A National Identity File is not a national ID card
but an extremely secure and accurate computer record for each of us,
gathering information already included in other official records.

    Strong protections will prevent unauthorized snooping,
identity theft, & the insertion of false information.
Anyone misusing the National Identity Files should be punished.

    These National Identify Files will be extremely useful
for a number of valid functions of government, including:
citizenship, voting, passports, census, taxation, employment, banking,
Social Security, child-support, welfare fraud, & criminal identification.



















    The overwhelmingly-negative first responses to this suggestion
must be overcome. 
Such first fears might be answered by the specifics
—what to include and what to exclude

    Once the possible negative impacts have been prevented,
then the positive benefits might become obvious.


by James Leonard Park


    Creating a National Identity File means gathering basic information
about every man, woman, & child now living in the United States of America.
(This would also include temporary Files
for people from other countries who are visiting the USA.)

    The first item in each National Identity File would be a current photo.

    Only official information already recorded would be included.
No additional information would be collected. 
The National Identity Bureau would put together in one computer system
the basic facts about us that are already recorded elsewhere.

    The specific File for each person in the USA
would include well-established public facts about each individual
—facts that are already on file in other official records.
The computer File would merely organize the data
previously held in many different record-keeping systems.
And if this process uncovers 'data' that should not have been recorded,
this organizing process will purge the faulty Files.


    Whenever someone suggests collecting data in a government computer,
fears of the misuse of this data by various people are raised.
This is a valid worry.
We know that tax-returns are read by employees of the IRS
who have no legitimate reasons for looking at them.
Celebrities are common victims of such unauthorized snooping.

    The way to prevent all forms of misuse of the National Identity Files
is to establish and enforce strong punishments for all such crimes.
And if current laws are not strict enough,
new data-privacy laws can be proposed and enacted.

    In contrast to all paper records,
which are difficult to keep private from prying eyes,
the National Identity Bureau will keep our Files only electronically.
The NIB computer will keep track of who inserted every item
and who looked at each File.

    When each National Identity File is first created,
the identity of the officer inserting the data will be recorded.
And a complete log will begin to record
everyone who reads anything in that File from then on.
This will allow prosecution for false data and unauthorized users.
There will be strict controls on who is permitted to read the data.
Since no computer system is perfect,
some people will always be able to evade the security measures
to find the information they seek.
But the computer system itself will be able to trace
all who gained access to any Identity File.

    And as soon as any holes in the security system are discovered,
they will be plugged.

    All persons who enter data into the National Identity Files
will also be completely identified using their own Identity Files
so that creators of false identities can be sent to prison.

    What about putting violators into jail for one to ten years?
Would this threat of punishment be enough to prevent hackers?
Perhaps they believe they will never be caught.
But after a few high-profile cases appear in the news,
then others tempted to hack into the National Identity Files
will think twice before violating the data-privacy laws.

    We know that our banks have achieved a high level of security.
They move millions of dollars by computer every day.
Despite constant attempts to hack into the security systems to steal money,
only individual accounts have been compromised
when their account numbers and access codes have been stolen.
But basically the huge banking system has developed
good methods of keeping the wrong people out
while allowing access to the people with a legitimate right to know.

    Once a few people are actually in prison for unauthorized snooping
or for attempting to insert false data into the
National Identity computers,
then others who were tempted to hack into the National Identity Bureau
will be deterred, at least to some degree.
When further violations are discovered,
then newer methods of finding the culprits might have to be invented.
And this will be a continuing cat-and-mouse game
between the detectives attempting to catch the violators
and the hackers who think that they can pry without detection.

    Worries about unauthorized snooping will also be somewhat reduced
by the fact that our National Identity Files will never contain sensitive data.
As explained in greater detail below,
the File for each of us will only gather
facts already (legitimately) included in other official records.

    The identity File will only contain information needed to identify us.
These types of information will be defined by law.
And this law will also define what kinds of information are not permitted.
In the age of electronic records,
commercial enterprises already have more information about us
than we want them to have.
For example, cell phone records can trace
where we were whenever we had our cell phones turned on.
In order to connect with us when someone calls,
the cell-phone system must know which transmission-tower
is closest to us whenever our cell-phones are turned on.

    And some Internet sites keep records of our visits.

    Our cell-phone-use and our Internet searches
will be explicitly excluded from our National Identity Files.

    The National Identity File for each of us would not contain
personal information beyond what is explicitly required by law.
And the authorizing legislation will explicitly exclude some information.

    Other laws might be needed to protect us against companies
that want to collect facts about us for commercial purposes.
Commercial collection of data will continue to be a greater threat to privacy
than the very limited information contained in our National Identity Files.

Penalties for Violating the National Identity data-base
explains six likely crimes associated with the National Identity Bureau
and suggests a specific term in prison for each crime.


    Even before we create a National Identity File for each of us,
we should establish principles for different levels of access
to the data about each of us held by the National Identity Bureau.

    The first level of access will make basic facts available
to a wide variety of people who have a need to know about us.

    This first level of information will include a recent picture of each of us.
(When we apply for a driver's license,
we already allow the motor vehicle department to take our pictures.
And these pictures on our driver's licenses
are already used for many identification purposes.)
Perhaps the data needed for our National Identity Files
could start with the facts already collected by motor vehicle departments.

    Other facts at this first level of access could include
the last four digits of our Social Security Numbers.
And, of course, our current names would be part of this basic data.

    Employers would have access to this level of information
about everyone living within the borders of the USA.
So they would be required to check identity before hiring anyone.
If the picture in the National Identity File does not match
the face of the person applying for the job,
then the employer should call the police,
since someone is attempting identify theft or some other fraud.

    If there is no National Identify File for this applicant,
then there will be no job either.

    The National Identity Files would replace all old systems
employers use to check to see if they can hire a person who is applying.
Usually they just check papers presented by prospective employees.
Such papers are easy to falsify.
Prospective employers also check: Is this Social Security Number valid?
But Social Security Numbers can also be stolen.
Stealing someone else's face will be much more difficult.

    Confusions and omissions can be cleared up by Identity Bureau officers
authorized to do deeper investigation for each National Identify File.

    When someone already employed lacks a valid National Identity File,
this does not mean automatic dismissal.
Rather, a temporary National Identity File could be created
while further facts are gathered.

