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India To Put All Citizen Info In a Central Database

Soulskill posted about 5 years ago | from the you-can-trust-us dept.

Privacy 132

Oracle Goddess writes "As part of a project to issue ID cards for all 1.1 billion of its citizens, India has announced plans to place information on every single citizen in what will be the world's second largest citizens' database. The government believes the scheme will aid the delivery of vital social services to the poorest people who often lack sufficient identification papers. It also sees the scheme as a way to tackle increasing amounts of identity fraud and theft, and, at a time of increased concern over the threat of militant violence, to boost national security and help police and law officials. 'This could be used as a security measure by the government which leaves migrant workers, refugees and other stateless people in India in limbo, without access to public services, employment and basic welfare,' said Charu Lata Hogg, an associate fellow of the Asia program at Chatham House."

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132 comments

1st post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28504337)

1st post

It isn't as bad as it sounds (4, Funny)

MarkusQ (450076) | about 5 years ago | (#28504343)

When I read "Your Rights Online: India To Put All Citizen Info In a Central Database" I was horrified, But then I read further and realized that, while bad, it wasn't nearly as bad as the headline makes it sound.

Turns out they're only planning on putting some data about the citizens in the database. But it looks like people will still be allowed to keep their own grocery lists and address books etc. and manage them however they wish.

For now at least.

--MarkusQ

Re:It isn't as bad as it sounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28504373)

Dry.

Re:It isn't as bad as it sounds (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | about 5 years ago | (#28505515)

If we printed the GP's post out and ground it up in a blender, it would make a bitchin' martini.

Dean Martin would be proud.

Re:It isn't as bad as it sounds (0, Offtopic)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#28504395)

When I read "Your Rights Online: India To Put All Citizen Info In a Central Database" I was horrified, But then I read further and realized that, while bad, it wasn't nearly as bad as the headline makes it sound.

Turns out they're only planning on putting some data about the citizens in the database. But it looks like people will still be allowed to keep their own grocery lists and address books etc. and manage them however they wish.

For now at least.

--MarkusQ

I had a boss at work who once explained this to me. He got a little piece of paper and a pen and wrote it out something like this:

Assume. You shouldn't assume because it makes an ass out of 'U' and me.

The man had a sense of humor.

Re:It isn't as bad as it sounds (0, Offtopic)

guile*fr (515485) | about 5 years ago | (#28504465)

or the man had read or seen the silence of the lambs

Re:It isn't as bad as it sounds (2, Funny)

Alarindris (1253418) | about 5 years ago | (#28504511)

You shouldn't assume because it makes an ass out of 'U' and me.

No. Assuming makes and assu out of me.

Re:It isn't as bad as it sounds (0, Offtopic)

Qzukk (229616) | about 5 years ago | (#28504683)

Assuming makes an ass out of you and... well, just you, actually. I don't see how I'm involved at all.

Re:It isn't as bad as it sounds (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28504883)

...
--
GENERATION 25: The first time you see this, copy it into your sig on any forum and add 1 to the generation. Social expe

Yes, I have karma to burn (0, Troll)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#28504701)

I don't normally reply to myself but something could be added to this:

The man had a sense of humor.

... and the mods don't. Apparently I didn't have enough repetitive Slashdot memes in there or something.


In Soviet Russia, you inaccurately offtopic the mods!

Natalie Portman and hot grits would have found the humor in that!

A steaming mug of frosty piss would remove some of that uptightness.

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of those [jokes] ...

I for one welcome our humorless Pharisee moderator overlords!

Instead of finding a way to mod me off topic, the mods should have found some sharks and put lasers on their heads!

Sure, but does that moderator run Linux?


Now THAT'S funny. Right? Right?? Maybe if I repeat them multiple times in each story over the next few months they'll be worthy of instant +5 Funny status...

Maybe you don't like the way I am making it, but I DO have a point. Now go make this a -1 post.

Re:Yes, I have karma to burn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28504745)

It's tough when people just don't get you, isn't it?

Re:Yes, I have karma to burn (0, Offtopic)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#28504969)

It's tough when people just don't get you, isn't it?

Now that made me laugh! Of course that wasn't serious, but I guess if I were to answer that seriously, I'd say I don't care whether random strangers around the world get me or not. I just don't understand how you can hear a meme all the time for months on end and still think it's funny. I'm not surprised that no one really wants to answer that one as they probably know it's, shall we say, less than rational.

Really that did make me laugh. I'd have to add you to the "Friend" list if I knew that you had an account.

Re:Yes, I have karma to burn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28506943)

This is just a general observation of people I actually know in "real", face-to-face, in-the-flesh, too-many-hyphens life.

I've noticed that they tend to not know how to make jokes that are funny; one of them endlessly repeats platitudes that don't hold any weight or don't make any sense to people who share their problems in a group. Just like a small child repeating things they don't understand over and over again, they endlessly repeat the same joke over and over again hoping to squeeze every last drop of humor out of a dry joke.

When I confronted one of them about it, he told me that he though it was cool to see how the same joke fit into many situations, kind of like polymorphism in object-oriented programming (guess what major he was). I think even here it stems from a fear of new humor, as they don't know how to create new jokes from old jokes.

I think some people simply don't know how to be funny, and so they parrot things over and over again in hopes of becoming the "funny man" of their social circles, and some truly do like the same joke in different situations.

In the end, every single person you will ever meet, in the entire universe/multiverse, will eventually annoy you. The trick isn't to change everybody else, nor is it to try to bottle it up inside, the real trick is to realize that everybody is just trying to get through life in their own way - the real trick is the hardest thing of all: to not care about their annoying characteristics.

Posted anonymously because I fear that Slashdot mods aren't introspective to think hard about what I'm saying, or inclusive enough to realize the insightful parts of my post.

Re:Yes, I have karma to burn (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28504987)

One more thing (unlike causality, I follow up my own comments frequently). How about distinguishing AC posts one from another, Slashdot? You could give each AC a number or something...

Re:Yes, I have karma to burn (1)

harry666t (1062422) | about 5 years ago | (#28505177)

BTW, ACs have an uid of 666.

An md5 hash of IP address, user agent and some random salt held in a cookie would do, wouldn't it? You could delete the cookie and have anonymousness back, and thanks to the random salt it shouldn't be easily possible to brute-force your IP address out of the md5.

Or maybe just create and publish a one-time PGP public key and sign your posts with the corresponding private key, which you'd discard after you consider the discussion finished.

Or maybe... Just maybe... Maybe simply log in?

Re:It isn't as bad as it sounds (2, Insightful)

tnnn (1035022) | about 5 years ago | (#28504551)

"Entrepreneur, Nandan Nilekani has been chosen to lead the ambitious project which will be the second largest citizens' database in a democracy, with China being the biggest."

I wonder if they are implying that China is a democracy or just saying that they have the biggest database...

Re:It isn't as bad as it sounds (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 5 years ago | (#28505667)

> I wonder if they are implying that China is a democracy or just saying that they have the biggest database...

