National ID Cards: Pointless Privacy Argument Is Getting Old

Don Tennant

Here we go again. Every few years the idea of mandating a national ID card with embedded biometric information comes to the front burner of the legislative stove, the privacy whiners have a fit, and the idea gets pushed back. Then our national budget and national psyche are drained some more by terrorist plots, immigration fraud, identify theft and other criminal activity, and the idea slides once again to the front.


According to the Wall Street Journal, this time it's front-and-center in the proposal to require an ID card for all workers, citizens and non-citizens alike, as part of a new immigration bill that's emerging in the U.S. Senate. Not surprisingly, the requisite privacy outcry has already begun:

The biggest objections to the biometric cards may come from privacy advocates, who fear they would become de facto national ID cards that enable the government to track citizens.

"It is fundamentally a massive invasion of people's privacy," said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "We're not only talking about fingerprinting every American, treating ordinary Americans like criminals in order to work. We're also talking about a card that would quickly spread from work to voting to travel to pretty much every aspect of American life that requires identification."

It's a tired, senseless argument that relies on ignorance and fear to gain legitimacy.

First, it's shameful and insulting to suggest that fingerprinting is something to be associated with criminals. All men and women serving our country in the Armed Forces, most public servants, and many private employees in sensitive positions, are fingerprinted.


Second, what possible harm is there in having a national ID card that would ensure that every vote is cast by a properly identified person? When I voted in the last presidential election, no one even bothered to check my ID. I could have been anyone. It was ridiculous.


Third, why is a national ID card something to be feared with respect to travel? A valid government-issued ID has to be presented for airline travel as it is. Why is presenting a national ID with your biometric information more disturbing or loathsome than presenting a driver's license? Is the concern that you're giving the government the means to track your travel? Unless you've been traveling with fake identification, the government already has the means to do that. It's an infuriatingly nonsensical argument.


A long-time, outspoken advocate for a biometric national ID card is Scott McNealy, the former CEO of Sun Microsystems. I spoke with McNealy two months after the attacks on Sept, 11, 2001, and he expressed a degree of frustration about the public's seeming inability to comprehend the issue:

The problem with this particular issue is it's way more complicated than a classic, single, one-line zinger that I tend to throw out just to kind of tweak everybody. Like, "You have no privacy, get over it." I'm pretty famous for that one. But nobody understood the five paragraphs before it and the five paragraphs after it because the press doesn't have time and people don't have the attention span to really sit down and really understand. Anybody who understands my perspective on authentication says it's ultimately and fabulously logical.

If there were no audit trails and no fingerprints, there would be a lot more crime in this world. Audit trails deter lots of criminal activity. So all I'm suggesting, given that we all have ID cards anyhow, is to use the biometric and other forms of authentication that are way more powerful and way more accurate than the garbage we use today.

McNealy was right. We have the technology readily available to make a quantum leap in crime prevention, but it's as if there's a blockade in place that's prohibiting delivery to where it's needed most. The senseless hand-wringing in the name of privacy needs to end so the blockade can finally be lifted.

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Mar 10, 2010 9:22 AM Mark Hammack Mark Hammack  says: in response to Don Tennant

You missed it when you wrote: "This is the sort of baseless hyperbole that inhibits an informed discussion of the topic.", if you mean it when you say "in the hope of generating a balanced discussion".

You also missed the point with your GPS comment. It just won't be needed. Once you have a single point of entry and search, it's over. The " not enough computing power" argument no longer holds water. The "future" applications are the major concern here. It's a slippery slope.

My mistake on the "article vs blog post", I guess it does matter.

Mar 10, 2010 9:33 AM Mark Hammack Mark Hammack  says: in response to Mel

You said: "There is not enough computing power in the world to create a 'SUM' for everybody."

The " not enough computing power" argument no longer holds water. There are multiple, existing networks that handle portions of that load every day. There are multiple networks presently being built to do exactly what I'm concerned about.

The "future" applications are the major concern here. It's a slippery slope.

Mar 10, 2010 9:39 AM Mel Mel  says: in response to Mark Hammack

We may have wandered off of the National ID vs Privacy discussion.  As I stated in my first post, we have no privacy now.

You want to talk about future applications?  How about this?  Most cell phones transmit a blue tooth signal. Once a cell phone is registered with the system and enough blue tooth transceivers are located to overcome the 30 feet range restriction, a person's location could be monitored within, or out of, a building.  Did I say 'could be monitored'?  My bad, I know people who are using this capability today.

