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Sun Microsystems

McNealy Calls for National ID Card Too 615

Posted by michael
from the sun-monitors-actually-telescreens dept.
Syre writes: "Well McNealy's at it again calling for a national ID card (a smart card powered by Java, anyone?)." So let's get this straight: Oracle wants a national ID card powered by Oracle. Sun wants a national ID card powered by Java. (Even though the U.S. already has a national ID card, since the states are in the process of linking their driver's license databases together.) Is there any company that doesn't want to exploit a tragedy for financial gain? And didn't each and every one of the hijackers present valid ID?
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McNealy Calls for National ID Card Too

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  • Think about it. Easy to hack, no security, have to reboot all the time, and you always have a lawyer on call.

    • A Poem (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 12, 2001 @12:11AM (#2418642)
      The mark of the beast is a primary key
      a poem by Drew [mailto]

      --///--

      Ellison's motives come from below.
      Look in his eyes. What do they show?
      You may think that smile is for the stockholders,
      but his home is Hades, where all evil smoulders.

      His Chief DBA is the Dark Prince of Lies,
      His unholy power is version 9i [oracle.com].
      You thought that this baby ate up RAM before?
      For version 9i, you'll buy six times more! [crucial.com]

      What violence will come of these columns and rows?
      SQL*plus is the reaper of souls!
      To commit is sure folly; to roll-back, calamity.
      A cartesian join will doom all of humanity!

      Constraints are forged of titanium chains,
      and triggers are hardwired into your brain.
      A single long int marks your identity --
      The mark of the beast is a primary key.

      The language of Satan? PL/SQL --
      How else would he store his procedures in Hell?
      You'll live in dread fear of the keyword DELETE.
      The mark of the beast is a primary key.

      Oracle 9i is a harbinger of Dark!
      (But I cannot say more; nor publish benchmarks.)
      But you value your soul, so my words you will heed:
      The mark of the beast is a primary key.

      --///--

      Thank you.

    • by TheAncientHacker (222131) <TheAncientHacker.hotmail@com> on Friday October 12, 2001 @07:03AM (#2419117)
      Hmmm. Let's see.

      On Privacy:
      • SUN and Oracle say "Privacy is dead, get over it"
      • Microsoft adds privacy features to IE.

      On the 9/11 terrorism
      • SUN and Oracle use the Trade Center tragedy to push a Java/Oracle based National ID card.
      • Microsoft quietly creates (providing the hardware, software, consulting and bandwidth) a tracking web site for victim's families so they can find out who's alive.

      Right, I understand now, SUN and Oracle are the good guys and Microsoft is evil.

      Yeah. Right.
  • ANOTHER one? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by keytoe (91531) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @07:10PM (#2417781) Homepage

    So, what's wrong with all the other national ID cards we carry around in our wallets? Social Security card not good enough? My drivers license not good enough? Passport? Credit cards? As if the government can't find out who I am using these 'old' methods.

    Exactly what advantage does yet another card have? I'm sure they'll be just as easy to counterfeit as current identification methods...

    • No, no, NO!

      This time, it's gonna work. You just watch and see!

      Oh, and by the way. . .how DARE you criticize our government during this time of crisis and national unity behind our leaders?
    • why?

      What is a national ID card good for? What is it going to prevent? Will it prevent a guy from walking into a bank and holding it up? No. Would it prevent what happened one month ago? Definitely not, based on all the safeguards the perps passed right on through.

      Guess I should just say it now - Ellison and McNealy are nothing more than opportunists who are taking advantage of a bad situation in order to pump up their stock prices.

      • It is illegal to use Social Security as a national ID. That is why Ohio (and possibly other states as well) gives you the option to have it removed from your drivers license.

        Originally, when Social Security ID's were being created, Congress had to make a law against using it as a national ID system. Otherwise it would have never passed at the time. Not that anyone listens to that part of the law anymore though.
        • Originally, when Social Security ID's were being created, Congress had to make a law against using it as a national ID system.
          If your card is old enough (mine isn't), it even has a notation on it that it isn't to be used for identification purposes. Your parents' cards would almost certainly be marked that way. Some time in the 70s or 80s, they quit putting that on there...probably to disabuse people of the notion that it would never be used as an ID.
    • Re:ANOTHER one? (Score:3, Interesting)

      At the risk of sounding overly pessimistic, I would have to concede that the *vast* majority of American society acts (spends, purchases, travels, fills out stupid contest forms, surfs the web, etc etc) in such a way that there is no real privacy or anonymity. The addition of a single universal identification card is not going to change that one way or the other, for the simple reason that it would stay in your wallet 99.9% of the time. Purchasing something? Use your tracked-and-databased credit card, or some cash you withdrew using your tracked-and-databased bank card. Heck, even write a tracked-and-databased cheque or fill out a tracked-and-databased withdrawal slip at the local bank if you're really old-fashioned. Given the phenomenal popularity of so-called "rewards programs", with their accompanying tracked-and-databased "membership cards" in virtually every sector of consumer-ness, its pretty hard to advance the argument that the average computer gives an arse about his or her privacy. The card would come out for international travel, airline boardings, government service renewals (license and plate renewals, traffic stops, airport visits, etc). Even if the government has this information, so what? It's not like they're not going to figure out based on your credit card / airline paper trail. The difference is the speed with which felons / unwanted persons can be found - "you can't come on the plane, you're under arrest" versus "CNN has just learned that person x, who flew into the World Trade Center last month, was actually tagged in a government database somewhere!"

      With the assumption that the intent of this program would be protect those who obey the law (ie joe citizen), what exactly is wrong with adopting a federal identification system?

      According to a recent Washington Post article, there are more than a half million Americans wandering around the country with outstanding arrest warrants. That's ten times the adult population of the country I'm in, so forgive me for saying it sounds like a lot of criminals. One particularly telling quote from that article of interest to the original poster and his theory of "isn't our drivers license enough?": "Right now, if you have an outstanding parking ticket, you can't get your license renewed. But if you have a murder warrant out on you, you still get your license renewed," said Mike Davis, spokesman for the Baltimore County Executive Office.

      Perhaps I'm being too logical here, but it seems a system of national identity cards would do a lot more good than harm. A half million felons. Hnmm.

      As for the counterfeiting option, one would hope that Sun, Oracle and the feds could between them come up with a card that could not be easily counterfeited, and that could be updated remotely as security breaches were identified. Assuming it was connected to an "active" system (ie cards can be validated / invalidated by a central server so that duplicates and/or invalid cards would be ferreted out quickly, unlike the passive systems such as used in DirecTV et al).

      Like bicycle locks and car alarms, a universal, centrally-administered digital ID card represents an item that would be totally unneccesary if it weren't for the criminal element in society. Sad, but becoming increasingly neccesary IMHO. (whew, I'm done... anyone still reading?)

      (abovementioned WP article here - http://www.browardcrime.com/tyntk_052000_fugitives .htm)
      • Re:ANOTHER one? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Hostile17 (415334)


        You are way off base here. A national ID card will not protect you or me in way shape or form. All it really does is give the governement another control mechanism. Do you really think a national ID card would have stopped any of the Terrorists from boarding those planes ? Do you really think a national ID card will stop anyone from beating thier kids or robbing a bank ? If you do you are deluding yourself. The idea behind a national ID card is not to hamper crominals, but to hamper honest citizens.

