The Devil’s Advocate: Would requiring Americans to use Biometric ID cards be an invasion of privacy?

By Michael Arellano

Daily Titan Staff Writer

President Obama is pushing for the United States to start using Biometric ID cards in order to better keep track of legal workers. In theory, these cards will be similar to a driver license, except for one added feature. These cards will either have fingerprint or retinal information stored on them so that the card can more accurately represent the user. Both fingerprints and retinal information are thought to be unique to each human being, and could easily be stored on a magnetic strip or chip inserted into a card.

People across the country see this initiative as an encroachment on privacy laws. They believe that because their information will be on this card that it will be stored in a database, and thus make it possible to identify a person when the card is used. Because of this, people think that the government is going to somehow, someday, make it mandatory to scan these IDs for everything from purchasing groceries to traveling. And if this happens it will allow “Big Brother” to track the whereabouts of every American citizen.

This is textbook example of snowball thinking.

Just because one event happens does not mean that the next will fall into place just like that. People limit their thinking to encompass only the possibilities they believe are possible. In reality, these cards would only affect immigrant workers.

Currently, there are an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. With this policy, it would make it much easier to track undocumented workers, and simplify the process for immigrants to obtain legal working status.

It also solves the problem of America’s workers being outsourced by cheap labor from illegal immigrants. If these immigrants are give legal status they must be paid minimum wage. This will not only help the American workforce, but better the quality of life for many immigrants. This could, in turn, decrease the demand for the country’s safety net services for homelessness, hunger and healthcare saving the country money on its social service programs.

I don’t understand why some people automatically jump to the worst-case scenario when a new policy is about to be passed. This sort of fear of the unknown has caused the country to be in a state of paralysis. A country needs to change its policies to match the changing future. Citizens shouldn’t always be in conflict with their government. Every action taken by our policy-makers does not have evil underderlying controlling factors. People need to be educated about what the government is doing, but they also need to trust that their government is working in their best interests and not its own.

By Ashley Luu

Daily Titan Staff Writer

Legal immigrants and United States citizens – be aware that as soon as you swipe your Biometric ID cards as you enter the workforce, “Big Brother is watching you.”

The “enhanced Social Security card” reminds me of George Orwell’s novel “1984,” which consists of a society that is under complete surveillance by authorities. The people are reminded that their dictator, “Big Brother,” is always watching them.With the swipe of a card, the government will have the ability to track citizens, according to a Christian Science Monitor article.

In case we forget where we’ve been on which day at what time, have no fear! We can ask the government to check our records on those lovely ID cards. Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, said that Biometric ID cards are a massive invasion of people’s privacy.

“We’re not only talking about fingerprinting every American … We’re also talking about a card that would quickly spread from work to voting to travel to pretty much every aspect of American life that requires identification,” Calabrese said.

The government wants to spend more effort and manpower by placing Americans underneath a looking glass. That sounds familiar. Does the Patriot Act ring a bell? As a reminder, the act allows law enforcement agencies to search telephone, e-mail communications, medical and financial documents.

Great. If implemented, Biometric IDs can be added to the list of reasons why Americans should be concerned, suspicious and paranoid about what they do and where they go.

Groups like the American Library Association and Americans for Tax Reform oppose the plan because the broken immigration system harms both immigrants and non-immigrants. The ID would violate privacy, facilitate tracking of individuals and would serve as a government permission slip needed by everyone in order to work.

The proposal would require the development of a national database and could cost $285 million, according to Tech Daily Dose. Let’s not forget that the national deficit will nearly reach the record of $1.4 trillion achieved in 2009. I figured the government’s priority would be to decrease unemployment.

It seems like these controversial ID cards are going to add daily doses of trouble as people are wrongfully denied work because average officials, and some FBI experts, are not equipped to determine if two fingerprints are a match, according to a Time magazine article.

What can I say, government? You’ve done it again. Thanks for helping the U.S.

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