Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Senate National ID Plan Infringes Privacy

Cato says "Don't BELIEVE it":

They’re calling it “BELIEVE,” short for “Biometric Enrollment, Locally-stored Information, and Electronic Verification of Employment.” They can call it that. We’ll study it, and give credence to what we learn.

The plan is confusing, disorganized, repetitive, and sometimes contradictory. Summarizing it is a little like trying to piece together the egg when all you have is the omelet, but three themes emerge: First, this summary backs away from an earlier claim that there would not be a biometric national identity database. There will be a national biometric database. Second, repeating the word “fraud-proof” does not make this national ID system fraud proof. Third, this national ID system definitely paves the way for uses beyond work authorization. This is the comprehensive national identity system that people across the ideological and political spectrum oppose.

I'd also like to mention this little nugget: a poll indicating that the phrase "states rights" is more popular than I thought.

It's a fact of the human condition that words have different meanings for different people. It's not entirely untrue to say that states have rights, in the sense that there are some things that the federal government cannot require states to do. But that's not the same thing as saying that states should be completely autonomous entities either.

The structure of the federal government is what's important. Elected representatives will centralize power if their House is not properly balanced by a Senate that is incentived to keep power decentralized. That's the beauty of the original Constitutional structure. That's what needs to be restored by repealing the 17th Amendment.

Anyways, go to Cato and read Jim Harper's very thorough analysis of the Senate's National ID legislation.

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