    Law enforcement will also have access
to all the necessary levels of the National Identity Files.
This should help them to find criminals
who are trying to avoid being taken into custody.

    The U.S. Census Bureau will have instant access to all data,
but they will not be able to know the exact names
and Social Security Numbers of the people.
After the Census Bureau is integrated into the National Identity Bureau,
then all data will be remembered in a single, very secure computer system.

    The need-to-know will be the principle for determining
exactly who can read certain facts in our National Identity Files.
Even the President will not have uncontrolled access to our Files.
Every level of government has people who would like to snoop into our Files.
Whenever such snooping is uncovered
by the process of tracing who has obtained access to each File and when,
appropriate penalties will be applied immediately.  

    When potential snoopers know that other people at their level of access
have already gone to jail for unauthorized snooping,
they will think twice before they indulge their curiosity.

    Data-mining programs will also be prohibited
—of course.
This means that no government or private agency can pillage thru the data
in our National Identity Files searching for persons with particular traits.
Our NIFs will never be available for commercial purposes.


    Fears of Big Brother should be allayed when we affirm
that the new computer File for each of us
will not contain any private or personal information
not already a part of a legitimate official record.

    Should law-abiding people fear collecting official information?
People who have something to hide from the IRS, for example,
should worry that their unreported income might be discovered.
Criminals who are trying to hide from the police
will not want anything about them contained in a National Identity File.
But I, for one, have no worries about any official information
about me being gathered into one computer File.

    When and where we were born was officially recorded.
Our addresses were listed in phone books and city directories.
Whatever schools we attended have kept the records of those years.
If we have ever owned a home, that is a part of the real-estate records.
If we were held jobs, both the IRS and our employers have records.
And we all should have Social Security Numbers,
which are required for employment, banking, taxation, & benefits.
If we ever married, this fact was also registered by the local courthouse.

    Each of these facts about us do not pry into our private lives.
But some embarrassing facts might be included,
such as records of arrests, convictions, & imprisonment.
Law enforcement, courts, & prisons already have such facts about us.

    Each of the facts recorded about us in our National Identity Files
can lead to other discoverable facts closely related.
For example, if we claim to have attended certain schools,
we should be able to describe something about those schools.
Where were they located?
What years did we attend?
Is there any record that we graduated?
Also, if we claim to have lived in certain locations,
we should be able to answer questions about the neighborhood.

    People who are making false claims to be us,
will not be able to answer deeper questions
relating to each of the factual items in our National Identity Files.

    And if we were living in other countries during certain years
we will not be able to answer questions or provide proofs
that show we were living in the USA during the years in question.
What records of residence can we provide?
Did we file income-tax returns for those years?
Did we own cars that were registered
with the state where we claim to have been living?



    The earliest fact about each of us is our date of birth.
The date, time, & place is recorded by the hospital where we were born.
And those birth-records also name our mother and father.
For those of us who were not born in a hospital,
there are other methods for registering the facts within a few days.

    Each person born within the USA is automatically an American citizen.
So there is no problem with giving Social Security Numbers at birth.
Our unique Social Security Numbers will be one basic fact
that will distinguish us from all other persons in the National Identity Files.
Other people might share the same date of birth or even the same name,
but one unique Social Security Number is assigned to each of us.
Even if we change our names (as when getting married),
we retain our original Social Security Numbers.

    If we were born in other countries, we can get Social Security Numbers
when we are permitted to enter the United States
at least if we have declared our intention to become U.S. citizens later.

    Temporary visitors to the USA from other countries
should have temporary records in the National Identity Bureau.
These visitors will have other numbers---not Social Security Numbers.
But they will fit within the same data-base.

    When foreigners become U.S. citizens,
the dates of such naturalization will be recorded
and Social Security Numbers will be issued if needed.
Pictures and other data for their Identity Files will be recorded.

    At birth the sex of each child is recorded.
If and when a person legally changes sex,
the date of that change will also be included in the National Identity File.
(It makes no sense to change the birth-certificate,
because it was a well-known fact
that this person was of one sex during certain years of his or her life
and then after a few sex-change operations legally became the other sex.)
The fact of sex-change is one of the facts that will be available
only to others who have a valid right to know,
such as law-enforcement officers who need to identify certain persons.


    Not every American possesses a passport at present.
But everyone who travels to other countries and returns to the USA
has a complete record of identity in the passport office.
And when visitors from other countries enter the USA,
they present the passports issued by their countries of citizenship.

    Could all of the functions of the passport office
be included in the new National Identity Bureau?
Passports also attempt to establish and prove
the identity and citizenship of each holder.
But because passports are paper documents, they can be falsified.

    Passport cards condense passport information onto one plastic card.
An embedded computer chip makes these readable
by specialized scanners at close range.
Because passport cards are new,
the number of false documents is not known.
Passport cards are used for travel within North America.

    The National Identify File would be in electronic form.
It would include a recent picture just as passports do.
(And privacy protectors do not complain about passport photos.)
But since the identity would be kept in the very-secure computer,
rather than in anything that the passport holder carries with him or her,
it would be much more difficult to create a false passport.
Creating a phony passport would require
putting false information into a National Identity File,
in the super-secure computers of the National Identity Bureau.

    Everyone who travels between countries
would be checked electronically by looking at their National Identity Files
rather than examining individual paper or plastic documents.
And all persons who are prohibited from flying
would have that information displayed with their pictures
whenever someone with the proper authorization checks their identity.
The pictures themselves will clear up confusion because of similar names.
And the wrong persons will not be prohibited from flying.

    The same information about travels now recorded by the passport office
would become part of the National Identity File for each traveler.
But (once again), this part of the data would only be available
to authorized persons who have a right to know about our travels.

    Temporary Files will be created for all visitors to the USA.
And these Visitor Files with the National Identity Bureau
will contain the specific authorization, including the termination date
when permission to be present in the United States comes to an end.
Temporary Files for visitors will show when they were granted permission,
when they entered the United States,
and when they departed once again for their homelands.
These Visitor Files will actually be preserved in the computer system,
in case the same visitor wants to visit the USA at some later time.
Another visit might require a new photo
and further confirmation that this is really the same person.