It entirely depends on how one defines democracy. It just so happens that democracy in China means you can only vote people on the ballot, and people on the ballot must be Communist party members.

Just like in the US, where privacy has been redefined to permit form NSL's by the FBI.

Re:It isn't as bad as it sounds (2, Informative)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | about 5 years ago | (#28508361)

I think Wal-Mart have a pretty big database about most citizens in the US. I remember reading they're not even the biggest. The credit reference agencies probably have data on most citizens in the western world.

Most governments have databases about their citizens.. Where do you think social security numbers come from?

Re:It isn't as bad as it sounds (3, Insightful)

Warlord88 (1065794) | about 5 years ago | (#28504615)

I have no idea what is the project cost. But I really wish the government would spend the money on development of infrastructure. When the capital faces up to ten hours of power cuts per day [bbc.co.uk] , you can imagine the state of rest of the country. More often than not, such large scale projects are a way for government officials to accept huge bribes. Corruption is rampant in India and I doubt that the project is undertaken for the 'common good'. It sounds good for developed nations, not for India which is still referred to as third-world nation.

Not many in India would be concerned about privacy issues if the system does deliver and actually helps people

Re:It isn't as bad as it sounds (2, Funny)

Evil Shabazz (937088) | about 5 years ago | (#28504791)

On the topic of cost they face one extra challenge, being this an IT project... who could they outsource it to for a better price? ;)

Re:It isn't as bad as it sounds (5, Informative)

spathi-wa (575009) | about 5 years ago | (#28505719)

India will always be referred to as being a Third world nation. This is because Third world [wikipedia.org] does not mean what you think it means.

There was once this guy named mao (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28504625)

Look, privacy is gone. You want to see the future? Read CFR monographs.

If you use the net (even if you think you're being tricky with Tor and Pgp and steg), your secrets are already revealed. And stored. Not to mention available for later analysis. People who think they're crypto experts will laugh at the RIAA but never realize that what applies to the RIAA applies equally to their own SEKRIT information.

Re:There was once this guy named mao (1)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#28505015)

Look, privacy is gone. You want to see the future? Read CFR monographs.

If you use the net (even if you think you're being tricky with Tor and Pgp and steg), your secrets are already revealed. And stored. Not to mention available for later analysis. People who think they're crypto experts will laugh at the RIAA but never realize that what applies to the RIAA applies equally to their own SEKRIT information.

Sometimes I think that the only reason why the average citizen isn't much more painfully aware of this, is because the people who have these capabilities generally have bigger fish to fry.

Even Tor doesn't do so well against an adversary who can view the entire network (and thus see both endpoints). I would be quite surprised if various governments did not have this ability.

Re:It isn't as bad as it sounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28505865)

The other thing is, RentACoder already beat them.

Re:It isn't as bad as it sounds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28507497)

I suspect that this is going to crash and burn anyway once it really gets deployed.

Coons (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28504351)

I don't know which one is more of a miracle - that a black man was elected president of the U.S.A., or that he can speak proper English!

Seriously. Every other ethnicity/race can come to the USA not speaking a word of English, and their children, their very next generation, can speak it perfectly. Two groups can't handle this - niggers, and socalled latinos (spics). Niggers especially have no excuse, they have been here for generations and they don't speak any second languages. Oddly enough these are also the same two groups more likely to be involved in street crime since neither of them has any aspirations higher than wanting to be a fucking thug with a shitty attitude.

We are going to need this for our US healthcare (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28504357)

If you think REALID is dead it will live again as healthpass or some other nicely named system, but bet univeral healthcare will be the excuse used.

Re:We are going to need this for our US healthcare (2, Interesting)

panthroman (1415081) | about 5 years ago | (#28504515)

Is it possible to have national taxes/benefits without a federal database? Drivers' licenses are issued by state, and each state has a database of its licensees. Federal income tax is federal, and there's a federal ID for it (SSN).

Slashdot readers, little help? If universal healthcare were implemented in the US, wouldn't we need a federal database for it?

Re:We are going to need this for our US healthcare (5, Interesting)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 5 years ago | (#28504549)

You're already in several federal databases, plus who knows how many databases owned by multinational corportaions. The time to panic has long passed, and apparently you slept through it.

Re:We are going to need this for our US healthcare (1)

Faerunner (1077423) | about 5 years ago | (#28504985)

Why? The gov't already has you on file with the IRS and the Social Security Office or else you wouldn't be getting a paycheck (or paying taxes). Although I know the gov't is a big fan of creating new and unusually named Departments to handle each new bit of administrative work, it would make sense to put any new divisions under the auspices of the SS office, since universal healthcare would be a matter of social welfare. So all you'd need is your SSN, ideally. Of course they'll probably require extensive medical checks, etc eventually which they will also store, but for now, a number we already have should suffice.

Re:We are going to need this for our US healthcare (2)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#28505055)

t would make sense to put any new divisions under the auspices of the SS office

How incredibly appropriate. Their uniform will consist of brown shirts, perhaps with pantlegs tucked into their boots.

Re:We are going to need this for our US healthcare (1)

Faerunner (1077423) | about 5 years ago | (#28505121)

I abbreviated it that way for a reason ;)

Re:We are going to need this for our US healthcare (1)

Fear the Clam (230933) | about 5 years ago | (#28507029)

Their uniform will consist of brown shirts, perhaps with pantlegs tucked into their boots.

I was told that this time it would be business casual. Focus groups have shown that there's much less resistance when smiling groups of multi-racial "associates" wearing Dockers and polo shirts kick in your door at four in the morning.

Progress. (3, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 5 years ago | (#28504423)

Hey dammit, we had the idea of reducing everyone to a number long before you did, and we're the only ones that should have to suffer with that kind of stupidity. You can steal our jobs, but don't steal our retarded government ideas -- as a patriot, I simply must draw the line there!

Re:Progress. (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#28504473)

Hey dammit, we had the idea of reducing everyone to a number long before you did, and we're the only ones that should have to suffer with that kind of stupidity. You can steal our jobs, but don't steal our retarded government ideas -- as a patriot, I simply must draw the line there!

Yeah. Too bad India's official statements don't add a one-liner to the effect of "When this is abused, please act surprised; your cooperation is appreciated."

Re:Progress. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28506481)

Well before you had even thought of reducing a citizen to a number my country(Portugal) was way ahead reducing a citizen to at least 3 numbers!
(our constitution and data protection commission didn't like the idea of a single one but we now have them in a single card now that has to be read in a number of different ways to get each number)

Re:Progress. (0, Flamebait)

jcwayne (995747) | about 5 years ago | (#28506021)

To be fair, the Germans started numbering citizens around the same time. Although, they were more selective about who was "issued" a number.

Sort of like... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28504435)

Sort of like the IRS? They have how much money you make, where you live, what you own, who you're married to, and who are your kids.

Re:Sort of like... (0)

painehope (580569) | about 5 years ago | (#28508155)

Pardon me? I'd like to bring a few points to your attention.

