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Id Cards Belong on the State Level

Essay by   •  November 6, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,021 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,248 Views

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Throughout the past few decades, Americans have debated on whether or not we should utilize a national identification card. While some citizens argue that this would be beneficial to our country's security, it drastically impacts the integrity of the individual's identity. National ID cards should not be implemented if we wish to protect our privacy because if they are put into place, our information will be less secure and at greater risk for misuse.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center, EPIC, states that "They [national ID cards] are in use in many countries around the world including most European countries, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand." Lawmakers have suggested that a national ID card with biometric technology be used in the United States as an effort to reduce the hiring of illegal immigrants and keep our nation safe. It has been proposed to serve as either a replacement for the Social Security card citizens already carry or a separate document entirely. Similarly to the state-issued identification cards we already have, a database would complement the card, except that it would provide more information and be accessible to more people than the database that is used now.

Although national security and illegal immigration are issues that need to be dealt with, a national ID card is not an ideal solution. It could actually make these problems worse. A document of such importance will be a greater target for forgery than any of the fifty state identification cards we have now. Replication of the document is achievable regardless of how advanced the technology is. If the document has a computer chip embedded within, all that is needed is the proper equipment to decrypt, read, and encode the data into another card. Similar is the process for other security features such as magnetic stripes and bar codes. Sometimes it is not even necessary to forge a copy of the card.

Of the 19 hijackers of the planes on September 11, 2001, 13 of them had genuine driver's licenses. One might find it easier to produce false documents to obtain a real ID card than to go through the trouble of producing the card itself. Given the right paperwork, anyone could be granted a legitimate card. After obtaining a forged or fraudulent card, a potential terrorist would be just like any other citizen in the United States, except that now they appear to be more legitimate than before. This could become a humongous hole in national security.

Problems also come from the security of the database itself. It would be almost impossible to safeguard such a large collection of information from hackers. Such a new system might have undetected security flaws to work out, and there would be tremendous amounts of hackers attempting to circumvent the system. The more who try to get around the database security, the more likely it will be that they will succeed. It should also be noted the many people who will have access to it that might put it to malicious use.

Whether someone obtains access legitimately or not, they have the capabilities to store the information elsewhere. Most popular database software allows

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