        • Re:ANOTHER one? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by big_hairy_mama (79958)
          You're absolutely right that it will not *stop* crime from happening - there is no way anything the government does is going to stop someone from robbing a bank unless they have some kind of electric field around the bank that reads the ID cards shocks any felons who try to enter. But, theoretically at least, this *would* help them track the criminals when they renew their drivers license or go through a border crossing, or any other time like that.

          I don't have a problem with the idea of a national ID card. If you want privacy, then you're pretty much out of luck in the US because, like previous posters have pointed out, every time you go to a bank, show your drivers license, or use a credit card, or even every time you sign on to your MSN or AOL, somebody somewhere is tracking you.

          The problem I have is that, considering that there is nothing stopping the government from keeping tight tabs on anyone and everyone using current technology/infrustructure, why do we need to go through the extra trouble, time, and money to implemenent a whole new card? Why can't they just use the existing state ID card, Social Security, or passport databases?
      • Re:ANOTHER one? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Karl Cocknozzle (514413) <kcocknozzle@hotm ... com minus author> on Thursday October 11, 2001 @10:42PM (#2418432) Homepage
        "Right now, if you have an outstanding parking ticket, you can't get your license renewed. But if you have a murder warrant out on you, you still get your license renewed," said Mike Davis, spokesman for the Baltimore County Executive Office.

        This is a good argument for searching the criminal warrants DB when you run a license, then calling the police. A much simpler (and cheaper) solution that giving Oracle $5 billion and saying "make it work".

        Perhaps I'm being too logical here, but it seems a system of national identity cards would do a lot more good than harm.


        As for the counterfeiting option, one would hope that Sun, Oracle and the feds could between them come up with a card that could not be easily counterfeited, and that could be updated remotely as security breaches were identified.

        Assuming it was connected to an "active" system (ie cards can be validated / invalidated by a central server so that duplicates and/or invalid cards would be ferreted out quickly

        It's a good fantasy, but here are the problems (the biggest three that come to mind):

        1) Price. The "ID Card" you're describing sounds more like a PDA with wireless networking than an inanimate piece of plastic. How much will that cost to develop/deliver?
        2) Network. What wireless network will these cards use to be "validated/invalidated by a central server"? As far as I know, there isn't a nationwide (covering everywhere people live and work) wireless network that could provide this service.
        3) Ineffective. This system is only useful against people who are using their own identity to get ID. Anybody who (gasp!) uses false documents to get one is undetectable until after the fact. This alone makes this entire system completely useless.

        Nope. Not a good idea in the least. Maybe in Candyland, but not here.
        • My new license has a magnetic stripe on it and a bar-code, how much more do they need? Military ID's have the whole obverse side covered with 2-D 'puter code. If they are not using this now, why complicate it even more with a new system. Even if the contained data is encrypted, it my data and therefore unique, recordable and traceable.
          What we don't need is an other level of beauacracy on top of what's already there, we need to actualy use what we have now enough to judge if a slight modification might be needed. Coordinate state drivers licenses should be enough. Maybe tighten up what documentation you need to get a license or state ID a little.

          Oh by the way, if you have a murder warrant out for someone do you want the poor clerk at the Sec of States branch to freak out when she sees it; or say "It'll be mailed to this address in about ten days"? Mike Davis, spokesman for the Baltimore County Executive Office doesn't have a clue as to what deep inside the State's database when an arrest warrarnt flag trigger's a proceedure (actualy I don't either, but at least I'm not pretending to) Isn't it easier for a trained cop to stake out a mail box than to scrape a clerks brains off the wall?
      • Re:ANOTHER one? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by truthsearch (249536)
        It's very simple. The US Constitution rightfully contains the following:
        The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
        Credit card purchases, bank transactions, customer loyalty cards, phone bills, and other such personal information can not be investigated without probable cause, details of what is being searched, and consent of a judge. Getting a universal tracking card basically gives up that right given by the fourth amendment. So yes, we can be tracked by corporations, and corporations could potentially share that information with other corporations, but the government may not be given any such information without warrant. This card gives the government the right to track us without warrant, without even probably cause.

        For example, let's say I protest outside the congressional office of a senator. I have a right to free speech, but there's nothing preventing him from tracking me down and possibly using my personal information against me, like blackmail.

        These ID cards can only be used at the expense of civil liberties.
    • Re:ANOTHER one? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Jordy (440) <jordan AT snocap DOT com> on Thursday October 11, 2001 @10:06PM (#2418318) Homepage
      Exactly what advantage does yet another card have? I'm sure they'll be just as easy to counterfeit as current identification methods...


      Uhm, no. The current security of ID cards relies on the fact that it's hard to create a physical duplicate of the card itself. This is mediocre compared to the system being proposed.

      A real smart card would have enough space on it for a real cryptographic signature that can guarantee (unless of course the key is comprimised) that this particular card was issued by the good old USA. Coupled with issue and expiration dates, this alone would be vastly superior to anything we have currently and provide a significant barrier to counterfietters.

      But that's not all. If you had a real-time lookup system to verify that an ID was in fact issued at all and each card itself had it's own unique entry in the system you end up with a system that is resistant to even key comprimises.

      On top of that, if you require unique characteristics such as fingerprint, DNA, retinal scan, heat signature and photo to be gathered at the time of issue of the ID so you could do duplicate scanning (one person can't have two IDs) you end up with a system which is orders of magnitude more secure than what currently exists.
      You could even go a step further and only allow a particular machine to be able to read the cards that are only allowed to be operated by government workers subjected to stringent FBI background checks and self-destruct if tampered with. The card itself would obviously also be tamper-resistant.

      Even more impressive is that if this was done properly, you could subject every person entering the country to it and in real-time issue temporary IDs that would allow even foreigners who may lie about themselves to never be allowed to lie twice.

      Of course, what would be better than a national ID is an international ID (which passports are for, but are pretty poor... ink stamps when entering and leaving a country, please.) Though at least they have barcodes and pretty holograms.

      Then again, you have to understand how traditional counterfietting is done. Rarely does anyone actually create a fake ID. Instead, you find an incompetent DMV in some state, steal enough ID information and let them create a nice new ID for you. A well run national ID program would prevent this.
  • by DoomHaven (70347) <DoomHaven AT hotmail DOT com> on Thursday October 11, 2001 @07:10PM (#2417782)
    "Absolute anonymity breeds absolute irresponsibility"

    So, Mr. McNealy, shall we assume you are now absolutely anonymous?

    "I'm tired of the outrage. If you get on a plane, I want to know who you are. If you rent a crop duster, I want to know who you are,'' he said.

    If you head a large corporation, I want to know who you are.

    A long time ago, this man was respectable. What happened?
  • by dan_bethe (134253) <slashdot@nOsPAm.smuckola.org> on Thursday October 11, 2001 @07:11PM (#2417786)
    I never see mention of the Social Security system as a form of national ID. Why is that? Is it because the card doesn't directly identify more personal characteristics such as a photo, address, or phone number?

    What info do these "authorities" want? Under what circumstances can they requisition this information, or ask the person to make an ID?

    I can understand using it in a fully secure situation such as boarding a plane, assuming that such a thing is Constitutional and isn't yet another link into the Revelations style end of humanity, and assuming that it can be used accurately.

    Of course the answer to that last question fades off into potential violation of independant liberty, as in requiring national criminal ID for renting a truck in case you intend to load it with a fertilizer bomb. But I think at least the previous questions should be reasonably answered.

