National Identification Systems

Resources

A national identification system raises one of the most harrowing specters anticipated and enacted at times during the 21st century—the intrusive society of George Orwell's 1984 combined with the shattered lives of Nazi concentration camp inmates institutionalized by the ID number tattooed on their forearms.

National identification systems, while sometimes promoted by persons with laudable intentions, are fraught with potential abuse in every aspect of their creation and operation. These abuses range from fraudulent and flawed identification cards—distributed on such a a scale that even a small percentage of errors causes major social disruption—to the excesses of those who collect and disclose information better never collected or consolidated in the first place, not to mention the criminal behavior of those who obtain information which cannot be adequately secured.

Experience with smaller-scale identification systems in the United States and with national identification systems enacted elsewhere suggest that at best they relocate crime and more often cause wholesale violations of civil liberties without producing any crime-fighting results, at least nothing comparable to the efforts of law enforcement officers available at a fraction of the cost. Proponents have never commissioned studies about the psychological impacts of national identification systems on the populations who are subjected to them.

This document analyzes proposals for a national identification system, a final solution with no legitimate purpose, which would damage irreperably the lives of those it catalogues and manipulates. The tragic irony is that such a system ultimately serves no purpose.

Contents

This document covers the following topics:

Motivations for a National Identification System

Proponents of national identification systems have suggested these systems as a panacea for a variety of political and social problems, everything from preventing terrorism to keeping bad drivers off the road, stopping teenagers from drinking, foiling drug traffickers, thwarting cheats from cashing bad checks, running background checks on gun purchasers, prohibiting criminals or sex offenders from employment, controlling the spread of disease, and halting illegal immigration. Some also point out the convenience factor—one could potentially use the same card at the bank, as a driver's license, or to be whisked through long lines at airport security checkpoints and customs controls.

The vagueness of most proposals makes it clear that they lack what security experts call a "threat model" identified so that a national identification system would actually serve some purpose other than the theoretical.

Some proponents of a national identification system in the United States include: Representative Richard Gephardt, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), retired Senator {get first name} Simpson, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, and Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy.

From EPIC:

EPIC has announced plans to file a lawsuit in a US District Court after receiving no response from the US Office of Homeland Security to requests under the Freedom of Information Act for background information on national ID plans. EPIC said rules for such expedited requests under the Freedom of Information Act call for a response within 10 days, but that the group has heard nothing in more than 10 days since its queries, Newsbytes, April 2, 2002

In response to the September 11 attacks, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has introduced the "Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001" and has scheduled hearings on biometric identifiers. The bill would require the issuance of a "SmartVisa" to all non-citizens entering the country. The Attorney General and Secretary of State would develop the SmartVisa to be machine-readable and to include a biometric identifier. In order for other countries to gain visa waiver status (that is, the ability for its citizens to travel to the U.S. without being issued a SmartVisa) the foreign country must implement its own identification system with machine-readable cards and biometric identifiers. The legislation does not specify what specific biometric identifier would be used for SmartVisas. Sen. Feinstein's legislation would create a central "lookout" database that would provide information on non-citizens to law enforcement, INS authorities, and others agencies as determined by the Attorney General. The lookout database would be a joint project of FBI, the Office of Homeland Security, CIA, the Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force, and private industry.

Non-immigrant students would also be closely tracked under the Feinstein proposal. Educational institutions would be required to issue quarterly reports on students' course of study, the addresses of parents, friends, and siblings, and work experience. This information would be included in the lookout database.

The text of S. 1627, the Visa Entry Reform Act of 2001, is available at: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d107:s.1627:

Ellison and McNealy have a clear interest in selling their companies' products and both companies have a longstanding relationship with the government. In fact, Ellison and Oracle co-founder Bob Miner named the company after a Central Intelligence Agency consulting project they worked on in the late 1970s. Ellison appears open to the idea of multiple cards for various purposes, making sure that "all the information in myriad government databases was integrated into a single national file." Ellison, worth $15 billion and among the world's richest people, later amended his offer "to provide the software for this absolutely free" to make it clear that Oracle would charge the government for software upgrades and support services. [Mercury News, September 22, 2001] [Reuters, October 10, 2001] Of course, all of these costs represent only a small portion of the actual overall cost of a national identification system.

House Democratic Leader Richard Gephardt voiced his support for the plan, saying, "We are in a new world. [Sept. 11] will change the balance between freedom and security." [Daily Pennsylvanian, November 8, 2001]

A Pew Center poll of 1200 United States citizens taken shortly after the September 11 attacks showed 70% of them would favor carrying a national ID card at all times. A Pew Research Center public opinion poll taken September 13-17 showed 70 percent of 1200 Americans polled supported such a card. [Mercury News, September 22, 2001] A subsequent Fabrizio-McLaughlin poll still showed 51 percent support for the proposed measure. Amazingly, a recent USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll showed that 49 percent of respondents would support mandatory IDs for all Arabs in the U.S. -- including American citizens of Arab heritage. [Daily Pennsylvanian, November 8, 2001] {add previous and later poll data?}

Some critics of a national identification system in the United States include: former Senator Alan Cranston, the American Civil Liberties Union, the conservative Eagle Forum , the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Privacy Foundation, the Privacy International, the Privacy Journal

Cranston describes a national ID card as "a primary tool of totalitarian governments to restrict the freedom of their citizens." [ACLU]

