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 ground?

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 cards.

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, etc.).

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.

Charles Scruggs
President and founder
InfoMediary Associates


We welcome your comments. To send a letter to the editor, use this form.

Please check out the archive of Letters to the Editor for fellow readers' comments.


  • Congress
    U.S. Capitol (Photo by M DOGAN / Shutterstock)

    Funding bill clears Congress, heads for president's desk

    The $1.3 trillion spending package passed the House of Representatives on March 22 and the Senate in the early hours of March 23. President Trump is expected to sign the bill, securing government funding for the remainder of fiscal year 2018.

  • 2018 Fed 100

    The 2018 Federal 100

    This year's Fed 100 winners show just how much committed and talented individuals can accomplish in federal IT. Read their profiles to learn more!

  • Census
    How tech can save money for 2020 census

    Trump campaign taps census question as a fund-raising tool

    A fundraising email for the Trump-Pence reelection campaign is trying to get supporters behind a controversial change to the census -- asking respondents whether or not they are U.S. citizens.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.