TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: FAQ: How Real ID Will Affect You

Re: FAQ: How Real ID Will Affect You
15 May 2005 20:44:22 -0700

DevilsPGD wrote:

> Sure -- I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm willing to deal with the
> resulting fallout if I get in a fight in a bar or with my landlord or
> whatever.

I don't know your personal circumstances, but I can't help but wonder
if you don't realize the long term import of the situation.

If you're young or single, it may not seem like a big deal. But
life can surprise us as we get older. Things that were easy and
we took for granted can become difficult. We may find ourselves
out of job for an extended period of time and in debt, for example --
I've seen it happen to many good people.

Anyway, when money and circumstances are tight, the last thing you
need is someone throwing up a 10 year old incident in your face.
You'll be even more upset if the facts are wrong but you can't
challenge them.

"Bait and switch" works on prospective employees and vendors, too.
You're offered a job. You walk in on your first day and they
"discovered" something in your past, which nullifies the employment
offer. Oh, but maybe they'll still hire you, but at a lesser title
and pay. If you're hard up for a job, you're screwed and have to take
what you're given. There are unscrupulus managers and owners out
there who will pull that stuff, especially in a lousy economy where
job seekers are vulnerable and mgmt is under pressure to keep their
budget low. When I entered the job market, I talked to some sleazy
employers, but fortunately at that time it was a good job market and I
had the capability to turn and walk away. Today the market isn't so
good and kids coming out of school are loaded with debt.

> What I'm not willing to deal with is the same fallout because somebody
> else (with the same name) had one of the above issues happen.
> In this respect, a universal ID is a good thing, names simply aren't
> unique enough.

First off, no matter how responsible we are, EVERYONE of us has some
skeleton in our closets. Many times it was not at all our fault, but
the skeleton is there just the same. Other times we made a stupid
choice or acted irresponsibly.

So, it's not a question of "someone else's" troubles haunting us, but
our own.

Second of all, date of birth, a common identifier, is not unique
either. Further, the existing data collection system on adverse
information is SLOPPY. There is garbage out there. You may be in
default of a credit card you never even had (as happened to me, as a
result of an unsolicited mailing many years ago sent to an inaccurate

Third, identify theft is a growing problem. If someone intentionally
steals your 'essence', you're really screwed. Suddenly, you're
"unique ID card" has you down as a criminal.

Until relatively recently, the personal-info databases out there
focused basically on accounting and credit issues. But cheap
computing and e-commerce has enabled them to collect far more
information. (ABC News ran a troubling documentary about this

Go to your town hall. There's a guy in the corner entering into a
laptop every permit request or citation. It's public record. Again,
until recently the stuff remained buried in filing cabinets too hard
to dig out and consolidate. No more. It IS collected.

The point is that personal information, friendly and adverse, IS being
collected about you and being distributed.

> Whether the other issues are significant enough to be concerned about
> or not is another question altogether, but in my opinion, the benefit
> outweighs the risk right now.

WHAT benefits?

How do you benefit when prospective landlords are told that you had a
dispute with a prior landlord? How do you benefit when prospective
employers are told you were arrested in a protest demonstration?

As to "security", any college kid can show you how to get a passable
fake ID card; even high school kids got 'em now. With a little bit of
money, a quality ID may be had.

I'm sorry to sound so cynical, but I have enough gray hair to have
seen the real world and how it works. I know history, too, and know
how corporate blacklists ruined people. Pat's take on this issue is

If someone familiar with the information industry and today's
corporate/political culture can offer a counter argument, I'd like to
hear it.

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