    • SSN's are not to be used as a "national ID" because it is prohibited by law. No person, except the SSA and the IRS can force you to provide your SSN. Sure everyone asks for it wen tyou sign up for anything, but you are never obligated to give it. And no one can deny service because of it.
      • I do not believe this is not true.

        According to this [ssa.gov] document, several institutions are allowed to require or request your SSN.

        Furthermore, the SSA states,

        "If a business or other enterprise asks you for your SSN, you can refuse to give it. However, that may mean doing without the purchase or service for which your number was requested."
      • No person, except the SSA and the IRS can force you to provide your SSN.

        This is totally incorrect. Like the constitution, it limits only what the GOVERNMENT may do.

        Businesses can require your SS# as a condition of doing business, and many do.

        But government agencies must provide you with an explicit reference to what law allows them to ask for your SS#, whether or not it is voluntary, and what the info will be used for. You'll find this information on the bottom of most any federal form (like your taxes) that you fill out with a SS#...
  • Driver's Licenses (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vicviper (140480) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @07:11PM (#2417788)
    How can a driver's license count as a national ID card if everyone doesn't drive, or qualify for one?
    • In the US DMV's will issue cards even if you can't or won't drive. See this [state.ny.us] or that [digitalcity.com]
    • Re:Driver's Licenses (Score:3, Informative)

      by Heem (448667)
      Because you can (and should) get a state ID if you choose not to drive, or cant pass the test. How else you gonna buy porn,smokes and lotto tickets, or go out to the bar? Seriously though.. ID cards are great and all, but we already have them, and its NOT going to do anything for us. Having an ID does not stop one from blowing things up. Especially the breed we are dealing with now - ones who DONT CARE if they die, and PREFER that we know who they are.
      • "How else you gonna buy porn,smokes and lotto tickets, or go out to the bar?"


        Unfortunately not every state has good laws. Massachusetts will allow the purchase of alcohol only with a Massachusetts drivers license. The non-driving state ID is actaully not valid for the purchase of alcohol. The US passport or any other foreign passport is not legal for the purchase of alcohol. A New Hampshire drivers license is not valid for the purchase of alcohol.

        Places that accept these items are open to severe liability problems as well as loss of their Liquer License.

        So basically any national ID will still need to be approved on a state by state basis for use as per local laws.

        • Being a former student in MA (just graduated), I can say that you are 100% wrong (at least in practice). I only have a CA DL, and bought alcohol in bars and in stores all the time. I know of people who have used BAD fakes in bars in MA. Yes, MA has rough blue laws regarding WHEN you can purchase alcohol. But trust me, at least in practice, it doesn't take much to buy alcohol.

        • Re:Driver's Licenses (Score:3, Informative)

          by ckd (72611)
          Massachusetts will allow the purchase of alcohol only with a Massachusetts drivers license. The non-driving state ID is actaully not valid for the purchase of alcohol. The US passport or any other foreign passport is not legal for the purchase of alcohol. A New Hampshire drivers license is not valid for the purchase of alcohol.

          Well, you're right about the last one, and right that a Massachusetts license is legal, but wrong about the rest.

          Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 138, Section 34B [state.ma.us]:
          "Any licensee, or agent or employee thereof, under this chapter who reasonably relies on such a liquor purchase identification card or motor vehicle license issued pursuant to section eight of chapter ninety, or on a valid passport issued by the United States government, or by the government, recognized by the United States government, of a foreign country, or a valid United States issued military identification card, for proof of a person's identity and age shall not suffer [...]"

          So the accepted forms of ID:

          • Massachusetts Driver's License
          • Massachusetts Liquor ID
          • US passport
          • Passport issued by a diplomatically recognized government (no Sealand, no Taliban)
          • US military ID (which they define as the active duty cards only--not dependent IDs
    • If you don't have a driver's license, you can get a state ID (DUI folks do this so they can still go drink, go figure). But why should you have to pay for something that would be required?
    • in NJ (and most, if not all, other states) if you are 18 or older, you're required to obtain an ID card from the Dept Motor Vehicles regardless of if you drive or not. The card says across the top "Identification Purposes Only." Oddly, there's still a DL# that's used for writing checks and such.
  • q: and, do we know the hijackers got their knives on the planes through check-in?

    a: no - let's increase check-in security.

    q: do we know that bin laden is _actually_ responsible, not just capable?

    a: no, let's bomb the hell out of the taliban.

    this type of reactionary non-critical thinking is rampant so many places and it makes me grumpy. grr.

    but i digress...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    The Oracle ID card would have an initial cost of $100,000 and require a fulltime DBA to administer.
    • by sharkey (16670) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @07:35PM (#2417915)
      The Oracle ID card would have an initial cost of $100,000 and require a fulltime DBA to administer.

      It would also require 2387 separate patches upon receipt of the card, BEFORE it is placed in your wallet to keep it from spontaneously collapsing in upon itself on first use.

      Also, that $100,000 is per pocket in your wallet: 2 bill pockets and 8 card pockets such as my wallet has would cost $1,000,000 up front.
  • Terriorist ID's (Score:3, Informative)

    by leinerj (115797) <<leinerj> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday October 11, 2001 @07:14PM (#2417803) Homepage
    The terriorist did indeed present valid ID's, but under more careful exam. some of the id's were expired which should have set alarms off in securities head...
  • Business as usual (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Maskirovka (255712)
    Sorry to play the devil's advocate here, but these people are payed the big bucks to enrich their stock holders. It's their sole purpose. This is an excelent oportunity for them to do so. Wtf do you expect from any self respecting CEO?? (excluding Steve Jobs maybe)

    Maskirovka
  • Oracle's plan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aralin (107264) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @07:19PM (#2417831)
    You should maybe try to find the recent speach or article published by Larry Ellison on the topic. Oracle does not plan to take away any of your liberties or profit on a national tragedy.

    Larry Ellison pointed out that all the information is already in some databases, but while businesses like VISA, AMEX and others poll their databases and link these data together, federal agencies do NOT. If they did, 6 of these 19 terrorists would have been CAUGHT at entry and the attack would likely NEVER happen since they were sought for in some counties in US. How can someone get into the country without notice by INS when he is on 'Wanted' list on Florida?

    The other point I've heard was that (as I've heard) Oracle planed to donate database software for the purpose of creating the global ID.

    And last, but not least, the plan for global ID proposed by Larry Ellison should have been on voluntary basis to make things for you convenient and avoid these long and thorough checks of identity that will definitely appear on different wanna-be-secure locations like airports.

    Get your facts straight, please, before starting to slander someone's ideas.

    • "...while businesses like VISA, AMEX and others poll their databases and link these data together, federal agencies do NOT. If they did, 6 of these 19 terrorists would have been CAUGHT at entry and the attack would likely NEVER happen since they were sought for in some counties in US."

      And exactly how would a Java/Oracle/.NET/AOL/{insert company here} card have prevented this?

      "Oracle planed to donate database software for the purpose of creating the global ID."

      Aw, now, shucks, Larry. We all know that you're such the humanitarian, [bcentral.com] but to know that your donation would not help you financially in any way, now that just warms my heart...

      • The ID card would be state issued. But the call was for a central database that would poll informations from all the zillions of federal and state databases. At least with regard to security risk persons. As the credit risk has its own credit databases that poll information from all the lenders of money all over country. The ID would merely serve as a key identifier for such database.

