William Safire does a very good job of summing up my concerns of a National ID card. It’s just too easy for it to become so much of a hassle dealing with folks that I’d like to do business with but really don’t see a need for them to collect all the personal information that they want to collect to enter into a business relationship with. As Mr. Safire so astutely points out:
Hospitals would say: How about a chip providing a complete medical history in case of emergencies? Merchants would add a chip for credit rating, bank accounts and product preferences, while divorced spouses would lobby for a rundown of net assets and yearly expenditures. Politicians would like to know voting records and political affiliation. Cops, of course, would insist on a record of arrests, speeding tickets, E-Z pass auto movements and links to suspicious Web sites and associates.
I have enough problems dealing with Radio Shack on a cash basis and their demanding my name address and phone number. I’ve even had the local water utility demanding my social security number in order for me to buy water from them, this after already having a 15 year long relationship with them. (They didn’t get it, by the way, and they are supplying me with water)
It is hard enough to maintain personal information private with people having to ask you for the information, think how impossible it will be to control access when all the information resides in your “smart” National ID card. There will be legitimate reasons for others to require being shown your card without having legitimate reasons to have access to all the information that it contains. Sure, it will be possible to limit what access they do have but it won’t be you or me that has control over what is limited and what isn’t.
Perhaps I just worry too much. What do you think?