Liberty and a national identity card (and other stuff)
I live in Singapore and all citizens are required to have an Identity Card. (IC) The IC is very useful. It doubles as a library card, it serves as identification when I apply for overseas visas, or want to open a bank account etc. Someone’s IC also allows me to identify the other party if I get into an accident (i.e. who to pay or who to bill for damages etc etc). At this level (call it level 1) There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with it. So, what are the problems with having a mandatory IC policy? (Presumably american social security cards are very similar except that they have neither fingerprint nor photo ID capabilities). Making it mandatory means that fake ICs will not pass a barcode test. If its genuine, the IC no will already be in a database.
Lets go a bit deeper. Let’s include fingerprint as well as DNA information in a database which is properly classified and only accessible by the police. When children register for their ICs, it is easy to take their fingerprints and DNA at the same time. The upshot of something like level 2 is that criminal investigations become a lot more accurate. DNA evidence can place people at crime scenes. This would also prevent bullshit things like deporting american citizens. Same question as before: what are the problems with making this mandatory?
Let’s go even deeper: Let’s call the following level 3 Let’s include stuff like income etc from the taxes that you file inside a database and link it up with your IC. So, if you are going to the hospital, instead of asking you to fill out a form for your insurance (as I see people doing in american TV shows) all the nurse has to do is to scan your card to pull up relevant information like your income and the amount of money in you Health Savings Account. The nurse can then provide you with an appropriate means tested service. This makes it easier to means test medical care and other social support services. It also cuts down on the red tape. Getting seen by a doctor become much easier.
I’m inclined to think that even level 3 would not violate any more fundamental rights than familiar forms of taxation. Are there liberal or libertarian arguments against this? Note, this is not an RFID system which allows you to be tracked. All this does is make things easier and more transparent on a lot of things. What liberty related reasons would we have to suppose in order for us to consider this a bad idea?