Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Sun Microsystems

McNealy Calls for National ID Card Too 615

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?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

McNealy Calls for National ID Card Too

Comments Filter:
  • by DoomHaven ( 70347 ) <DoomHaven&hotmail,com> on Thursday October 11, 2001 @08:10PM (#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@smuckol[ ]rg ['a.o' in gap]> on Thursday October 11, 2001 @08:11PM (#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.

  • Driver's Licenses (Score:3, Interesting)

    by vicviper ( 140480 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @08:11PM (#2417788)
    How can a driver's license count as a national ID card if everyone doesn't drive, or qualify for one?
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday October 11, 2001 @08:20PM (#2417832) Homepage Journal
    ...Oracle wants a national ID card powered by Oracle. Sun wants a national ID card powered by Java. ... 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?

    Rant first, content on a national ID card system below.

    I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you're in a capitalistic society (Assuming you're in any of the first world nations, at the very least) which is busily reforming the entire world in its image, which is the way it always goes. Whoever's on top has the most time and money to throw away on cultural nonsense (Hollywood, Big Music, et cetera) which shapes everyone who comes in contact with it. These days, that's pretty much everyone. Even world music is becoming more and more like the music we listen to here, with very little exchange in the other direction - At least comparatively.

    In fact, Big Music has put together several compilations, a small part of the proceeds of which go to disaster relief. But they're just the ones we have the jihad against (While at the same time buying albums from them) so they're the ones that stick out the most, except for one notable example.

    That example is the set of flag crap that they're selling on late night TV for $19.95. They're little flags that clip onto the tops of your windows, which is an okay idea if you drive with the windows up all the time. In the final shot of all the products (which includes a "god bless america" flag or something like that, a normal american flag, and some other kitsch) they put their stupid flag IN FRONT OF the real American Flag, Capital A, Capital F. I mean, I'm not all that worked up about it, but that shows the nerve of these people. They might as well have had a big million dollar bill flag that was in front of both of them.

    On The Other Hand, you could see this whole thing as a Triumph Of The American Spirit(tm). Here we are making shit-ade out of the shit we've been handed, and we're drinking it up and smiling as we clean our guns. Say, while we're on (off?) the topic, does anyone else think that we ought to send some militias to Afghanistan to kick some ass? Those people have too much time on their hands anyway.

    Anyway, now the content; A National ID card is coming, like it or not. I suspect that they'll just tie all the state databases together for a while, then work on a system to replace it while people get used to that. When it comes, I'm going to have to rush out and pay Texas some traffic ticket fines I've been blowing off (mostly due to a lack of employment due to the tech crunch) so they don't take my license away. Unless, of course, various states choose to only maintain the working relationships they have now.

  • Re:no! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2001 @08:31PM (#2417899)
    Actually Larry offered it for free, if you read through or listen to.. but considering the average intellect of the readers here... probably too much to ask. So aside from the fact that it's a good or bad idea. At least in Larry's case the primary goal was not $$ . But hey, be jealous... always need someone to bitch about...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 11, 2001 @09:13PM (#2418036)
    The Sexual Rage Behind Islamic Terror

    FrontPageMagazine.com, October 4, 2001

    The Islamic Homosexuals by Jamie Glazov [Michael - take note - this is about YOU]

    ALL SERIAL KILLERS, almost without exception, are severely sexually abused as children. The kind of people who hijack a plane with innocent people and drive it into a building with thousands of other innocent people are related to this phenomenon.

    When sociopaths rape and kill, they do not see their victims as human beings, but only as objects. This is because the sociopaths were themselves, at one time, used as objects as their bodily integrity was repeatedly violated. The rage that results from sexual abuse is one thing, but when combined with living in a dysfunctional culture of sexual repression and misogyny, where love is reduced to violent domination, it is quite another.

    Throughout the Islamic Middle East, men and women are taught to be vehemently opposed to pleasure, especially of the sexual variety. Men are raised not only forbidden to touch women, but to even look at them. Sex before marriage is not just a sin -- but a criminal offence. It is punishable by a severe beating at best, and an execution at worst.