We have no privacy now.

Mar 10, 2010 9:47 AM Dave Borgioli Dave Borgioli  says:

Mr. Tennant and the numerous individuals who have commented have raised many interesting points.  First am very pleased to see the civil tone here.  It is such a nice change from the immature comments on many other sites.  Congratulations to all.

I agree with most of the writers here to some extent and I have concerns that argue in favour of both sides.  This is not as strange as it may seem. 

As to the argument against it, the potential for abuse is indeed great.  None Given alludes to the manner in which dictatorships extend their grip and to some extent his is correct.  Others have referred to big brother and there is something to this.  I too served for many years in the service including in Germany before the wall came down.  I have seen first hand what big brother can do and don't like it.  One of the comments makes an excellent point about a national card not preventing crime and this too is to some extent true, although it is very hard to measure prevention.

On the other side, it is true that we already have no privacy or perhaps more accurately much less privacy than even just ten years ago.  Everywhere you go there are multitudes of cameras, easy-passes, metro cards, etc.  The very nature of today's society precludes the level of privacy that many of us grew up with.  It is also true that if a government or even private agency wants to know what you're doing, they already have the means to do it.  We as people have given up our privacy to some extent willingly by posting in some cases very intimate details about ourselves online or worse, on the un-reality TV shows. 

Most importantly, when it comes to voting, they should check ID to prevent illegal aliens and others not authorized from voting.  I didn't serve my country to have non-citizens stealing votes and ID.

The problem is that governments confuse actions with technology.  We as citizens have to a large extent brought this upon ourselves.  We don't complain when illegals are hired and we allow our politicians to do nothing about it.  We make no complaints when politicians don't take voting security seriously.  Do we really need a new ID card to prevent this fraud?  Probably not but we've allowed ourselves to get into a position that doesn't do anything about security so now we have this.  In a way it's like the states that every so often issue new plates so they can get old ones that are no longer valid off the streets.  Just look at the fraud our politicians and political groups like ACORN and others have committed with signing up dead people and others who didn't legitimately sign up.

The computing power argument, to me, is not a major issue since even if they spend the resources to develop ways to track everyone, someone has to review the data.  This is where the information overload takes place.  We've identified terrorists yet we allowed them on planes and into other places.  We have to remember that technology is just a tool.  It's how we use it that's important.

If the voter card prevents illegal or unauthorized voting then I'm all for it.  The problem is how to we prevent it from being abused?

Mar 10, 2010 9:54 AM Rodney Sculthorpe Rodney Sculthorpe  says: in response to Mel

So, since we have no privacy now, we should go ahead and let this happen as well?????

It is a slippery slope indeed

Mar 10, 2010 10:01 AM Mark Hammack Mark Hammack  says: in response to Mel

I agree. "We have no privacy now" is true, to a degree.

Today's methods require effort, and permission (if current laws are obeyed) to aggregate all the available data on someone.

All I'm saying is "let's not make it any easier, or faster". A government mandated National ID, does both.

The Founding Fathers designed checks and balances for a reason. They instructed us to NOT blindly trust those who are temporarily in power.

The previous administration takes the prize for eroding privacy and personal rights.

This current administration has already backtracked from labeling as terrorists those who study the US Constitution.

Who are "criminals and terrorists"? Who will they be in 5 years? etc...

All I'm saying is "let's not make it any easier, or faster". A government mandated National ID, does both.

Mar 10, 2010 10:04 AM Jim Duncan Jim Duncan  says:

I actually wrote some notes to respond to Don's blog. Then I read it again, and decided it did not warrant a measured response because it is not a serious article. Note that Don only refers to two sources; a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union and a former CEO of a high-tech firm who has clear bias for the argument but a little dated at 2003. And he sites the id card as the solution to voter fraud, when the first response to his case is for the scruteneers to demand id. All recent elections where I voted, government-issued photo id was needed to be able to vote. Seems to work where I vote.

First of all I am a Canadian citizen, so I am an observer of this argument from across your northern border.  And as a risk professional my observation is that the American government has made a decision to manage risk down to zero; I think the risk they are managing is the protection of the homeland.

