Biometric Passports: A Question of Liberty
The picture above was taken last week. Israeli citizens returning home after a tiring flight are allotted one passport check counter as they enter the country. (Visitors to Israel are allotted five).
“Register for a biometric passport,” explain the airport workers.
In other words, either let us mark you like animals and store your personal information in a database that will necessarily leak or we will keep you in line until you despair.
The biometric issue is really part of the much larger issue of liberty. Liberty is like the air that we breathe. When it first becomes polluted, you don’t feel anything. When it is completely polluted, you simply die and nobody really cares. (In truth, more people die in Israel of pollution than from accidents or wars).
Our unspoken agreement with the State is that we deposit a bit of our liberty into its hands and receive security in exchange. A state will always be interested in convincing its citizens to surrender more and more of their liberty. Security will always – always – be the excuse.
The State of Israel was established on deep socialist foundations. It does not have the values that balance its gravitation toward dictatorship. Liberty in Israel is slowly but surely evaporating.
True, our pictures already exist in government databases. We have been photographed for our army service and in the US, we are photographed every time we enter the country (they don’t dare photograph their citizens). But I have no choice in the army and I can choose not to visit the US.
Here in Israel, it is different. My country has decided to do what it pleases with my identity. But it is my picture – not yours. Many readers may think that there is no reason to make an issue of this. But this is precisely the stage at which we can still fight the air pollution.
If the State will offer you a small and fashionable bracelet that tracks your buying habits in exchange for a 20% discount on every purchase – will you go for it?
Most probably will.
And if they offer you a subcutaneous chip (yes, like dogs) in exchange for a 40% discount? Or an invisible electronic mark on your forehead for 60% off?
Or a blue number on your arm for 100%?
The Zehut party will work long and hard to immediately nullify the biometric database (for which there is no real need) and replace it with smart IDs, which contain only basic information and cannot be forged.