Ellison offers free software for national ID

Oracle Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison has called for a national identification (ID) card to be issued to all U.S. citizens in an effort to help prevent future terrorist attacks. To help build such a system, Ellison has reportedly offered to give the necessary software to the U.S. government for free.

In an interview with a San Francisco television station, KPIX, broadcast on Friday, Ellison said the U.S. government should issue a national ID card that contains a photograph and digitized thumbprint for each U.S. citizen, according to a transcript of the interview. When presented to airport security officials, the information contained in the ID cards would be verified with information stored on a centralized database, insuring the accurate identification of airline passengers, Ellison said, according to the San Jose Mercury News newspaper.

There has been an ongoing debate in the U.S. during recent years regarding the creation of a national ID card system, based on the existing Social Security card, that would include a centralized computer-based registry of all U.S. citizens. While some government officials in the past have advocated the creation of such a system as a means of curtailing illegal immigration in the U.S., organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union have repeatedly voiced their opposition to the plan.

Debate over the creation of a national ID card system has been renewed in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and revelations that the terrorists involved may have used stolen or forged identification documents.

Oracle officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

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