Page 46

4

Concluding Remarks

Given the complexity of a nationwide identity system, its potential impacts, and the broad scope of the issues it raises, the committee believes that much more analysis is needed. Such analysis cannot proceed, however, without a clear articulation of the system's goals and requirements. The committee believes that if a nationwide identity system is to be created, the goals of such a system must be clearly and publicly identified and deliberated upon, with input sought from all stakeholders (including private citizens). Given the economic costs, the significant design and implementation challenges, and the risks to security and privacy posed by a poorly thought-out system, prior public review 1 is essential.

Thus the committee believes that proponents of a nationwide identity system should be required to present a very compelling case addressing these issues and that they should solicit input from a broad range of stakeholder communities. 2 The committee's own discussion of a nation

1For an example of how this might work, consider the public-review cycle for the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES); see < http://csrc.nist.gov/encryption/aes/>, managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

2Other stakeholder groups have already commented on the idea of a national identity card, albeit within varying contexts. For example, in 1995 the Cato Institute presented an extensive policy analysis of the notion of a nationwide worker registry within the context of a larger immigration debate (see < http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa237.html>). The American Civil Liberties Union offered similar opposition (see < http://www.aclu.org/library/aaidcard.html>); around the same time, Privacy International prepared a report describing the use and implications of national ID cards from an international perspective (see < http://www.privacy.org/pi/activities/idcard/idcard_faq.html>).



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 46
4 Concluding Remarks G iven the complexity of a nationwide identity system, its potential impacts, and the broad scope of the issues it raises, the committee believes that much more analysis is needed. Such analysis cannot proceed, however, without a clear articulation of the system’s goals and requirements. The committee believes that if a nationwide identity system is to be created, the goals of such a system must be clearly and publicly identified and deliberated upon, with input sought from all stakeholders (including private citizens). Given the economic costs, the significant design and implementation challenges, and the risks to security and privacy posed by a poorly thought-out system, prior public review1 is essential. Thus the committee believes that proponents of a nationwide identity system should be required to present a very compelling case addressing these issues and that they should solicit input from a broad range of stakeholder communities.2 The committee’s own discussion of a nation- 1For an example of how this might work, consider the public-review cycle for the Ad- vanced Encryption Standard (AES); see , managed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology. 2Other stakeholder groups have already commented on the idea of a national identity card, albeit within varying contexts. For example, in 1995 the Cato Institute presented an extensive policy analysis of the notion of a nationwide worker registry within the context of a larger immigration debate (see ). The American Civil Liberties Union offered similar opposition (see ); around the same time, Privacy International prepared a report de- scribing the use and implications of national ID cards from an international perspective (see ). 46

OCR for page 46
47 CONCLUDING REMARKS wide identity system, although brief and modest in scope, raised numer- ous complex questions. It is clear that an evaluation of the potential costs, presumed benefits, and potential drawbacks of any proposed system is necessary in order to fully appreciate its trade-offs. Care must be taken to completely explore the ramifications of any nationwide identity system not only because of the significant policy con- cerns and technological challenges but also because after-the-fact costs— the result of revoking, correcting, or redesigning after broad deploy- ment—would be enormous. Moreover, analysts must give serious consideration to the idea that—given the broad range of potential uses, security requirements, and privacy needs that might be contemplated— no single nationwide identity system is likely to meet the varied demands of all potential users. Undoubtedly many more issues exist that are not even touched upon here. Given the wide range of technological and logistical challenges, the likely direct and indirect costs, the serious potential for infringing on the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens, and the gravity of the policy issues raised, any proposed nationwide identity system requires strict scrutiny and significant deliberation well in advance of design and de- ployment.

OCR for page 46

OCR for page 46
Appendixes

OCR for page 46