I read this Op-Ed advocating for a National ID card and agreed with pretty much the whole first half of it, especially this summary:
In other words, the U.S. has created two forms of de facto ID: one (Social Security) that is universal, but not reliable; another (state-issued driver’s licenses) that is reliable, but not universal.
We have massive identity thefts problems in the US, and so much of that is driven by the fact that your Social Security # is used both to identify you in a system and to verify you in a system – it’s be like having your username BE your password to an email system. It would make a lot more sense if we all had a unique ID number that was public, and a separate method of verifying that we are who we say we are (that could be changed in case of compromise).
The author of the op-ed advocates for a bare-bones national ID card that doesn’t show really anything other than a name and a picture, with the rest of the information stored electronically, read only by certain readers. My issue with that is the infrastructure of reading would be extremely expensive and would be subject to a variety of technical issues.
I think an opt-in system would be much better – Name/picture is the minimum, but if you want to print more information for a variety of other purposes it’s allowed. Even better if you can get buy-in from the seperate States and allow for there to be special codes for driving privileges, etc.