This paper will examine the arguments both for and against implementing a National Identification System and will explore the question: Is America willing to cede privacy and anonymity in the name of National Security…
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National Identification System In The United States
Firstly, it is national because it is used throughout the country having nationally uniform identifiers and formats. Secondly, the system is for practical and legal use only. Cards like credit cards can also be used to identify a person, but they are not national identity cards. People can have a number of such cards or no cards at all and still roam about in the country without any problems. However, if the law makes it mandatory for everyone to have such cards for identification purposes, it then comes in the category of national identity cards. Last but not the least; the system is used for the identification of an individual. It is different from a social security number. A social security number attaches a number to the name of a person and is just a national identifier. A national identity card actually proves the identity of a person. It shows that a person, previously known to the system, has once again presented himself or herself. It involves a biometric tie between the number and the person. The card would not only have the name and address of the person, but it also involves a compulsory facial image of a person on the card. The chip inside the card will help the law officials in identifying whether a person is on government’s watch list or not. Finger prints or retinal images on the card will also help in the identification of a person. This will help in retrieving information about the person from the government databases and immigration agencies as well. Many people are of the view that had such a system been implemented earlier, it would have probably helped in averting the 9/11 tragedy. The issue is still unclear whether everyone or a section of society should have such cards or where to use them such as at the airports or when accessing government buildings etc (Wang, pg, 1. 2002). Here it would be pertinent to discuss the National Identification Legislation in detail: NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION LEGISLATION: 9/11 COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION: Evaluating the 9/11 terrorist
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