Here is an example of that risk management. Within the last year an American government agency requested all the data for a special class of drivers license issued by the British Columibia government (that is the land mass between Washington state and Alaska and is called a province, but similar to your state).  This license had the specific purpose of being used in place of a Canadian passport to allow entry to the United States on land and water but not by air transportation.  The British Columbia government complied with the request. Just to clarify, this is a foreign government asking for the private information of Canadian citizens for no delared purpose except that they wanted it.  The Privacy Commissisoner for Canada, an office of the Canadian federal government, initiated an investiagation of this incident, and there is a possibility that this type of license will no longer be issued in Canada.  If you would like more information about the Privacy Commissioner, google "Privacy Commissioner and Facebook".  You will find out how interested Facebook was to respond positively to privacy issues raised by the Commissioner regarding their product's impact on the privacy of its Canadian customers. 

You might say I do not agree with "You have no privacy; get over it!"

Mar 10, 2010 10:08 AM rrbob rrbob  says:

Won't it be great when the government sets up check points at state borders and designated city borders (New York City for example)?  After all what good are National ID cards if you don't occasionally check to make sure everyone has one. It's nave to think that only criminals need fear the ID card and that they will not be used inappropriately against the general public. Of course the privacy of individuals will be compromised. I happen to be a fan of government and believe it has accomplished many great things for all of us. But who out there has complete trust in city, state, or federal government?  Not me!  

Mar 10, 2010 10:18 AM Dave Borgioli Dave Borgioli  says:

I don't really see this as a privacy issue.  I think it is more of a potential for abuse issue.  We don't really have privacy now. 

Everything we do is monitored to some extent.  If you pull out or transfer too much money from your bank, the IRS is notified as well as other agencies.  If you drive too fast, the government can put you in jail by looking at your car's black box (it's called OB II or OB III, also OBD II or OBD III).  When you fly, you're scanned and your luggage is looked at.  When you travel, your passport records your travels.  We have cameras all over.  Your calls can be easily monitored.  There are many other ways we lose our privacy and these items are just from the government.  Corporations have ways to monitor you also.

The issue to me is how these things are being used.  I remember that when the New York mob, I mean NYS legislature passed the seat belt law, they said tickets would only be issued if another offense was committed.  They wouldn't issue tickets solely for seat belt violations.  That lasted only about five years, then they started pulling people over for just seat belts.

We need security and we need to ensure that only citizens are voting and that those casting votes are who they say they are.  We need to ensure that terrorists are not doing bad things to us.  The problem is that many a good road to hell is paved with good intentions.  Will a national ID card be any worse than what we already have?  I don't think so.  I'm more concerned about politicians abusing what we have in place.  I'm more concerned about actions than tools.

I concur with those who are concerned about abuse of government power.  I am confused however about why there is no outcry over the other abuses.  Why is no one upset about how the government monitors our individual finances?  Why do I not hear cries against the government taking part ownership of private companies?  Why do I not hear people complaining about the state and local governments issuing ID such as residency cards, driver's licenses, etc. to illegal aliens or people who haven't proven their identity?  Why are we not upset about traffic ticket cameras?  What about the EZ pass being used in court cases?

We have little privacy now and I'm all for catching crooks and terrorists and illegal aliens.  I am not too worried about one more card IF it prevents voting fraud.  I am worried about government encroachment via monitoring.

Mar 10, 2010 10:28 AM Dave Borgioli Dave Borgioli  says:

Our Canadian neighbour and makes a very good point about voting.  If the people who administer the voting would simply check for ID, that might eliminate the need for a voter ID card.  This of course requires that the states issue ID that effectively guarantees the ID holder is a citizen and who they claim to be.

It seems that some state are not issuing ID that is useful (e.g. preventing illegal aliens and others from getting state ID) so the federal government is stepping in and attempting to do something about it.  Another way to do this would to require state IDs to meet certain requirements, and then verify that the states are doing this.

Mar 10, 2010 10:41 AM Ab Ab  says:

The former CEO of Sun Microsystems supports Biometric cards and readers....geez, what a surprise. I hear Lockheed Martin supports an increase in Defense spending.

You're problem of course lies in your total dependence on the federal government. You ask "what possible harm is there in having a national ID card that would ensure that every vote is cast by a properly identified person?"  If you're so concerned about voter fraud, why not implement the use of one of the ID's already available. Why must it be a biometric National ID?

You also point out that we do need ID to travel and ask why not the National ID. Again you don't address why we should add that when there already is a solution via Passport or DL.

You don't offer any logical support for a National ID rather than "hey, what's the big deal?"

