The Future of National Identification

Topics: Civil Liberties

The New York Times article A National I.D the author suggests National identification cards could be a step in the direction of totalitarianism, if not addressed properly. The point of view is outlined by security risks, an over-reaching government, and visions of an unstable future society. The writer offers strong, suggestive language, and theoretical situations to express their point of view.

The article has strong opinions expressed about security. The writer is talking about a New York City Council member being killed due to improper security procedures, during which stating “…the point of security is not to make sure that people are carrying the correct form of I.

D. It’s to make sure they do not have a weapon.” (New York Times,1). The purpose is to magnify risks that come along with inadequate security measures. The macabre image portrayed offers an emotional connection to the reader. The author also touches on the potentiality of forged “Super security” cards; “…and a fake super security pass would present more dangers than a fake driver’s license.

” (New York Times,1). This supports a worried tone, depicting visions of a society doomed by their wrong decisions. This is highlighting that proper identification does not fully equate to proper security. The purpose is to show that even the best card can fall into the wrong hands. If there was a single card for everything, a forgery could pose significant risk to both safety and security.

A theme across the article is civil liberties. The point is addressed that people should not be stripped from their right to privacy in order to gain security.

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The writer is posing the question as to how this is possible, and the steps needed to make the future of security have a positive impact. The article is stressing the importance of the system not being rigged in favor of the wealthy, meaning the people with money will skip the lines while the poor are harassed. The idea is finding a solution that will meet citizens in the middle, so they won’t feel violated and at the same time being protected.

An idea of power fallen into the wrong hands is presented. This is displayed through potential scenarios, as well as identifying past events. The author says the idea of national identification offers radical thought; “it conjures images of totalitarianism – Big Brother or even the German S.S Soldier asking to see a citizen’s papers.” (New York Times,1). This highlights the ideology of the wrong people manipulating identity, a crucial part of self, for nefarious purposes. The author uses the term “S.S soldier”, this almost immediately portrays an image of Hitler and his atrocities. The article stresses how citizens are already using driver’s licenses as “de facto” identification cards,” …turning driver’s licenses into identification cards undermines their original purpose and how that strays from their original purpose – to make certain that drivers are qualified to handle a car…” (New York Times,1). This illustrates how a society is already conceptually, and in the authors mind, subjected to the concept of national identity cards. The author also suggests that identity checks have become increasingly more frequent after the 9/11 attacks. The author uses a tone of fear, and is effective in delivering the message through reminding people of war crimes.

The author recognizes a need for correctly applied security. There is a battle between needing identity security, but fearing it could lead to tyranny. This article wants to appeal to the best minds in security, seeking solutions that will not strip citizens from their right to privacy. The author says: “private corporations are now marketing identification systems… these solutions might allow corporations to work out kinks… a process that could take years if the government tried to do it. “(New York Times,1), this invoked the notion that security is a good idea when handled correctly. The author is using an encouraging tone to make the reader think about possible solutions on their own. Saying “might” leaves room for growth in the realm of ideas and an increase in possible solutions. The author is even appealing to Congress and George Bush, suggesting they get a team of experts together.

The overall standpoint is meant to be informative, but the writer is on a bias. The author gives valid reasons why citizens should be informed about the security of their identity. Although freedom is important, it can diminish if not secured properly. The writer uses encouraging tones, accompanied with stark reminders of the past. Identity is the essence of who we are. The message put forth in these few paragraphs is to give American citizens a better understanding about the future of National Identification. Without a balance, identity security can fall into the tyrannical hands. The question remains; how do we secure our identities while maintaining personal liberty?


Works Cited

  1. ‘A National ID.’ New York Times, 31 May 2004, p. A16. Global Issues in Context, Accessed 23 Oct. 2018.

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The Future of National Identification. (2022, Apr 28). Retrieved from

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