According to the ACLU, a national ID card "is an impractical and ineffective proposal that would only threaten our right to privacy and foster new forms of discrimination. A national I.D. card would be no more reliable than the documents a person would show to obtain it and the cost to the American taxpayers just to issue the cards would be at least $2.5 billion, according to the Social Security Administration." [ACLU]

A broad coalition of more than three-dozen civil liberties, consumer and privacy rights groups urged President George W. Bush on Monday to oppose a state-led plan to establish a national identification system. The groups assailed a plan by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators that would allow local and federal authorities to share information on identity card applicants and to equip ID cards with technology that ties them to their owners' unique physical characteristics or preferences, Newsbytes, February 23, 2002

The combination of technical concerns and prevalent American Constitutional values protecting freedom of movement, privacy, and anonymity strongly suggest that this and any National ID system should be rejected. Letter sent by EPIC to President Bush and Secretary Mineta. Also, the whitepaper - "Your Papers, Please: From the State Drivers License to a National Identification System" is available at EPIC.

Card Production

While a national identification card is not a necessary component—as identification may be accomplished by other means such as retinal scans—many people favor a card as the cornerstone of a national identification system.

National Governors Association: several governors, including Tennessee's Don Sundquist, expressed reservations about making state-issued driver's licenses into a form of national identity card, February 2002

The debate over a national I.D. card has quietly shifted to a powerful, interconnected bureaucracy: state motor vehicle agencies, EPIC, January 23, 2002

A Task Force of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) announced plans today to increase uniformity of state driver's licenses and information sharing between states and law enforcement agencies. The AAMVA proposal combines several initiatives, each with very different privacy implications. Standardization of driver's license security features and issuance standards across the 50 states, as well as information sharing with federal agencies and state law enforcement, would make the driver's license a de facto national identity card, EPIC, January 9, 2002

This month, a little-known group is meeting to take a step that may affect every citizen of the United States. The American Assn. of Motor Vehicle Administrators has announced it will create a de facto national identification card. The association reportedly is working with the Justice Department and the General Services Administration to create a system with a massive database encompassing every citizen. Thus largely unknown bureaucrats could create a kind of human license plate to track and restrict our movements--anathema in the U.S., LA Times, January 9, 2002

Alan Dershowitz has proposed that a national ID card contain a chip that can match the cardholder's fingerprint. [New York Times, October 13, 2001]

Of course, the potential for forgery of cards is great:
House Immigration Subcommittee Chairman George Gekas (R-PA) said in a television interview that, "The fraud elements and the terrorist activities can go beyond the ID card, and it would turn out to be completely useless." [Newsbytes, September 27, 2001]

Beyond the forgery of cards, there may be issues of tampering with existing cards. If the cards include a magnetic strip, the strip could be reprogrammed with different information.

The national identification system would have to include factories for the production of the cards, machines to program the cards, and card reader devices, and problems with the functioning of any part of this system could result in failures of the system.

The cost to US taxpayers for creating 300 million or more cards and the machines to program them is unknown, although one estimate is that the government could mass produce the cards at a cost of less than $5 per person. [Cato Institute, May 13, 1997]

Card Distribution

For ID cards to work as an effective component of a national identification system, the cards must be distributed to every participant in the system, that is likely to mean every adult and teenager in the United States, regardless of nationality or immigration status.

The process of ID card distribution raises potential for abuses as well, occurring with the sale of forged cards, tampering of legally-obtained cards, and the hassles around replacement of lost, stolen, damaged, or dysfunctional cards. Some cards will no doubt be delivered by mistake to the incorrect person or have information that is not correct programmed into them.

Once the cards are distributed, the government will likely require everyone to carry the card and made it available upon demand to law enforcement and possibly also for verification of identity for commercial transactions. The system will have to include procedures for what to do when a person forgets to carry the card, loses the card, refuses to produce the card, or when the card reader technology malfunctions so as to cast the identity verification or other data in doubt.

There would have to be an entire apparatus devoted to the distribution and verified operation of the card programming and card reader technologies as well.

The cost to US taxpayers for distributing the ID cards, the machines to program them, and the card readers is unknown.

Data Collection

The Seattle Times is reporting that Mark Forman, associate director of information technology at the White House (or 'America's CIO', as he bills himself) has said the feds are considering the use of Microsoft's Passport technology to ID every citizen and every business seeking access to government services online. This is about as scary as it gets, Seattle Times, April 18, 2002

Biometrics turns your face, hand, or eye into your badge of identity, US News, February 18, 2002

Virginia is on the verge of making a quantum leap in amassing DNA evidence by requiring that everyone arrested on suspicion of a violent crime yield genetic samples for possible matches in unsolved cases. The state already has the nation's largest bank of DNA because it takes saliva samples from each state convict. Expanding DNA swabbing to all those arrested in major felonies would be the most sweeping use of genetic testing by any state. The plan has prompted warnings about privacy invasion and the abuse of defendants' rights. But both houses of the Legislature adopted versions of the plan this week without debate, NY Times, February 17, 2002

A national ID card would not prevent terrorism, and in fact, would lure us into a false sense of security by enabling individuals with an ID -- who may in fact be terrorists -- to avoid heightened security measures. The creation of a national ID would be a misplaced "quick fix" that would pose serious threats to our freedom and privacy. Take Action! You can read more and send a FREE FAX to your Members of Congress, urging them to oppose the motor vehicle administrators' proposal, ACLU, February 12, 2002

