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Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
A Letter to National Review on "Real ID" cards 
12th-Feb-2005 12:47 pm
Inspiration
"The measure would set standards for driver's licenses or other state identification documents to be accepted for federal purposes..."

Let's pause and think about this for a moment, noting that
identity theft is on the rise,
according to the governmental agency tasked with monitoring it. Let's recall that identity theft consists of confusing a piece of identification (a card, typically) with the identity of the person holding it, or, even worse, with their intentions. Let's recall that, as Sylvanus
P. Thompson
so cogently demonstrated years ago, "What one fool can do, another can" -- and apply it to any technology that is supposed to make this ID "secure."

The conclusion is simple: the federal government is setting us up for rampant identity theft once people buy into the fiction that this is a "real id" -- despite the fact that any technology can be subverted to serve other ends. People are getting smarter about our ID cards now: they ask for several forms of ID, and typically make calls to check them if they feel insecure. Books are available detailing what good ID should look like. But that would go by the wayside when people are reassured about "real ID." What is even worse is that the federal government, by endorsing this ID, will have made it a target for such terrorists and thieves, since it would have the same effect as a passport: the form of identity that is not questioned.

Watch your wallet, gentlemen. Just as an example, it takes $10-20 to duplicate fingerprints so that you can fool fingerprint readers. Saying an ID is "secure" or "real" doesn't make it so. They are all administered, and must be used by people.
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