        Pulling off 3 year old article that even does not say anything special is helping to your cause exactly HOW?

    • Re:Oracle's plan (Score:2, Informative)

      by chris_martin (115358)
      If they did, 6 of these 19 terrorists would have been CAUGHT at entry and the attack would likely NEVER happen since they were sought for in some counties in US. How can someone get into the country without notice by INS when he is on 'Wanted' list on Florida?

      How do you know this? Why do people assume that this ID card scheme would not be comprimised (read counterfit) ?

      In any sort of ID there will be fakes out there.

      And last, but not least, the plan for global ID proposed by Larry Ellison should have been on voluntary basis to make things for you convenient and avoid these long and thorough checks of identity that will definitely appear on different wanna-be-secure locations like airports.

      1. If it's voluntary, it's useless

      Will they run two airplanes for those of us who would opt-out? If not, you will still be waiting on the plane for us to check in, so your not waiting in line idea won't work. If they will run two planes, that's insane, airlines are strapped for cash now, I doubt they could double the planes with half the people.

      2. Conveniency breeds loss of rights

      The first thing that will happen in an opt-in for convenience world is that it will soon NOT BE opt-in, it will be maditory. The US Social Security number was designed for your retirement, now it's used for EVERYTHING. I can remember when you weren't supposed to give you number out to anyone. Now I have to print it on checks, give that number to banks, etc. They don't need that number, but it sure is convienent. Now, look how common ID theft is now, all you need is a persons address and SSN and you own them.

      3. National ID cards will not stop people coming in from the outside (passports) and we will not always catch people with fake passports.

      4. Global ID card would be impossible. Require them to enter the US? I doubt it. We already require passports.
  • by Crispy Critters (226798) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @07:23PM (#2417849)
    As Bruce Schneier mentioned in a special Cryptogram, IDs at airline check-ins don't do anything for security, partly because getting fake IDs is so easy. What it does accomplish is to keep semi-honest people from selling their airline tickets to each other.


    There are two separate issues here. A national ID is not necessarily so bad. However, assigning a uniques identification number to each American is what threatens privacy. Having a unique ID number which is accessible to anyone permits cross-correlating databases and other methods of mining data and constructing profiles of people. Also, if there was a bar code or similar machine-readable encoding of the number on the ID card, then soon anyone (airline, dentist, grocery store, border guard, building security) would start swiping the card and recording our movements and activities in a way that would be very easy to combine in giant databases.


    I am not saying this would happen, or is even likely, but it would be possible and that is scary enough.

    • You mean your social security number? Already there, most people already have it. Shit, you can be tracked on anything you do... go take a look at 1800 People Search, it provides records 10 years back.


      Privacy is an illusion, the only thing that can help you out is that you are a no one and no one gives a rats ass about you. (Speaking generally, not to you as a person)

    • I am not saying this would happen, or is even likely, but it would be possible and that is scary enough.

      You don't have to cast any doubt that abuse of a national ID would happen. It would and it will. UINs are wonderful for databases. People have a very short sight when it comes to convenience vs. privacy concerns. The SSN is supposed to be used for one thing--Social Security accounting. It's not for credit. It's not for applying for a bank account. It's not for getting a library card or a driver's license. But every government and private institution abuses it. We have more than enough indication that it would be irresistable for people to abuse a national ID.
    • IDs at airline check-ins don't do anything for security, partly because getting fake IDs is so easy.

      No form of IDing people is effective if IDs are easily faked. Were airline check-in IDs done "properly", ie an effective form of ID was presented that was:

      #1 - Nearly impossible to fake
      #2 - Confirmed via network connection (like a credit card)

      ...then much more could be done - an "all-points-bulletin" on an individual would come much closer to preventing his flight (both literally and figuratively) than any such system available now, and would do so nearly instantaneously. Much like nuclear weapons or Dan Quayle's mouth, it would have to be tightly controlled by the government so as not be misused, but the principle is sound.

      Also, if there was a bar code or similar machine-readable encoding of the number on the ID card, then soon anyone (airline, dentist, grocery store, border guard, building security) would start swiping the card and recording our movements and activities in a way that would be very easy to combine in giant databases.

      At least the way I understand it, presentation of this card to non-government types would be optional - I can't see them wrestling your card from you in the grocery over your right to buy a rutabaga. In Canada, for example, from what I recall it is illegal for any non-government person to demand your SIN - they can ask, but they can not prevent you from anything should you not provide it (and provide sufficient alternate identification). Obviously legislation like this would prevent the abuses you're talking about. Heck our passports are all individually numbered, but my dentist rarely asks to see it. Compared to encryption backdoors and export restrictions, Tempest monitoring, nuclear weapons, and all the other no-fun-for-common-folk stuff the US gov't has at its disposal, universal ID cards don't seem all that scary to me.

      m@
      • First.. in US airports, aside form any new legislation just up because of the Sept. 11 events, it is still legal to fly without presenting ID. The party line at check-in counters is a lie: they will happily tell you 'FAA regulations require us to ask for ID', but this is patently false. FAA regulations clearly state that it is permissible to fly without proper verifiable ID so long as they either a) make a thorough check of your baggage or b) ensure your baggage only goes onboard if you yourself are onboard. Remove it from the plane if you aren't onboard at takeoff. In fact, it may be illegal to refuse to let someone board a plane without ID. The reason the airlines don't tell you this? Because.. they want to enforce their STUPID non-transeferable tickets. Cancelled your plans? wanna give your expensive ticket to someone else? Too bad. That is evil.

        As for the SIN. IT is illegal for anyone but the Government to REQUIRE you to present your SIN. The catch is.. you are not required to give it out to anyone but the government. You can always request an 'alternate' id number for credit checks and such.

        Unversal ID cards aren't scary.. but I think the reason oracle & sun are involving themselves is because they are talking about a national ID 'system' as opposed to just cards. National ID cards are actually a good idea... I don't have a problem. I happily show my passport for ID all the time now anyway.
  • Ok,

    So now everyone thinks that services is the next big thing that will save the IT world and all the tech companies, so everyone is lining up for a universal ID system, which will somehow be tied to .NET/Java2EE or whatever like this:

    <conjecture and humor>

    The Microsoft Network, the only online service that ties directly into your NationalID, so you can do your taxes, use government services, and chat all with one service! Use your NationalID at amazon, cdnow, and others. Remember, the IRS deadline for NationalID is next month, don't get stuck using 'non-standard' protocols like Quicken, or paper.

    Oracle - Oracle saved 34 billion running its ID on its own ID system, how much will the country save?

    Sun - We're the ID behind NationalID.

    </conjecture and humor>

    By selling a National ID Card system that is smart, these large companies can leverage that to tie in more 'services' to 'integrate' this to whatever they are selling. In other words, more spam for everybody ....

    As much as we hate to admit it, the government sets a standard, not really on purpose, but because they pick something and stick to it (MS Office for example). Now, take that standard and use it to get a leg up in industry ... the goverment uses it, you might as well use our system, because they do too ...

    • Replying to myself ...

      It gets pretty serious when something like this gets tied to, for example, your credit report.

      Imagine this at the grocery store:
      "I'm sorry Mr. Soandso, your NationalID has been placed on hold, seems like your rent is overdue, I'm sorry, we cannot accept this payment until your ID is cleared, I'm sorry."

      "But I paid that, It's a mistake, WTF?"