Firstly, I spent 4 years of my life (when I was younger) where no one with any kind of legal authority knew where I lived, what I owned, what I drove, et al. I won't go into much more detail than to say that I did have a job, did attend college, and made quite good money from both legal and not so legal methods. But the best that anyone who wanted to find me could hope for was to catch me at class. Which I'm sure some government agencies could have done, but no one in the IRS and very few outside of heavy-duty Federal agencies. I just didn't work at a place where my boss reported his employees, his actual income, or what he paid his employees (and it wasn't a crappy job either, I could count on at least 800 USD on a decent day, sometimes up to 1200, and that was over ten years ago, when 800 could cover your rent and utilities for a month in a fairly nice apartment). That changed when I got into IT, but I could just as easily slip back into that if I wanted to. The police still can't find me when they're looking for me. None of my legal documents, mail, or anything else has my actual address on it. Oh, I suppose they could trace this IP address, but it's just not worth it for them. I'm a relatively law-abiding citizen these days, so there's no reason for anyone to look for me other than the occasional traffic warrant or something silly like that. Not the kind of stuff that you get the Feds involved for.

Take that one step further. If I could do that when I was younger, and still do it to a certain extent (without breaking any laws that cross the level of a class C misdemeanor), think about what I could do if I really wanted to disappear. Fake IDs can be bought for as little as a 100 USD. Spend a 1000 USD and you can get a full identity change, except for your fingerprints. While there's really nothing that can beat that if they have you in custody, if you're walking around free, there's a really easy way to beat that. Just coat your hands (fingers, palm, and the sides - those are what get recorded any time you are incarcerated) in super glue. Almost impossible to see and leaves no trace of your prints. None of this is James Bond shit. Any person in the US can do it as easily as I described. Admittedly, even if I didn't have my prints on file, there's no way I could do it without major laser surgery since I have a lot of tattoos (which are extensively photographed and documented in Federal databases and are available to any police agency...I can't get a public intoxication charge without getting interrogated about at least 3 things that I had nothing to do with, simply because some of my tattoos link me to various organizations) that can't be covered up unless I plan on walking around with nothing but part of my face visible (which sort of defeats the point). But that's just me. I don't have any need to conceal my identity. The minimal level of paranoia that I maintain is simply so that if I miss a traffic court or forget to pay a fine for a PI or whatever I don't have cops knocking on my door.

But think about the ramifications of people that do not exist whatsoever in any concrete manner in the "system". And you wonder why we have so many problems with border-jumping parasites that eat up the resources (jobs, health care, housing - all of which are major issues in the current state of our economy, and will always be an issue until we do something about those fucks; if I had a dollar for everyone I know or have known who got laid off from their primary occupation due to economic woes and then can't even get a job digging ditches because a bunch of scumbags would rather exploit a bunch of unwelcome parasites to save a few dollars, then I'd be eating steak at a 5-star restaurant tonight) of the US? Or people that have never been arrested because, even though they're sick in the head, they're smart enough to get away with committing vicious, unwarranted crimes (compare the statistics on how many children disappear a year in the US with how many of their killers are apprehended if you want something to really creep you out). I'm not even going to drag terrorism into it (I think that horse has been beaten so badly that it ain't just dead, it's dead yeah unto the 7^1000000000 generation).

I'm not advocating neo-fascism or government expansion (I think the only thing that more laws and more government do is make it harder to enforce the few laws that should be upheld). Just bringing up a few points that people should think about.

p.s. - facial recognition software is a joke. I can alter my appearance enough to beat every system I've heard proposed with nothing more than what can be bought at your local pharmacy or grocery store. And, no, I'm not talking about at the make-up counter, so don't even throw that at me. I'm not stupid.

It's not all bad! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28504443)

India currently has no real way of identifying a person uniquely - other than a passport. Most formal government identification systems are uncontrolled and easily available in exchange for money. So we dont really have a credit system, no social security number etc. One recent change was PAN cards - a tax identification number.

So this could will help a lot in uniquely identifying a person - especially in a country where there are 28 languages, and where migration of labor has started increasing substantially.

This is also being led by Nandan Nilekini of Infosys fame.

[An estimated 100M id cards will be rolled out in 3 years]

Re:It's not all bad! (2)

l2718 (514756) | about 5 years ago | (#28505119)

Not having a way of "identifying a person uniquely" means that people can choose their own identity. For law-abiding citizens this is not a bad thing. I'm sure India has private ways for establishing identity similar to the ones that existed in the west for a while -- checkbooks come to mind. For the provision of government benefits, it should be enough for people to register at the government office. For private transactions, most cases involve people with bank accounts, so they have other ways to prove their identity.

Re:It's not all bad! (2, Interesting)

Sudheer_BV (1049540) | about 5 years ago | (#28505155)

Go, get a driving license, ration card, voter's ID card in exchange for money if you will. If you can buy any of these identity cards you can definitely buy passport and a PAN card too. It could cost you a bit more, though.

Few years back, the Government of India started a project to implement social security number system just like in the western countries. They started accepting forms for this ambitious project. Initially, they started offering this form for people holding a PAN card. I haven't heard of any progress till now.

India needs a strong leader to see this project completed. Let's see how Nandan Nilekani helps in this regard.

Re:It's not all bad! (1)

Sulphur (1548251) | about 5 years ago | (#28505473)

So in 30 years, they would have about enough cards for now. Perhaps this silver bullet would give a clue to my identity.

Not an issue (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28504447)

I have seen their workmanship. THey will take forever to get it done and will have to quietly bring in outside help to do the work. Finally, the data will be incorrect, but they will blame others.

Better than Google (3, Insightful)

hessian (467078) | about 5 years ago | (#28504469)

I think it's not terrible that a government have a working list of its citizens, especially if they put vital medical and other data on it. This can save lives and can get us more accurate reporting about how important it is to, say, find a cure for AIDS over a cure for cancer.

Having an easy way to contact or locate any citizen is also important.

We're so accustomed in the West to distrust of government that we've lost sight of the basic truth: it matters who you get into government, and how willing they are to fight back corruption (entropy). We can't regulate government into sanity. But we can pick sane people, although mass media democracy isn't so good at that.

Instead of fighting back at any recordkeeping, we might consider the following:

  • If we distrust government, we are forgetting that there are millions of ways government can wreck us that don't involve "Big Brother" scenarios. Bad wars. Corrupt economics. Allowing toxic waste to be in our groundwater. We don't see these as visibly as "Big Brother" scenarios, so we don't talk about them.
  • Letting Google keep records on who we are may be more destructive. A former friend turns enemy blogs about you? That's what the world will know of you when they Google you. Erroneous articles, conviction by public opinion? Just as corrupt as any corrupt government, but not as visible.

People like to have something tangible and external to blame. It wasn't my fault; God did it. It wasn't my fault; The 1984 Government did it. Leftists claim government is capitalist and dominated by white men; Rightists claim government is socialist and against white men. It seems every group is projecting its fears outside of itself in order to claim innocence.

