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October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
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Guard our Freedom: Beware the Biometric Law

People can lose their liberty without feeling a thing. So guard it with the greatest vigilance and do not give anyone your biometric information.

dw-s7-weeping-liberty

Photo Credit: Yori Yanover

Editor’s note:  The first phase of Israel’s “biometric” law, which would ultimately require citizens to register the fingerprints and a blood sample with the state, will begin today, January 1st, with a pilot project offering citizens to voluntarily register. This article, by Likud Knesset candidate Moshe Feiglin appeared earlier last year, but we thought it was especially relevant now.

Cutting edge technology is a double-edged sword. Under the mantle of progress, and with increasing ease, we are losing greater and greater slices of our freedom. Opponents of the proposed Biometric Law say they worry about how secure a database housing the biometric information of all of Israel’s citizens will be. That fear was recently confirmed when a Saudi Arabian hacker succeeded in breaking into supposedly secure Israeli websites. If the Foreign Ministry’s database was broken into, if the Israeli credit card base was broken into, it is safe to assume that the biometric database will also be compromised. 

The possibility of breaking into the database is simply too strong of a temptation for powerful interest groups and tycoons, who are sure to find a way to get to this data. The same is true for the crazy idea to computerize the elections. If there is a stage in the vote counting process during which a candidate or his representative cannot physically check the voter slip—it is exactly at that stage that the election will be compromised. There is no way around the fact that when election results are transferred in electronic files, election fraud becomes a simple task. In America, the idea of digital voting has become so controversial that it is no longer a political debate, but a legal issue.

But my opposition to the Biometric Law is a lot deeper than that.

Many years before the invention of computers and the unraveling of the genetic code, an argument developed in the United States around the question of identity cards. America’s founding fathers did all they could do ensure that the American Constitution would protect individual liberties at any price.

For the American founding fathers, liberty superseded all other values. They engraved it on their flag and fought for it. It is liberty that gave them the most important thing of all: a goal and sense of national purpose that fueled the creation of the American nation. The founding fathers understood how easy it is to slide down a slippery slope in which liberty slips away step by step, without anyone noticing.

Distrust of governmental authority is a value that the founding fathers engraved through every line of the constitution and American culture. It is for this reason that the simple question of requiring citizens to carry identity cards became a judicial matter in the United States. Americans said, “No way am I going to let the state treat me as a number on its list, and require me to identify according to this number. My identity is exactly that—my identity, and it does not belong to anyone else.” For the Israeli citizen, this sounds absurd, for we grew up in a culture far removed this type of liberty consciousness.

Does all of this seem irrelevant? Let us do a little test, so that you can see how easy it is to lose your liberty:

If Biometric Law proponent Kadimah MK Meir Sheetrit pushed through a law requiring every one of you to go to a certified tattoo center, and ink in a number on your shoulder—would you agree to that? Of course not. Even thinking about this brings up horrifying memories.

But what if the tattoo centers used invisible ink—would you agree then? In that case, I think many people would agree. The law is the law, right?

If they were to tattoo you with invisible ink and offer you some perks in return—cutting lines, property tax breaks, and more—would you agree? In my opinion, more than 50 percent would agree to that, and maybe even more.

Now for the final question. If instead of ink they use a biometric technique which marks you without touching you, and on top of that, they will give you the perks previously mentioned—are you willing? The overwhelming majority of people would agree to that.

Now look at how, with amazing ease, they have shut off all of our warning lights and closed our eyes. The master of the house has chiseled our ear into the doorpost like a Biblical slave…and, just like that, we’ve made a soft landing into a life of servitude.

People can lose their liberty without feeling a thing. So guard it with the greatest vigilance and do not give anyone your biometric information.

About the Author: Moshe Feiglin is the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset and a member of Israel's Security and Defense Committee. He heads the Manhigut Yehudit ("Jewish Leadership") faction of Israel's governing Likud party. He is the founder of Manhigut Yehudit and Zo Artzeinu and the author of two books: "Where There Are No Men" and "War of Dreams." Feiglin served in the IDF as an officer in Combat Engineering and is a veteran of the Lebanon War. He lives in Ginot Shomron with his family.


