Letter to the editor
I read with interest the article titled "Congress mulls ID cards" [FCW, Dec. 3] because national identification
cards are such a controversial topic. Most people in America are either
for or against national ID cards there are very few people "sitting on
the fence." I was not disappointed in the article, as it clearly outlined
the two sides with no apparent middle ground. But why is there no middle
Why do we always feel the need to invent something new? Why not just
fix what we have? The article stated, "something very much like a national
ID card could be created using state-issued driver's licenses."
Unfortunately, each state has a completely independent system for issuing
driver's licenses. The basic information is the same, but the designs vary
widely. For example, if I show up at the airport in Oregon and show the
person behind the counter a driver's license from Arkansas, what are the
odds this person would know what a valid driver's license from Arkansas
looks like? Not very good!
So why not take the simple step of standardizing driver's licenses from
state to state? The states already bear the cost of authentication and issuance,
and driver's licenses are reissued periodically anyway, so it's an easy
and inexpensive way of increasing the value of an ID card most people already
have. And even people who do not drive can get state-issued identification
Why do we always think that we have to reinvent the wheel? Why can't
we improve on what we have already? If it's deemed necessary, all the attributes
discussed for national ID cards could be added to driver's licenses (e.g.
biometrics, magnetic strips, embedded chips, holograms, embedded fibers,
Will either an improved driver's license or a national ID card prevent
terrorists from boarding a plane? Probably not. But an improved driver's
license will at least take some of the burden off the behind-the-counter
personnel at the airports, rental car agencies, train stations, etc.
Let's look at the low-tech approach of improving what we already have
before creating something new.
President and founder