Re:Better than Google (4, Insightful)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about 5 years ago | (#28504489)

Having an easy way to contact or locate any citizen is also important.

yes.

yes it is. [toad.com]

Re:Better than Google (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 5 years ago | (#28504905)

I think it's not terrible that a government have a working list of its citizens, especially if they put vital medical and other data on it.

Then put it on a fob the citizen can wear around their neck, or clipped to their cell phone or in their pocket in the same place they would keep their ID card. No need to centralize.

Having an easy way to contact or locate any citizen is also important.

Then use a phone book and the citizens who don't want to be contacted can get unlisted numbers.

We're so accustomed in the West to distrust of government that we've lost sight of the basic truth: it matters who you get into government, and how willing they are to fight back corruption (entropy).

No, it really doesn't. Sooner or later everyone succumbs to the corruption of power. I don't want to have to put all of my trust in individuals - people lie, and politicians are especially good at fooling you. There isn't enough face time or research time in the world for even a significant minority of voters to really become familiar enough with any one politician, never mind all of them, to determine how corrupt they are. I want a system that severely restricts what the government can do, the less they can do the less people they can screw over.

We don't see these as visibly as "Big Brother" scenarios, so we don't talk about them.

Just because "big brother" is not the only risk of big government doesn't mean we should ignore it. For sure we worry about all those issues too, its foolish to claim that things like "bad wars" aren't also of significant concern. Especially after Bush's recent reign and the near constant criticism of it from day one.

Letting Google keep records on who we are may be more destructive.

Yes, Google is a significant threat too, and requires significant watchdogging. That doesn't mean take the watchdog off the government and set it on google, it means we worry about both.

Leftists claim government is capitalist and dominated by white men; Rightists claim government is socialist and against white men. It seems every group is projecting its fears outside of itself in order to claim innocence.

Actually, in your example, it seems like both sides are complaining government is too big and has too much influence over their own lives. I don't think that an argument for further increasing the scope and power of the government would go over so well from either of those simplified viewpoints.

Re:Better than Google (2, Interesting)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#28504925)

I think it's not terrible that a government have a working list of its citizens, especially if they put vital medical and other data on it. This can save lives and can get us more accurate reporting about how important it is to, say, find a cure for AIDS over a cure for cancer.

So sell its virtues and then tell everyone where they can sign up. Voluntarily. Make it opt-in only, so anyone who doesn't want this isn't forced to participate. In the case of minor children, let their parents decide.

You ever wonder why these systems don't fit the description I just gave you? Really, do you ever seriously think about why such voluntary participation isn't considered a basic design requirement?

We're so accustomed in the West to distrust of government that we've lost sight of the basic truth: it matters who you get into government, and how willing they are to fight back corruption (entropy). We can't regulate government into sanity. But we can pick sane people, although mass media democracy isn't so good at that.

"The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground." Thomas Jefferson said that, and he's not the only person throughout history to make a similar observation.

I don't know the situation in India but if they're smart, they will be very careful to avoid the two-party system like what we have in the USA. The two parties are a duopoly designed to create significant barriers to entry in order to prevent any other political forces from taking power. Don't look at who is running for office. Look at who is sponsoring him. Then look at who's sponsoring his "opposition." Hey, that's strange, the same list of banks and corporations is sponsoring both candidates! Why, it's almost as though they don't care who wins, like they would get what they want either way!

This makes it quite difficult to "pick sane people." Speaking generally, we don't have a situation where average people who are willing to work hard can succeed in politics. We have a ruling class. It necessarily follows that their interests are not the same as those of the people.

Letting Google keep records on who we are may be more destructive. A former friend turns enemy blogs about you? That's what the world will know of you when they Google you. Erroneous articles, conviction by public opinion? Just as corrupt as any corrupt government, but not as visible.

The major difference is that I have a lot more control over whether Google knows anything about me. All I have to do is either not use their services or very carefully use their services and they aren't going to have information on me that wasn't publically available anyway. Their google-analytics site resolves to localhost on all machines/networks I control and I otherwise go out of my way to take care of this. There is no such option with government.

Not sure what you mean about erroneous articles, though that sounds like what libel/slander laws are for.

The rest involves being very careful about who your friends are. A lot of people think betrayals and such are impossible to foresee, merely because they did not have the foresight. Really though, it's not too difficult to know if you are dealing with loving people who really do have your best interests at heart. At least, not if you have ever seen what this looks like and appreciated what you saw. That's something to value and appreciate because it is right and good, and for no other reason, though it does have the side-effect of preventing the sort of scenario you are describing.

Re:Better than Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28505143)

All you have to do to cure AIDS is put people's names in a database? Who makes this magic database, Oracle?

Government is not looking out for your best interest. Government is people. People who don't know you, don't give a fuck about you.

Sorry to burst your illusion of the wise philosopher king.

Re:Better than Google (1)

stonewallred (1465497) | about 5 years ago | (#28505333)

I got to agree with an AC. Strange days we are seeing when that happens.

Re:Better than Google (2, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#28506553)

Sorry to burst your illusion of the wise philosopher king.

Isn't that what we all seem to want, in one form or another? I read the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius (an emperor of Rome) and I see a noble, upright man, the sort of person who really should be running things. Then I see how incredibly rare that actually is, how much of a joke our politicians really are when compared to this sort of standard, and it's a shame.

Better than Homer (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28505207)

It's INDIA for god sakes. Can't they just ask 7-11 for an employee list? Why compile the same data twice?

Re:Better than Google (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28505215)

We're so accustomed in the West to distrust of government that we've lost sight of the basic truth: it matters who you get into government, and how willing they are to fight back corruption (entropy). We can't regulate government into sanity. But we can pick sane people, although mass media democracy isn't so good at that..

Please don't lump everyone in with the anglos. The rest of the western world doesn't share your extreme paranoia about ID cards. Thanks, a (continental) EU citizen.

Re:Better than Google (1)

seekret (1552571) | about 5 years ago | (#28505359)

I used to be extremely opposed to a national ID for pretty much exactly what you just said: I distrust the government, I distrust the corporations who control the government. But there are benefits to having a national ID in place, so long as it is, and always remains, voluntary. The day I fear is the day that it is mandated all citizens must carry a national ID under penalty of law. But I think as long as we act resonsibly as citizens and pay attention to what laws and regulations are passed we will be able to prevent this ourselves. Afterall the government can't put into action an elaborate conspiracy against the people if we do our jobs and monitor them, that is kind of the point of a democracy.

Re:Better than Google (0, Flamebait)

Glonoinha (587375) | about 5 years ago | (#28506405)

Afterall the government can't put into action an elaborate conspiracy against the people if we do our jobs and monitor them, that is kind of the point of a democracy.

Germany was a democracy in 1933, when Hitler was effectively voted into power. Shortly after he was voted in, a large series of government buildings were set to fire by communists (aka 'terrorists'), allowing him to get passed a decree entitled "For the Protection of the People and the State", suspending the German constitution. It got worse after that - read about it here [fff.org] . Sound familiar?