Mar 10, 2010 12:27 PM From South Africa From South Africa  says:

Well, I marvel at the American system. Here you are, probably a bunch of IT executives or scholars or professors of some sort (otherwise why would you be reading IT Business Edge) debating the privacy issue of National ID cards which seemingly has nothing to do with IT except for the increase in billable hours and development fees.

And here we are in South Africa where we were forced by law in the early 1990's to get fingerprint and barcoded ID's. Please note! This was prior to the end of the apartheid regime during which time the government controlled pretty much everything!

To me it seems that this National ID card will just be used to impose more controls and less freedom. Whatever the reason may be, that is what the end result will be!

Oh, and by the way, if you check the crime figures in SA you'll see that it didn't really improve after the "biometric" ID's were imposed. Not that I am not patriotic - just stating a fact to make a point!  

Mar 10, 2010 3:15 PM Reader Reader  says: in response to From South Africa

Well, South Africa, one doesn't have to be an IT executive, scholar, or professor of some sort to read IT Business Edge! Really. But you make a good point.

I agree that there is not enough outcry when abuses do occur, and we hear over and over that there is not enough use of the tools already in place to prevent the problems of terrorist plots, immigration fraud, identify theft and other criminal activity.

As handy as such a card may seem to be, given that we don't have any privacy anyway, it still begs the question that has come up in this discussion many times, and that is the prevention of abuse. Have we forgotten what we learned in high school - that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely? The more we aggregate those now disparate inroads into our privacy, the more vulnerable we are should corrupt power get its hands on that. Why should we think it cannot happen? History can and does repeat itself, no matter how technologically advanced we become, because human nature does not change.

Mar 10, 2010 7:56 PM none given none given  says:

This is the sort of argument they use in North Korea.

Mar 10, 2010 8:09 PM jonathan hochman jonathan hochman  says: in response to none given

I couldn't agree more.

As an American I "choose" to not commit crime. The fact that I have a choice is what makes our country a great place to live, work, travel, etc.

Once you take my choice away, I'm letting someone else decide for me. That's not the country I served, as one of the afore mentioned service members, to defend.

Mar 10, 2010 8:18 PM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to jonathan hochman

Really? Your argument against a national ID card is that it would take away your choice to commit a crime? I served in the Armed Forces, too, and that's not a choice I served in harm's way to defend.

Mar 10, 2010 8:23 PM Mel Mel  says:

If people only knew - there is very little privacy now.  I worked in communications tech support for 20 years.  No telephone conversation, either cellular or land line is private.  No email, twitter, facebook, etc., entry is private.  Medical records at hospitals are available to any staffer with a plausible reason.  Medical records at your physician are known to everybody who works there.  Your credit card records can be accessed by virtually everybody in tech support at the credit card company.  If you have a tollway-pay transponder, lots of people know where you go.  Your cell phone gives off a constant gps-related signal.  I was fingerprinted when I enlisted in the navy and when I adopted a child and when I requested access to my employer's data room.  And so on...

I would feel much more secure if everybody had a national id card

Mar 10, 2010 8:35 PM Mark Hammack Mark Hammack  says:

The problem is not in the individual points mentioned in the article, or others like them. The real problem is " The SUM is greater than the parts thereof ". At present, how many times a day do you think "Why do you need my Social Security Number for THAT" is asked? When it becomes easier to force positive identification with every move we make, "they" will.  When every single move a person makes becomes data that can be aggregated, it will. It is naive to not consider the abuse of that kind of power. I believe there is definitely room for a more balanced discussion than Mr. Tennant is throwing at us in this article.

Mar 10, 2010 8:54 PM Don Vogt Don Vogt  says:

Privacy issues should not be dismissed with arguments that lack as much logic as those it pretends to criticize. Where's the proof that a national ID card will reduce criminal behavior. Having worked in law enforcement for more than 30 years, I'm pretty sure that not a single reference connecting a lower crime rate to an mandatory ID law exists. Because you love the technology of it all, does not make it either morally or legally justifiable.

Mar 10, 2010 8:56 PM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Mark Hammack

You wrote: "When every single move a person makes becomes data that can be aggregated, it will."

No one is talking about putting a GPS tracking device in a national ID card. So how would a national ID card with your biometric information enable the aggregation of data on your "every single move?" This is the sort of baseless hyperbole that inhibits an informed discussion of the topic.

Understand, also, that this is not an "article." This is a blog post in which I expressed my opinion on the topic in the hope of generating a balanced discussion.