Federal law still requires all males ages 18-25 to register for the draft,
even tho there has been no draft since 1973.
The new National Identity Bureau could easily absorb this function.
The age and sex of each person living in the USA
would already be included in the National Identity computer.
No separate registration would be needed.
A National Identity File is opened for each American at birth
or when each foreign national enters the United States.
When each male reaches the age of 18,
he is automatically included in the Selective Service data-base.
No specific actions would be required to register.
And no actions could prevent being registered.
When each male reaches age 26,
he is automatically removed from the SSS data-base.
Selective Service now registers 14 million young men.

    Whenever someone serves in one of the U.S. military forces,
those facts are well recorded by that branch of the U.S. government.
The National Identity File for each person will mention
all terms of service in any branch of the U.S. military.
But the actual military records will remain with
the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard.


    Everyone who has ever attended an elementary school,
a secondary school, or any institution of higher education
has left a record of that attendance and perhaps graduation.
These records will also be correlated by the National Identity Bureau.

    However, the National Identity Bureau has no need to know
what grades we earned in each year of formal education.
All that would be required for identity purposes would be these facts:
We were registered in such-and-such schools
and during specific years we did attend.

    Complete academic records will be maintained by the institutions.


    Over 100 million of us already have driver's licenses,
which include our pictures and some other facts about us.
This data-base has more than 1/3 of everyone living in the United States.
The National Identity Files could begin with this basic data.

    Every vehicle on the road anywhere has a license plate,
which identifies that individual car, truck, & even boat trailer.
The states and territories are in charge of vehicle registration.
Our National Identity Files would probably simply note
that we are the registered owners of certain vehicles on the road.
When needed by authorized users,
the details in the files of each state could be consulted.

    But the National Identity Bureau
would have to verify (at least whenever there is doubt)
the facts collected by the motor vehicle bureaus of the various states.
We all know that it is sometimes too easy to get a false driver's license.
Millions of teen-agers who are too young to be admitted to bars
have phony driver's licenses showing false dates of birth.
(When the National
Identity Bureau discovers such false records,
it should also inform all other agencies that might have been misled,
including the state motor vehicle bureau that has the false date of birth
and/or any other 'facts' in a fake driver's-license file.)

    The National Identity Bureau would also discover
drivers who are licensed in more than one state
and motor vehicles that were reported missing.
In many cases, there would be easy, legitimate explanations
for multiple driver's licenses and vehicles crossing state lines.

    Also, some states give driver's licenses to citizens of other countries
who are living in those states without federal permission.
These states often do not want to enforce immigration laws.
Such states sometimes overlook the facts of citizenship.

    But citizens of other countries living in the United States
will also have National Identity Files.
For example, people who have visas for employment or education
often do have a legitimate right to drive.
And people waiting to become citizens of the United States
also should have driver's licenses if they drive anywhere in America.

    Once the National Identity Bureau
has a complete data-base of all people living in the USA,
then the various state motor vehicle departments
would check the applicant's Identify File in NIB
before issuing or renewing a driver's license.
This would catch people trying to be licensed in more than one state.
And NIB would know which drivers are citizens of the USA.
Non-citizens would not automatically be registered to vote.
And the NIB would guarantee there is only one identity for each person.
    As said before, even persons temporarily visiting the USA
will have temporary Visitor Files in the National Identity Bureau.
And some of these visitors should be licensed to drive.


    If we ever had a phone number, our names were in phone books.
We can pay extra to have an un-listed phone number,
but the telephone company still knows where we live.

    Some cities maintain city directories,
which list all residents and businesses,
even if they do not have land-line telephones.

    Some city directories were discontinued
because everyone was already in the phone book.
But as more people abandon their land-line telephones
and have only mobile phones,
city directories might be re-created.

    Probably some telephone numbers will be included in Directory USA.
Current and former addresses would also be included in our Identity Files.


    If we have ever been employed or had other taxable income,
we have records in the Internal Revenue Service.
The IRS has records for over 150 million taxpayers.
And these records also name any dependents not yet paying taxes.

    Also most states and localities have tax records.

    Not all of the facts in our tax-records
will be incorporated into our National Identity Files.
For example, the amounts of income for specific years is not relevant.
But it would be valuable for the National Identity Bureau
to know that we did in fact file income-tax returns for certain years,
using our correct names and addresses for those years.

    This might serve as a good example of the limits of our Identity Files.
It would be unnecessarily-intrusive for the NIB to record
the amounts of our incomes for various years.
The IRS will keep those numbers,
but our complete tax-returns are not necessary for proving our identities.

    The IRS also knows the sources of our incomes for each year.
But such details would not be transferred to the NIB.
Each employer has a federal employer identification number.
If authorized investigators have a legitimate right to know,
employment records kept by employers could also be consulted
in order to establish our identities.
Our employers have our Social Security Numbers and perhaps our pictures.

    The Social Security Administration has a record of every person
who has ever had a Social Security Number.
And assigning new Social Security Numbers at birth
will make these records more complete.
Perhaps the SSA has the best list of people living in the USA.
When we pay Social Security Taxes, the SSA keeps a record.
And when we begin to receive Social Security benefits and Medicare,
these facts are also contained in the computers of the SSA.

    Because of its many other valid functions,
the Social Security Administration will remain an independent agency,
separate from the National Identity Bureau.
But the records of both federal agencies
will be compatible and freely shared as needed.
And penalties will be applied whenever snooping is discovered.


    Every citizen of the United States has a right to vote in all elections.
In order to control exactly who is permitted to vote,
each locality has a local voter registration roll.
Our registration to vote is always associated with our current address.
And the National Identity File would also help discover voter fraud,
such as being registered to vote in more than one place.

    Instead of collecting signatures or looking at picture IDs,
the election judge would check our National identity Files.
Our pictures in Directory USA would prove
that we are the persons we claim to be.
And it would be instantly recorded that we voted on a certain date.
This will prevent us from voting at another polling place.
(Of course, how we voted would never be associated with our names.)

    Another kind of voter-fraud would be prevented
by having a National Identity File for each registered voter.
Some persons convicted of serious crimes lose their right to vote.
This information would be instantly available to the poll officials.
And they would not issue a ballot to anyone not permitted to vote.

    Same-day voter registration could use our National Identity Files.
Whenever someone moves to a new address, the U.S. Postal Service
automatically notifies the Social Security Administration.
This new address would also be recorded in our National Identity Files.
And when we register to vote in the new location,
our registration to vote in the former location automatically disappears.
Some people have several homes.
But they must choose only one location for voting.
Their National Identity File would keep track of their primary residence.

