A National, Biometric Driver's License?
That's what a couple congressmen from Virginia have proposed. Given $315 million and 5 years, they'd produce a mandatory national driver's license which identifies you by your fingerprint, retinal scan or some other biometric data.
It goes without saying that civil rights groups are up in arms over such a proposal. They argue that such a system would tie what is now disparate and unorganized information about each citizen together to a degree which far exceeds social security numbers. They argue that such a system could be too easily abused.
In defense of their proposal, the congressmen (1 Democrat, 1 Republican) point out the inefficiency and abuse of social security numbers, which commonly serve as a sort of pseudo identification number by banks, hospitals, universities, and other organizations. They can do this because, though there are strict regulations in place for government agencies when it comes to requesting and using your social security number, there is virtually no regulation what so ever in regards to private companies.
The congressmen claim that they do not intend to link the national driver's license with a federal database. Now this is all well and good (as intentions often are), but the social security number used to be imprinted with "Not to be used for Identification." This was in direct response to people's fears that the social security number system would be abused. Given a few years, the occasional executive order and "reform" act, and abuse of the social security number is rampant.
One would think that, at the very least, we should fix this before we create an entirely new system to be abused.