Mar 10, 2010 8:57 PM Mel Mel  says: in response to Mark Hammack

There is not enough computing power in the world to create a 'SUM' for everybody.  True, individuals, or in some cases, words or phrases can be targeted.  But, if you get targeted for an investigation, there's not much you can do whether or not you've given or withheld your SSN, or whether or not you have a national id.

Given that I've chosen to not be a criminal, I don't care if criminals and terrorists are targeted.  The more accurate their 'SUM' is, the better.

Mar 11, 2010 10:48 AM From South Africa From South Africa  says: in response to Reader

You're right - human nature does not change! However I think you have proved my point with your argument!

Mar 11, 2010 11:41 AM Karen Karen  says:

"All the national employment ID card will do is make forgery harder," says Schumer.

No, that's not all it would do: It would also subject every employment decision to the federal government's approval. It would make surveillance of law-abiding citizens easier. It would allow the government to control access to health care. It would facilitate gun control. It would cost $100 billion dollars or more. It would draw bribery and corruption into the Social Security Administration. It would promote the development of sophisticated biometric identity fraud. How long should I go on?

No, Senator, that's not all you're saying. You're saying that native-born American citizens should be herded into Social Security Administration offices by the millions so they can have their biometrics collected in federal government databases. You're saying that you'd like a system where working, traveling, going to the doctor, and using a credit card all depend on whether you can show your national ID. You're saying that bigger government is the solution, not smaller government"

Rest of article,


Mar 11, 2010 12:19 PM Wyattstorch Wyattstorch  says: in response to Karen

Amen, Karen.

It's strange to see all this on an IT blog. Using the same logic, computer hacking and viruses would have been stopped by the genesis of the first encryption and anti-virus software. Technology of the criminals will always catch up, and these days it seems to be sooner rather than later.

Mar 11, 2010 1:59 PM Savage Savage  says:

You would have been a good German in the 30's and 40's.

Does your mantle spin around to reveal your Fuhrer?

You crawled out "From Under the Rug" now crawl back there Facist.

Mar 11, 2010 8:08 PM John N John N  says:

And, invoking Godwin's Law, Savage manages to end what had been a relatively civil conversation on a topic where people tend to get way too emotional.

Mar 11, 2010 8:16 PM Dave Borgioli Dave Borgioli  says:

Godwin's Law - "As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." There is a tradition in many groups that, once this occurs, that thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. Godwin's Law thus practically guarantees the existence of an upper bound on thread length in those groups. However there is also a widely recognised codicil that any intentional triggering of Godwin's Law in order to invoke its thread-ending effects will be unsuccessful.


It seems that my earlier compliments on the civil tone of the commentators was made too soon.  Congratulations to everyone until now!

Mar 11, 2010 8:33 PM Mark Hammack Mark Hammack  says: in response to Savage

Crude Insults are due to the lack of vocabulary necessary with which to express oneself.

Mar 12, 2010 10:55 AM Joe Joe  says: in response to John N

Except for when it really is.  Nazis called their idealogy "national socialism" which was really far-right statism.  That was a good old fashioned top-down militant government that wanted to control every aspect of people's previously private lives.

Comparing to worshiping Hitler is of course way past a valid comment.  I agree that that was totally a strawman invocation of his name.

Mar 12, 2010 10:56 AM Joe Joe  says: in response to John N

Except for when it really is.  Nazis called their idealogy "national socialism" which was really far-right statism.  That was a good old fashioned top-down militant government that wanted to control every aspect of people's previously private lives.

Comparing to worshiping Hitler is of course way past a valid comment.  I agree that that was totally a strawman invocation of his name.

Mar 12, 2010 4:58 PM Nick67 Nick67  says:

Hi Don,

You have unwittingly stumbled into a political argument, and in America, those are rarely resolved through sound thought and logical argument anymore. They devolve into "Why do you fear __________?" and "What?!?Why WOULDN'T you fear _____________?" From there, they descend into assertions of belief that can neither be proven or disproven. We are probably there now, but maybe maybe this won't be a waste of effort.


I looked at the link you posted and it is full of fear. The question is, are those fears really rational? Some posters above discuss the Nazis. Some speak of North Korea. Raise your hand if you think America could become a dictatorship. A real dictatorship, a police state where one man would command the life or death of every single citizen.

Despite my disbelief, there are hands being raised--and Don, that's where the problem with ID cards comes from. There are enough hands being raised that the issue dies.