      Lady smiles, thinks 'loser':
      "I'm sorry, you need to call Oracle central systems to clear this"

      phonecall - "Welcome to Oracle Services, you are caller number 1234223, please hold, Mr. Soandso, GPS Location - Detroit, MI. Debt found on account, terminating phone with AT&T ID, disabling electronic key in FordID-capable car."

      "F*CK!"

      /me gets off the computer and resumes reading '1984'.
    • Sun - We're the ID behind NationalID.

      You were close, but not quite there --

      Sun - We're the IP behind the National ID.

  • Interesting that fully half the referenced article was about Sun and Microsoft fighting over who get's to be the big bad ID authenticator of the digital age.

    No has yet mentioned Microsoft, not even to rant at them. Amazing.
  • What I want is a national ID card powered by Microsoft.

    If I get stopped by the cops, I just show it to them, and they are so filled with FUD that they let me off, scott-free.
  • Slash! Seriously... think about it. You can always hide yourself, but it makes fun of you. You get promoted for group-think, and struck down for originality. Almost everyone has a connection to Natalie Portman (usually in the form of hot grits-- great for down south... both the South, and the other meaning ), and finally-- everyone will be able to spot and avoid JonKatz just with one checkbox! W00t@ge!
  • Forget about Id cards, I want Gataca style instant DNA id. A quick pinprick, a little analysis, and a check against a database.

    The day this is implemented is the day I become a hermit in the Middle Fork Wilderness area.

  • by NJVil (154697)
    ``Absolute anonymity breeds absolute irresponsibility,'' he said. ``We need a thumbprint Java card in the hand of everybody in the country.''

    Somehow giving up one's privacy will "breed" responsibility? Funny, I don't remember learning to be responsible by having everyone know all the details of my personal life. Yet here's this character lecturing Americans that we need to give up any semblance of privacy in order to be responsible citizens. Feh.

    Besides, the last time I checked, many of the most evil acts in history were perpetrated by people who were quite well known to everyone else. I'm not sure that I see the positive correlation between being anonymous and being irresponsible and whether *America* will truly benefit from this scheme.

    Furthermore, when he says "We", does he mean the citizens of the US? Why do I suspect he is talking about Sun, its CEO, and its investors and not the citizens of the US?

    Finally, I wonder if this petty dictator-wannabe's "Java card" will let everyone he interacts with to know just how much of a threat he is to our basic human liberties... I suspect not...
  • OK so if the law is passed that EVERYONE must carry a nationa ID card or else. What do you do about the 8 year old who looses his card when he leaves his mittens on the bus? Or do you execute the Alzheimers patient who wanders out of the house without pants to carry a wallet around.

    Only barcodes tatooed on the back of the neck will solve these problems.


    • Just put your thumbprint on something. Presto,
      your very own barcode. Cannot be forged easily.
      Unique to every individual.

      PeterM
      • Thumb prints don't work for everyone. People with skin problems, thalidomide babies with flipper arms, stupid shop teachers... The list is endless. You have to mark a part of the body that every living human has.

        Besides there's some credible evidance being presented in court these days showing fingerprints aren't the panacea we've been tricked to believe.

  • so I could host my homepage on the card.
    Why should they get to decide what goes on MY id card?....I could see it now, at the checkout line sliding my card through the reader,
    and the checkout clerk says
    "hey did you do those animations yourself? that's really cool!"

  • by BrookHarty (9119) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @07:45PM (#2417947) Homepage Journal
    My local Taco Bell doesnt take credit cards.

    National ID Card? They dont take checks either.

    Aha, We can starve the terrorists!
  • What is going on with Sun lately?

    It really seems that Sun has resorted to "Ah, yes, that sounds like a good idea, but it can't work under {Microsoft|Oracle}".

    Witness the Liberty Alliance. Basically, what Sun was saying was "well, a global authentication mechanism really is needed. We just can't have Microsoft doing it, because Microsoft is the evil empire."

    What about Java? Originally promised as the end-all, be-all of programming languages, it has since dwindled into a niche of server-side programming. JSP only came about because ASP did. Sun had XML for years (in fact, Sun employees did invent XML) before Microsoft finally ponied up a strategy for using it with .NET.

    Jxta? What is Jxta? "Peer-to-peer protocols"? Jxta came about because of Napster, but I don't see any applications using it yet...

    Now, Oracle has requested national IDs, and Sun again jumps on the bandwagon, this time with McNealy claiming that he wanted to use them for national IDs all along. It's true, Java smart cards have been in the works for a while, but I don't think McNealy originally created them for a national ID system.

    The future of Sun really worries me. Back in 1996, when anti-Microsoft sentiment was just starting to take off, Sun really was the leader. A lot of people thought that Sun might be their only chance for keeping everything from becoming a Microsoft product. But so far, they have failed to produce anything that lives up to their numerous claims. Java has been moderately successful, but not in the realm in which Sun originally intended (client-side applications.)

    I really wish Scott McNealy would stop making these privacy-bashing claims and go back to making the great servers that made Sun famous. Why has Sun taken so many tangents lately? It really seems like Sun's core server business has suffered because McNealy's wish is for Sun to be an overpowering empire, not just an awesome server company. I really wish Sun the best, but as their prospects for profitability dim and they announce layoffs, I think now is the time for Sun to become refocused -- and McNealy needs to emphasize that, instead of just spouting off about smart cards and how Java is going to rule the world.

    My two cents...
    • "[Java] has since dwindled into a niche of server-side programming"

      Since when is the #1 most used language a 'niche'? Java provides an awful lot of the power behind the Internet.

      "JSP only came about because ASP did"

      Okay, I'll give you that one. JSP sucks. Servlets, however, kick ass over all of the alternatives.

      "Sun had XML for years (in fact, Sun employees did invent XML) before Microsoft finally ponied up a strategy for using it with .NET"

      You've got to be kidding me. I was using XML in Java before Microsoft even announced .Net. The fact that Microsoft has turned XML into a dog-and-pony show does not imply that Sun didn't know what they were doing.

      "Jxta came about because of Napster, but I don't see any applications using it yet.."

      Oh, and there are presumably a ton using .Net? I'm familiar with several teams taking advantage of JXTA, by the way. It's a new product, most of its uses haven't hit the market yet (and most are in server-side stuff that will never be seen by end users, so it's tough to point to anyway).

      "t's true, Java smart cards have been in the works for a while, but I don't think McNealy originally created them for a national ID system."

      "In the works?" This is not vaporware. Java smart cards are a real product, available today. For a while now, actually. Sun didn't claim they invented them for their ID system, nor anything resembling that. You just made that up right now.

      "But so far, they have failed to produce anything that lives up to their numerous claims"

      What claims have they failed to live up to? Cross-platform functionality? I regularly move code between Windows, Solaris, and Linux without recompiling. Performance? I've written Java programs which outperform their C++ predecessors. Please elaborate me on which specific promises they have failed to fulfill.

