If you live just about anywhere in the world, you know the importance of having an ID. It’s essentially treated as a requirement for being an adult and doing grownup things.
You know plenty of people my age who can’t wait to get their hands on their very own ID. It’s their ticket to freedom, after all. But for someone like me, putting my name down on a chunk of plastic couldn’t be further from being something I want to celebrate. You cannot even make a social media account without exposing your identification.
I think getting IDs is a terrible idea. It’s one of the worst ways to represent yourself as an adult in a society. Now, I know the burning question is going to be why I think this way.
1. It Opens You Up to All Kinds of Administrative Abuse
Probably one of the major reasons why ID cards disgust me to the core is the kind of stuff they can lead to. It’s not even the plastic itself so much as the tech that’s propping it up.
Let’s look at this way. I can walk up to any security guard with my seemingly real-looking ID, but how do they know it’s real for sure? That’s right, they verify it.
This means scanning a barcode or typing in a number and matching it with a database. A database that can then be used to keep track of me.
2. Where does it end?
Whether it’s just keeping my personal details on a server or tracking my movements, it’s all being allowed in the name of verification. Will my financial records start going up there too?
More importantly, who has access to it? Can my disgruntled landlord access it by making some half-baked excuse? Can a private investigator dig it up if they make a strong enough case? Is my personal life now just a book in a library that anyone can borrow? Where does it all end?
It’s always the same story in every case. A random guy gets a hold of someone’s SSN, name, or address. He uses it to open a credit card in their name or do other shady stuff.
They report it eventually but not before the damage is done. It’s incredibly simple to pull off because at most, you need a part of someone’s legitimate details or even their paper trail. Just rummaging through someone’s garbage and finding old expired IDs is enough to get the job done.
The thing that really bugs me off is that most IDs are taken at face value. If you say you’re someone and you have an ID that looks real enough, there’s very little reason for people to actually doubt that.
It only happens if you have a physical ID as a verification device.
If all an ID card did was prove that you’re a legal citizen with no shady associations, I would probably be fine with it. But that’s not the case, is it?
IDs lay you bare to the person viewing them. They show off your personal details including your physical appearance and even ethnic background. That often spirals into open discrimination.
If you happen to stop at a check post where you have to hand in your ID, it’s very apparent. If you even so much as look a bit out of the norm, you can expect to face discriminatory practices.
It can even happen in offices. According to a 1990 General Accounting Office study, nearly 20 percent of workplaces in the US were discriminatory against foreign nationals based on their IDs.
That’s not to say you wouldn’t face the same discrimination if you were right in front of them. However, waving you off behind the scenes because of your ID is a great face-saving device for people who don’t like you.
5. Forced Method of Representation
One of my biggest gripes with ID is how it’s the only way to prove who you are. No matter where you are or what you want to do, it’s always there. Anything that involves having to prove your identity means having to pull out that card. Every. Single. Time.
Now, the most obvious counterargument is that it’s the only viable method we have. I get that. For most of the world, there isn’t a better solution. Even I wouldn’t be able to give you an alternative that works better. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t call out the current way of doing it.
I understand that this isn’t the best way to put out my argument, so I will give you an alternative. In about 20 or so countries on our big blue sphere, you don’t need an ID.
So how do you verify yourself as an actual living human being?
Simple: you just use whatever you have at your disposal. This can be things like your driving license, your passport, your firearms license, your birth certificate, citizen certificate, or even a senior’s card.
Why is this better?
I’ll tell you why. You don’t have to go and camp out in your local government office waiting for your turn to come. You don’t have to pay to get a card that has no value other than proving your identity.
The representation fits the purpose. If you drive, you use a driver’s license. If you shoot, you use a firearms license. If you travel, you use a passport. These things have value other than just being glorified paper records.
You’re free to represent yourself however you want to, and that’s a right everyone should have.