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Talk of National ID Card Increases

Monday, 24 September 2001 12:00 AM

Discussions about an ID card began to re-percolate following the September 11 attack on the United States, with several Members of Congress saying the issue was one that merits fresh consideration as the nation looks for ways to improve national security from terrorist attacks like those on New York and Washington, D.C.

Following a September 20 report by CNSNews.com, there have been increasing discussions about the proposed ID cards. Those discussions grew after Larry Ellison, CEO of software giant Oracle, reportedly suggested an ID card with a digitized photo and thumbprint.

A spokesperson for Oracle also confirmed that Ellison said he would be willing to make the technology for such an ID card available to the government at no cost.

At least one public opinion survey shows significant support for an ID card, but one that's targeted only at Arabs.

A USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll last week showed that 49 percent of those responding would support mandatory IDs for Arabs in the U.S., including American citizens of Arab heritage.

The survey results drew fire from the Libertarian Party Monday, which criticized the idea as a "Taliban-style" ID.

"Such a response, while understandable in light of the horror and devastation caused by terrorists is not only wrong, it's un-American," said Steve Dasbach, the national director of the party. "To support such a proposal is not only wrong, it's shameful."

Last week, two members of Congress said the idea of a "national ID" might be an idea worth considering by the whole Congress.

Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) foresees that the issue may grow into an issue demanding attention from Congress.

Bono said, "When we consider ourselves to be at war, people are going to have to recognize that some of their freedoms are going to be gone."

She said security concerns might be addressed in a variety of possible ways.

"Whether we are talking national ID cards I don't know, or fingerprinting of everybody, I don't know where we are going to go with security. I will always err on the side of caution and err on the side of safety and security for our people," Bono was quoted as saying.

Rusty Payne, press secretary for Bono, said the congresswoman wasn't endorsing the implementation of national ID cards, but only warning that such a debate could be in the near future.

"She was simply preparing people, readers and constituents for the inevitable proposals that would be thrown around," Payne said.

Bono isn't the only one in Congress talking about a national ID card program.

House Minority Leader Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) said Congress needed to quickly debate a number of proposals, possibly including a national ID card.

Gephardt also pointed out that the American people have rejected the idea of national ID cards in the past because it was viewed as an infringement on civil liberties, and the House Democratic leader said recent events raise fresh questions.

Copyright 2001

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Discussions about an ID card began to re-percolate following the September 11 attack on the United States, with several Members of Congress saying the issue was one that merits fresh consideration as the nation looks for ways to improve national security from terrorist...
Talk,National,Card,Increases
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2001-00-24
Monday, 24 September 2001 12:00 AM
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