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National ID Card

I. "What types of personal information can you think of that the government and/or private industries are able to keep on record about you?

Of these, which do you think should be openly accessible to others? Which should not?

Write an 'A' next to those that you feel should be available to others; write a 'P' next to those that you feel should be kept private."

After students have taken about five minutes to compile their own lists, assemble these onto a single class chart on the board. (Ideas may include things such as past criminal records, credit ratings, work history, medical history, driving record, ethnicity, race, religion, and birth certificate information.) With a show of hands, take an informal class poll to get an idea about how many students feel each of these categories of information should be kept private and which should be a matter of public record.

II. As a class, read and discuss "National I.D. Cards: One Size Fits All," focusing on the following questions:

a. In what countries are national identity cards currently "a fact of life"?
b. Why is the idea of national identity cards more controversial in the United States than they seem to be in other countries?
c. Based on the poll results included in the article, how do most Americans seem to feel about the idea of such identity cards?
d. What has Larry Ellison, the chief executive of Oracle software, offered to do?
e. According to the article, what is the Bush administration's stance on national identity cards?
f. In what other countries are national security systems currently under consideration?
g. According to the article, how were I.D. pass books used in South Africa during the Apartheid era?
h. In what ways does the New York Times article suggest that a national I.D. system could impact Arab-Americans?
i. In what ways is the United States currently testing a national I.D. system?
j. Why do some people believe that driver's licenses may be a useful tool for establishing a national I.D. system within the United States?
k. What do you think the title of this article, "National I.D. Cards: One Size Fits All," means?

III. WRAP-UP/HOMEWORK:

Students individually respond to the following prompt (written on the board for students to copy prior to leaving class): "Imagine that the United States has decided to establish a national I.D. system, and you have been put on the committee that will determine what types of information will be kept on this database. Based on the ideas presented in class and the arguments made for and against various categories of information, list the different types of information that you recommend should be kept within this system. Then, in a short speech (one to two pages), explain your reasons for including these types of information and excluding others."