We were still trying to figure out how a person could muster up four forms of ID to apply for a driver’s license (birth certificate, passport, student ID, and, um, driver’s license?), which we’ve been hearing is about to happen, when the National ID Card suddenly reared its ugly head. It looks like tomorrow the Senate’s going to vote on a bill that we’ve been told almost nothing about: the Real ID Act. To prevent terrorists entering the US, a machine-readable picture ID card will be issued to everyone in the country and will feature home address, occupation, religion, age, weight, etc, and possibly a bar code. (unrealid.com via sploid)
Our new IDs will have to make their data available through a “common machine-readable technology”. That will make it easy for anybody in private industry to snap up the data on these IDs. Bars swiping licenses to collect personal data on customers will be just the tip of the iceberg as every convenience store learns to grab that data and sell it to Big Data for a nickel. It won’t matter whether the states and federal government protect the data – it will be harvested by the private sector, which will keep it in a parallel database not subject even to the limited privacy rules in effect for the government.
Unless, of course, it’s all an internet hoax. Most everything is these days, including, yes, our Paula Abdul messages on Corey Clark’s answering machine. He has voice mail.