    But how we vote would never become a part of any official record.
Even in those rare instances where party affiliation is registered,
this would never become part of our National Identity Files.
Each voting place in the USA has strict controls
which ensure that only registered voters are permitted to vote.
But each specific ballot cast is never associated with a particular voter.
There is no way for anyone else to read our secret ballots.

    The bare facts that we did vote in certain elections
would be valid facts to include in our individual Identity Files.
If needed, such facts could prove our presence on a specific day.

    Overseas citizens of the USA, including people serving in the military,
also have a right to vote in U.S. elections.
This voting could be facilitated by using the National Identity File
for each citizen living outside of the USA.
Secure electronic voting might be created first for overseas U.S. citizens.
And such systems would have to be as secure and as secret
as any paper ballots now used.

    The National Identity File for each potential voter
would also record the citizenship of the registered person.
If the person is a registered foreign national
not a citizen of the USA
this person does not have a right to vote.
This would be a way of clearing local voting rolls of non-citizens.
Sometimes foreign nationals have simply lied
about their citizenship when they got driver's licenses.
And they also registered to vote at the same time and place.
This has sometimes been discovered when people called for jury duty
(based on voting rolls) begged off because they were not U.S. citizens.
Especially in areas with large immigrant populations,
significant numbers of people on the voting rolls are not U.S. citizens.

    Voting rolls would still be maintained by local units of government.
But they would check identities using the National Identity Files
whenever someone votes. 

    Eventually, most voting in the USA will probably become electronic.
We will be able to vote from home, using our personal computers.
Each citizen of the USA has one and only one vote,
no matter where he or she might be on election day.
Just as with in-person voting, our National Identity Files
will probably be the basic way we will prove our identities.
We will need very secure ways to make sure
that hackers are not voting in the names of several other people.

    Another chapter offers more details about voter registration:


    And since the National Identity Bureau
will take over all of the functions of the Census Bureau,
it will automatically absorb all U.S. Census data.
But individual Identity Files will not record private information
collected by the Census Bureau.

    We know that every census count
misses some percentage of the people actually living in the USA.
But once the National Identity Bureau takes over,
there will be strong motivations for everyone to register:
People will not be permitted to be employed unless they are identified.
People will not be able to rent or buy apartments or homes
unless they have National Identity Files.
People will not be permitted to drive without a valid ID.
Ownership of cars and other motor vehicles is always registered.
People will not be allowed to open bank accounts
without showing that they are already registered with the NIB.
Issuers of credit cards will be required to check our identities.
All licenses issued by any arm of government
will require proper identification of the applicants.
People will be permitted to buy airline tickets and/or to board airplanes
only if they have a File in the national data-base.
The Internal Revenue Service has extensive records of each of us.
And the Social Security Administration
is supposed to have each person in the USA registered
to collect Social Security taxes and pay benefits and Medicare.
And we will probably add other activities of daily living
that will not be permitted without proper identification.
When someone has no National Identify File,
that is an obvious reason to suspect
that he or she is attempting to do something that violates laws.

    The thousands of current employees of the U.S. Census Bureau
will continue to work for the National Identity Bureau.
But there will be no extra people hired for the census every 10 years.
The census can be taken at any time by asking the computer system
how many people live in each place in the USA.
In effect, the daily updates of facts in the national identity data-base
will be the continuous census of the USA.

    Past problems of undercounting will be eliminated
by the extremely accurate and super-secure national identity data-base.
If mayors or governors are worried about undercounting for their areas,
they can assist the National Identity Bureau to get information
on individuals who were not previously registered.


    Only a small percentage of us have our fingerprints recorded.
But whenever such proofs of identity already exist,
they should be included in our individual Identity Files in the NIB.
Law-enforcement makes the widest use of modern fingerprint technology.
They can check the FBI data-base of millions of fingerprints instantly.
This data-base will identify some people who want to remain anonymous.

    In cases where two people might easily be confused with one another
based only on photographs, fingerprints will be extremely useful.
For example, identical twins look very much alike.
But even identical twins have slightly different fingerprints.

    People who have been arrested, tried, convicted, or imprisoned
will have complete fingerprints on file.
Law-enforcement can use these fingerprints
to convict the guilty and exonerate the innocent.

    Whenever anyone is convicted of a crime,
this becomes a permanent part of their National Identity File.
The record will show when and where the crime was committed,
when the individual was tried or pled guilty,
and where any prison or jail time was served,
and the dates of imprisonment and release.
The details of crimes will be kept only by the local law-enforcement office.
But these detailed records can be shared with other authorized agencies
when valid reasons are presented. 

    Just as not everyone has a criminal record,
the FBI does not have fingerprints for everyone.
But where such identity-records already exist,
the fact of their existence and their locations
should be added to the National Identity Files
of the persons whose identities they prove. 

    Other biometric data might also be added to each Identity File
as they become reliable ways to prove the identity of anyone.
For example, when DNA profiles have already been established for us,
those facts will also be included in our National Identity Files.
And authorized law-enforcement agencies will be directed to the locations
of our actual biometric data and detailed criminal records.

    Those few individuals who have lost the right to own guns
as a result of criminal behavior or some other court-determination
will have this fact recorded in their Identity Files.
And all gun dealers will be required to check this status
before selling guns to anyone.

    If and when the United States creates universal gun registration,
the National Identity File of each gun-owner will so indicate.

    Likewise, data about persons prohibited from possessing guns
will be included in their individual Identity Files.
And if a National No-Gun Registry is created,
that data will also be integrated into the National Identity Bureau.


    Once the National Identity Files are complete
having a listing for every man, woman, & child living in the USA
then people discovered anywhere in the USA or its territories
who do not appear in the National Identity Files
should be fully identified and registered.

    If they are discovered to be citizens of some other countries
living in the United States without permission,
then temporary Files will be created for them.
Some of these will return to their countries of citizenship.
If they have valid reasons
such as reasonable fears of persecution
they can be given temporary permission to live in the USA.
All relevant facts will be contained in their National Identity Files.

    Homeland Security will also use the National Identity Files
to identify all persons who are not permitted to fly in U.S. airspace.
In the past, airline security depended on a faulty no-fly list of names.
People with similar names were frequently prevented from flying.
But having a picture of each person will make it easy
to see who is a suspected terrorist (who is not permitted to fly)
and who is a completely different person,
even if the names might be similar or even identical.