    The sexual privileges that are allowed in Islamic cultures are permitted to men. Womens sexuality and social independence represent major threats to male supremacy and are tightly controlled. Thus, as the Moroccan feminist Fitna Sabbah reveals in her book Woman in the Muslim Unconscious, there is a disturbing conflict in the Middle East between sexual libido and repression. A deep-seated fear of, and hostility to, individuality prevails, and its main expression exists in misogyny.

    Socially segregated from women, Arab men succumb to homosexual behavior. But, interestingly enough, there is no word for "homosexual" in their culture in the modern Western sense. That is because having sex with boys, or with effeminate men, is seen as a social norm. Males serve as available substitutes for unavailable women. The male who does the penetrating, meanwhile, is not emasculated any more than if he had sex with a wife. The male who is penetrated is emasculated. The boy, however, is not, since it is rationalized that he is not yet a man.

    In this culture, males sexually penetrating males becomes a manifestation of male power, conferring a status of hyper-masculinity. It is considered to have nothing to do with homosexuality. An unmarried man who has sex with boys is simply doing what men do. As the scholar Bruce Dunne has demonstrated, sex in Islamic societies is not about mutuality between partners, but about the adult male's achievement of pleasure through violent domination.

    There is silence around this issue. It is the silence that legitimizes sexual violence against women, such as honor crimes and female circumcision. It is also the silence that forces victimized Arab boys into invisibility. Even though the society does not see their sexual exploitation as being humiliating, the psychological and emotional scars that result from their subordination, powerlessness and humiliation is a given. Traumatized by the violation of their dignity and manliness, they spend the rest of their lives trying to get it back.

    The problem is that trying to recover from sexual abuse, and to recapture ones own shattered masculinity, is quite an ordeal in a culture where women are hated and love is interpreted as hegemonic control.

    With women out of touch and out of sight -- until marriage, males experience pre-marital sex only in the confines of being with other males. Their sexual outlet mostly includes victimizing younger males just the way they were victimized.

    In all of these circumstances, the idea of love is removed from men's understanding of sexuality. Like the essence of Arab masculinity, it is reduced to hurting others by violence. A gigantic rupture develops between men and women, where no harmony, affection or equality is allowed to exist. In relationships between men, meanwhile, affection, solidarity and empathy are left out of the picture. They threaten the hyper-masculine order.

    It is excruciating to imagine the sexual confusion, humiliation, and repression that evolve in the mindsets of males in this culture. But it is no surprise that many of these males find their only avenue for gratification in the act of humiliating the foreign "enemy," whose masculinity must be violated at all costs as theirs once was.

    Violating the masculinity of the enemy necessitates the dishing out of severe violence against him. In the recent terrorist strikes, therefore, violence against Americans served as a much-needed release of the terrorists bottled-up sexual rage. Moreover, it served as a desperate and pathological testament of the re-masculinization of their emasculated selves.

  • yeah.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Axe ( 11122 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @09:18PM (#2418051)
    Soviet Union used to have a national ID (internal passport). Regime's ability to track what all ciezen are doing was not even close to what is already going on in this country..

    He was right when he said that we did not have any privacy left anymore. Get over it. Communism won. ;P

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

    by nyquist_theorem ( 262542 ) <mbelleghem@@@gmail...com> on Thursday October 11, 2001 @09:45PM (#2418118) Homepage
    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)
  • by StaticEngine ( 135635 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @10:05PM (#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.

  • Why have cards? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wytcld ( 179112 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @10:09PM (#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.
  • Re:yeah.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by snilloc ( 470200 ) <jlcollins@hot m a i l . com> on Thursday October 11, 2001 @10:31PM (#2418240) Homepage
    I was disgusted to discover that neither my sister (17) nor her boyfriend (19) could offer any idea about what communism is. Wow. It's not like the idea shaped world history, or like any major countries claim to have Communist governments...


  • by Sentry21 ( 8183 ) on Thursday October 11, 2001 @11:00PM (#2418309) Journal
    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.

  • by nycdewd ( 160297 ) on Friday October 12, 2001 @12:49AM (#2418597)
    In the darkest 1950s Cold War hysteria, when U.S. Sen. Joe McCarthy, R-Wi., was demanding that Congress toss aside the Constitution in order to hunt down the agents of his "red menace," a move was made by the Republican attorney general of the United States to expand the the use of information gathered through wiretapping in cases of espionage and sabotage. The proposal required Senate approval, which seemed assured as the shadow of McCarthyism hung heavy over the Capitol.

