequate for getting to *their* jobs and education. I don't own a car myself, and I don't have a license, and oddly enough I don't find my actions limited in any way. If you *must* know, I took offense at mcsweetie's instant dismissal of SpecialK's experiences in the same way you accuse me of doing. Perhaps anecdotal evidence is not the way to go in this discussion.

I just find it hard to swallow the idea of something (automobiles and driving) which wasn't even around a little over 100 years ago being considered a basic human right. What percentage of the global population owns a car, as opposed to what percentage of the population in America?
posted by darukaru at 7:42 PM on February 6, 2002


just curious-- if you don't have a license, what form of ID do you use? Do you carry your passport around?
posted by jojo at 8:48 PM on February 6, 2002


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