Immigration Bill Mandates Biometric Information On All Adult Americans

Everyone should Tweet Marco Rubio and ask him what this is all about

(Wired) The immigration reform measure the Senate began debating yesterday would create a national biometric database of virtually every adult in the U.S., in what privacy groups fear could be the first step to a ubiquitous national identification system.

Buried in the more than 800 pages of the bipartisan legislation (.pdf) is language mandating the creation of the innocuously-named “photo tool,” a massive federal database administered by the Department of Homeland Security and containing names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver’s license or other state-issued photo ID.

Employers would be obliged to look up every new hire in the database to verify that they match their photo.

While the idea is interesting in terms of verifying who the person applying for a job is and whether they are legally eligible to work in the USA, and it’s certainly easier to match a photo from a government issued ID to a photo held in a database, one has to wonder about the privacy concerns raised.

This piece of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act is aimed at curbing employment of undocumented immigrants. But privacy advocates fear the inevitable mission creep, ending with the proof of self being required at polling places, to rent a house, buy a gun, open a bank account, acquire credit, board a plane or even attend a sporting event or log on the internet. Think of it as a government version of Foursquare, with Big Brother cataloging every check-in.

Let’s not forget that your Social Security number was meant solely for identification to the Social Security administration, now it’s used for lots and lots of different things, including Obamacare identification and tracking.

Perhaps if the legislation provides hard assurances that this will not go any further, it might be palatable. But, said promise would be as worthless as “if you like your insurance, you can keep it”.

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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