    And if actual terrorists have been identified in their Identity Files,
Homeland Security officers at the airports can take them into custody
wherever they are discovered, perhaps hoping to evade security.
Every face will be checked by comparing it
with the picture of that person in his or her National Identity File.
And most of us will be allowed to fly without any further investigation.


    Because the history of all forms of paper and plastic records
shows that someone can always create false documents,
the National Identify Bureau will not attempt to create anything
that we can carry with us, such as a national identity card.

    The multi-billion-dollar industry for creating false documents
will disappear as Directory USA replaces most paper and plastic documents.
The same criminals who used to create false documents
will shift their attention to putting false data into the National Identity Files.
And the security system of the National Identity Bureau
will be able to identify and locate all such identity-criminals.
They should be appropriately imprisoned for creating false identities.

    False-identity criminals will be identified by the computer system itself:
Whenever new data is added to a National Identity File,
the source of that new data will be identified.
If any 'facts' later prove to be false,
the computer will disclose exactly who inserted the false data.

    And when false data is discovered,
all of the other data inserted by the same person (or organization)
will also be checked to see if it is also false.
All who create false entries in the Identity Files will soon by in prison.
And the false data they inserted will be replaced by the real facts.

    The National Identify Files will be available on-line to all authorized users.
So, instead of showing a card, a driver's license, or citizenship papers,
we will show our faces and tell our names.
Any person who has a legitimate right to know who we are
will consult our individual Identity Files in the national data-base.
Only the basic information, including our pictures,
will be available to most viewers of our National Identity Files.
But seeing our pictures and reading our names
should be enough to show that we are who we claim to be
and that we are in fact citizens, permanent residents,
registered foreign nationals, or authorized visitors to the USA.

    Real ID, E-Verify, and other such failed attempts to create identity files
will all be replaced by the super-secure and very-accurate Directory USA.

    Real ID was based on the data from state motor vehicle departments.
But fake driver's licenses were far too easy to obtain.
The 19 hijackers of 9-11-2001 had a total of 63 driver's licenses.
State-issued licenses to drive clearly did not protect us from terrorists.

    E-Verify was a national data-base of names and Social Security Numbers,
which was supposed to be used by prospective employers
to make sure that applicants were permitted to work in the USA.
But it failed because it was so easy to buy false names and numbers.

    Green Cards and other identity documents
have shown us the way NOT to create a National Identity Bureau.
The records must be very-secure electronic information,
not any imaginable form of a national ID card.

    Instead of looking at any document we can carry with us,
people who need to check our identities
will look for our pictures in Directory USA.

    Errors and fraud will nevertheless happen,
especially when the National Identity Bureau is getting started.
But all problems discovered can be corrected.
The early mistakes of the National Identity Bureau
will help create systems to prevent such errors in the future.


    Because so much depends on the facts contained in our Identity Files,
billions of dollars should be spent to make certain
that the information is very secure from any hackers
who might like to steal someone's identity.

    The opposite danger will be people attempting to insert false data
into the National Identify Files.
Foreign nationals and common criminals
have the strongest motivations for attempting
to create false identities in the National Identity Bureau.
All identity crimes will be punished by imprisonment.
This includes both those who attempt to insert false data
and those for whom the fake identities were created.

    Security will be assured by different levels of access to Directory USA.
Employers will have a low level of access
probably only our names, Social Security Numbers, & pictures.
Law enforcement will have the highest level of access,
since they probably need as much information as possible
about actual and potential criminals in order to find them.

    Most of the information about us will be permanent and unchanging.
But when we move to a different address, get married or divorced,
change our employment, etc.
such changes can be recorded in our Identify Files.
And when we die, that will also be recorded with the correct date.

    Because our appearance changes with each passing year,
a current picture will be the top item in our personal Files.
If we have driver's licenses, we already get new pictures every 5 years.
These same pictures could be included in our National Identity Files.
Or we might decide to have other pictures that will make it easier
to verify that we are really the persons we say we are.

    For some individuals, it might be necessary
to have several pictures in Directory USA.
When people might easily be mistaken for others based on one picture,
other distinguishing characteristics such as age, height, & weight
become more important.
Infants are sometimes hard to distinguish from one another,
especially when they are identical twins.
Thus, their Identity Files should include additional biometric facts.

    Where fingerprint-records already exist,
this fact will also be included in those persons' Identity Files.
DNA profiles have already been created for some of us
both to convict the guilty and to exonerate the innocent.
In the future, new methods of establishing identity will be created.
And these can be included in the national data-base
as soon as they might prove useful for separating each of us
from the millions of other people who also have National Identity Files.

    Confusions discovered in the early years of the National Identity Bureau
will suggest ways to clarify identity
so that no two people would ever be confused with each other.
For example, the National Identity File of each might indicate
that this person is sometimes confused
with another person in the National Identity data-base.
And then some additional facts that distinguish them should be described.

    What additional measures will be needed to make our Files secure?

    Consumer data held by private companies has been stolen. 
What should be learned from such thefts of private information?
Almost always the reason behind such hacking has been financial:
If the credit-card numbers and access codes are stolen,
then criminals can buy things anywhere on Earth
and change it to the hapless consumers whose numbers were stolen.

    Because of such gaps in the data-control systems,
these companies lose the confidence of the customers.
And the sales drop remarkably as a result.
In one case, the computer-access code
was given to an air-conditioning contractor,
who had no obvious reason to know all the customers' information.
But credit-card data was copied and sold to international criminals.

    Spigot controls might have limited this damage.
And the same should be used by the National Identity Bureau.
Each person who consults the national data-base
must explain in advance the exact reasons for this access.
And no data can be downloaded
only viewed for a short time on a screen.
The total amount of data that can be viewed will be limited
by the stated reasons for consulting the National Identity File(s).

    Whenever someone applies for a new job,
he or she will give the prospective employer
the current password for his or her File in the National Identity Bureau.
This registered employer will be able to view this applicant's File briefly.
No information may be downloaded.
And the employer will not be permitted to browse Files for other prospects.
(This will prevent employers from using their access for snooping.)
And the NIB computer will make certain
that the number of Files consulted seems reasonable,
given the size of the company that is hiring new employees.