      I'm not saying Java is the best thing ever. There are some things about it which piss me off, and if I were designing it today I'd make a few changes. But I'd quit programming and become a hermit if I had to go back to C++ -- I just won't do it. Java is much better than what came before, and I will be using it for a long time to come.
  • by Naikrovek (667) <jjohnson@ps g . com> on Thursday October 11, 2001 @07:49PM (#2417965)
    "Is there any company that doesn't want to exploit a tragedy for financial gain?"

    hahah. hahahahahahha. HAHAHHAHHAH! AHHHAAHHAHHHAHHAHAHHAHAHAH!

    no. there is no company large enough to suggest something like that that also gives a shit about humanity or safety or privacy, or anything except their christmas bonuses.

    excess money makes *most* people heartless, evil, greedy and opportunistic. the current economic situation isn't helping things either - they only want more money to come in faster right now, because they see no reasonable income in the future.

    they are owned by money, not the other way around. the things you own, end up owning you. example: ever seen someone who owns a ferarri not get murderously angry & violent when they see that someone has scratched their car? its not because something like that really matters, its because their self worth is enveloped entirely in their belongings.

    so no, there is no large company that will not take every available opportunity to monopolize a situation that can benefit them - no matter how many people died to create that situation.
  • A lot of what I read here doesn't take into account the human factor. No matter how good of a card or system you get, people can and will always screw it up. Thats what has already happened. People don't examine ID's closely enough. People don't watch the x-ray machines closely enough. Airport personel lose their badges, etc, etc, etc.

    Even if we can have a perfect, unforgeable, unique card biometrically linked for any and every security purpose, it still doesn't rule out the fact that those who have legit access can be turned or used.

    Just my 2 cents.
  • There are millions of people whose lives are so disorganized that they won't get the ID cards or they'll lose them when they get them or they'll fail to get them renewed.

    For instance [luc.edu], in 1993-97, 3.7 percent of drivers were unlicensed, 7.4 percent were driving on an invalid (e.g., suspended, revoked, etc.) license, and 2.7 percent were of unknown license status.

    The result is that if the police have to investigate everyone they stop without a valid ID card, they will be spending thousands of useless man hours verifying the identities of non-terrorists. Possibly they will be investigating the same hopeless people over and over again.

    At best, a national ID system will prove a short term impediment until the terrorists figure out a way to acquire the cards illegally.

    In fact, one can imagine a large black market for ID cards that would be a further drain on the resources of the police.

  • ..to make this work.

    I think the main objection here is loss of privacy. So let's find some other ways to protect our privacy:

    From the bottom, let's declare that personal info is our property. Let's use rights management software to tag _all_ data about ourselves, so that we can follow it, so we know exactly who has it and for how long. Some of that data we ought to be able to revoke, or "license it" in such a way that it expires. If I can't copy Word and sell it to my friend, why should a business be able to do the same with my credit card purchases, or questionnaire responses. Moreover, if a police agency is monitoring or collecting data about me, I should have a right ot know this. If the FBI needs a personal ID card, let them use it for purposes of identification, and not of spying. They still gotta do the gumshoe thing for that.

    From the Top. If we are giving govt. more info about us, then we need more powers to hold govt. accountable. Let's require some stronger freedom of information policies. Declassify more docs. Publicize notes and meetings. Shine a light on black budgets. Full disclosure of lobbyists' notes/itinerary. I wanna be able to download the pda and schedule for any registered lobbyist (and they damn well better be registered, tagged, collared, .. ;)). All available on the web (say, two-weeks after the fact). You guys think of some other/better ideas. There are lots of ways to improve govt. accountability.

    Needless to say, we don't want oracle or MS or Sun running the show in some proprietary monopoly. This should be a non profit, fully open process.

    We can make a trade. National ID card in exchange for more open governance. More accountability. If this happened, I'd personally feel a higher level of privacy than I do now.

    • I think the main objection here is loss of privacy.

      The first question is whether ID cards will make it easier for the police to identify terrorists. If the answer is "yes" then one can discuss the trade-off of loss of privacy vs. increased safety.

      However, if the answer is "no", then the privacy question becomes irrelevant because there is no justification for the card.

      The terrorism we have just witnessed is conducted by people from outside the United States who could arrive with false identities. I can't see how a domestic ID system would address that tactic at all.

      We can make a trade. National ID card in exchange for more open governance.

      If you want more "open governance" and government accountability, you don't need to make any kind of trade. You are entitled to both as a citizen of a democracy. Except in some very narrow areas, the fight against terrorism doesn't require any additional government secrecy. The longstanding campaign for more open government can proceed without fear of impeding the search for terrorists.

  • by mj6798 (514047) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @08:33PM (#2418089)
    I think many of the proposals and actions that have followed the 9/11 attacks use the attacks to push agendas that people have had for a long time. That's true as much for Ashcroft's limitations on civil liberties, even more defense funding, the secrecy and lack of transparency of the current administration, as well as these corporate proposals for "help". I don't think this is deliberate: I think the Bush administration, as well as these companies, really believe that what they are proposing is "for the best of the country", and they probably believe as well that they would be making the same proposals if they didn't have a stake in the matter.

    But we known from many studies and long experience that you cannot be objective if you have a stake in the matter, no matter how much you try. That's why scientists conduct double-blind studies. And that's why we should scrutinize both administration policies and corporate proposals very, very carefully.

    I do actually think a national ID system would actually be a good thing. But I think its purpose should only be to allow people to identify themselves reliably to other humans and to establish their residency status. As such, it should involve neither smartcards nor Java nor Oracle software. In fact, I don't think it should involve a national database at all. Rather, it should be a difficult-to-forge physical artifact with picture, name, thumbprint, and a 40 digit unique number with checksum (the length making it difficult to remember from casual observation, and to make it difficult to invent existing numbers). The number should be printed in an OCR font so that it can be read and verified, but the rest of the information on the card should be deliberately hard to capture by automatic means. Such a card could then be used to establish identity for purposes like immigration, security check-ins, financial transactions, etc. Yet it would resist the creation of a "big brother" database probably better than our current ad-hoc system based on social security numbers.

    Such a system would be of no commercial value to McNealy or Ellison. Would they still support it?Well...

  • Oracle wants a national ID card powered by Oracle. Sun wants a national ID card powered by Java.

    ...and Bud wants a national ID card powered by beer. So what else is new?

    Me, personally? I want a national ID card powered by my smiling face, with a $1 royalty going to me for each card.

    I think y'all get the point. At any rate, one can only hope that if Bush ever holds up a card on TV, people will react the same as when Clinton held up a card on TV. Yes... here is how I intend to prevent it:

    Dear Mr. Bush,

    If you ever hold up a national ID card on TV, I will vote straight Democrat in the next election.

    Sincerely,
    Steven Marthouse

  • Sheesh... (Score:3, Funny)

    by neema (170845) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @08:40PM (#2418102) Homepage
    These terrible people, taking advantage of such tragedies...

    In completely unrelated break through, I will be selling white t-shirts with "Check out this shirt, I'm a real American!" written on it with black magic marker. Only 29.95.

    Orders to come in anytime now.
  • I think there is a concept that underlies all the concerns of privacy advocates, cypherpunks, civil rights advocates, and consumer protection advocates when presented with the concept of some kind of "national identification."

    Trust.

    Trust that your ID won't be used to track your purchases in order to determine your buying habits, so that info can be sold to someone else, to sell to someone else, to build a huge database about the buying habits of millions including yourself, to sell to the highest bidder.

    Trust that you won't have every movement scrutinized by authorities and put in a file, tagged to your ID card, because you think the death penalty is moronic, or marijuana should be legalized, or that animals have similar rights as the animal species homo sapiens, so that law enforcement can threaten you into submission by showing how closely they can watch you, or take any innocuous action and turn it into reason for denial of bail - or even a conviction - by painting a "picture" of someone "suspicious".

