National ID Card

A national ID card should be resisted by the states and by us as individuals. 

Democratic leaders have proposed requiring every worker in the nation to carry a national identification card with biometric information, such as a fingerprint, within the next six years, according to a draft of the measure.

Fortunately, groups like the ACLU have already blasted the idea:

“Creating a biometric national ID will not only be astronomically expensive, it will usher government into the very center of our lives. Every worker in America will need a government permission slip in order to work. And all of this will come with a new federal bureaucracy — one that combines the worst elements of the DMV and the TSA,” said Christopher Calabrese, ACLU legislative counsel.

Unfortunately, I have a hard time believing a national ID card is not inevitable.  Moreover, the ACLU is wrong about one thing – we already need a government permission slip in order to work – it is called the Department of Homeland Security Form I-9.  And note what it requires.

HT: Jesse Walker

2 thoughts on “National ID Card

  1. I don’t like the idea, either, but Mark Kleiman points out a way in which it could be designed that he thinks would not compromise civil liberties:

    “What an employer needs to know is that the person applying for a job is either a citizen or an immigrant legally entitled to work. The work eligibility card doesn’t need a name for that purpose.

    “A citizen or green-card holder should be able to get a document verifying that fact by showing some official the documents that establish his or her claim to that right. (If an official can’t do it, how is an employer supposed to?)

    “Given that document, an employer just needs to verify that the person presenting it is the person who obtained it.

    “The combination of some sort of digitized biometric (photo, fingerprint, retina scan) and a serial number will do that job. The employer compares the biometric on the card with the person presenting it, and then checks to see if the number on the card is on the master list of those eligible to work, and that the biometric on the card matches the biometric on the list.

    “Note that even the master list doesn’t need to include any names. It’s just a set of biometric scans of people who have proven work eligibility, arranged by serial number. If you want to get six cards with six different numbers, go ahead. That means that knowing someone’s number tells you nothing about him other than that he holds that number. He can shed that “identity” for a new one on a whim.”

  2. Grover, in a series of email exchanges David Boaz recently posted at
    Cato@liberty, I was worried about something like exactly your point here. The problem is not that the government now wants to assert a right to determine whether or not we may work. It has already asserted that right, and we have accepted it. Now it’s just a matter of how that right is exercised. The fact, is we’ve given up that degree of right to our own body and labor, and that seems to me a pretty serious moral problem, and a pretty serious loss of liberty.

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