11/15/2004

What Rights Are You Willing To Give Up For Identify Theft Protection?

Identify theft is quickly becoming our nations fastest growing crime. Since the September 11 attacks there is a new sense of urgency for a higher standard in issuance and sources of identification documents. According to the 9-11 commissions report"Fraud in identification documents is no longer just a problem of theft."

Legislation implementing some of the 9-11 commissions recommendations have passed. This includes standardizing drivers licenses nationwide. The Department of Homeland Security will decide what documents must be presented to obtain the license and what kind of data could be included, such as iris scan or finger prints. This license could be linked to a central database and your information could be accessed at screening points set up for public transportation and public building.

In the October publication of the St. Petersburg Times, Robyn E. Blumner shares her concerns. Would all this intrusion really make us safer? Would terrorists find their way around it? Who will have access to the information? How long is the information retained, and what kind of security features will protect it? "Who's to stop Government employees from using your information for their financial gain?"

Instead of using our nations resources to track law abiding citizens, shouldn't we use existing information such as the thousands of FBI's backlogged terrorist-related intercepts more effectively and investigate real terrorist leads? Is the security of our nation worth giving up our individual freedoms of liberty and privacy?

5 comments:

Bruce Banner said...

Americans like to feel secure but on the other hand they like the freedom and privacy. This is a touch subject. I don't think a standardized drivers licence is the answer.

Taber Wolrab said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Maudi said...

There is no doubt that Identity theft is the modern day burglery. Many people who were one a touting their perfect credit are finding themselves being held accountable for things purchased falsely under their name. What a sick feeling to work hard all of your life and then come home one day only to find that all of your credibility with your creditors is gone. I think it is very wrong for the government to require so much information to be disclosed in all things. It is important that we as American citizens voice our oppinions and not let these terroristic threats rule our lives.

Janet said...

People do not want to become a number. I think if we start including finger prints or iris scans we lose the idea of freedom. It is as if we are innocent til proven guilty from the day we are born. Instead of being born free of being part of a computer, we are already in the system. I dont think this will go well with people.

Dr. Tufte said...

-1 on Maudi's comment for spelling mistakes.

Wow ... all pretty hostile.

Here's some economics: what if security were planned by someone who got utility from it. Would they choose to focus all on one area, or to spread their choices across a bunch of areas? The answer is the latter because the marginal utility in each area would be high for small improvements, and would diminish as those improvements got larger. To me this says that optimal security planning should involve a little bit of everything, without a lot of hard tradeoffs. So, a little bit of improvement in identification cards is a good thing.

I wonder about all of this worry about national identification cards. No one seems to object to getting a passport when they need one, but they do object when the government wants to give them something very much like a passport. This is a big deal to a lot of people, but should it be?