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9 Responses to “Guard our Freedom: Beware the Biometric Law”

  1. Charlie Hall says:

    "America’s founding fathers did all they could do ensure that the American Constitution would protect individual liberties at any price."

    This is January 1, not April 1, where this foolish statement belongs. The Founding Fathers enshrined chattel slavery into the Constitution, and you can't get more of an infringement of liberty than that! They furthermore only prohibited the federal government, and not the states, from infringing on religious liberties, and in fact several states continued with their Christian theocracies into the 19th century.

    "For the American founding fathers, liberty superseded all other values. They engraved it on their flag and fought for it."

    Uh, the national flag of the United States has never, ever contained any writing at all.

    In any case, doesn't Israel already require everyone to carry identity cards at all times? Biometric information would make them more, not less, secure.

  2. Charlie Hall says:

    "America’s founding fathers did all they could do ensure that the American Constitution would protect individual liberties at any price."

    This is January 1, not April 1, where this foolish statement belongs. The Founding Fathers enshrined chattel slavery into the Constitution, and you can't get more of an infringement of liberty than that! They furthermore only prohibited the federal government, and not the states, from infringing on religious liberties, and in fact several states continued with their Christian theocracies into the 19th century.

    "For the American founding fathers, liberty superseded all other values. They engraved it on their flag and fought for it."

    Uh, the national flag of the United States has never, ever contained any writing at all.

    In any case, doesn't Israel already require everyone to carry identity cards at all times? Biometric information would make them more, not less, secure.

  3. Todd Kadish says:

    Charlie you need some champagne.

  4. NO, biometric identity is a nightmare in wrong hands. Moishe Feiglin is right. EVERY COUNTRY should avoid it. Israel, of all countries, understands the nightmare of identity persecution. AVOID.

  5. Mildred Bilt says:

    In the US we all have social security cards, Drivers have licenses. We now require identification to vote. Credit histories or you can't buy anything on credit:cars, houses, major appliances etc. Insurance companies-car, home-have a complete dossier on our work history, income. The internet tracks everything we buy, want to buy and information we looked for and comments we posted to articles like this one. Cameras are posted on streets, in stores, in front of stores and houses and when we fly (on an airplane) we have to post all kinds of identication which goes into government files. When we pay a toll on a road cameras take pictures of us and our licenses. These are just the tip of the iceberg. Welcome to the brave new world.

  6. Liad Bar-el says:

    If Moshe Feiglin succeeded in his efforts in becoming Israel’s Prime Minister then EVERYONE worldwide would know every word he spook on every issue, the total back ground of his education, thesis papers, work history, family profile, friends, associates, diet, special preferences in food, entertainment, vacation spots while performing certain activities, medical history associated with sports, like breaking a foot while kicking a soccer ball for instance; plus, the thousands upon thousands of photos/videos of every step he takes inside and outside Israel. Soooooooooooooooo, concerning the biometric law, Moshe Feiglin would not have made a soft landing into a life of servitude but rather have made a big splash into it. I’m not supporting the biometric law necessarily; however, maybe it could be used to find more qualified individuals to lead our country.

  7. Yehuda Cohen says:

    Today, the DNA of the family of Cohen can be found. Tomorrow, the DNA of the family of Ishmael/Esau can be found. Then we can pass laws that only Jews from the family of Jews can lead the country then there would not be those Mohammed bastards (leftists) that are leading the country of Israel to destruction that we have today.

  8. Yehuda Cohen says:

    On second thought, I'm correcting myself. I am not sure that a DNA can be traced through Esav being that there is no family line on which to base this tracing effort.
    In parasha VaYishlach (Gen 36:40-43) we find the genealogy of Esav’s family of which the present day Muslim/Arab population are derived from. In this parasha, it shows the depravity of Esav’s family which was rife with incest. Since the children of a bastard (mamzer) are also illegitimate, in the end all of Esav’s descendants are actually illegitimate. The family history of Mohammed in particular shows that he was also illegitimate; so, we have a large group of people in our world today worshiping and following an illegitimate person from an illegitimate family.

  9. Marsha Ford Harriman Dailey says:

    WOULD THIS BE THE MARK?

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