    One senator, Wayne Morse, a Republican senator from the state of Oregon, stood alone in opposition to increased use of wiretaps on the phone lines of those suspected of subversion. Wiretapping phones was, Morse said, "a police state tactic." When the attorney general pressed his case before the Senate, Morse countered that, "I am shocked that an attorney general of the United States should believe Gestapo methods are needed in detecting Gestapo elements."

    At every turn, and at considerable political cost, the Oregon senator fought the wiretapping plan. And his relentless defense of the right to privacy paid off. As Morse's biographer, Mason Drukman, recalls, "the bill ultimately died in the Judiciary Committee, one of the few measures of its kind to fail during the McCarthy era."

    Morse's battle against the wiretapping scheme was recalled this week when, in an equally hysterical moment, the Senate was again asked to massively increase the ability of a Republican attorney general to wiretap phones -- and, now, Internet communications. Again, one senator stood up to the rush to rip of the Constitution.

    U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold's courageous moves to challenge the most irresponsible and unnecessary components of Attorney General John Ashcroft's "anti-terrorism" agenda won him few friends in the Senate. The Wisconsin Democrat broke not just with Republicans but with the overwhelming majority of fellow Senate Democrats -- who were willing to sacrifice fundamental rights on the altar of Ashcroft's ambition.

    Ashcroft and his Senate allies have been promoting a grab bag of police-state proposals that will do little to reduce the threat of terrorism, while doing much to increase the threat to civil liberties. In addition to seeking permission to conduct "roving wiretaps," the Ashcroft proposal was written to permit greatly expanded computer surveillance, and to permit government agents to secretly search private homes.

    read more: http://www.thenation.com/thebeat/
  • Brave New World (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tazzy531 ( 456079 ) on Friday October 12, 2001 @02:51AM (#2418765) Homepage
    It's just sad to know that the world that we have all become so accustomed to will now be changing and changing rapidly. Two months ago, people would be in an uproar if there were military guards at local airports or even train stations. But now, they are just common in a number of major cities. Two months ago, we would be in an uproar if a certain website stores one tiny bit of information about you, but now there are talks about carrying National ID cards.

    Ladies and gents, I think it's time that we must get used to the fact that the freedom that we enjoyed months ago will now be slowly erroding.

    On another note, back in the early 90s, NJ DMV (Motor Vehicles) was talking about creating a standardize drivers license with Social Security Card, Medical Insurance and others... This went through the state legistlature and was batted down because of they feared that they were intruding too much on the rights of the individuals.

    My two cents is that..yes things must change. But we mustn't let the recent events cloud our visions of how the government is slowly infringing on the freedom of the people. Once they do this, the terrorist have won their war.
  • by WalterSobchak ( 193686 ) on Friday October 12, 2001 @10:08AM (#2419524) Homepage Journal
    Like most Europeans I have a (mandatory) national - in my case German - I.D., and up to this point I do not feel spied on or deprived of any kind of liberty.
    In the U.S., the attitude towards a national I.D. seems to range from scepticism to demonization [townhall.com] to outright paranoia [infowars.com].
    This is an honest question, not trying to make anyone angry: What's the big deal? How does a national ID infringe on liberties?


    P.S.: If you would like to tell me that Europe is already under the control of Martians/Illuminati/New World Order/Jews/Bilderbergs etc.: Please don't. In that case, I would like to stay ignorant and cheerful ;)
  • by dgroskind ( 198819 ) on Friday October 12, 2001 @01:11PM (#2420607)

    I was trying to suggest some ways to limit its impact on our freedoms

    I think the best way to limit the impact on our freedoms is sundown clauses. Fighting domestic terrorism is uncharted territory and it will be hard to calibrate with precision how much of our traditional rights and privileges must be constrained.

    At least a sundown clause will mean the constraints will all expire unless they can be justified by current facts and arguments.

    I think a bigger danger than government abuse of additional powers is that a new generation will grow up without knowledge of the rights they once had. Over time, the love of individual freedom will atrophy and die from lack of use.

Civilization, as we know it, will end sometime this evening. See SYSNOTE tomorrow for more information.