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Sunday, October 02, 2005

National ID Card...Without the Risk

Yes, it can be done, but, before I get to that, there’s an article from the St. Louis Post Dispatch that brings up two very interesting points. “Can you prove who you are? Maybe we need new ID system,” by Pat Gauen, takes up the subject of identity theft again from a personal slant. Both victims were close—one a colleague, the other his daughter—and each ended up losing that most precious part of their individuality…their identity.

The daughter’s situation was most unique in that it also involved ineptness in her state’s bureaucracy. She had two forms of identification—birth certificate and college picture ID—but she had a “devil of a time” replacing her driver’s license. Bureaucratic snafus are another topic, and, grist for another post, but suffice it to say, they figure significantly in the ID theft problem.

Gauen’s first point of interest to me is his reference to George Orwell’s “Big Brother” government, that, he says “…will hound us cradle to grave.” An interesting observation, because I have a post planned that draws certain similarities between Orwell’s 1984 and the current trend which seems to be leading toward our complete loss of identity.

The second point, with which I highly agree, is his statement that “…we continue to manage the most basic component of our being, our names, with inferior tools.” This comes from his earlier comment about questionable people in charge of our personal data and the enormous collection of private information by business and government. I could not have said it better myself, even though this is the crux of my concept: that consumers should have control over their names and personal data.

I did a post on this subject on May 17, 2005, titled, “BLOG Bulletin: National ID Card Promises to Expose Largest Amount of Personal Data, Ever, In One Location.” The title’s premise is still valid, based on the content of that blog, which explores the fact that government, and business, want to build these massive databases in order to recklessly access our personal data for any reason they desire, and ultimately offer it for sale at a premium.

The Real ID Card is like most issues with Congressional leaders. Rush to propose legislation that will draw attention and then let it languish in committee until, once again, it is politically correct to revive. This time, Congress tacked the Real ID Act on to the $82 billion Military Spending Bill, apparently for convenience. Several Internet articles have covered the subject. One, “National ID cards on the way,?” by Declan McCullagh on News.com, is a good overview from some early maneuvering in Congress to several opinions on how the “card” would function.

eWeek.com’s article by Lisa Vaas, “Analysts: ‘Real ID’ Act Could Help ID Thieves” quotes security experts’ concern over the “card” because of, “…a lack of confidence in the government’s ability to employ the technology in such a way as to prevent citizens from being preyed upon by identity thieves.” Declan McCullagh, in another article, “FAQ: How Real ID will affect you,” will answer most of your questions about the “card,” starting with the fact that it will be required by 2008.

And now, with all these facts before you, let me lay out a plan that is much simpler in construction and execution and far more competent in protecting your name and personal data. I call it the Name and Personal Data ID (NPD-ID) and, as I have written before, it replaces the Social Security card in all transactions relating to your name and private information. I covered this earlier in my blog, “Re-Clarification Of the Basic Issues In the Control Of Your Name and Personal Data,” but the process is expanded here for additional refinement.

The essentials remain: complete control over your name; assignment of the NPD-ID; opting-in to the use of your name and personal data; eliminating ID theft by acting as a watch-dog in fraud incidents; and, sharing in the proceeds of the sale of your name and private information. “But what’s the difference between your NPD-ID and the Real ID?” you ask.

All personal data pertaining to the 295.8 million U.S. consumers would be replaced by two exclusive NPD-ID databases: one, the name and address/identifying characteristics; two, all personal data. The connection between the two is encrypted and only the individual has the code that will connect the two. Only the individual may allow any outside source to access their private information. Simple, but doable. If you’re a “techie” you might want to check Wikipedia’s “Data Encryption Standard” definition.

The technology is already there. Data encryption could have saved thousands of identity thefts from happening, but database companies refuse to invest the extra dollars to install this process. A European company is already selling this procedure, and an American corporation is on the verge of similar technology.

I haven’t worked out the specifics of how to handle emergencies such as terrorist attacks or natural disasters, but the Data Encryption Standard does provide methods that will provide a solution that will satisfy both government and business.

The consumer’s part in acting as watch-dog to their data and providing authorization for its use would not replace the laws already in place that protect against ID theft. It would just put some of the responsibility on the individual to be concerned over what is one of their most valued possessions. Not too much to ask if you’re also going to be paid when your name and the personal data is sold, right?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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