State motor vehicle officials today asked Congress to authorize a plan allowing local and federal authorities to share information on identity card applicants and to equip IDs with technology that ties them to their owners' unique physical characteristics or preferences, Newsbytes, January 14, 2002

Congress has recently directed the US Department of Transportation to establish model guidelines for encoded data on driver's licenses issued by states as part of the 2002 transportation funding legislation. The Congressional directive also instructs federal agencies to work together towards development and installation of fingerprint or retinal scanners at airports which will read and verify data stored on the license documents. The directive constitutes formal establishment of a national ID system under the leadership of President George W. Bush as chief executive of his administration, [Conference Report on H.R. 2299, DOT and Related Agencies Appropriations ACT 2002, January 10, 2002]

Although Alan Dershowitz proposes to collect only name, address, photo, and fingerprint information for the national identification card [New York Times, October 13, 2001], there will be a great temptation to collect other information to store on the card itself or in the national database or databases associated with the card. Larry Ellison is quoted as saying, "We need a national ID card with our photograph and thumbprint digitized and embedded in the ID card." [Mercury News, September 22, 2001], although he later said, "I have never been for a national ID card.... What I am for is taking all our existing government IDs and having a national standard for ID cards," [Reuters, November 13, 2001] and Senator Dianne Feinstein of California has suggested an identification card with "a magnetic strip on which the bearer's unique voice, retina pattern, or fingerprint is digitally encoded." [Cato Institute, May 13, 1997]

In the 1990 Immigration Act, retired Senator Simpson sought an experimental card with a biometric component, such as a fingerprint, and a social security number. In Congressional hearings in 1995, Senator Simpson and other members of Congress spoke openly and longingly about the virtues of "an i.d. card system." [Cato Institute, May 13, 1997]

This raises the question: What data is to be collected and why? What kind of agency or agencies would have to be put in place to collect such data effectively? At what cost to the public?

Data Accuracy

The United States Attorney General says that the current national database of criminal records is 33% inaccurate. There is no database of reliable and unreliable people in the United States and there is no reason to expect that there will ever be a reliable database of such information because of the difficulties of collecting and updating records on millions of individuals.

In July 1999, the FBI's Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System became operational. That system keeps an electronic database of 41 million fingerprints, with prints from all 10 fingers of people who have been convicted of crimes. The system has reduced the FBI's criminal fingerprint processing time from 45 days to less than two hours. [Mercury News, September 22, 2001]

The effect of data inaccuracies could mean everything from false arrests and detentions to refusal of passage to denial of financial transactions or more, even if the innocent person for whom the data is maintained has every right to travel and engage in commerce freely.

The cost to US taxpayers for keeping 300 million or more database entries up to date is unknown.

Data Retention

Once the data is collected, there is a question of how long to retain which data for what purpose and at what cost. What plan is in place formigrating data out of a national database?

Real world rights in cyberspace?
Much of our lives is recorded in data files - where and when we travel, what Web sites we visit, what ails us, what we buy, when we pay our bills. We're getting used to this. Now imagine a future in which your entire world is filled with cheap, tiny sensors. Instead of red-light cameras, think cameras at every street light, cash register and front porch; a position tracker in every car and cell phone; and everything communicating with everything else. Civil libertarians are very worried about this vision of the future - quite justifiably - and some are attempting to prevent the deployment of new data technologies, Union Tribune, May 28, 2002

Data Distribution

If a national identification database becomes a reality, then to whom will which portions of the database be distributed and why. How will updates of the data be performed from locations around the United States and for US citizens employed abroad? Will the data distribution take place on an existing network or will a new network be established for this purpose? {add estimate of cost here}

To what other databases would a national identification sytem be linked?

Card Utilization

Proposal Sets National Rules For State IDs
Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) outlined legislation yesterday that would set national standards for state-issued driver's licenses, permitting rapid data-sharing among certain government agencies, Washington Post, April 17, 2002

Envisioning Security in Traveler's Smart Card
"This would be a voluntary traveler's ID card, not a compulsory national identity card," said David S. Stempler, head of the Air Travelers Association, a consumer group actively promoting adoption of a traveler's card, Wired, March 6, 2002

Tag Your Kids?
A controversial biometric device may soon be used to track children via the Internet. According to its manufacturer, Applied Data Systems (ADS), Verichip can carry individualized data (such as a person's name, current condition, medical records and unique identification number) and is designed to be imbedded under a person's skin. When a special external scanner is pointed at a Verichip, "a number is displayed by the scanner" and the stored information is transmitted "via telephone or Internet." The company is marketing its product for such purposes as "identification, various law enforcement and defense uses and search and rescue." ADS now plans to test the device on a family from the United States, including their 14-year-old son, Wired, February 6, 2002, ADS's statement

Crime Prevention

Intricate Screening Of Fliers In Works Database Raises Privacy Concerns
Federal aviation authorities and technology companies will soon begin testing a vast air security screening system designed to instantly pull together every passenger's travel history and living arrangements, plus a wealth of other personal and demographic information. [Washington Post, January 31, 2002]

Threat model.

