Friday, September 06, 2002

John writes:

Fred Barnes says the opposition to National Identification Card (NID) consists of "a few cranks and ideological groups" who are suffering from "paranoia"; the only ones he names are Phyllis Schlafly and Dick Armey. And who supports NID? The only person he names is Alan Dershowitz, who is identified only as a "Harvard Law professor"!

Barnes complains that the Senate rejected NID, "even one limited to non-citizens." But later on, Barnes makes it clear that he, too, would reject NID limited to non-citizens; he admits that "someone here illegally wouldn't have a national ID card in the first place."

Barnes says the sole purpose of NID is to establish identity, i.e., to prove "that the holder is who the card says he is." If that was all it would do, we might not object. Later he admits the "card would link with criminal record retrieval systems and immigrant or terrorist watch lists" - but it certainly wouldn't stop there!

Barnes says any loss of privacy "has already occurred" because all of our "credit cards, bank accounts, electronic toll passes, movie rental cards, car rentals, phone usage, driver's licenses, voter registration, and airline records ... are readily available to investigators."

But with NID, all that data could be accessed by anyone and everyone (not just official "investigators") because the information would be stored on the card. As pointed out in testimony here, private snoops would no longer need to gain access to government databases; they could compile their own databases based on the data stored on the card.

This is a poorly argued editorial. Another reason the Weekly Standard is unreliable for conservatives.

When I hear "leftist ACLU types", Dershowitz comes immediately to mind. So yes, it is a little odd that Barnes would deride the leftist ACLU types who oppose a NID in the paragraph after favorably citing Dershowitz as a constitutional law authority.

No comments: