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>What is a national identification number?

06/29/2010

>BTC – What is a national identification number (NIN)?  Why would it be useful or what purpose would it serve? Who gets a number?  How would it affect public life?

Enumerated identity and its uses are typically to manage populaces en masse.

From Wikipedia:

A national identification number or National Identity Card number is used by the governments of many countries as a means of tracking their citizenspermanent residents, and temporary residents for the purposes of work, taxation, government benefitshealth care, and other governmentally-related functions. Sometimes, the number will appear on an identity card issued by a country.

The ways in which such a system is implemented is dependent on the country, but in most cases, a citizen is issued a number at birth or when they reach a legal age (typically the age of 18). Non-citizens are issued such numbers when they enter the country.

Many countries issued such numbers ostensibly for a singular purpose, but over time, they become a de facto national identification number. For example, the United States originally developed its Social Security Number system as a means of disbursing Social Security benefits. However, due to functionality creep, the number has become utilized for other purposes to the point where it is almost essential to have one in order to, among other things, open a bank account, obtain acredit card, or drive a car.  

As technology advances there are always more systems to categorize persons based on wants, needs, likes and dislikes.  Information is useful for many objectives but in the context of power it can be abused and used as a weapon or to conduct controls on another. Information can be attributed easily to an enumerated identity giving data value and longevity because it may prove something about us.

The White House is giving the American public roughly 3 weeks to examine the National Strategy for Trusted Identity in Cyberspace or NSTIC, an new system which would produce a number for every American online user.  The burden is on the American public to determine what happens to the property of their identity online.   If you are checking on a malady from Bora Bora, Big Government Computers could feasibly track or capture that information and trace it back to you.  Why would they even care?

Well… it’s not personal at first.  As we have discovered over the last several years, providing surveillance technology services is an enormous corporate industry between the public and private sectors.   There is an economic incentive to track us. Businesses will pay for analysis of who you are and why you will or won’t buy their stuff.  Government intelligence agencies hire contractors who can get the same information for their purposes. Google has made a killing from selling search generated information which has the ability to identify any user straight down to their IP addresses.  

We have to be careful with programs like NSTIC.  Other programs like Real ID, the PASS Act and the proposed BELIEVE worker cards have been recognized as nefarious by the American public.  The notion of a deeper, more prolific, voluntary induction into a national identity system via the operability of a social network (akin to joining up with Facebook) might be uneasy prospect for citizens.  With current odds stacked up against privacy and civil liberty,  I can’t say with much confidence the US government is a friend worth adding to an individual social network.  
If Federal powers want to: table the more rediculous Executive Orders, stop using the NSA States Secrets line of rhetoric to hide all the dead bodies, dump the FISA warrantless wiretapping entitlements, remove the TSA naked body scanners from airports,  repeal existing compromising national identity systems creeping up annually, stop suppressing journalists and arresting whistleblowers THEN citizens might naturally develop more confidence.  
This track record does not inspire trust in validating an ask for pervasive friendship from those who know better.
The point is to examine NSTIC with both eyes open for what it actually is, could be and may be in the future because it has possibilities with a price.  This may be your only chance to opt out of automatic subscription to an online service.  
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