How would a police state come into being in America? Police states need enforcers, the men in jackboots. Who of your neighbors and friends are signing up for that job? Who will become America's Brownshirts? How will the rule of law become so perverted that such thugs would be able to act with impunity? Is 200 years of American culture so fragile that it can be swept away?

To abuse the information that could be gathered from an ID card would require almost the complete collapse of American institutions as they stand today. Heck, 40 years ago Nixon wanted to sic the IRS on every single major Democratic donor as payback for backing the wrong horse. His cabinet, his lawyers and the IRS all politely informed him that such would be an abuse of the law, immoral, and completely unacceptable. Does anybody really think that ID cards "...would also subject every employment decision to the federal government€™s approval.It would make surveillance of law-abiding citizens easier.It would allow the government to control access to health care.It would facilitate gun control.It would cost $100 billion dollars or more.It would draw bribery and corruption into the Social Security Administration." and that it would be abused to harm innocent individuals?

You voted the wrong way, sorry, your employer can't hire you

You didn't vote at all, sorry you can't get Medicare or see a doctor

You keep switching your votes, sorry you can't have a bank account.

You voted Republican, sorry no guns for you.

You voted Democrat, sorry no Social Security cheque til next election cycle.

Does ANYBODY REALLY believe that could happen? Because that's what this discussion is going to boil down to. Too many people are afraid, no matter how utterly absurd it is, that this is exactly what is going to happen.

And then of course there is the utter absurdity of it all.

"It would also subject every employment decision to the federal government's approval." Just how else are you supposed to keep illegal aliens from getting jobs and staying permanently?

"It would allow the government to control access to health care." Just how else are you supposed to ensure that illegal aliens don't access Medicare and Medicaid?

"It would draw bribery and corruption into the Social Security Administration."  Reply

Mar 12, 2010 4:58 PM Nick67 Nick67  says:
Right now there are literally millions of SSN's that are used, falsely, by illegals to get jobs, but the SSA is NOT allowed to say to INS, "Hey, this dude allegedly has 35 jobs at these four employers--and he's not alone. A lot of guys working there tend to hold down a dozen or more full-time jobs. Go check it out." Not allowed. Not legal. And people are worried about big brother if a national biometric card came into being?

"It would facilitate gun control." How? Just how would any other form of ID make gun control any easier or any more difficult than the pathetic patchwork of unenforced regulation that presently exists?

"You're saying that you'd like a system where working, traveling, going to the doctor, and using a credit card all depend on whether you can show your national ID." We all already are supposed to have SSN or Green cards before working. We all already are supposed to have drivers' licenses and passports before travelling. We are all already supposed to prove eligibility for medicare/medicaid or proof of insurance before seeing a doctor, and the bank sure as hell wants to know where we live, what we earn and where we work before issuing credit. So what EXACTLY makes a biometic ID so much more threatening?

Heck if I know.

I don't fear the government.

Too many other people do.

Mar 13, 2010 9:48 AM Nicole Foley Nicole Foley  says: in response to Nick67

Are we really this paranoid? I've given this a lot of thought and my life would be no different. Hmmm, I no longer carry a checkbook and seldom carry cash (don't wan't someone to steal that)...I pay for 90% of my purchases whether day to day use, bills, or large purchases with a thing called a "debit card". The "card" is linked to a bank. Trust me, if I were to commit a capital crime, the government could find me in a matter of minutes. I would never make it out of town. Don't even get me started on cell phones - don't the majority of them have tracking devices...or how about OnStar in your car? We have given up so much access to our personal lives already that if you have something to fear....you will be found. Who cares about another card to carry in your wallet?

Mar 13, 2010 9:51 AM Nicole Foley Nicole Foley  says: in response to Nick67

@ Nick67...sorry, meant to reply to the general discussion, not to you. Seems we have plenty in common.

Mar 13, 2010 7:30 PM Farmers tag their cattle herd on a farm sir Farmers tag their cattle herd on a farm sir  says: in response to Don Tennant

"No one is talking about putting a GPS tracking device in a national ID card. So how would a national ID card with your biometric information enable the aggregation of data on your "every single move?" This is the sort of baseless hyperbole that inhibits an informed discussion of the topic."

They'll slowly add this type of stuff as years go by sir I know my govenrment well and judging by their track record it speaks for itself. They don't uphold their own immigration laws now and you expect me to believe by surrendering more freedoms to them on the the guise of "security" that I should give up more rights?