    The input side of the National Identity Bureau
will have similar spigot controls.
No single individual or organization will be permitted to insert masses of data.
Only a reasonable work-load for each day
will be accepted by the computer from any source.
Attempts to insert masses of data will immediately arouse suspicion.
And that source of new data will be carefully watched
by security officers who know how to separate
legitimate facts from made-up fantasy characters
who are being inserted for criminal reasons.

    Controlling the sheer amount of data either going out or coming in
will prevent the security problems experienced by private companies.
Computers can send data very quickly.
But the computers of the National Identity Bureau will have 'speed-bumps'
to prevent the system from being misused by anyone. 

    Especially in the early years, some holes will be discovered by hackers.
And these will have to be plugged as soon as they are identified.
Year-by-year, the data will become ever more secure


    Because of valid fears of government employees snooping in our Files,
certain facts about us might be explicitly excluded by the legislation.
And penalties should be named and enforced
for any government employee who attempts to add data
that does not belong in our National Identity Files.

    Marriages and divorces are official government records.
But if we choose not to be married under the laws of any state,
then our personal relationships should never appear in Directory USA.

    We can all name facts about us and our neighbors
that we do not want any government employee to know.
Sometimes we cannot prevent private companies
from collecting information about us.
But we can at least make sure that some kinds of data
are never collected by the U.S. government
or by any other level of government.

    More details about the kinds of data that will never be collected or recorded:


    For parents who never married or who dissolved their marriages
there might be court-ordered child-support.
Unfortunately, it is too easy for the parent who is supposed to pay
to move to a different location and stop paying child-support.
Once a National Identity Bureau is established,
it would not be easy to disappear to avoid supporting one's children.

    Each National Identity File would name and identify
each and every child of this parent.
All marriages would be included in the Identity File of each partner
(which would incidentally preclude bigamy).
And any court-ordered child-support would be recorded.
That parental obligation would follow each parent,
no matter where he or she lives.
Mothers and fathers would not be able to move to new locations
without such facts being recorded in Directory USA.

    The Identify File for each child would also be helpful
in tracing any missing children or in establishing the whereabouts
of any children involved in custody disputes between their parents.
For example, when registering for school, each child will be identified.

    At least in the past, one easy form of welfare fraud
was to claim more children than one actually had.
In some locations, more children were collecting welfare
than were found in the local schools. 
In other words, some children either did not really exist
or were claimed as dependents by people who were not their parents.
Clear identification (with pictures) of all children and parents
would prevent most such forms of welfare fraud.

    Another way to scam the welfare departments of various locations
is to collect welfare benefits from several different places at once.
Usually this was done with false names and addresses.
But a National Identity File would make certain
that each individual (including each child) is collecting welfare,
Social Security benefits, income-tax refunds, etc. in only one place.

    A certainly number of staff members of the National Identity Bureau
would be employed full-time to cross-check the various Files
to make certain that no individual is registered more than once.
Eliminating people who were illegally collecting taxpayers' money
from more than one program would help to pay for the cost of the NIB. 
And the fact that many double-dippers were discovered each year
should discourage others from trying similar methods.


    Once it becomes known to most people on Earth
that the United States of America requires a National Identity File
for each person living in the USA,
then many foreigners will be deterred from entering without permission.
They will know in advance that they will not obtain employment
because they are not listed in Directory USA.

    And many foreign nationals already living in the USA without permission
will voluntarily return to their home countries
when they know they will be asked to confirm their identities in the USA.
If there is no File in the National Identity Bureau,
there will be no job for that individual.
Employers will be severely punished for hiring people
who have no National Identity Files
or who are obviously not the persons they claim to be.

    This includes politicians, who have frequently been discovered
employing people who are not authorized to reside in the USA.
When a few politicians have gone to jail
even for brief sentences
for employing foreign nationals living in the USA without permission,
then everyone else will be on notice that this is a form of behavior
that will no longer be tolerated in the USA.
And all foreign nationals who had hoped to go unnoticed
will start making plans to return to their countries of citizenship
as soon as they know that their identities will be investigated.
Foreign nationals who have violated no laws beyond immigration laws
might be given a low priority for deportation
and temporary permission to remain in the USA.
They would be registered with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

    The National Identity File for each person living in the USA
will completely replace the flawed E-Verify program.
This program was intended to give employers a way to verify
that a new applicant for a job was authorized to work in the USA.
But because it was based on names and Social Security Numbers,
it did not detect people who had stolen someone else's identity.
The National Identity File will put the picture of the individual first.
False numbers and names are easy to provide,
but it is very difficult to steal someone else's face.

    The millions of federal dollars now allocated for E-Verify
will shift to the new National Identity Bureau.
And the error-rate should drop to very near zero.
Thousands of employees of the new National Identity Bureau
will continuously update that data-base
when new people are born, naturalized, permitted to enter the USA,
or registered as foreign nationals already settled in the United States.
    The National Identity File would also completely replace Green Cards,
which show that foreign nationals have the right to live and work in the USA.
Because these Permanent Resident cards are easy to manufacture,
millions of fake Green Cards are in use.
False Green Cards can be purchased for about $100.
Green Cards do contain a picture of the card holder.
When a National Identity File is created for each resident of the USA,
then all the phony Green Cards will become useless,
since the prospective employer will not depend
on any cards or papers presented by the applicant.
Rather the prospective employer will look up the job-applicant
on the super-secure computer of the National Identity Bureau.
If the face of the applicant does not match the face in the NIB photo,
there will be no job for this applicant.
And the most appropriate law-enforcement should be called.

    Because there are already millions of foreign nationals
living in the USA without permission,
orderly and reasonable methods of repatriation will be created.
Temporary Files will be started when foreign nationals are discovered.
And their complete family connections will be explored
before deciding just which foreign nationals
will be returned to the countries where they are citizens.
Many foreign nationals will be offered pathways to U.S. citizenship.
Such decisions will follow new laws created by the USA
and enforced by immigration judges who will examine each case.

    But the fact of establishing a National Identity File
for each and every man, woman, & child living in the United States
is not itself the creation of a new immigration policy or practice.
Complete amnesty for all foreign nationals living in the USA
would also be possible with a new National Identity Bureau.
Each person living in the USA would automatically have an Identity File.
This would include all citizens of other countries,
whether or not they have permission to be present in the USA.