September 11 hijackers had legal ID.
"Four of the hijackers who crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon exploited a legal loophole to obtain Virginia driver's licenses, though they did not live in the state. Under Virginia law, drivers had only to present a notarized residency form, cosigned by a state resident, and a notarized identity form cosigned by a lawyer." [Washington Post, November 2, 2001]
National ID card would not serve as a deterrent.

Ellison argued that difficulties associated with accessing information stored in data systems run by local law enforcement in Florida, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, made it possible for the September 11 hijackers to board planes. [Reuters, October 10, 2001]

Could only possibly have deterrent effect for undocumented or identifiably documented terrorists that seek entry to ID-protected locations. Would not help to deter terrorists committing anthrax crimes, delivering car bombs, or participating in many suicide attacks.

Keep bad drivers off the road?

Stop teenagers from drinking? (actually used now to prevent teenagers from purchasing alcohol, but then why not a card just for teenagers?)

Prevent people from cashing bad checks?

Prevent illegal immigration?

Crime Facilitation

The existing phenomenon of identity theft demonstrates a small fraction of the potential abuses of a national identification system.

How A "National I.D." Led To Fraud
The Social Security Number is the nation's de facto national I.D. system. It has also led to rampant identity theft. Read more at... Privacy Foundation, January 31, 2002

Former Top Chicago Detective Admits to Leading Theft Ring
Federal prosecutors said Mr. Hanhardt used law enforcement computers and other databases to get information on traveling jewelry sales representatives, including itineraries and car rental information, New York Times, October 26, 2001

Privacy Rights

Proponents argue: Trust is important and this facilitates trust, What have you got to hide? What's the harm?

In fact, both Larry Ellison and Scott McNealy have argued that the notion of privacy is itself obsolete.

"Well, this privacy you're concerned about is largely an illusion," said Larry Ellison. "All you have to give up is your illusions, not any of your privacy. Right now, you can go onto the Internet and get a credit report about your neighbor and find out where your neighbor works, how much they earn and if they had a late mortgage payment and tons of other information." [Mercury News, September 22, 2001]

Alan Dershowitz claims the use of a national ID card could reduce the need for racial and ethnic profiling [Dershowitz, New York Times, October 13, 2001]

The ACLU disagrees: "Rather than eliminating discrimination, a national I.D. card would foster new forms of disrimination and harassment of anyone perceived as looking or sounding "foreign." Latinos, Asians, Caribbeans and other minorities would be the likely targets of status and identity checks from police, banks, merchants, landlords and others. Latino U.S. citizens are already subjected to random searches at border checkpoints. Failure to carry a national I.D. card would likely be viewed as a reason for search, detention or arrest of minorities. The stigma and humiliation of constantly proving lawfulstatus is unacceptable."

"EPIC is seeking the expedited release under the FOIA of OHS documents that discuss new technical and legislative proposals that could lead to the creation of a national identification system. The OHS did not respond to EPIC's initial expedited request, so EPIC has filed suit in a U.S. District court in Washington, D.C," EPIC, April 15, 2002

"Intellectual Freedom is the right of every individual to both seek and receive information from all points of view without restriction. It provides for free access to all expressions of ideas through which any and all sides of a question, cause or movement may be explored. Intellectual freedom encompasses the freedom to hold, receive and disseminate ideas," American Library Association, April 15, 2002

The Third Reich in Nazi Germany enabled the racial categorization of Jews by requiring them to carry such an ID card.

Tracking of: movement, and assets (seizure of assets through RICO forfeitures,not charged with a crime yet forced to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to regain property with burden of proof on the person whose assets were seized and ownership of assets going to the police... what an incentive!).

Richard Smith, of the Privacy Foundation, points to possible abuses of a national ID card system, such as barring a parent late on child support payments from boarding a plane, or preventing a person with a traffic violation from withdrawing cash at an automated teller machine. [Reuters, October 10, 2001]

The ACLU points out that the "linkage of government databases with corporate databases increases the likelihood that intimate personal information—credit histories, spending habits, unlisted telephone numbers, voting, medical and employment histories—could be easily accessed without a person's knowledge."

Robert Post, a constitutional law professor at the University of California-Berkeley said, "If we allow a terrorist attack to destroy forms of freedom that we have enjoyed, we will have given the victory to them. This kind of recommendation does just that.'' Post said while such a system may catch some criminals, it could be hacked or faked or evaded by capable terrorists. [Mercury News, September 22, 2001]

U.S. Representative Ron Paul (Texas) letter to his colleagues on the introduction of HR 220 asking them for their cosponsorship to the Freedom and Privacy Restoration Act. January 19, 1999

U.S. Representative Ron Paul (Texas) on the House Floor said "The Freedom and Privacy Restoration Act halts the greatest threat to liberty today: the growth of the surveillance state. In addition to forbidding the federal government from creating national identifiers, this legislation forbids the federal government from blackmailing states into adopting uniform standard identifiers by withholding federal funds. One of the most onerous practices of Congress is the use of federal funds illegitimately taken from the American people to bribe states into obeying federal dictates..." January 16, 1999

