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Re: Credentials Without Identity

On Sat, 4 Nov 1995, Timothy C. May wrote:

> The credit tracking agencies can do this trivially, with names, social
> security numbers, driver's license numbers, addresses, phone numbers, etc.
> All are pointers into the cloud of numbers that constitutes one's dossier.

Ah, the Swedish way is so much more convenient. Directly after birth you
get a tag around your arm, with a number that is later changed to an
entry into several databases, including 'Birth Registry' and you get
your Person Number for life, in the format YYMMDD-abcd, which is
unique (at least in Sweden). All forthcoming database entries are based
on this number, usually as a first key field. Surprise immigrants get a
preliminary number at the border (other format) and a genuine one if
later accepted. Without a Person Number you would be practically
helpless: no schooling, no drivers licence, no 'social benefits',
no bank account, no job (if your employer intends to do it legally
and cut off taxes). The only marginally possible way to get around
this is to use the Person Number of another person (forging a Swedish
Approved ID is quite a task, though, and it's not very kind to that
other person). Most Government databases are open to the public, so
the credit tracking agencies don't have to work very hard regarding
persons (sometimes a bit more with corporate entities; those can be
registered to fall guys - not hard to find in a jurisdiction with
nice jails and short sentences). 

Now, there are laws against cross-referencing various databases
without the approval of the Data Inspection, which often says no.
But if you do it illegaly, there is very little risk of detection.
It looks like the Approved ID will be a smart-card with a signing
mechanism (probably escrowed), naturally linked to the Person Number,
real soon now, at least before the mythical y.2000 . Links to physical
characteristics (retina?) are not (openly) discussed yet but may
eventually come into play.

I think there's not much to win (and a lot of conveniency to loose)
in trying to hide from this System. A friend of mine, and his wife,
had their baby born at home and hid it from the System for several
years (loosing good money from the Social Security system in that
process - in Sweden all people get many 'benefits'= transferred tax
money, regardless of income) but eventually they registered the child,
of course. It was a mere gesture.


1) Don't fight the inevitable, like Don Quixote (sp?) did. The
   trick is to keep one's database entries as unsuspicious as
   possible. Pay politically correct items and services with
   a credit card, but use cash in transfers that the current
   (and possibly a coming, more Orwellian) regime might consider
   to be disloyal. Don't refuse to fill in forms or answer
   questions which are more or less obligatory or that might give
   you some benefits - just lie if necessary to create a normal,
   inconspicuous profile.

2) Prepare for Crypto Anarchy. Create untrackable net aliases for
   future use. Keep informed of all the tricks to bypass coming
   futile attempts to link net pseudonyms to Person Numbers (or
   physical characteristics). Enjoy (and help create and protect)
   the virtual sanctuary with digital mixes and anonymous http
   proxies (and DC-nets or something better eventually).