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News of the Day ... in Perspective

12/26/2004

De-facto national ID in intelligence law sparks outrage

In signing the sweeping National Intelligence Reform Act of 2004, President Bush said that “our vast intelligence enterprise will become more unified, coordinated and effective.”

Critics of the bill–including liberals, conservatives, and libertarians–voiced concerns that Section 1027 of Subtitle B, “Drivers Licenses and Personal Identification Cards,” could greatly expand the government’s ability to monitor and limit the freedoms of law-abiding Americans. If government sets the standards, it is a national ID card, no matter who hands it to you, said Jim Babka, president of DownsizeDC.org.

Because the ID is needed to travel on public transportation, open a checking account, rent a car, cash a check, check into a hotel, or engage in many other essential activities, the federal government can, by setting standards so high as to deny you an ID, “effectively turn you into a nonperson,” Babka said.

Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, said he was not reassured by purported privacy and due-process protections. He also noted that incorrect data could accidentally or intentionally be associated with an honest citizen’s record. He recalled that Sen.Edward Kennedy was prevented from boarding an airplane because his name had mistakenly placed on a “no-fly” list. Ordinary citizens can’t just call the head of the Transportation Security Administration and get the data cleaned up.

Laura Murphy of the American Civil Liberties Union said that a uniform national ID standard might actually expedite identity theft and make it easier for terrorists to collect faked documents (CNSnews.com 12/20/04).

Additional information:

AAPS signs coalition letter opposing national ID

AAPS action alert on national ID

The Liberty Committee action alert on the national ID and master data base

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