Statement of Hon. Ron Paul before the House SubCommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs Hearing on National Identifiers in which he stated "I appreciate the opportunity to present my views regarding the Federal Government's plan to create a national ID card, assign every American a uniform health identifier, as well as the trend toward transforming the Social Security number into a uniform numeric identifier. The creation of these identifiers represent perhaps the greatest threat to liberty facing Americans today. When one closely examines the details of these schemes it becomes clear that the proponents of Big Government wish to forbid Americans from going to work, getting a job, boarding a plane, seeing a doctor or conducting any other major life activity without their federally-approved identifier..." September 17, 1998

http://www.house.gov/paul/privacy/nid091798.htm

According to testimony from the Cato Institute to Congress: "We have seen on many occasions over the past sixty years abuses of the Social Security system that were never envisioned when the system was created--just as abuses of the proposed i.d. card that we cannot now envision would almost certainly occur when expediency takes precedence over safeguards of privacy rights and civil liberties. In fact, privacy rights have already been eroded. The SSA disclosed Social Security numbers to the private sector until public outrage halted the activity in 1989. The disclosures affected more than three million Americans." [Cato Institute, May 13, 1997]

Also from the same testimony: "Earlier this year the Social Security Administration launched a web site, which allowed computer hackers internet access to individuals' payroll and benefit records. All a snoop needed access to was an individual's name, Social Security number, date and place of birth, and mother's maiden name. As Senator Grassley noted in a letter to SSA requiring the web site to be suspended, the system was ripe for abuse "by everyone from nosy neighbors, to legal foes, to ex-spouses seeking financial support." The SSA's track record in protecting privacy does not inspire confidence that privacy rights would be properly protected under the i.d. card system." [Cato Institute, May 13, 1997]

Examples of abuse highlighted by the testimony:

Supreme Court has ruled the right to anonymity guaranteed in the US Constitution.

Past Proposals

According to testimony from the Cato Institute to Congress: "The Social Security card was never meant to be used for identification purposes. When the system was created in 1935, to assuage the concerns of American citizens, Congress insisted that the card would never and should never be used for purposes of identification. Its sole purpose was to ensure that workers were paying the required payroll tax. Individual workers were assigned numbers so that the proper governing authority could easily account for the contributions made to the Social Security fund. Nonetheless, the use of the number grew steadily over the years. Starting in 1961, the Civil Service Commission began using the number to identify all federal employees. In 1962, the IRS started requiring the number to appear on all completed tax returns." [Cato Institute, May 13, 1997]

In 1996, Congress sought to require state-issued documents -- including driver's licenses -- to comply with federal standards. Thankfully, this law was repealed before its October 2000 enactment date. [Daily Pennsylvanian, November 8, 2001]

Situation outside the United States? Other countries with national ID card system? Singapore?

When he ruled against the continued issuing of the cards in 1952, Lord Chief Justice Goddard said that with the United Kingdom no longer facing a military threat, ID checks were actually hindering the work of the police [BBC News, September 7, 2001]

Cost Benefit Analysis

Richard Norton, executive director of the International Biometric Industry Association, said, "I think there are a lot of things we can look at before we fall back on a last resort of creating a national (ID) system," for example airlines could use existing fingerprint recognition technology or other identification tools to vet certain flyers and reduce the number of people who are closely scrutinized in airports. [Reuters, October 10, 2001]

Media Coverage

   DNA Extractable From Fingerprints -
Even if the only evidence forensic analysts can pull from a crime scene is a fingerprint smudged beyond recognition, a new technique developed by Canadian scientists soon could harvest enough DNA from the print to produce a genetic identity, UPI via Small Times (August 1, 2003)

   DNA Extractable From Fingerprints -
Even if the only evidence forensic analysts can pull from a crime scene is a fingerprint smudged beyond recognition, a new technique developed by Canadian scientists soon could harvest enough DNA from the print to produce a genetic identity, United Press International (July 31, 2003)

   Report : ‘ Talon ’ to Gather Suspicious Information -
Taken offline last year, the controversial TIPS program is reportedly being replaced with “Talon,” a cutting edge Department of Defense database designed to snare and distribute “raw, non-validated” reports of “anomalous activities” within the United States, NewsMax.com (June 30, 2003)

   Homeland Security Halts Computer Checks of Fliers -
Bay Area privacy activists say they have pried a victory of sorts from the Department of Homeland Security, which told them Friday that the government is rethinking a controversial computerized airline-screening system and has halted testing it, Tri-Valley Herald (June 14, 2003)

   Airline Screening System Delayed -
Bay Area privacy activists say they have pried a victory of sorts from the Department of Homeland Security, which told them Friday that the government is rethinking a controversial computerized airline-screening system and has halted testing it, The Daily Review (June 14, 2003)

   U.S. Rethinks New Program on Flight Risks -
Bay Area privacy activists say they have pried a victory of sorts from the Department of Homeland Security, which told them Friday that the government is rethinking a controversial computerized airline-screening system and has halted testing it, The Argus (June 14, 2003)

   Government May Rethink Passenger Scanning System -
Bay Area privacy activists say they have pried a victory of sorts from the Department of Homeland Security, which told them Friday that the government is rethinking a controversial computerized airline-screening system and has halted testing it, San Mateo Country Times (June 14, 2003)

   Feds Reconsider Passenger-labeling System -
Bay Area privacy activists say they have pried a victory of sorts from the Department of Homeland Security, which told them Friday that the government is rethinking a controversial computerized airline-screening system and has halted testing it, Oakland Tribune (June 14, 2003)