    Once we have a File for everyone living in the USA,
then a new immigration policy could be applied,
which would give most foreign nationals pathways to citizenship
and would require others to return to their countries of origin.
Whatever changes we decide to make in our immigration laws,
we will have a solid data-base and the actual names and addresses
of all people who might be affected by any future changes.

    When foreign nationals who are in Directory USA
return to their countries of citizenship,
this fact will also be recorded in their National Identity Files,
along with the dates of departure
and the new addresses in their home countries, when possible.
They can always apply to return to the USA.
And their temporary National Identify Files
should be mentioned in their applications for re-admission.

    Citizens of the USA who might be confused with foreign nationals
should be among the first to welcome a new National Identity Bureau,
which would be a quick and easy way to prove that they are U.S. citizens
or that they are permanent residents of the USA.
Because they see the advantages of having a National Identity File,
legal residents will throng to their local post offices
to have their official pictures taken for the new Directory USA.


    There will be both start-up costs and continuing costs of operation.
For example, if it costs $100 to establish each computer File,
this start-up cost will be 330,000,000 people times $100 each,
which amounts to $33 billion.

    On-going costs will include the costs of updating each File as needed
and adding new Files whenever a baby is born (about 4 million per year)
and closing Files when someone dies (about 2.5 million per year).
Also, new Files will be created for everyone entering the USA
either temporarily as a visitor or permanently as an authorized immigrant.

    The National Identity Bureau will hire thousands of new employees
to create new Files, close old Files, & verify identities
for all who have a legitimate right to consult some Identity Files.

    A large number of permanent employees of the NIB
will be engaged in computer security.
These men and women will make certain
that only authorized person are consulting the Files,
that no identities have been stolen,
and that no false information is inserted into the National Identity Files.

    But creating the National Identity Bureau
will have immediate impact on other parts of the U.S. government.
Most notably, there will be data about all persons living in the USA.
Everyone should be filing income-tax returns if they have taxable income.
But we know that millions of people work in the underground economy.
They have not been paying the taxes they owe.
The new National Identify Bureau will help the IRS discover tax-evaders.
Perhaps the increased revenue
from those who were not previously paying their taxes
will be
enough to pay the entire cost of Directory USA.

    And because the National Identity Bureau will absorb the Census Bureau,
the money previously going for the census will go to the NIB.
Likewise, taxpayers' money and fees for the Passport office
will be redirected to the new National Identity Bureau.

    When we worry about the cost of the National Identity Bureau,
we need only to remember that Facebook
has six times as many people in its computers.
And the data for each registered user of Facebook
is greater than the data needed for each National Identity File.
How much does it cost Facebook to create each new file?
How much does it cost to update a file?

    The financial benefits to the United States government
(and to other levels of government)
of having a complete record of all people living in the United States
will out-weigh the costs of creating and maintaining Directory USA.

    And the National Identity Bureau
will also keep track of U.S. citizens living in other countries.
They should all be paying U.S. federal income taxes.
When all comply, there will be a large increase in revenues,
especially from very rich Americans living abroad.


Everyone living in the USA is served by United States Postal Service.
And most adults receive some mail.
The Post Office has over 130 million addresses where it delivers mail.
The U.S. Postal Service shares our changes-of-address
with the Social Security Administration.
And USPS could do the same for the new National Identity Bureau.

    The National Identity Bureau would be paid for by all taxpayers.
Free pictures could be taken at the local post office.
Many U.S. post offices already do take picture for passports.
But if and when a National Identity File replaces passports,
this service of taking new pictures every five years will become free.

    Facebook shows that it is possible to have electronic records
that include pictures and facts about hundreds of millions of people.
The world-wide number of people now using Facebook
is six times the total population of the United States of America.
Facebook now has more than 2 billion users.
The technology already exists.
The National Identity Bureau will have to collect data
that is more focused, more accurate, & more secure.

    Because the U.S. Postal Service also serves everyone living in the USA,
there should be good coordination between the USPS
and the new National Identity Bureau.
And keeping our national data-base of all residents current
could be a new function for the United States Postal Service, 
which will continue to lose its original function
as more of us use electronic means of communication
rather than sending messages written on paper.
New money would be provided to the USPS for these new services.
Should our local post offices become the main point of contact
between all residents of the USA and the new National Identity Bureau?
If we have a new picture taken every five years,
this will mean 60 million new pictures created each year.


The history of the NIB might in some later year be traced to the year 2012.
That year the Department of Homeland Security began registering
young foreign nationals who were brought into the USA as children.

   On June 15, 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
announced "deferred action" for all foreign nationals
who would qualify for the DREAM act.
By administrative decision (in contrast to new legislation),
children who were bought into the USA without permission
when they were younger than 16 years of age
were no longer subject to immediate deportation
if they were less than 31 years of age on June 15, 2012.
They were not prosecuted for the immigration violations of their parents.
And, unless they were convicted of serious crimes,
they were given temporary authorization to work in the USA.
Such two-year authorizations were renewed on a case-by-case basis.

    This "deferred action" did not grant amnesty.
And it did not automatically open a pathway to American citizenship.
Also, after these qualified foreign nationals registered,
the months under this new status did not count as months 'out of status'.
All further questions of legal residence and possible citizenship
will have to be established by immigration reform.

    Deciding not to prosecute DREAMers already settled in the USA
did not encourage additional unauthorized immigration,
because DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) required 5 years
of continuous presence in the USA up to and including June 15, 2012.

    The DACA data-base of foreign nationals, begun in the year 2012,
might form the basis for the universal registration of all foreign nationals
settled in the USA without permission.
And later the same data-base could be expanded to include
everyone living in the USA and its territories.
We can only hope that the Department of Homeland Security
had the foresight to create the data-base for these young DREAMers
in a format that can easily be expanded to include over 300 million of us.

    Eventually, the National Identity Bureau will have an Identify File
for every man, woman, & child living in the USA.


    Besides a File for every man, woman, & child living in the USA,
the National Identity Bureau should also list all employers.

    Just as each individual has a Social Security Number issued by the SSA,
so each employer in the USA has an Employer Identification Number.
In the National Identity Bureau data-base,
each employer would list the names and Social Security Numbers
of anyone who received income from that employer each year.
This would also result in an accurate count of the number of employees.

