Book Forum

Identity Crisis: How Identification Is Overused and Misunderstood

(Cato Institute, 2006)

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Date and Time
January 18, 2007 1 - 3 PM EST
Featuring the author Jim Harper, Director of Information Policy Studies, Cato Institute; with comments by James Lewis, Director and Senior Fellow, Technology and Public Policy Program Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Jay Stanley, Public Education Director, Technology and Liberty Project American Civil Liberties Union.

Identification is an essential social and economic process, but the advance of identification technologies such as biometrics, identity cards, surveillance, databases, and dossiers threatens privacy, civil liberties, and related human interests. Since September 11, 2001, identification has been advanced as a national security tool, most conspicuously in the REAL ID Act, which calls for states to issue nationally uniform drivers’ licenses and ID cards by May 2008. But state legislators and the American people are chafing at what may be an $11 billion, unfunded surveillance mandate, and legislation to repeal REAL ID has already been introduced. In Identity Crisis Jim Harper argues that identification does not provide the security often assumed, and the overuse of identification harms Americans’ interests in a variety of ways. The solution is to replace the uniform national identity system being advanced by the REAL ID Act with a diverse, competitive identification and credentialing marketplace. Please join us for a lively discussion with distinguished commentators.