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01/15/2004 Archived Entry: "New book National Identification Systems: Essays in Opposition"

WatnerIDBook (8k image)

THE NEW BOOK, NATIONAL IDENTIFICATION SYSTEMS: ESSAYS IN OPPOSITION is sitting on my desk. This anthology may be only a modest trade paperback with a bit of a high price tag ($45). But it packs a lot of information.

This is the first book I know of that views national ID in historic, present, and future perspectives.

Past: It goes back to early dreams of pan-surveillance, traces the development of driver licenses and birth certificates as means of citizen-tracking, talks about Russian propiska (residence control) and even includes a fascinating essay about how surnames (and in some cases numbers) were forced upon subjugated Indian tribes for the benefit of bureaucrats.

Present: Discusses how social security numbers, ID chips, and even the federal census or an immigrant's green card are threats to our liberties. This section opens with a good overview present and planned surveillance of all Americans.

Future: Looks at both hopeful and terrifying future scenarios. This section also includes several essays on ID resistance.

Carl Watner assembled and edited the essays with assistance from Wendy McElroy. Contributors include both academics and many people you'll recognize from the freedom and privacy movements -- including Carl himself, privacy maven Robert Ellis Smith, Charlotte Twight, Sunni Maravillosa, Patty Neill (!!! -- her satiric essay demanding national ID numbers for all politicians), and me. I'm proud to have contributed two essays of my own and an excerpt from The State vs the People, co-authored with Aaron Zelman.

Posted by Claire @ 02:23 PM CST

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