Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Mark of the Beast?

For years I’ve heard and read of debates and controversies surrounding a National Identity card. That idea has been promoted as a solution to illegal immigration and a host of other problems.

One of the reasons such a concept has been rejected in the past has been privacy concerns. Well, get ready!

Our plant’s safety supervisor just came back from a trade group (NPRA — “National Petrochemical and Refining Association”) conference at which the new TWIC was discussed.

You know, the “Transportation Worker Identification Credential.” You DIDN’T know? Neither did I. Obviously I haven’t been paying much attention.

This I.D. card is... well, you can click HERE to read the information, but I’ll summarize it below.

“TWIC is a tamper-resistant credential that contains biometric information about the holder which renders the card useless to anyone other than the rightful owner. Using this biometric data, each transportation facility can verify the identity of a worker and help prevent unauthorized individuals from accessing secure areas. Currently, many transportation workers must carry a different identification card for each facility they access. A standard TWIC would improve the flow of commerce by eliminating the need for redundant credentials and streamlining the identity verification process.”

"Features of the card include:
64K contact Integrated Circuit Chip
4K (DesFire v6contactless) Integrated Circuit Chip
dual-interface card (anticipate 72K) Integrated Circuit Chip
Magnetic stripe
Two-dimensional bar code
Linear (3 of 9) bar code
Unique card serial number
Digital photo that complies with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standard"

On those embedded chips will be personal information and numbers, including fingerprints!

Why do I care? My plant is not located in a port facility, so this won’t affect me, right?


The initial plan was to require all PORT workers to carry the cards for access to their workplace. Now this requirement is being extended to truck drivers, rail crews, and other transportation workers who must enter the port facilities. No card, no entry.

Wait! My plant has a U.S. Coast Guard approved security plan. Does this mean that...?

Yes. We must purchase card readers and fingerprint scanners, have cards issued to all employees and others who come onto our plant site. Periodically we must compare all of our issued card numbers to updated lists of those whose cards are no longer valid because the holder has been (get this!) accused of a felony that might make him/her a threat. Not “convicted,” “accused!” (Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty?”)

No card = no job.

Sounds like “no ability to buy or sell,” doesn’t it? And these cards are also being proposed for inland refineries and plants -- any industrial facility where transportation workers (trucks, railroads) go.

Why not just tattoo “666” on our foreheads and be done with it? (That was tongue in cheek, in case you weren't sure.)


Unknown said...

Before long we'll all have UPC codes tattood on our foreheads. Or maybe... a number on our arms, if you catch my drift.

I reminded of a game I used to play where some characters lived 'outside' of society, refusing to get a Social Identification Number. These 'rebels' were referred to as the SINless.

Anonymous said...

When one is first confronted with such a suggestion, we all screech violation of privacy, etc. However when actually seeing all the terrorism going on and how easily people are able to steal another's identity and how easily they are able to enter into supposedly secure areas, it makes sense to have tighter security. On the otherhand, I feel it should not stop there - fingerprints should be entered into a worldwide database - will help stop terrorists, locate wanted criminals who have fled the country, identify people who have been kidnapped etc. Here in ZA we have to be fingerprinted each and every time our drivers licence is renewed so I guess I am used to it. This is a good topic and a moot one.

Anonymous said...

We have ID books here, it used to contain your drivers licence details and if you had a firearm licence etc. I don't really mind having one - but I do feel like it doesn't curb illegal immigration because people just bribe someone at the Home Affairs office to get one!!! Even worse some employers get foreign workers to go and buy them to circumvent the lengthy and difficult process of getting one legally!! (I used to actually know people who have employed Malawians rather than a local - since Malawians are considered much better workers!) It probably happens everywhere in the world. I wouldn't worry about the end of privacy though - I think it can actually help.

Emmy Ellis said...

My take in ID cards for all is this: why be bothered about having one unless you're a criminal and it would stop you thieving etc.

I couldn't care less if we get issued them in the UK (it's imminent, we'll have to have them on our person at all times and if we're found without them we'll get arrested...nice waste of police time there!) as I don't do anything wrong so it won't affect me.


Badabing said...

Wasn't something like this supposed to happen in 1984? :-)