The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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We’re all just a bunch of numbers

National ID cards pose serious privacy problems

In 2005, President Bush signed an act containing the REAL ID Act, a piece of legislation that will require all U.S. citizens to carry a new form of identification. These state-issued driver’s licenses and regular identification cards for non-drivers will conform to standards set on a national level.

What does this mean to us? Implementing national ID cards will cause more harm than good. Ultimately, these cards violate an individual’s right of privacy. It’s not the basic information of full legal name, date of birth, gender, address, driver’s license number and a photograph that has us worried – it’s what’s inside the card.

Specific details are unknown as to exactly what kind of information the card will hold. However, the Department of Homeland Security will have full authority on deciding what will be on the card. This poses a serious problem.

One of the reasons for these national ID cards is to help combat illegal activity occurring on American soil. To do this, the cards will likely hold personal information such as medical records, driving accident records, political affiliation, records of gun purchases – the list goes on. The cards would be linked to a national database. Anytime a person must present his or her card, he or she would be unwillingly divulging personal information.

The use of national ID cards furthers the idea of “Big Brother is always watching.” Who knows how far Homeland Security would go? What if every time you buy anything at all, it becomes mandatory to present and scan your ID? There would be a database listing every time you bought anything from a Dr. Pepper to a porno magazine, and it might be available to just anyone. What if marketers were allowed to jump onboard this potential monstrosity?

We’re all for stopping crime and thwarting terrorist attacks, but what about the average, law-abiding citizen? It is not fair to subject these people to such a downright invasion of privacy. We realize we’re already considered numbers, we’ve got Social Security to thank for that, but national ID cards take a giant leap over the already stretched-thin line regarding government and privacy.

Originally, the cards were to be issued in May of this year, but fortunately have been pushed back to 2011. Hopefully, by then, everyone will realize what a bad idea national ID cards really are.

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