    All employers are required to withhold taxes from their employees.
This withheld income includes both the income-taxes due
and the Social Security and Medicare taxes also withheld.

    Cross-checking will disclose many parts of the underground economy.
Has this employer been paying taxes for the business activity?
Has each employee filed an income-tax return?
Do these numbers seem reasonable,
given the obvious facts about the company and its employees?

    Anyone who newly becomes an employer,
even for household help, for example,
will have to apply for an Employer Identification Number from the IRS.
Of course, each individual employer
must also be registered with the National Identity Bureau
as a regular person living and doing business in the USA.

    Having each employer registered will also establish
which 'employers' can look at Files for prospective employees.
When an individual with an Identity File in the National Identity Bureau
applies for a job offered by a given employer,
the person who is applying for a job will provide an access code
that will permit the employment officer of the company
to read the appropriate facts in the applicant's Identity File.

    This will prevent unauthorized snooping by random people
who claim to be employers looking up data about job-seekers.
Such access is controlled by the person seeking a job.
If he or she is not applying for a position with a registered employer,
then that employer will not be able to see that person's File.

    Only registered employers will be permitted to consult the data-base.
And then, they will only be able to read the Files
of people who are applying for jobs
and who have given their explicit permission
for this prospective employer to view their Identity Files.
This authorization to read an applicant's File
will last only for a specified number of days.
(And, as said before, no copying of data will be permitted.
The employer will collect facts directly from the applicant,
which can be checked against facts contained in the Identity File.)

    This will have a powerful impact on the underground economy.
When an employer asks for information from the National Identity Bureau,
that reveals that some economic activity is taking place
and/or that various people are earning income from that business.
A single individual coming out of the shadows
might begin a long chain of new registrations,
both for individuals and for businesses that were not previously known.

    Making certain that all 'employers' are also registered in the data-base
illustrates a basic principle of watching the watchers.
Every human person who looks at any File in the National Identity Bureau
must also be listed in that same data-base.
Who consulted each File
how long and for what reasons
will also be recorded continuously.
Anonymous snooping will not be possible.

    For example, if a police officer needs to consult a suspect's File,
the officer must register what case he or she is working on.
Police officers will not have permission to look anywhere they please. 

    And because celebrities are common targets of snooping,
there should probably be a special watch on their Files,
keeping even closer track of who is looking.
The record of viewing will probably reveal some snoopers
who did not have legitimate reasons for consulting the Files of a celebrity.
Once identified, that snooper can be disciplined,
have his or her authorization revoked,
and perhaps even be fired for misusing the National Identity Files.

    Our Identity Files contain private information,
to be viewed only for stated legitimate reasons.
And anyone who violates this privacy should be punished. 

Creating a national directory of everyone living in the USA
has become Chapter 17 of Orderly Immigration: Creating a New America:
"National Identify File: Directory USA".

Would you consider joining a Facebook Seminar
discussing this Internet book?
See the complete description of this book-club:

The discussion of all of the issues surrounding immigration reform
takes place in a Facebook Group called:
"U.S. Immigration & Asylum Reform: Reasonable Middle Pathways":


    James Leonard Park is an immigrant to the United States.
He became a naturalized U.S. citizen with two of his siblings
when his father was naturalized in 1955.
This story is told in another on-line essay:
"I am an Immigrant"

    Another on-line essay addresses related themes:
"Immigration Reform: A Range of Options"

    More specific suggestions are included in
"Children of Foreign Nationals:
New Pathways to Citizenship"

And if it seems wise, the National Identity Bureau
could begin by registering the citizens of other countries
who are already settled in the USA:
"Register all Foreign Nationals: Carrots & Sticks"

    The best way to get foreign nationals to register voluntarily
is to guarantee that they will not be immediately deported:
"Registration without Deportation:
Bringing Millions of Foreign Nationals out of the Shadows"

    Much more information about James Park is available on his website:
James Leonard Park—Free Library


    Because of the danger that this chapter
might be taken as advocating a POLICE STATE
---which it most definitely does not---
the author must say more than usual about his political positions.

    Even tho some advocates of a regimented United States
might also support this suggestion for a National Identity Bureau,
the author usually finds himself as the opposite end of that spectrum.
Data-privacy must always be protected when the government gathers data.
Civil liberties will not be compromised by the National Identity Bureau.

    As proof that James Park does not support right-wing causes,
here are a few of his other on-line essays
supporting liberal and left causes:

The Future of Love and Marriage

Four Ways to Achieve Same-Sex Marriage

End Deportation of Persons Likely to Qualify for
a Pathway to Citizenship under Immigration Reform

The Meaning of Complete Disarmament

Universal Gun Registration:
Register all Gun-Owners and their Guns

Outlaw Gerrymandering:
Seven Ways to Abolish Distorted Districts

Created August 2, 2010; Revised 9-3-2010; 9-4-2010; 9-24-2010; 9-26-2010; 
10-6-2010; 10-7-2010; 10-9-2010; 10-26-2010; 10-29-2010; 11-5-2010; 11-13-2010; 
12-1-2010; 12-15-2010; 12-22-2010; 12-30-2010; 
1-6-2011;  1-7-2011; 1-9-2011; 1-11-2011; 1-13-2011; 
10-1-2011; 10-5-2011; 10-15-2011; 10-20-2011; 11-18-2011; 
4-30-2012; 6-20-2012; 7-25-2012; 8-7-2012; 8-16-2012; 
3-14-2013; 7-14-2013; 8-14-2013; 8-16-2013; 8-17-2013; 8-27-2013; 11-7-2013; 
9-3-2014; 4-15-2015; 4-16-2016; 7-1-2016; 1-26-2017; 11-2-2017; 4-17-2019; 11-23-2020; 

The following two links can be read as "replies to objections".
95% of Americans are expected to be against this proposal
for a National Identity Bureau at first.
But see if the following links provide ways to prevent the problems
imagined by those initially opposed to a National Identity Bureau.

Penalties for Violating the National Identity Data-Base
explains six likely crimes associated with the National Identity Bureau
and suggests a specific term in prison for each crime.

Go to
Fear and Loathing of 'the Government':
Information to be Excluded from our National Identity Files.
This file describes kinds of 'information' that will never be allowed in Directory USA.

Go to the beginning of this website
James Leonard Park—Free Library