    Trust that the people involved in administering the system won't abuse the authority given to them.

    Trust that the people who provide the resources won't try to exploit that avenue of control to gain some kind of political or economic advantage.

    Trust that this system is being set up for the benefit of all, instead of the benefit of a few.

    Trust that the system will be transparent and fair.

    Trust in something is a powerful emotion, one that can drive a person to give another some kind of power over them, in the hope that power won't be abused. Trust in government, in business, in law enforcement, in the very people handed power and authority, has been spectacularly eroded over the past century, thanks to uncountable incidents of abuse of power and control.

    Trust will have to be rebuilt in a lot of people before a national ID system can be effectively put into place.
  • If for no other reason than for driving home to (otherwise naively unsuspecting) people that they have no privacy and are being constantly observed. It is the governments duty to at least allow cicitzens the dignity of knowing they are being watched, data mined, profiled, and statistically reduced on a daily basis.
  • No wait, hear me out. I want a national barcode ID system. Simple enough to do, just like the one one Dark Angel.

    He's the catch, I want it tattooed right in the crack of my ass. I belive that this would be great. Think about it:

    Authority Abusing Cop: "I need to see your ID tatoo son"

    Me: Gulps down last spoon of Super Ass Ripper Chilli, "Alright, but you're going to have to get nice and close, there's not much light in here officer"

    Best idea I've had all week.

  • I'm tired of the outrage. If you get on a plane, I want to know who you are.
    He's not talking about personal security here, he has his own private jet. He just wants to know where you are at all times for when he and Ellison's stormtroopers seize power.

    It's like a Bond film or something. All he needs is a white cat and a monacle.

  • by pondlife (56385) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @08:57PM (#2418154)
    One thing nor mentioned so far is that even if Dubya were to succeed in specifying, developing and implementing a new US ID card (ie. succeed in managing a major IT project without cost overrun or failure to provide required functionality...), what happens to the numerous foreigners in the USA?

    I'm sure that the rest of the world would probably fail to come up to the US 'standards' - would an Afghan passport be accepted as readily as a US ID card? Or a Britsh/French/Japanese passport, for that matter? (Or insert your chosen US-friendly/US-client state in that sentence).

    So even if the US cards were miraculuously foolproof and unforgeable, the baddies would just start getting fake IDs from ither countries, which the US couldn't refuse without significant political and legal problems.

    For example, I hold a British passport, a Swiss driving licence, and a Spanish student ID - which of these would be accepted in the Brave New World as allowing me to fly from New York to Boston?
  • by Tarkwyn (130064)
    I've got my religion [slashdot.org]. You don't need to see my identification.
  • by StaticEngine (135635) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @09:05PM (#2418175) Homepage
    When I was a kid, my Dad used to joke around by saying "Vere are your Pap-ahs? Vee haf vays of making you tak!" I didn't understand it until I was older, and once I did, I laughed because I believed such a thing could never happen here.

    The real question that the populace needs to ask is whether or not any system of National IDs would really provide a benefit for the People in the form of Enhanced Security, while simultaneously not eroding our Freedoms. Furthermore, what will be the implications of the information that such a system provides, and what reliability do we have for the accuracy and precision of that data?

    If such cards hold information on criminal record, citizenship status, and so forth, will this information be used in a discriminatory fashion? Will convicted murderer be able to board an airliner? How about someone who plead guilty to petty theft decades ago? How about people with speeding tickets? Will cards hold information on ethnic background, and if so, how will this affect racial profiling?

    Furthermore, how will the data be stored? Will it all be contained on a Smart Card (easily hackable), or will it be contained in a Central Database? Who will be in charge of this Database? If this central database is hacked, aren't all records for all citizens suddenly called into question? And if this database is undetectibly hacked, how will this provide any more security than a person carrying a forged driver's license? It is doubtful that this card on it's own will be enough to provide true security. Schneier talks of a dual data system, where a user provides a password or biometric data in addition to the ID card to provide authentication. Couldn't these also be stolen or faked, perhaps not at the personal level, but also by hacking the card or database?

    What about the convienience factor? Many people have said that while Americans clamor for security, the aspect of life that they're least willing to give up is convieneince. Will transmitting a query across the network for every ID card access be so painfully slow that many people will forgo its use? Will people who forget or lose their card be locked out of their daily routines until the situation is resolved? And how will foreigners deal with the lack of a National ID card? Will they be issued a temporary one upon arrival in this nation? How easy will these be to forge, and how will this affect tourism, and their opinion of "America, The Haven of Freedom and Democracy"?

    I for one wonder how many of these questions will be asked by people who will decide whether or not such a system should be implemented. This is not a trivial issue, and the proper analysis of such a system will take time, time that few want to waste in this era of fast solutions and anxious precautions.

  • by mindstrm (20013) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @09:06PM (#2418178)
    Let's face it folks; having a federally issued ID card, with your picture on it is NOT what bothers everyone. Do you think you government doesn't know you are a citizen? Do you have a passport? That's federally issued ID.

    The REAL issue is where you have to present said ID card.
    I don't have to present ID to ride the bus, to buy groceries, to drive on the highway (though I do have to have my driver's license). I don't have to present ID to cross from state to state. You don't technically have to show ID to board an airplane (but good luck doing so nowadays after the sept. 11 incidents) .FAA regulations clearly allow you to travel without ID.

    The issue is someone using that federal ID to track where you go, when, and how, and what you do, what you buy, etc. Isn't it?
  • Why have cards? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wytcld (179112) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @09:09PM (#2418188) Homepage
    After all we all know how to spot a real American. Check the clothes. Check the accent. Check the knowledge of baseball trivia.

    What was the success of German spying efforts in WWII? Germans looked just like plenty of Americans; but few if any had mastery of baseball trivia. The Germans with American music trivia (particularly jazz) were generally in the German resistance. If you go far enough into our trivia, it conquers your mind and there's no need for us to worry about you.

    The only function served by ID cards would be they would allow certain technical citizens to be granted certain privileges, when under present circumstances they will be prone to intense interrogation for not bearing the obvious signs of being, in a cultural sense, citizens. Why screw with the status quo on this one, when it favors most of us here?

    Altho it would be useful, in considering a new relationship, to have full access not just to the prospective other's ID card, but also the EGO card and the SUPER-EGO card. If the SUPER-EGO resembles any of several nasty old Middle-Eastern deities, report this to local law enforcement.
  • Sign me up, but I want full medical/dental coverage and guaranteed employment in whatever field I'm competant in, with an option for self employment.

  • The exploitation of the WTC attacks and the aftermath for gain both political and monetary is frankly pretty disgusting. The networks have done it since minute 1, The T-Shirts and baseball caps in stores since day 2 or 3, the covers of magazines, newspapers, the endless story after story of the hardship and painthis all caused.

    It truly is terrible. I understand things need to be reported, people need to be made aware, yes its nice to sell things and donate the money to the cause of helping and cleaning up etc. But what of the things that are for profit?

    Conspiracy alert?

    While I don't think our Government staged the WTC attacks, I do think the biggest 'corporation' that has exploited the situation for both monetary/political gain has been the current administration. It is shameless truthfully: they have introduced radical legislation(covered here), got the wheels of war rolling (the whole gang in charge right now is a who's who of the military industrial complex), and the possibility of the oil connection in the region:

    UNOCAL testimony on needing gov support in Afghan region to stabalise for energy plans [house.gov]

    Energy Information Administration prospectus on Regions Energy [doe.gov]

    as well as the total destruction of critical analysis of the job the administration is doing (How can you condemn the pres in this hard time?) by the press , the supposed complete reversal of approval ratings Worldwide, despite the questionable actions, the complete "fsck you" attitude towards allies and UN, has led me to believe that they have taken this ball and run with it.