That said, India is nowhere near as far along the SS trail as America (and I say that as an American.)

Re:Better than Google (1)

seekret (1552571) | about 5 years ago | (#28507959)

Yes, and the point is that if we don't buy into the fear and let our government get away with passing these types of laws we can prevent that from happening again. Look what happened with the Patriot Act Bush put into place after 9/11, we have been fighting it since day one to prevent another incident like the one in Germany.

Re:Better than Google (1)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#28506577)

The day I fear is the day that it is mandated all citizens must carry a national ID under penalty of law.

Anyone who doesn't understand why that day is absolutely inevitable once the systems are in place, should not be allowed to vote or run for office.

I don't derive any enjoyment from saying such a thing, but whether I enjoy it or not, it's true.

Re:Better than Google (2, Informative)

hansraj (458504) | about 5 years ago | (#28505383)

Not all of the west has big qualms about the governments keeping track of people. In Germany, where I have lived for a few years now, everyone has to register their addresses to a central agency, you are obliged to carry a valid id with you at all times, etc. And I don't think there is a big outcry about it among Germans. In fact everyone I have tried to convince that it should not be a requirement and you should be allowed to live off the grid in exchange of foregoing some benefits that such laws create, I either get counter-arguments or just a shoulder-shrugging. The point being that different groups of people have different understanding of words like privacy, freedom, limits of government, etc.

Re:Better than Google (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | about 5 years ago | (#28508019)

If we distrust government, we are forgetting that there are millions of ways government can wreck us that don't involve "Big Brother" scenarios. Bad wars. Corrupt economics. Allowing toxic waste to be in our groundwater. We don't see these as visibly as "Big Brother" scenarios, so we don't talk about them.

No, we don't talk about those because they actually are happening and unlike the Big Brother thing there's no recourse for us to stop them.

brings to mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28504547)

When a place gets crowded enough to require ID's, social collapse is not far away. It is time to go elsewhere. The best thing about space travel is that it made it possible to go elsewhere.
Robert A. Heinlein

(Sadly the space travel thing not applicable.)

sometimes it works (1)

dnwq (910646) | about 5 years ago | (#28504587)

Issuing ID cards is an old tactic dating from the colonial period to suppress national security - as in, regular serial bomb attacks [telegraph.co.uk] . Both the British and new local governments used it, either to suppress independence movements, or to suppress communist/breakaway movements post-independence.

Regular bombings is not something that happens nowadays in the West, obviously. The United States, which is generally free of persistent domestic terrorism, may not have excuses to implement national ID and databases, but other countries may need it. Don't export your conceptions on first-world freedom to places where first-world safety don't exist.

Re:sometimes it works (1)

dnwq (910646) | about 5 years ago | (#28504605)

*threats to national security. Bleagh, need sleep

India, sitting in B'lore and sceptical (5, Interesting)

Gopal.V (532678) | about 5 years ago | (#28504739)

I think I know how this will work out.

I already have a national ID card which lets me vote, I have a PAN number which tracks literally every economic transaction of significance I make. They know everything about my vehicles and my travel arrangements.

Now, they're going to pay someone to build a system which correlates all this into some useless information. It'll take six years to build & cost tons of money for the government, half of which will end up being passed under the table as kickbacks and the rest with the contractors. Eventually, the system will be built and works fairly decently, but has no information about anyone who does not really volunteer it first-hand.

It'll be done, but completely useless. Some people will become rich and ... as the general attitude will be "I want less corruption or more opportunity to participate in it". A complete waste of tax payer's money, but not quite the invasion of my privacy that most people imagine.

But hell yeah, I'm going to protest. Even their incompetence can't be depended up on :)

Re:India, sitting in B'lore and sceptical (1)

divisionbyzero (300681) | about 5 years ago | (#28505247)

I think I know how this will work out.

I already have a national ID card which lets me vote, I have a PAN number which tracks literally every economic transaction of significance I make. They know everything about my vehicles and my travel arrangements.

Now, they're going to pay someone to build a system which correlates all this into some useless information. It'll take six years to build & cost tons of money for the government, half of which will end up being passed under the table as kickbacks and the rest with the contractors. Eventually, the system will be built and works fairly decently, but has no information about anyone who does not really volunteer it first-hand.

It'll be done, but completely useless. Some people will become rich and ... as the general attitude will be "I want less corruption or more opportunity to participate in it". A complete waste of tax payer's money, but not quite the invasion of my privacy that most people imagine.

But hell yeah, I'm going to protest. Even their incompetence can't be depended up on :)

++

I wish I had mod points today.

Re:India, sitting in B'lore and sceptical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28506051)

I am also setting in B'lore and equally skeptical. The reason being in India its possible to get all these cards by bribing the politicians/officials concerned. Will national card keep out illegal immigrants ? It will become goodie offered to them by politicians to create captive vote-banks. This whole exercise is a waste of time and money.

India, sitting in B'lore and optimistic (4, Insightful)

oxygen_deprived (1127583) | about 5 years ago | (#28509735)

You are one of the privileged few who generate enough income to be above the threshold to pay taxes.Not the entire population of India has a PAN number or a ration card or any form of id whatsoever. The central idea of the national id is NOT to track citizens. Its main aim is to counter the major malpractices that thwart the efficacy of public welfare programs, where government provided benefits are usurped fraudulently by intermediate crooks (some of whom are a part of the govt machinery) Its the pessimism of the likes of you that holds us back.The kickbacks and under the table aspects are one of the major reasons why this has been entrusted to Nilekani. Get your facts right. After a long long time we have a government that is trying to sincerely uplift the masses. If you cant support them, at least dont hinder them.

moving to a freer country article (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28504769)

http://ask.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1283927&cid=28491411

its ok (1)

binaryseraph (955557) | about 5 years ago | (#28504779)

After all the outsourcing we have done there, I'm fairly sure they have all the US citizens info in one database too. Now that they have perfected it, time to pull in their own citizens info.

1.1 billion and counting (1)

smooth123 (893548) | about 5 years ago | (#28504781)

1.1 billion, is for the indians still residing in India, what about the millions on non resident visas all around the world....

Who's gonna code it? (1)

madfilipino (557839) | about 5 years ago | (#28504799)

We know that the project will be given to the lowest bidder, so that takes Indian coders out of the picture. So who's gonna code it? Africans?

the ultimate IT make-work program (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | about 5 years ago | (#28504865)

They will need to hire China to administer it (lower IT costs there).

Second largest? (1)

Tinctorius (1529849) | about 5 years ago | (#28504889)

Before I read TFA, I kinda thought Google had the largest "citizens'" database...