This card will be more of a downfall from where we were with are freedoms just look at this country now with the Patriot act there is nothing patriotic about it. Soon this country will be unrecognizable there will bbe no true America or beacon of hope torch of liberty in the world because people like you belive in snuffing it out.

According to the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence I have rights and I fully intend of upholding those rights that the Federal Government is not to intrude nor infringe on those rights and it has and continues to do so.

I suggest you look and read and understand those documents sir that I have listed above before you spout "your" beliefs becomes some don't share them. The founding documents tell me I don't have to agree with you and says that our freedoms will not be infringed. I charish my freedoms and liberties and hold them dear to my heart and its with great sadness that I see articles such as these where people just willfully give them away.

I have atleast 10 different ways to prove who I am I don't need another form of identification to add to the pile and more "Big Government beauracracy" isn't gonna solve anything when they dont bother doing their job now. If you are for this technology you go "herd" yourself up to the counter and get one doesn't mean I have too.

My rights and freedoms tell me me I don't have to agree with you nor comply with any NAZI demand of barcoding like tax cattle on a body farm. Why don't you go get an eartag like a bull or cow so the govenrment can scan you and put you in their pen?

This isn't freedom sir this is tyranny and you are either too blind or to dumb to understand the real sense of freedom and liberty.

Farmers tag their cattle herd and brand them on a farm sir as a form of property and I am no ones property! I believe it was the elephant man that said " I am not an animal I am a human being."

I leave with this "SHOW ME YOUR PAPERS"......."HALT!"

Mar 13, 2010 7:42 PM libery and freedom isn't free libery and freedom isn't free  says: in response to Nicole Foley

"Trust me, if I were to commit a capital crime, the government could find me in a matter of minutes."

NAH tell that to Osama or his number 2 man so I don't believe that.

Ever since the supposed "war on terror" began we have been roobed of our money and freedoms step back and take a look at our nation?

Mar 17, 2010 2:32 PM Newcleus Newcleus  says: in response to Nick67

Just because you don't fear your government doesn't mean you shouldn't.  If so many other people do, do you think that maybe they're on to something that you just don't get?

And I think the bigger point that most people are trying to point out is if there is already a way to track all the illegal things that illegal aliens do (which seems to be the crux of the matter for you), then why aren't we doing it now?  The National ID isn't going to change the ability to track all the illegal activities you mention any better, but it will make it easier to track everything else they (the gov't) feels they're missing on the rest of us. 

And to everybody that points out we have no privacy now - just because there are cameras everywhere doesn't mean every individual in a frame is tracked.  Now if this National ID goes online, they'll be able to point out just who it is in frame. 

National ID is not necessary. 

And Don, I would think since you're outspoken about this issue that you would make a biggere deal about them not checking your ID when you voted. 

Mar 17, 2010 3:35 PM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Newcleus

I wrote a blog post about it at the time. Here's the link:


Mar 18, 2010 12:57 PM Irvin Baxter Irvin Baxter  says:

The national ID has one purpose-control. Control and freedom are opposite terms. Once a government can control whether you can work or not, they can control if you can live. Today, the criteria may be citizenship, tomorrow it could be politics or religion. Don't think it could happen? Remember Stalin-20 million dead? Mao TseTung-60 million dead? Hitler-60 million dead? He liked numbering and ID cards.

Sorry. There's a reason Americans have refused a national ID for 230 years. No national ID-not now, not ever!

Mar 19, 2010 5:28 PM Newcleus Newcleus  says: in response to Don Tennant

A blog???  Really???  You have an issue with not being ID'd when voting and you write a blog?  Did that accomplish anything except to indicate how unhappy you were? 

Why not call the county gov't that holds the votes and explain to them your concern?  Or if necessary, why not the state gov't?

By the way, your concern wouldn't necessary be dealt with if they didn't check your National ID card either, therefore, not fixing the problem you propose the National ID would fix.  Seems as though we have all the fixes for the problems already, the rules just aren't followed.  Which just indicates this National ID card is using immigration and security as a guise.  Nothing to be concerned about when the gov't is trying to trick or fool the citizens is there?


