Declan McCullagh reports:
Two U.S. senators met with President Obama on Thursday to push for a national ID card with biometric information such as a fingerprint, hand scan, or iris scan that all employers would be required to verify.
In an opinion article published in Friday’s edition of the Washington Post, Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) say the new identification cards will “ensure that illegal workers cannot get jobs” and “dramatically decrease illegal immigration.”
Schumer and Graham pitched the idea to President Obama during a private meeting Thursday at the White House. Graham said afterward that Obama “welcomed” their proposal for a new ID card law; the White House said in a statement that the senators’ plan was “promising.”
Read more on CNET.
The idea of a national ID card keeps coming back– first is was REAL ID, now its a Social Security Card with a biometric component. The biggest contributor to identity theft in the United States is the abuse of Social Security Numbers for everything related to credit, employment, and education. This time language around this new proposal for national ID sounds like it is about illegal immigration, but the impact will be on anyone who is working or would like to work regardless of your legal status. Some of the same issues related to REAL ID may arise along with some new ones. Collection of certain biometrics like fingerprints that have secondary government uses should raise civil liberties as well as privacy flags. In addition, the numbers of persons required to use this single document will outstrip any identification system ever created in this country. There will be problems with accuracy, reliability, transparency, and oversight. Workers will not care about this document when it works, but what they do need to know before enrolling is what will happen when the system fails. For example, failures by the Social Security Administration to collect and record data accurately, failures by technology used by employers to read the biometrics of employees, or failures in verification of biometric information when checked with government records are only a few of ways things could go wrong and leave people unemployable for a reason other than whether they are or are not U.S. citizens. What will happen when people misplace Social Security Cards and need replacements? What happens if identity thieves break the security of the document? Will there by INS raids where every employee needs to show their papers or get taken away? Could employers confiscate cards and hold their workforce hostage?