    Off the soapbox and back to the topic. When a company like Sun or Oracle or anyone of that magnitude chimes in ready and willing to go forth with some plan that makes them look good and allows them to profit off of these insane times we are living in makes me really not think to much of the company, nor do I want to have anything to do with them.

  • I had an idea recently regarding how to implement a national identification card. It wouldn't, in and of itself, prevent people getting on planes and killing everyone, but it would be a very good thing, and here's why.

    The card is a smartcard card, with embedded microchip. On the chip is encoded your photograph, unencrypted, and your address, phone number, and a uniquely identifiable number (NOT your social security/social insurance), which are encrypted according to a key based on your fingerprint. Thus, anyone can get your picture from the card merely by putting it into an appropriate card reader, but access to your address, citizen ID number (CID), and so on requires your thumb(index finger,middle finger)print to be accessed.

    This allows people to confirm that you are (or look like) who your card says you are without your fingerprint.

    When you go into a Blockbuster to get a membership (blockbuster is a bad example because it's international, but bear with me), they take your information, assign you a membership number, and give you a plastic card with a barcode on it. With this national ID card, you would (at the final point in your membership sign-up) insert the card into a card reader that they have, scan in your thumbprint to authenticate, and they would then create your information in the database. The difference, though, is that they would not have to ask you for proof of address, and you would not have to dictate your address or phone number. Also, they would not have to assign you a member number, as your CID could be used (or merely stored and referenced) as your member number in the database.

    Privacy whiners could note that Blockbuster does not, with this ID card, know anything more or less than they did before.

    The key to this system is that you do not have a centralized database controlled by the government that stores your credit card information, video rental information, and air miles. You do not have all relevant information stored on the card so that anyone can pull it off the card, and the information, if your card is lost, is irretrievable, though it is easy to locate the owner in a crowd or a restaurant, since the picture is printed and stored on the card.

    Every store needs their own database, as they do now, so the government can no easier 'track you' than they can now. The government's database would be easily integrated amongst itself (CSIS/RCMP/local police/Immigration Canada could share/cross-access databases), and make working together easier.

    Thus, while not a safety measure in and of itself, this card would not stop anything, security officials at airports could integrate their check-in scanners with all of the above agencies (or their local counterparts, for Americans, Britons, etc), and any national red flags would be raised, and the person would be told that there was a problem with their card, and could they please wait a moment.

    The card would be free to any citizen/landed immigrant, and a minimal charge ($5? $10? Cost of fabrication) would be asked of any non-citizen resident (students, foreign nationals, diplomats). Anyone not posessing a card would be ineligable for most services at most institutions.

    (Worried about 'manditory ID'? Try getting a bank account without a driver's license, or a passport without a birth certificate, or even a Blockbuster card without at least an addressed letter)

    The idea certainly isn't perfeclty thought out, but I think it's pretty well laid out. I wish Canada WOULD do something like this, because as a non-driving individual who gets little mail and doesn't posess a credit card, the only ID I have is a two-year old learner's license from a different province, and a Social Insurance Card that has only my name and a number on it.

    --Dan
  • The world is an unsafe place, that was true even before the attacks. If someone wants to kill someone people bad enough he's going to get me no matter what I do. Yes, we should take precautions but let's not get carried away here.

    McNealy says ``I'm tired of the outrage. If you get on a plane, I want to know who you are. If you rent a crop duster, I want to know who you are,''

    He's going for the knee jerk reaction here. Maybe he should also propose that the card have an American flag on them.

    I wouldn't worry about air travel nowadays, if I had a reason to travel I wouldn't hesitate in the least. If I had the money I would take my family to Disney World now. The news footage I saw with no lines looks a lot better than the last time I was there.

    The unthinkable was done, it shocked everyone, but now the element of surprise is gone. Terrorists aren't going to use a commercial plane anymore than the Japenese were going to come back to Pearl Harbor a month later.

    I crop duster, why worry about that, a crackpot a few years ago only needed a rental truck. He could have just as easily stolen a truck one night and carried the attack out the next morning. There's no limit to the evil things some people are capable of if they are determined. I'm sure they'll come up with something just as evil and unexpected.

    How about confidentiality of the card information? I'm sure you wouldn't have to physically present you card for every transaction you want to do. Are they going to tie all of my accounts into one card? Oh, that would be great, now if I call an order into one unscrupulous place, I'm locked out of all my accounts until the banks straighten it out.

    I mean I'm all for all of these companies proposing these things, the more companies involved touting their own standard the longer it will take for someone to agree on a standard. As long as each individual company can buy enough poliiticians I mean.
  • by gweihir (88907) on Friday October 12, 2001 @12:45AM (#2418682)
    In Germany there is a need to carry ID at all times. Also if you move you have to register with the police within 2 weeks or be fined. And foreigners will need this registration to, e.g., get a bank account. If you take into account that wages will almost always be paid to a bank account and not as cash or check, this creates a pretty good facility to track people with no outside (cash!) funding.

    These measures where introduced to find domestic terrorists that want to survive their acts of terror and it does help to a certain extend. It makes it also more difficult for people wanted by the police to hide. However it does only help against terrorists that stay in the county for a longer time and are active for some time.

    It does not help to find one-time terrorists. It does not help to identify terrorists that have not done anything wrong yet. It does not help to find terrorists that have strong support from the population (a.k.a. freedom fighters). All it does is to significantly improve the chances of identifying a terrorist that moves around and strikes multiple times. That was enough reason to introduce it, and I believe it has actually helped somewhat to bring about the end of the Red Army Fraction. At least they had be far more careful and spend more effort on hiding and less on doing terrorism.

    On the other hand it provides the gouvernment with a possibility to track its citizens. That is also a risk. And the worst kind of terrorism is that done by a totalitarian gouvernment against its citizens. So some balance has to be found.

    One thing done in Germany in the past was to restrict access to and use of the collected data.
  • Tough Shit, Scot. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Friday October 12, 2001 @03:14AM (#2418876) Journal

    MacNealy says: "I'm tired of the outrage. If you get on a plane, I want to know who you are. If you rent a crop duster, I want to know who you are."

    Well, tough shit, Scott. I don't give a flying fuck what you demand. I'm an American citizen, and I don't have to prove it to you, or Ellison, or any other nosy bastard who wants to make a billion dollars on tools for totalitarians. If you're afraid of me, carry a gun.

    When the people of this country elect a self-serving marketing dink like you to some responsible position, then your demands carry some weight. Until then, you can go fuck yourself.

    -jcr
  • by Seanasy (21730) on Friday October 12, 2001 @09:36AM (#2419699)

    An internal passport is the tool of a repressive regime. Stalin introduced them to Russian and they're still using them.

    I never thought I'd ever agree with Texas Republicans [lone-star.net] about anything.

  • by rsimmons (248005) on Friday October 12, 2001 @10:33AM (#2420030) Homepage
    Linking driver's license data between states does not make for a national ID card. You are not required to get a driver's license, nor are you required to get a walker's ID. You are not required to get any sort of ID right now, and that's the way it should stay.

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