Mar 19, 2010 6:19 PM SailingNewYorkCity SailingNewYorkCity  says:

I was in the Army for a quite a number of years both enlisted and as an officer and as such I've worked with a number of government agencies and been exposed (much like one is exposed to a disease!) to a number of politicians and their influence.  There are a couple of common problems that help to explain this national ID card issue.  First, is the the "technology will solve the problem" mentality.  This is for a number of reasons including big business seeing a source of nice revenue and their lobbying.  Another reason is that politicians don't want to address the underlying causes if they can pass the buck, and technology let's them think they can do this.  The border fence is a great example.  Another reason is that bureaucrats like projects because it increases job security and lets them show how they grew their department.  Unlike a real job, government is rewarded by spending more and growing their budget.  They are not accountable for results nor efficiency.

I love technology as do most of the people here; that's most likely why we are reading this online paper.  I also recognize that technology can in some cases improve things.  Having said this, the real problem isn't that we don't have a national voter registration card, aka national ID card.  The real problem, as many have pointed out, is that we're not validating who's voting.  While recognizing that no system is perfect and that someone will find a way around any system, we need to ensure that those voting are those who are supposed to be voting.  Certainly local and state ID can be fraudulently obtained.  However, that is a different issue, albeit one that affects this discussion.

Part of the problem is that we the people and let it get to the point of a national ID discussion by not taking action.  We've allowed politicians to do nothing about voter fraud (and many other things for that matter).  It's become much easier for the federal politicians to talk of a national ID since many states and locations won't do anything about it. 

Whether we have a national ID card or not is really not the solution.  Will it help?  Probably to some extent but then it raises other concerns that have been well expressed in the previous comments.  Will it help a lot?    It may have some effect in the near term with illegal aliens but only until they obtain other fraudulent ID.  If however the local voting station isn't doing their job then it won't help at all.  Can anyone imaging Chicago really preventing voter fraud when registering for a national ID?  Or how about parts of New York or Oakland or San Francisco, just to name a few places with questionable ethics.  Just ask Acorn for help and bingo, you're in the system.

A card alone won't fix the problem.  It will require standards and verification that the standards are being met.  Remember what Ron Reagan said; "Trust, but verify."  Knowing how the government works, and despite recognizing the valid concerns that raised the idea of a national voter registration card, I have to say I'm against it.  I am however for tightening up voter fraud prevention or at least reduction.

Apr 20, 2010 9:12 AM Molly Brown Molly Brown  says:

I am currently a member of the U.S. Military. I am required to carry a military ID card with biometric information. Knowing one's blood type and history of shots could save my life on the battlefield. Also, my card is useless without a personal ID code that must be entered into the computer systems I use. A few years ago, I traveled with my family to London and was able to walk around the city at 10:00 p.m. at night without much fear. Because I knew that almost every street light has a camera watching. Bobbies only appear if crimes are being committed. Since my divorce, I have become quite efficient at conducting free and paid background searches of potential suitors online. Why waste time and energy on a thug, criminal, or unsavory character. As a middle age adult, I've become a bit jaded and cynical about human nature. What you see in the beginning, you see in the middle, and at the end of a relationship. Meaning if someone enters a relationship with alcohol, drug, wreckless driving, or financial issues, it's very unlikely he/she will change in the future. DNA, fingerprints, cameras, have helped our law enforcement agencies solve crimes. Technology has helped to eliminate bias and statistical errors. It puts repeat offenders, heinous monsters behind bars and/or stops them with capital punishment. Much more efficiently than past eyewitness accounts. Those with checkered pasts, criminal intentions, and illegal status are screaming the loudest about a National ID card. It could improve voting accuracy, travel safety, agency claims, and reduce fraud and deception. You can't have it both ways - unlimited freedom or safety, security from crime. Pick one side. As a woman, I pick my safety and making it more difficult for those commiting crimes, especially identity theft - the fastest rising crime in the world.

Apr 20, 2010 6:14 PM Mark Hammack Mark Hammack  says:


They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.

Apr 20, 2010 6:20 PM Don Tennant Don Tennant  says: in response to Mark Hammack

What essential liberty are you referring to that a National ID card would force us to give up?

Apr 21, 2010 7:14 PM Mark Hammack Mark Hammack  says: in response to Don Tennant

See Above.

Jun 4, 2011 3:34 PM TC TC  says: in response to none given

No it is not getting old. Privacy is our right and freedom and no way in hell am I or my family going to get this card. You know what I say arrest me. I will work under the table then and save my cash money another country's bank then move there when I retire, screw America, I'm ashamed to be American this country is going to far with these laws and control...

Jun 4, 2011 3:41 PM TC TC  says: in response to Molly Brown

It's also locked up a lot of non violent people and innocent people do your home work.


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