As an Indian Citizen, I welcome this (4, Interesting)

lenKite (631339) | about 5 years ago | (#28504919)

As a citizen of India, I whole-heartedly welcome this measure. One of the benefits (amongst many) is that native Indian citizens will not be marginalized by hordes of illegal immigrants who have crossed the borders of our country. That might sound callous, and yes, it indeed is, but the harsh reality is that many regions of our country have had their demographics completely changed by vast, un-checked immigration from Bangladesh and Burma. These immigrants zealously bring their religion with them - the one with the conspicuous lack of family planning or birth control and outdated ideas regarding education and treatment of women. (I assume you can guess which one)

For a country like India which is already heavily overpopulated with a severe lack of natural resources, such immigration is just breaking the elephant's back. A national identity card system will go a long way to address this severe problem.

I am aware that Americans strongly believe in individual privacy and are only too eager to shudder and sneer at such measures. Privacy is a valid concern, but the need for privacy is stronger in the West and lesser in the East - one f those strange cultural differences - it simply matters less to us here. And in the hierarchy of needs, the rights of basic citizenship and access to government resources matters more than an individual need for privacy.

Will the system be fool-proof? Of course not. It will be hacked - I expect it will be hacked both socially (corruption) and through technology and will definitely be misused a number of times for fake identities. The risk of misuse, however, is not a sufficient argument against the very real need for introduction of such an identity system in our country.

Re:As an Indian Citizen, I welcome this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28505281)

what was wrong with voters identity card, passport of pan numbers. No project will be successfull in India because most projects are managed by monkeys and they only make the rich richer. Seshan had a great idea with voters id card.. tell me why the fick it was not finished ever and what id going to be different this time that makes you think it will be finished successfully?

Re:As an Indian Citizen, I welcome this (3, Insightful)

seekret (1552571) | about 5 years ago | (#28505461)

I am aware that Americans strongly believe in individual privacy and are only too eager to shudder and sneer at such measures. Privacy is a valid concern, but the need for privacy is stronger in the West and lesser in the East - one f those strange cultural differences - it simply matters less to us here. And in the hierarchy of needs, the rights of basic citizenship and access to government resources matters more than an individual need for privacy.

If you represent the average Indian citizen than you have convinced me that for India this is a good thing. Afterall, if this is something you guys actually want then I think it would be ignorant of anyone else to say you shouldn't have it.

Re:As an Indian Citizen, I welcome this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28509653)

There was a time when the average American had no problem with slavery or women staying in the house.Doesn't make it right.
Btw, the parent poster does not speak for all of us though I'm glad he posted cause this is exactly how it will be seen by the retards which are the majority.
His view is shortsighted and another part of the "western idea" hence it's bad mentality.

-- An Indian

Parent post is evidence why this is a bad idea (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28506007)

Parent poster is the reason why such a National ID Card is a bad idea for India.

This card will become a means to make people prove their "Indianness".
This is a very bad idea in a nation as diverse and full of competing ethnic/religious/language groups as India.

People should not have to prove that they are Indian.
Making people do so will poison the soul of this nation and cause existing divisions in society to deepen rather than be healed.

Re:Parent post is evidence why this is a bad idea (2, Funny)

pankkake (877909) | about 5 years ago | (#28506113)

This card will become a means to make people prove their "Indianness".

Little Indian or Big Indian?

Re:As an Indian Citizen, I welcome this (1)

stereoroid (234317) | about 5 years ago | (#28506293)

Well, if you have millions of people without ID, how do you know whether they are currently legal or illegal? Start with an illegal immigrant with no ID, let him choose his own Indian name, and give him an ID: voila, instant Indian citizen. 8)

Re:As an Indian Citizen, I welcome this (1)

lenKite (631339) | about 5 years ago | (#28506963)

Can't do anything much about the millions already here. But we can do something about the millions more wanting to join their friends.

Re:As an Indian Citizen, I welcome this (1)

mano.m (1587187) | about 5 years ago | (#28507965)

I imagine 'Indian citizen' translates to you as 'Hindu nationalist'. Yes, immigration is a problem and needs to be stopped, but I don't see what Islam has to do with it. Also, I am an Indian and value my privacy. To assume that none of a billion-strong citizenry value their privacy is a rather far-fetched one. The risk of misuse is substantial. In the Godhra riots, Muslim families and businesses were selected through the phone directory and targeted. A searchable database would be much worse.

Re:As an Indian Citizen, I welcome this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28509189)

Hey but the train that the Muslims burnt - may be they searched the railway database to find a compartment with all Hindus in it? Bad databases.

Re:As an Indian Citizen, I welcome this (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | about 5 years ago | (#28509719)

I am aware that Americans strongly believe in individual privacy and are only too eager to shudder and sneer at such measures. Privacy is a valid concern, but the need for privacy is stronger in the West and lesser in the East - one f those strange cultural differences - it simply matters less to us here. And in the hierarchy of needs, the rights of basic citizenship and access to government resources matters more than an individual need for privacy.

Speak for yourself.

The risk of misuse, however, is not a sufficient argument against the very real need for introduction of such an identity system in our country.

The loss of my freedom and privacy is a sufficient argument against them. Do you think we fought and gave our lives for independence only to come under surveillance by other Indians? My privacy is so valuable to me because getting them back will be an extremely uphill task once people like you give it up easily.

In addition, I think the Supreme Court of India will agree with me [bhagwad.com] . As soon as the cards are misused, someone will file a PIL [wikipedia.org] that will teach the government (and people like you) that my rights are not to be screwed with.

$2 billion tax payers money. (1)

jawahar (541989) | about 5 years ago | (#28504935)

Instead of wasting $2 billion tax payers money on this UID project, Govt of India should have compulsorily issued PASSPORTS to all Indians at a nominal fee of 10 rupees, OR could have created bank accounts for Indians because 85% of them do not have them. [rediff.com]

This will only lead to more corruption (3, Insightful)

freedom_india (780002) | about 5 years ago | (#28504997)

India is a corrupt democracy.
The more rules and laws are present, the more corrupt the government becomes.
I bet my ass that billions of dollars will be spent to implement it, with doubtful results.
The really criminal and refugees will escape by paying the local officials and politicians.
The poor lower end will get their cards after they pay some money.
The middle class will be harassed since most move around the contry.
The uber-rich will not care.
In short another fiasco to add to the many fiascos called government programmes.

Re:This will only lead to more corruption (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28506435)

India is a corrupt democracy.
The more rules and laws are present, the more corrupt the government becomes. ...

Well, that explains Obama and the Dems passing all those new laws.

What percentage of "cap and trade" taxes are going to fund Al Gore's private jet trips?

How big of another financial meltdown will Barney Frank cause when he forces mortgage standards down AGAIN!!!! [reuters.com] (Yes, folks, just last week Barney Frank was trying to force banks and government agencies to lower their lending standards. All over again. We're still sorting out the mess of a mortgage bubble burst and subsequent meltdown that's still happening and here's Barney Frank starting to blow up another .... bubble. And you thought nothing could be worst than running a prostitution ring out of a Congressman's house [time.com] ....)

