The BetaMax Dilemma
Vol: 44 Issue: 27 Friday, May 27, 2005
The British government is preparing to launch a national identification plan, issuing a biometric passport to every citizen over the age of sixteen. Each citizen’s details will be stored in a single, centralized database.
Citizens will be fingerprinted, photographed and biometric features, like iris scans and facial recognition points, will be included in the citizen’s file.
Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff is reportedly in consultation with his British counterparts in an effort to standardize the microchip technology used in British national ID cards to those used by the United States.
Chertoff says the goal is to ensure compatibility when screening terrorists. As Chertoff explained;
“It would be very bad if we all invested huge amounts of money in biometric systems and they didn’t work with each other. Hopefully, we are not going to do VHS and Betamax with our chips. I was one of the ones who bought Betamax, and that’s now in the garbage.”
Interesting analogy. I bought a Betamax VCR when they first came out, too. It had a much clearer picture, the tapes were smaller . . . I thought it was superior in every way. But pretty soon, all the video rental stores were renting VHS tapes.
Nobody ever developed an adaptor. It takes a VHS VCR to read a VHS format tape. It didn’t matter that Betamax was superior — what mattered was being able to read the information in the format it was presented in. That’s what makes his analogy so interesting.
Chertoff’s efforts to standardize the technology would make it possible for American officials to read all the information on a British chip as easily as it can read US chips, and vice-versa, setting the stage for a global ID system.
Chertoff is also floating what he calls the ‘Trusted Traveler’ scheme, similar to that worked out with the Netherlands. A pilot program is scheduled to begin between the US and the Netherlands, allowing Dutch visitors to use a Trusted Traveler card to enter the US without being subjected to further questioning or screening.
Under the ‘Trusted Traveler’ scheme, visitors forward their details to the US embassy to be vetted. If successful, they would receive a document allowing “fast-tracking” through the US immigration system.
Chertoff said compatibility and the checking system was intended purely to track down “terrorists and criminals” and the main aim was to provide a “fair and reasonable system”.
“When we screen based on names, we’re screening on the most primitive and least technological basis of identification – it’s the most susceptible to misspelling, or people changing their identity, or fraud,” he said.
Although the Department of Homeland Security and the administration both deny it, America is also developing a national ID system that mirrors the British plan. The only difference between the two is that the Brits openly call theirs a national identification system.
The United States calls their system the ‘Real ID Act’. The bill mandates that state driver’s licenses must include “the incorporation of specified data, a common machine-readable technology, and certain anti-fraud security features,” as determined by the secretary of homeland security.
Potential “specified data” could include retina scans and biometric data, according to the congressional summary.
The administration says it isn’t a national ID card because states can refuse to participate. But if a state opts out, then they lose federal money and federal agencies won’t accept that state’s driver’s license as identification.
So, if your state opts out, then you won’t be able to use your driver’s license as identification at airports, federally-chartered banks, etc. You couldn’t use your driver’s license as identification to enter a federal office building in your own state.
It would create the ridiculous situation in which you would be legally allowed to drive in another state, but your driver’s license wouldn’t be acceptable to identify you as the holder.
In the final analysis, there isn’t much difference between Britain’s national identification system and America’s Real ID Act. Both would create a kind of domestic ‘passport’ that citizens would be required to present on demand, and both would be linked to a massive central database containing your life’s history.
And without it, one would be excluded from normal society.
There are some sound arguments in favor of a national id system. It would at least make a dent in illegal immigration. Without a secure national system capable of telling citizen from noncitizen, U.S. employers routinely are let off the hook when job applicants show them any number of easily obtained fake identity papers or valid identity cards that offer no proof of citizenship.
A national ID scheme would reduce the instances of identity theft. It would allow the feds to identify and track criminals who take up residences in a different state.
The national ID plan has so many pros and cons that it could be the inspiration for the Proverb, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12)
It SEEMS like a good idea. But it is only a good idea if one trusts the government. And even if one DOES trust the government NOW, what about some future government? In the hands of a despot, the Real ID could be a powerful weapon of control.
Revoke someone’s ‘Real ID’ and a person’s hometown becomes his prison. Without it, one cannot travel, open a bank account, or work at any job that has federal connections. A despotic government could introduce pretty much any policy it wanted and silence its critics with a keystroke.
Expanded into a global ID system, as Chertoff wants, and whoever controls the global system could control the global population.
This state of the art global identification scheme wasn’t even possible a decade ago. Today, it is in development. It is naive to imagine that it won’t be fully implemented in the near future. (Betamax was better than VHS. Who would have thought 25 years ago that VHS would become the standard?)
But the Bible anticipated the development of a standardized global identification system two thousand years ago.
“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads.”
Not only did the Apostle John anticipate the system, he explained how it would be used by the antichrist to control the population.
“And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:16-17)
The Real ID isn’t the mark of the Beast. Neither is the UK’s national ID scheme. But the ‘conditioning’ process necessary to implement the eventual introduction of a Mark as a requirement of citizenship in his new world order is an accomplished fact.
The antichrist has not yet made his appearance on the scene, but when he does, he will find the system already operating smoothly. Which is why God inspired Solomon to issue an identical warning, not once, but twice.
“There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:18, Proverbs 16:25)