Third Party & Independents Archives

Why Do You Need to See My ID?

The difficulty of privacy is that it can be leeched away slowly enough that we don’t recognize its absence. With the recent talks of a national ID card, there has been a (relatively) heightened awareness of privacy in America. I just read this article about John Gilmore’s quest to find and fight the secret security laws which require IDs to board flights within the US.

This topic is one which concerns all american citizens, regardless of political position. As it stands right now, if the government doesn't like what you have to say, all they need to do is put your name on the no-fly list to prevent you from getting to your next seminar/rally/whatever. It may not be a problem now, but we cannot be assured that no one in the government will ever use this power to harass or limit the free speech of citizens with a message they desire to quash. Even now, there are laws governing our movement within our own country that we are not even allowed to read; and until recently, the government denied that they even existed.

There is a fine line between privacy and security. Some argue "If you don't have anything to hide, what are you worried about?" This short-sighted mentality sells out our future voice against the government and more. Sure, speaking against government policy is not a problem now, but when we begin to let the government regulate avenues of communication, they can definitely interfere with the free speech of anyone they choose. In this case, Mr. Gilmore, in an effort to air his grievances with the national government, was prevented from doing so. And even though this is one instance, it is one too many.

The problem arises when we begin to focus on preventing crime, like we have been doing since 9-11. We cannot permit government interference against persons who have performed no illegal act. Laws and law enforcement are there to punish and deter illegal behaviour, not prevent it. When we allow the thought of terror to sap our freedoms, we may be more secure, but we undermine the constitutional freedoms we've been founded on, and that is too high of a price to pay for 'may be' security.

To read more and take action, I suggest visiting Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Finally, what post about national security would be complete without the following quote:
The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either.
-Ben Franklin

Posted by Andrew Parker at February 28, 2005 11:58 AM