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|April 30-May 6, 2009
Back to Letters
Micro-chipping America with a national ID card
by Jim Hightower
Should the government require us to carry a national ID card embedded with what amounts to a bar code containing everything from our Social Security numbers to our commercial transactions? Should the personal data on these cards be stored on various federal and state databases? Should our digitalized identities be subject to use and sale by commercial ID vendors?
Holy George Orwell, you might shout, of course not!
Well, don’t look now, but a little-noticed provision was slipped into a war-spending bill in 2005 creating something called Real ID, authorizing all of the above. It was rushed into law — as so many liberty-busting Orwellian schemes have been — on the pretense that high-tech ID cards would thwart foreign terrorists.
But, wait, the 9/11 crashbombers didn’t sneak into America. They had legitimate work visas and drivers licenses. The massive, micro-chipping of America by the Real ID program is not meant to frustrate terrorists, but us. To open a bank account, board a plane or enter a government building — show your card. Indeed, the law says that Real ID can be required for anything that the head of Homeland Security unilaterally decrees to be an “official purpose.”
The good news is that 25 states have opted out of applying the Real ID law to their citizens. The bad news is that the snoopervision authorities have rebranded it with a less-1984ish name: “Enhanced Drivers License.” They’re trying to get every state to require that America’s 245 million drivers must get these EDLs, which would embody the same abuses as Real ID.
This technological intrusion is being opposed by groups from all across America’s political spectrum. To join the rebellion, go to ACLU’s Real Nightmare website: www.realnightmare.org.
For more information on Jim Hightower's work — and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown — visit www.jimhightower.com.
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