William Safire’s “The Threat of National ID”
1. According to Safire most people are willing to give up their privacy “in return for greater safety. That’s why we gladly suffer the pat – downs and ‘wanding’ at airports”. Such precautions contribute to our peach of mind. He believes that law enforcement officials are already taking advantage of this situation. He says that Police are “unconcerned with the sanctity of an individual’s home” and developed “heat sensors to let them look inside people’s houses. And claims that the Justice department has an electronic bug that the F.B.I can plant on your key board to read every stroke. This is really ironic because Safire has typed his article and must question what infringes of his privacy have already been made that he isn’t aware of.
2. Safire says that “national ID cards give Americans a “false sense of security”. I believe Safire is referring to the security of your identity. Identification cards are supposed to prove who you are: approve purchases, entry, travel, etc. They are used so that another person can not just take your name and replace you. They ensure the safety of your identity, salary, house, and other personal things. I agree with Safire. Although I feel that there should be some sort of way to identify yourself you will only be able to do that if you give up more of your privacy, like providing a “fingerprint, description of DNA and details of your eye’s iris”. Even with national ID cards it is difficult to ensure its accuracy due to fake ID cards.
3. People will not be able to choose not to carry a national ID card because it is a requirement. The government has made it essential for people to have this source of verification. Without this card you will not be able to “travel, or buy on credit, or participate in tomorrow’s normal life.” Soon enough police as well as employers will considers those who resist full disclosure of their financial, academic, medical, religious, social, and political affiliation to be suspect. He says that Police are “unconcerned with the sanctity of an individual’s home” and developed “heat sensors to let them look inside people’s houses.
4. In paragraph 6, Safire says “But in the dreams of Big Brother and his cousin, Big Marketing, nothing can compare to forcing every person in the United States – under penalty of law – to carry what the totalitarians used to call ‘papers’”. Safire compares the United States government to a totalitarian government if they force everyone to have “papers”. The idea of having to prove who you are goes against American ideal of living in a free country, or even being able to start over. If you force a permanent identity on someone you revoke their chance of having a brighter future. I believe that everyone has the right to seek a better future. There is a movie where they present the idea of your identity being written in your DNA. The protagonist’s was supposed to die at 31, it was written in his DNA however he wanted to become an astronaut. But because his DNA says that he will die at 31 no one is willing to hire him which forces the protagonist to go to someone who has broken both his legs and pays the man for his DNA.
5. There are advantages and dangers of national ID cards that everyone should be aware of. Having such personal national ID cards would “speed you through lines faster or buy you sure-fire protection from suicide bombers”. However the disadvantages seem to out way the advantages. With all this important information found on a single card this card has now increased in value immensely. Forcing you to protect the card as a part of yourself. The copy of that card in a national databank supposedly confidential but available to any imaginative hacker. The universal use and most likely abuse of the national card will most often trigger personal questions. This card is the ticket to losing much of your personal freedom.
Purpose and Audience...
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