   Sources: DHS Halts CAPPS II Testing -
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has ceased testing its CAPPS II program, the controversial airline passenger screening system announced earlier this year, pending a thorough privacy policy review, according to several sources, InternetNews.com (June 13, 2003)

   DHS To Cease Testing CAPPS II Program -
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has ceased testing its CAPPS II program, the controversial airline passenger screening system announced earlier this year, pending a thorough privacy policy review, according to several sources, InternetNews.com (June 13, 2003)

   Critics Point to Snoop Factor in Airline Security -
Hate having to remove your shoes and belt at airport security checkpoints? Just wait. Air travel soon could become far more intrusive, privacy advocates say, Knight Ridder Newspapers via Detroit Free Press (June 10, 2003)

   Airport Security Plan Decried -
Hate having to remove your shoes and belt at airport security checkpoints? Just wait. Air travel soon could become far more intrusive, privacy advocates say, Knight Ridder Newspapers via San Jose Mercury News (June 8, 2003)

   Telling of Terrorist-Tracking Tech Tools -
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the agency in charge of the program, recently described to Congress how the Terrorism Information Awareness (TIA) program will develop and use technologies to fight terrorism. DARPA says the expanded surveillance powers would only affect suspected terrorists. Still, privacy and civil liberties groups warn that it would invade the privacy and trample the freedoms of ordinary Americans, Medill News Service via PC World (June 2, 2003)

   Progress Seen in Border Tests of ID System -
Immigration officials say they are moving rapidly to meet a congressionally mandated deadline for a sophisticated new identification system to be in use at its 100 most porous entry points over the next year, New York Times (February 6, 2003)

   Judge to Hear Air ID Challenge -
A U.S. District Court judge agreed to hear a challenge to an airline requirement that forces passengers to show identification before boarding a plane, despite a motion by the government and two airlines to dismiss it, Wired (January 18, 2003)

   Privacy Activist Argues Against Air-Travel ID Rule -
Privacy activist John Gilmore asked a federal judge Friday to declare unconstitutional the government's rule that passengers show a photo ID to board an airline flight, a practice that became far more stringently enforced after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Mercury News (January 18, 2003)

   The Biggest Hole in the Net -
Buried on page 177 of the new law establishing the Department of Homeland Security is a one-sentence provision that has so far escaped public notice: “Nothing in this act shall be construed to authorize the development of a national identification system or card", Newsweek (January 6, 2003)

   Florida Firm Seeks to Microchip Americans -
A Washington forum debated on Friday the benefits and hazards posed by a new way of identifying people with a microchip implanted under their skin to replace conventional paper identification, Reuters via Yahoo News (November 15, 2002)

   Feds Open 'Total' Tech Spy System -
Had Winston Churchill been alive in the months subsequent to Sept. 11 he might well have described U.S. intelligence agencies' performance prior to the attack thusly: Never have so many known so much and done so little, Wired (August 7, 2002)

   Japan's National ID Network Has Gone Live Already -
Almost everyone in Japan including politician has been believing that Japan's national ID network system, the Basic Residents Registers Network, would go live on Aug 5 of this year, via questionsquestions.net (July 31, 2002)

   Do We Need a National ID Plan? -
Brad Jansen, an analyst at the Free Congress Foundation, has long been a dogged opponent of national identification cards, ZDNet (July 22, 2002)

   Do We Need a National ID Plan? -
Brad Jansen, an analyst at the Free Congress Foundation, has long been a dogged opponent of national identification cards, CNET (July 22, 2002)

   Technology Trips Smart Card Plans -
It could take years to develop the kind of smart ID cards the UK Government is keen to introduce and they are likely to compound the problems of illegal immigration, fraud and identity theft, say experts, BBC (July 4, 2002)

   Airlines Plan Quick System For Identifying Passengers -
Several airlines have begun working on plans for a passenger identification system that would rely on background checks, fingerprints, iris scans and high-tech IDs to verify individuals' identities and speed security screening at airports, The Washington Post (June 22, 2002)

   Bill Would Push Driver's License With Chip -
Legislation to standardize state-issued driver's licenses across the United States, and to mandate that those licenses carry a computer chip and incorporate some kind of unique identifier such as a fingerprint, will be introduced in Congress on Wednesday, UPI via Politech (May 25, 2002)

   Bill Would Push Driver's License With Chip -
Legislation to standardize state-issued driver's licenses across the United States, and to mandate that those licenses carry a computer chip and incorporate some kind of unique identifier such as a fingerprint, will be introduced in Congress on Wednesday, UPI via The Washington Post (May 1, 2002)

   National Security Becomes National Snoopery -
Using the Sept. 11 attacks and the threat of terrorism as justification, the federal government is invading the privacy of Americans on a massive scale, probing their use of telecommunications to uncover intimate information about U.S. citizens proven guilty of nothing, NewsMax.com (April 24, 2002)

   Identity Card Delusions -
Mandatory national ID cards might cut down on underage drinking, but they wouldn't have stopped Richard Reid, MIT Technology Review (April 1, 2002)

   Total Information Awareness (TIA) System -
The goal of the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program is to revolutionize the ability of the United States to detect, classify and identify foreign terrorists – and decipher their plans – and thereby enable the U.S. to take timely action to successfully preempt and defeat terrorist acts, Information Awareness Office (March 21, 2002)

