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


Saturday, May 19, 2007

More on the Real ID Debate: RFID (An older post)

I posted this elsewhere on 8/29/06

Here is an article essentially asking everyone to stay calm while the biometrics/RFID revolution reduces freedom to a string of digits and the goodwill of the government. Here is a short quote from the article:

While these technologies have been around for a long time, their use in the field of human identification is relatively new—at least, on the broad scale now underway. Starting in 2008, the U.K. Identity Cards Scheme will force everyone over the age of 16 applying for a passport to have their personal biometric details—including fingerprints, eye or facial scans—added to a national identity register. For this reason, we can consider them emerging technologies since their field of use, or scale of use, is still maturing.

Throughout history, emerging technologies have faced the same level of scrutiny, and often mistrust, until they became familiar, better understood and eventually accepted by the masses. This is the basic technology-adoption lifecycle. An example from the industrial age is the locomotive engine. At that time, it was thought that traveling in excess of 30 miles per hour on one of these new locomotives would subject the human body to so much pressure that an individual would not be able to breathe. A more extreme example of technology mistrust involves the Luddites of the early 1800s, who smashed textile machines in various U.K. counties fearing the machines would make their skills obsolete.

I can only say that this is not simply a matter of the old making way for the new. This is a matter of Freedom making way for Control. Really, the above statement is simply a subtle ad hominem attack: calling the slow-to-roll-over ignorant and selfish.

My tour guide through a recent visit to the U.S. Capitol was promoting the ease and benefit that Russians have with their ever-present ID badges. But one must remember recent Russian history to understand their willingness to be so easily monitored.

A people with a heritage of freedom ought to put up a bigger fuss. But I'm afraid that we Americans have lost the whole concept and spirit of Constitutional freedoms for the individual. I, however, am not part of a herd. I am an individual. Do not brand and tag me.

Do we want to live in a society where every retail transaction could become a complete background check--cross-referenced with every database in cyberspace? I can only imagine the "common sense" (read arbitrary) regulations the government can come up with and enforce with this kind of power.

I sometimes hear people say, "Well, what do I have to worry about? I've got nothing to hide." That statement betrays a profound ignorance. It is not a matter of "having nothing to hide." It is a matter of government "having no limits." This kind of surveillance power could make the 4th Amendment obsolete. Forget search warrants. "Searching" is now constant and in real-time.

When you see the word "privacy" in media and government publications, replace it with the word "freedom." It will put things in better perspective. "Privacy" nuts can be easily dismissed. What is really at stake is freedom.

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