Re:This will only lead to more corruption (1)

freedom_india (780002) | about 5 years ago | (#28509777)

What the hell are you blabbering about?

failazors... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28505175)

at tim3Cs. From

Maintainence?? (1)

thirdworldpeasant (1487325) | about 5 years ago | (#28505307)

I worry if they will have enough funds to maintain the database while people are dying of starvation.

The basic problem... (2, Insightful)

joh (27088) | about 5 years ago | (#28505435)

... is that *actually* we all would like to have a government that does not know anything about us and doesn't care who we are and what we do as long as we don't act as criminals or work in sensible areas.

This is a very simple thing to understand: As long as you don't mess around with your neighbours they don't need to know anything about you. As long as you don't mess around with your larger community it does not need to know anything about you. As long as you don't mess around with your government it does not need to know anything about you. In an ideal world you could be born, live and die without your government even knowing about you as long as you don't try to do something that harms the government or the community the government cares for.

Of course it doesn't work this way because there will always be a minority of people trying to get away from what they've done or who switch identities to be able to plot and steel and murder without being caught. And the more complex and mobile a society becomes the less you can rely on people not being able to exploit this. Nowadays and in the future this means that "leave me alone as long as I leave you alone" won't work anymore (if it ever did).

So, yes: There is no way around databases of citizens, identity cards and all this shit. The sooner we accept this, the better. Because once you have accepted this you can start to look at the real problem and the real problem is securing all this against abuse and tampering both by the government and interested third parties. The real problem is not someone knowing everything about you, the real problem is *you* knowing nothing about everyone else and the government (or corporations) having both the power and the freedom to abuse what they have.

And there are no simple solutions to all these problems. Todays highly virtualized, mobile and complex societies create totally new problems which need new solutions. We're not made for this and we have no build-in solutions to these problems. Every solution the ape in you suggests is probably wrong. Don't trust your first thoughts. We are building this world as we go and we can only try to do it as best as we can.

Re:The basic problem... (3, Insightful)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#28506695)

Of course it doesn't work this way because there will always be a minority of people trying to get away from what they've done or who switch identities to be able to plot and steel and murder without being caught. And the more complex and mobile a society becomes the less you can rely on people not being able to exploit this. Nowadays and in the future this means that "leave me alone as long as I leave you alone" won't work anymore (if it ever did).

But it did work. It's only recently that we have even had the technology necessary to have this kind of (relatively) secure ID card and the databases that would make it actually useful. Somehow, we managed to get along prior to having this capability. Just think of America during the late 18th century. Back then you could commit a crime, skip town, and effectively disappear. Hand-sketched "WANTED" posters were about the most technologically sophisticated method of finding someone. There were no federal crime databases, so you could have a criminal record and move to another state and tell any employer "I have no criminal record" and they would have no effective way to prove otherwise.

Somehow, this didn't break society or cause it to melt down into a mass of anarchy and crime. In fact, the Americans of the late 18th century didn't even remotely have (especially violent) crime like we do today and the people were much more shocked by things like murders and robberies than we are today. They tended to have strong ideals and beliefs, and generally had faith in something greater than making money in order to have children so that they can grow up to make money in order to have their own children... I don't even think that what the faith is in is the point, but rather, that you have it and know because of it that there are higher ideals than immediate expediency.

There is a serious lack of inability to understand a sentiment. The best expression of that sentiment known to me is found in the Tao de Ching, chapter 57:

The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become.
The sharper men's weapons,
The more trouble in the land.
The more ingenious and clever men are,
The more strange things happen.
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.

Therefore the sage says:
I take no action and people are reformed.
I enjoy peace and people become honest.
I do nothing and people become rich.
I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life.


That this is so nearly impossible for us to imagine today is the real problem. The Founding Fathers understood this and their beliefs about freedom, what we often label "Libertarianism" today in order to make it sound like just another option, embodies this realization when it's correctly understood and not merely parroted or preached.

Re:The basic problem... (1)

joh (27088) | about 5 years ago | (#28507137)

Of course it doesn't work this way because there will always be a minority of people trying to get away from what they've done or who switch identities to be able to plot and steel and murder without being caught. And the more complex and mobile a society becomes the less you can rely on people not being able to exploit this. Nowadays and in the future this means that "leave me alone as long as I leave you alone" won't work anymore (if it ever did).

But it did work. It's only recently that we have even had the technology necessary to have this kind of (relatively) secure ID card and the databases that would make it actually useful. Somehow, we managed to get along prior to having this capability. Just think of America during the late 18th century. Back then you could commit a crime, skip town, and effectively disappear. Hand-sketched "WANTED" posters were about the most technologically sophisticated method of finding someone. There were no federal crime databases, so you could have a criminal record and move to another state and tell any employer "I have no criminal record" and they would have no effective way to prove otherwise.

But this isn't the 18th century anymore. Think about it. Not paying your bills (instead of running away without paying in a store), credit card fraud and thousands more things are only possible *now*. And easily possible. Things like that might not have been a problem back then, but today single persons can crash the economy of a small country. And they often do.

There is a serious lack of inability to understand a sentiment. The best expression of that sentiment known to me is found in the Tao de Ching, chapter 57:

The more laws and restrictions there are,

The poorer people become.

The sharper men's weapons,

The more trouble in the land.

The more ingenious and clever men are,

The more strange things happen.

The more rules and regulations,

The more thieves and robbers.

Therefore the sage says:

I take no action and people are reformed.

I enjoy peace and people become honest.

I do nothing and people become rich.

I have no desires and people return to the good and simple life.

Yeah, I love this, too. But we are far beyond that. The "simple life" would exclude cars, computers, the Internet, credit cards, moving freely around all over the world and most other things we take for granted. I think you seriously overestimate the will of the people to go back to a simple and truthful life. They are willing to take almost everything for a bit of comfort and security and stability. What you're doing is preaching for the people being different, but they aren't.

That this is so nearly impossible for us to imagine today is the real problem. The Founding Fathers understood this and their beliefs about freedom, what we often label "Libertarianism" today in order to make it sound like just another option, embodies this realization when it's correctly understood and not merely parroted or preached.

The world is moving on. Even the US has moved on. You can't have the values and mindsets of a rural and small-scale world and the global village of today at the same time. What works (ideally) in the former won't save you in the latter. In fact it will kill you. Give people a free hand in a world of easy opportunities and enough of them will prefer easy power over easy living.

I agree with you that we might just have missed the sweet spot years (centuries) ago. But I don't think there's a way back. We're moving forward and for now preaching solutions of yesterday is just sentimentality. Your quote from the Tao de Ching was probably sentimental even back then, yearning for a world that had vanished or had never existed at all except in the memories of old men dreaming of the rosy world of when they were boys running over the fields and looking at the old people working there happily (and probably breaking their backs while trying to keep their children halfway safe from hunger and war).

