In Which I Fisk the Dems’ National ID Plan

by on May 3, 2010 · 1 comment

I have a blog post up at Cato@Liberty today about Senate Democrats’ national ID plans. The thing is nine printed pages long. It doesn’t get my recommendation that you read the whole thing—unless you really jones for identity-systems talk. Here’s a summary:

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 pity the Hill staffer who had to write the national ID parts of the plan. He or she almost certainly doesn’t know enough to write sensibly about the design of identity systems, and the demands of politics require the plan to talk about impossible things as if they’re possible, and even easy.

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