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(Solved): what type of issue? explain your answer. Why Fear National ID Cards. by Alan Dershowitz, The New Yo ...

what type of issue? explain your answer. Why Fear National ID Cards. by Alan Dershowitz, The New York Times At many bridges and tunnels across the country, drivers avoid long delays at the toll booths with an unobtrusive device that fits on the car’s dashboard. Instead of fumbling for change, they drive right through; the device sends a radio signal that records their passage. They are billed later. It’s a tradeoff between privacy and convenience: the toll-takers know more about you – when you entered and left Manhattan for instance – but you save time and money. An optional national identity card could be used in a similar way, offering a similar kind of tradeoff: a little less anonymity for a lot more security. Anyone who had the card could be allowed to pass through airports or building security more expeditiously, and anyone who opted out could be examined much more closely. As a civil libertarian, I am instinctively skeptical of such tradeoffs. But I support a national identity card with a chip that can match the holder’s fingerprint. It could be an effective tool for preventing terrorism, reducing the need for other law-enforcement mechanisms –especially racial and ethnic profiling – that pose even greater dangers to civil liberties. I can hear the objections: What about the specter of Big Brother? What about fears of identity cards leading to more intrusive measures? (The National Rifle Association, for example, worries that a government that registered people might also decide to register guns.) What about fears that such cards would lead to increased deportation of illegal immigrants. First, we already require photo IDs for many activities, including flying, driving, drinking and check cashing. And fingerprints differ from photographs only in that they are harder to fake. The vast majority of Americans routinely carry photo IDs in their wallets and pocketbooks. These IDs are issued by state motor vehicle bureaus and other public and private entities. A national card would be uniform and difficult to forge or alter. It would reduce the likelihood that someone could, intentionally or not, get lost in the cracks of multiple bureaucracies. The fear of an intrusive government can be addressed by setting criteria for any official who demands to see the card. Even without a national card, people are always being asked to show identification. The existence of a national card need not change the rules about when ID can properly be demanded. It is true that the card would facilitate the deportation of illegal immigrants. But legal status has been given to many of the formerly illegal immigrants in this country. And legal immigrants would actually benefit from a national ID card that could demonstrate their status to government officials. Finally, there is the question of the right to anonymity. I don’t believe we can afford to recognize such a right in this age of terrorism. No such right is hinted at in the Constitution. And though the Supreme Court has identified a right to privacy, privacy and the same. American taxpayers, voters and drivers long ago gave up any right of anonymity without loss of our right to engage in lawful conduct within zones of privacy. Rights are a function of experience, and our recent experiences teach that it is far too easy to be anonymous –even to create a false identity – in this large and decentralized country. A national ID card would not prevent all threats of terrorism, but it would make it more difficult for potential terrorists to hide in open view, as many of the September 11th hijackers apparently managed to do. A national ID card could actually enhance civil liberties by reducing the need for racial and ethnic stereotyping. There would be no excuse for hassling someone merely because he belongs to a particular racial or ethnic group if he presented a card that matched his print and permitted his name to be checked instantly against the kind of computerized criminal-history retrieval systems that are already in use. (If there is too much personal information in the system, or if the information is being used improperly, that is a separate issue. The only information the card need contain is name, address, photo and print.) From a civil liberties perspective, I prefer a system that takes a little bit of freedom from all to one that takes a great deal of freedom and dignity from the few – especially since those few are usually from a racially or ethnically disfavored group. A national ID card would be much more effective in preventing terrorism than profiling millions of men simply because of their appearance.

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