My *personal* take is that we are just apes, very smart and clever apes, bust just apes. Some of us are dreaming of a world which is simpler, more peaceful and more truthful, but in reality and in average we are warfaring apes looking for the most easy way to get power, money and an easy living (and fuck all the others). Some of us are different, peaceful and understanding and happy with simple things. But put a dozen of us into a small village and we will start to fight and to rob and to rape anyway sooner or later. We're clever apes and Utopia is not in the past but in the future and it will not be simple but very, very complicated and not very perfect. It's called civilisation and it's not easy and there is no pre-drawn way to it.

Well, maybe I'm wrong.

Re:The basic problem... (1)

causality (777677) | about 5 years ago | (#28507469)

But this isn't the 18th century anymore. Think about it. Not paying your bills (instead of running away without paying in a store), credit card fraud and thousands more things are only possible *now*. And easily possible.

ID cards are not a proposed solution for this problem.

Things like that might not have been a problem back then, but today single persons can crash the economy of a small country. And they often do.

For that they need political power. So far we have given it to them and we have reaped what we have sown in the form of a major recession, soon to be followed by hyperinflation.

The world is moving on. Even the US has moved on. You can't have the values and mindsets of a rural and small-scale world and the global village of today at the same time. What works (ideally) in the former won't save you in the latter. In fact it will kill you. Give people a free hand in a world of easy opportunities and enough of them will prefer easy power over easy living.

You cannot cheat a truly honest person because he does not seek to take advantage; therefore, he cannot be taken advantage of. Likewise, you cannot manipulate a virtuous person because he does not participate in that system of interpersonal control. It is our personal weaknesses and our own greed and our own desires for the kind of corrupting power that's not good for us to have which makes us vulnerable to these things. We live right now in a culture where wanting to dominate your fellow man is considered normal and desirable; they call it politics or they call it the corporate ladder. Fail to address that, and the things you have said will unfortunately be true. But to fail to address that is to get so caught up in symptoms that you grossly fall short of understanding the actual problem.

My *personal* take is that we are just apes, very smart and clever apes, bust just apes.

We are apes who can also be human beings. The difference is that animals run on instinct and their primary mode of interaction is reactive. Thus, they can have intelligence but not wisdom. They can have some form of understanding but not intuition. Clever apes are what the public school systems are designed to crank out, factory-style. Clever apes can be manipulated because they cower before bullies and otherwise respond to pressure. That is not actually our nature. In many ways, our species is not evolving into something better but rather, is devolving from a formerly higher state. The difference is that this devolution is cultural in nature, not biological. That means there is an element of choice to it.

I strongly disagree that the simple life means you must give up cars and computers. Friend, I mean no offense or insult but I think that's a common yet superficial interpretation. What's "simple" is dealing with your fellow man in an open, honest, loving, compassionate type of way. Not in a goody-two-shoes sort of way that makes you a pushover either, but rather in a way that will not suffer injustice and understands how to overcome it, constructively. The type of complexity that is contrasted by "the simple life" involves the sort of manipulation and power games and one-upsmanship that so characterizes our cultural attitudes today. Whether you drive a car or a horse-and-buggy has nothing to do with this and believing that it does is a tremendous distraction.

I am going to step out on a limb here. You probably will not have much difficulty chopping off that limb if it pleases you to do so, but I assure you I am aware of that and find this worth saying anyway. If you continue to grow and advance as a person, you will one day come to see the cynicism you just displayed as a wound that very much needs healing. When that wound does heal, the pain it once represented will be replaced by a new sort of courage, a willingness to dare to imagine great and beautiful things that many others will openly scoff at and declare to be impossible. Then you will realize just how arbitrary our current world really is and that a much better one has always been a few choices away. It starts on the microcosm of the personal level and expands as more people see that sort of negativity as a very heavy burden that they are glad to stop carrying. Those people won't be satisfied with the world we know today and will not be intimidated by concepts of "impossibility" into accepting it.

We live in some very interesting times. For some reason, you and I both have a front-row seat.

I just want to say... (1, Flamebait)

martas (1439879) | about 5 years ago | (#28505451)

Good luck with that. the cost of maintaining such a huge database will probably be higher than their freaking budget, at least after you take out all the bribes and shit.

In soviet india, money steals you!

Old media needs to die, and boomers don't get it (1)

mounthood (993037) | about 5 years ago | (#28505627)

Their faith and acceptance of the old media is astounding. I could care less what AP/Routers/NY Times has to say: they've consistently biased the news to fit the establishment, promoted trivia over news (fark,) and stagnated with the aging baby boomers.

Opinion aside, they don't even acknowledge that newspapers could *not* post their material online. If they don't want it linked to, they don't have to make it available.

Imagine if the New York Times migrated entirely to the World Wide Web. Could it support, out of advertising and subscriber revenues, as large a news-gathering apparatus as it does today?

All they care about is the existing news gathering revenue levels remaining the same, so the "quality" can remain the same.

Old Media is dead. It just doesn't know it yet. New generations, with new technology, will create new ways to learn about the world, and it'll center around a "web of trust" (or social graph) not the old media establishment tell you the "truth."

Re:Old media needs to die, and boomers don't get i (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28505973)

I could care less

Then get to it.

Hint: I couldn't care less actually makes sense.

Great Idea. Won't Work. (2, Interesting)

Prateekmi2 (1155047) | about 5 years ago | (#28505827)

I read the news and was quite impressed by it. It seems like a great idea, having basic information about the citizens available, and being able to provide better service using it. And if implemented it will be a great help for the people too, being able to have a single ID to serve as their Ration cards, Voter ID, PAN cards, Driving license, Electricity bill payments etc.

The most immediate problem however is that the infrastructure to utilize this kind of information is absent, and is not going to be widely available for several years to come. The vital social services that the govt. intends to provide to the poorest are not in a very good shape, and identity information is the least of the problems. The IT infrastructure required to facilitate interactions via IDs is limited to big cities.

I don't have much concern about the breach of privacy. I expose several orders of magnitude greater information about myseff on internet and social networks than what the govt. plans to collect. And this information has been collected through National Population Census since several decades. It will just be more accessible now.

Also, how are they going to generate and distribute these ID cards? In a country of over a billion people, where a significant portion of the population doesn't even have voter ID cards, its going to add several layer of more bureaucracy, corruption and red tape. As someone already pointed out, they don't have any means to enforce it on those who don't want it, and the middle class will be the one to suffer the most.

At the risk of sounding defeatist, I still maintain, its a nice idea, but both impractical and premature.

tech suggestion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28506169)

I would like to suggest they NOT use MS Access for this project.

We have had--- (1)

ryzvonusef (1151717) | about 5 years ago | (#28506183)

An ID card scheme here in Pakistan since, I guess, the 70's. My father has had three different NIC over the time, the current being a "Computerised" NIC that is linked to the "NAtional Database and Registration Authority"(NADRA). And that in turn links to everything.

For example, if I need to buy a mobile SIM, get into an institute or handle any sort of official paperwork, I need my CNIC.

Nothing to worry about (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 years ago | (#28506847)

If India designs the ID databases anything like they treat Western customers vis-a-vis technical support jobs we exported to them, then the population of India have nothing to worry about at all.

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