   Computer Security Lacking At State DMVs - GAO Report -
Most state motor vehicle departments don't do enough to protect Social Security numbers from hackers, the federal government's investigative arm said today, WashingtonPost (March 18, 2002)

   Smartcards to Travel By -
Such a card, dubbed the Trusted Traveler card by proponents, would provide extensive personal data about the cardholder embedded in a microchip, San Francisco Chronicle (March 5, 2002)

   You May Not Know It, But You May Already Have Been in a Police Lineup! -
Denver cops use the driver's licence photo database and face recognition software to build photo "lineups" for identifying criminals, The Denver Post (March 1, 2002)

   Big Brother, Where Art Thou? -
Security executive Jim Miller argues that a national ID card would help the United States combat terrorism, end wasteful government redundancies, and streamline helter-skelter state and national agencies, Fast Company (March 1, 2002)

   Progressive Policy Institute Wants Biometric License-Smartcards -
The Government can track your movements today using a pen and paper to jot down your driver's license number (or SSN, or license plate, or library card), but that has not turned the U.S. into the dystopia that so many privacy advocates bemoan in Cassandra-like agony, Politech (February 20, 2002)

   Fine-Tuning for Privacy, Hong Kong Plans Digital ID -
Starting next year, Hong Kong plans to introduce an identity card with a computer chip that will contain a digital replica of the cardholder's thumbprint, New York Times (February 18, 2002)

   All Hail Fatherland Security -
Just ID everyone, get their print, their retinal scan, their DNA, whatever, positively assign them a number, or a barcode, and everything will be copasetic--right?, Liz Michael (February 14, 2002)

   Identify This -
Barbara Branden says if a national ID "ever becomes law . . . this is the time for civil disobedience.", Laissez Faire Books (February 14, 2002)

   National ID Threatens Law Abiding Citizens -
Free Congress Foundation, along with the American Civil Liberties Union, Eagle Forum, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center is a principal signer of a letter being sent today to President Bush urging the President to resist the standardization of state drivers' licenses as a de facto national ID card system because it violates states' rights and privacy and other constitutional liberties while reducing - not increasing - our security, Free Congress (February 11, 2002)

   Intricate Screening Of Fliers In Works Database Raises Privacy Concerns -
Federal aviation authorities and technology companies will soon begin testing a vast air security screening system designed to instantly pull together every passenger's travel history and living arrangements, plus a wealth of other personal and demographic information, WashingtonPost.com (February 1, 2002)

   ID Cards: a New Generation -
The new Italian national ID card, the most advanced and secure national ID document being issued anywhere in the world, combines three machine–readable technologies: optical character recognition, IC chip and optical memory, Global ID Magazine (February 1, 2002)

   Fixing Loose Licenses -
States must tighten their procedures for issuing driver's licenses--that was clear after Sept. 11, when it became known that several of the hijackers had obtained licenses by using false identities, The Christian Science Monitor (January 22, 2002)

   You'll Love Those National ID -
I hope the U.S.'s special task force examining the merits of a national ID card will recommend outright that everyone within this great country be required to be able to prove their identity, Christian Science Monitor (pay to view) (January 14, 2002)

   Threat of National ID -
The universal use and likely abuse of the national ID -- a discredit card -- will trigger questions like: When did you begin subscribing to these publications and why were you visiting that spicy or seditious Web site?, among others, New York Times (December 24, 2001)

   Ellison Donates Software for U.S. Security -
Oracle's chief executive says that he has donated software to the U.S. government to create a database for national security, CNET News (December 4, 2001)

   Biometrics Hot at Computer Show, But How to Use It? -
Larry Ellison, the chief executive of database software giant Oracle Corp., said, "I have never been for a national ID card.... What I am for is taking all our existing government IDs and having a national standard for ID cards," explaining that the problem is lack of standards and integration, so that databases are fragmented and the Social Security administration sends out cardboard cards, for example, even though credit card technology, with magnetic strips and biometric checkers, is possible, Reuters (November 13, 2001)

   Screening, Travel IDs Sought for Air Safety -
The airline industry formally called for a massive screening system that would subject passengers to intensive background checks, with all reservations checked against a new government database that would include arrest records, intelligence information, immigration files, and financial data, Los Angeles Times (November 9, 2001)

   Cyber-Security Czar Snubs ID Plan -
As technology companies promote the idea of a national identification card, the president’s special adviser on cyber-security said on Wednesday the idea has little support within the Bush administration, Reuters via MSNBC (November 8, 2001)

   Wells Fargo to Accept ID Cards Issued by Mexico -
An emerging trend to give illegal immigrants greater access to financial services received a powerful endorsement Wednesday from Wells Fargo Bank, which said it will begin accepting identification cards issued by the Mexican government, Los Angeles Times (November 8, 2001)

   Rebecca Davidson: Usurping Democracy, in Your Wallet -
A national ID card--would we ever allow such a thing to happen in the United States?,, Daily Pennsylvanian (November 8, 2001)

   National ID Cards: License to Discriminate -
ACLU President Nadine Strossen argues against national ID card system, pointing out how the cards would do little to reduce terrorism or to prevent racial profiling, Washingtonpost.com (November 6, 2001)

