Why Fear National ID cards?

Published 13 Sep 2017

The article “Why fear national ID cards” is written by Alan M Dershowitz. In this article the writer focuses on the use of national ID cards and the security issues related to it.

The entire article revolves around the security concerns with the national ID card and in the initial stages it discusses how the privacy of people is infringed with the ID cards. Through ID cards you can save your time but it is a contradiction between two phenomenons that are privacy and convenience. The national ID cards have anonymity issues and people are usually scrutinized very closely. He stresses on the point that an ID card with a chip is a more feasible option and it should match the fingerprints of the cardholder. The dangers of terrorism and other related issues should be minimized through this approach. However, such ID cards have certain concerns because it is feared that national ID cards would inflict disturbing measures. The National Rifle Association stresses on the point that the government should register guns in the same way as they are registering people.

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Similarly, certain concerns are related to the deportation of illegal immigrants because it is feared that these cards would increase the element of deportation. However, the figure prints on the cards can be a viable approach because it cannot be copied and cards that are based upon photographs of the individual can be duplicated and have been in the past. National ID cards are considered as a formality because people are always asked to disclose their identity on number of occasions. However, the national ID card would support the issue of deportation of illegal immigrants but it is a matter of concern that President Bush is interested in giving the legal status to illegal immigrants. Certain anonymity issues are attached with the national ID card but they are invalid in the current scenario because of the rising trends of terrorism. People of America are experiencing a decentralized environment and in the current scenario it is quite easy to create an anonymous identity. It is believed that anonomity and privacy are not the same and the Supreme Court has identified the right to privacy. The residents of United States gave away their right of anonymity when they disclosed their identity to law authorities.

The biggest flaw of such ID cards would be that it would not thwart all the potential threats to terrorism but on the other hand, it would be help the authorities in the investigation process because it would be very difficult for the probable terrorists to hide their identity. In the case of September 11, this was quite evident. Similarly, ethnic and racial stereotyping can be reduced through this card.

Finally, the author concludes the article by focusing on the element of rights and the author believes that it is justified to deprive a majority or a minority of its right. He chooses to stand for a system where the sacrifice has to be shared by all of the involved parties rather than subjecting a small cluster to harsh and uncomfortable conditions (Dershowitz).


  • Dershowitz, A. Why Fear National ID Cards ?
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