DHS Secretary Chertoff on REAL ID's "COUNTLESS OTHER" USES.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Biometrics Still an Issue: Luddites vs. Lemmings

Digital50.com writes that International Biometrics Industry Association Submits Comments on REAL ID
IBIA supports the goals of REAL ID and the use of biometric technologies to ensure that it is implemented effectively. Biometric technology is the only technology that can bind an authentication or verification event to an actual person. As such, biometrics has an important role in meeting one of the key goals of the REAL ID Act to establish the identity and immigration status of an applicant before a card can be issued.

"Biometrics" include proven technologies that identify or verify individuals based on physiological or behavioral characteristics. Examples of biometric technology include products that recognize faces, hands, fingers, signatures, irises, veins, voices, and fingerprints.
I have to admit to a strong reaction when I see and hear about the rise of biometrics--and the emergence of many biometrics companies salivating at the prospects of a national id card.

Technology is not (usually) inherently good or bad. What we must always be careful about is the application of technology.

And "booking" every citizen through biometrics is the opposite of freedom.

Mr. Chertoff implies that people resisting a national id card are Luddites.

But maybe we are simply Americans who love our heritage and ideals of freedom. Since Mr. Chertoff employs the sublte use of ad hominem remarks, then freedom-loving people should be alllowed to imply that Mr. Chertoff wants to lead a nation of national-id-card-lemmings.

Before we take the biometric plunge as a nation of lemmings, can we please stop for a moment's reflection?

Let's ask ourselves the following questions:

  • 1. Why do we think we can digitally tether every citizen to an ever-present, immanent government and remain free?

  • 2. What does history have to teach us about societies that require identification at every turn? What were they like?

  • 3. Where does the information about our bodies go once it is taken from us and manipulated by others (bureaucrats)?

  • 4. What is the way back once we've see that we've gone the wrong way. (Somehow, I feel a door slamming shut behind us.)

  • 5. Does making society a software maze of red-light/green-light promote freedom of the individual or increase the hold of statism?

  • 6. Have we sacrificed so much in our history simply to turn Uncle Sam into Big Brother? The morphing has already begun. Where will it end?

  • 7. Why do we not look down the road further than a step or two?

  • 8. Why do many conservatives like the idea of increasing the presence and power of government in the lives of the individual?

  • The current REAL ID regulations do not require the use of biometrics--so far. But the pressure to include biometrics is immense. The pressure of lobbyists who stand to make a lot of money at the expense of the Bill of Rights is not going to go away.

    We have some decisions to make.

    It seems that we are unconsciously making all the wrong ones.

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