Batman Bin Suparman here. I wanted to talk to you about Real ID. Apparently, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security just extended deadlines on Real ID because many states are resisting it. I know that in the United States and the UK national identity cards are considered a risk to privacy, even while US government agencies continuously snoop into conversations and vampire CCTV cameras are everywhere in the UK. But really people, look at my Singaporean ID card and tell me if you think there's anyone capable of spying on Batman Bin Suparman! Yeah, I didn't think so either! I can kick anyone's ass! Hahahahaha—OK, sorry about that. But do you really think a national ID card is such a big risk to your privacy?
I live in Singapore, where we have had national ID cards for a long time. And while I don't wear my underpants over my pyjamas most of the times, I don't feel any risk to my privacy at all for having it. Why?
To start with, I have a passport too, like everyone in the world, which is already used to track me when I move out of my country to fight super-criminals in places like New York, London, or Albuquerque.
Then, if I have to be concerned about privacy, I am more worried about how companies track my purchases and habits using my credit cards—to share how many red thongs and capes I buy with other associated companies or how their own marketing departments—than about the ID card itself. That, to me, is where the true battle for privacy is.
Knowing how private corporations, financial companies, social security, and the Mr. Taxman track every movement I do, I really don't give a damn about an ID card that I only have to show when I buy something, go to the bank or do some bureaucratic transaction in some public office. Yes, all that info is tied to that ID card number, but that is also my Social Security number and driver's card license number in the first place.
When I have to use my ID card—which has my photo on it—it's never recorded or scanned. Just shown to the occasional waiter or cashier, so they can be sure that my credit card is not stolen and I'm in fact who I say I am. Why would they want to record it when they already have me in a piece of plastic with a magnetic band? So since all my data is already tied to my credit card and I have to live with it, having an ID card makes me feel safer against crime, just in case I forget my credit card in a public place or it gets stolen in the subway without me noticing for a long time.
So my question again is, if we are all getting tracked by the state and private companies, why the concern about Real ID? Do you really think that it is going to be a risk to your already-non-existant privacy? In what way?
Speak up in the comments.
Batman Bin Suparman