   States Devising Plan for High-Tech National Identification Cards -
State motor vehicle authorities are working on a plan to create a national identification system for individuals that would link all driver databases and employ high-tech cards with a fingerprint, computer chip or other unique identifier, Washingtonpost.com (November 2, 2001)

   Amsterdam Airport Adopts Retinal Scanning ID Tech -
At Amsterdam's Schiphol airport, you can afford to forget your passport even if you're boarding an international flight, since a program called "Privium" combines smart-card technology with optical scanning and networked computers to allow travelers to cross the border after retinal-scan identification, Newsbytes.com (no longer available online) (November 2, 2001)

   New Law Contains ID-Card Proposal -
Tucked quietly into the counterterrorism package that President Bush signed into law last week is a measure that could require foreigners to use identification cards to enter the United States, Synthesysusa.com (October 29, 2001)

   Former Top Chicago Detective Admits to Leading Theft Ring -
Federal prosecutors said Mr. Hanhardt used law enforcement computers and other databases to get information on traveling jewelry sales representatives, including itineraries and car rental information, New York Times (October 26, 2001)

   Bad Oracle: ID Cards Pick Up Steam -
Word that Oracle chairman and CEO Larry Ellison met with Attorney General John Ashcroft on Tuesday raises the prospect that the Bush administration is contemplating the adoption of a national ID card, National Review Online (October 19, 2001)

   Smart Cards: Digital IDs Can Help Prevent Terrorism -
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, our country has been thrust into a debate over how to root out terrorists while also maintaining our civil liberties. One of the suggestions proposed, though not yet fully debated, is that of national identification cards, Wall Street Journal (October 18, 2001)

   A Modest Proposal for National IDs -
Ironic editorial questioning the motives of Oracle CEO Larry Ellison and Sun chief Scott McNealy who endorsed the idea of a national identity card, San Jose Mercury via BayArea.com (October 17, 2001)

   Why Fear National ID Cards? -
Alan Dershowitz proposes an optional national ID card as a method for trading off "a little less anonymity for a lot more security", New York Times (October 13, 2001)

   Oracle's Ellison Pushes for National Registry -
Larry Ellison, who has long campaigned for corporate America to unite its key financial data on his software, now has a more ambitious dream: a national database running Oracle software that takes in every man, woman and child in the United States, Reuters via CNN.com (this story no longer available online) (October 10, 2001)

   Against ID Cards: The Worse Way to Fight Terrorism -
American support for national ID cards declines to 51% compared to 70% immediately after the September 11 attacks, National Review Online (October 3, 2001)

   Blunkett Retreats in Battle over ID Cards -
Britain's Government will not include compulsory identity cards in its package of emergency legislation to combat terrorism, David Blunkett conceded yesterday, UK Telegraph (October 2, 2001)

   ID Nation: The Wrong Way to Go -
The question is essentially an old one: How much freedom are we as a nation willing to sacrifice for security?, National Review Online (October 2, 2001)

   Compulsory ID Cards 'Ruled Out' -
Britain's government has ruled out the introduction of compulsory ID cards, Home Office Minister Lord Rooker told a Labour Party fringe meeting, BBC News (October 1, 2001)

   White House Will Not Support Push For National ID Card -
Bush administration officials say the president will not support calls in Congress for a creating a national identification card to help combat terrorism, Newsbytes (September 27, 2001)

   White House Nixes Controversial National ID Notion -
The White House will not pursue a national identification card system, despite renewed clamor from pockets of government and industry following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, InfoWorld (September 27, 2001)

   Oracle Boss Urges National ID Cards, Offers Free Software -
Broaching a controversial subject that has gained visibility since the September 11 terrorist attacks, Oracle Chairman and CEO Larry Ellison is calling for the United States to create a national identification card system — and offering to donate the software to make it possible, Mercury News via SiliconValley.com (September 22, 2001)

   And I've Got the Card to Prove it -
The re-introduction of national identity cards might help dissuade asylum seekers choosing the UK as their destination of choice, says the French ambassador, BBC News (September 7, 2001)

   Database Flaws Could Hamper Any National ID System, Experts Warn -
Experts are warning that the real technological challenge behind a national identification system isn't the flashy iris scanning, face recognizing or fingerprinting on the front end--it's the database, stupid, Newhouse News Service (January 1, 2001)

   Japan IDs its Citizens - Effective August 2002 -
Under the new amendments, which will take effect three years after the law is officially announced, Japanese nationals will be assigned a 10-digit identification number to be encoded on a "Smart" ID card incorporating an electronic chip that will be standard throughout Japan, JLGC Newsletter (September 1, 1999)

Related Links

MIT Technology Review
Identity Card Delusions; Fit to Print; DNA ID; Recognizing the Enemy ; Face Recognition ; Big Brother Logs On ; Voice ID Magic Fingers

ID Questions
National Academies

National Identification Cards
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

National Identification Schemes
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR)

DFW Airport contracts for Face Recognition
Cryptome.org

National ID Cards
Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)

National ID Cards
Privacy International

Surveillance Archive
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

A National Identification System
Testimony of Stephen Moore, Economist, The Cato Institute, before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims, Cato Institute, May 13, 1997

A National ID System: Big Brother's Solution to Illegal Immigration
Republicans in the House and Senate, along with Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, are moving quickly forward with Orwellian legislation that would create a national computerized registration system for all American workers, Cato Institute, September 7, 1995