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Japan IDs All Its Citizens

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the juki-box dept.

Privacy 382

Edis Krad writes "While RealID in the US is a threat whose implementation is a ways in the future, the Japanese long ago implemented something similar; and there has been very little complaint raised about it. The Juki Net (Residents Registration Network — link in Japanese) has been silently developing since 1992. The system involves an 11-digit unique number to identify every citizen in Japan, and the data stored against that ID covers name, address, date of birth, and gender. Many Japanese citizens seem to be oblivious that such a government-run network exists. Juki Net had a spotlight shone on it recently because a number of citizens around the country sued against it, citing concerns of information misuse or leakage. And while an Osaka court ruled against the system, the Japanese Supreme Court has just ruled it is not unconstitutional, on the grounds that the data will be used in a bona-fide manner and there's no risk of leakage. While there is a longstanding registration system for us foreigners in Japan, what astonishes me is how the government can secretly implement such a system for its citizens, and how little concern the media and Japanese citizens in general display about the privacy implications."

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Wells fargo wagon? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22689730)

** Singing, etc.**

Come and buttfuck on the wells faggot wagon!
Baby we will get you off!

Re:Wells fargo wagon? (1)

Asshat_Nazi (946431) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689788)

well it is true that slashdot is for dudes who like other dudes in the butt.

clearly fact!

Is it that much of a deal? (5, Interesting)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689736)

I live in continental Europe and I have an ID card. I know that exactly the same style of ID cards exists in at least Belgium and Germany. Why is it a problem? You get to use it only when to prove that you're actually you. Like when voting and when I did an exam to try to become a state servant (I failed, if you really want to know.)

I also have a number that uniquely identifies me. It is the equivalent the social security number and it consists of my birthdate in format yyyymmdd followed by a three digit number. Unlike in the US, knowing this number means nothing. It's not secret... It isn't displayed on my ID card though.

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (2, Funny)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689800)

you're right, it's exactly like a social security number. Boy, the article sure is right. I hope they never implement that here in the US! We're just not ready for something like that!

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (3, Informative)

wish bot (265150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689896)

I'd say almost everywhere has something like the. In Australia there is a Tax File Number system. You don't HAVE to provided it when say, opening a bank or starting a new job, but if you don't you're simply taxed at the highest rate. IIRC it replaced a plan to have a national ID system, and it seems to be working out pretty well on a privacy level because it is only related to tax and financial aspects, which is where these system are actually needed and useful.

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (4, Informative)

conufsed (650798) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690060)

No its not at all. The only people who see your Tax File number are employers, banks/super funds (people who deal with your money), and the tax office. You don't have to supply your TFN to any of them, and you can calim back any extra tack paid when filing your tax return (where you still dont *have* to give you TFN, it just takes longer), although I admit for most people this isnt practical The scary identifier here is your drivers liscense number, the number of times I've had to supply it, had copies taken of it, is used for all sorts of credit things, and yet changes when you move interstate

Slashdot ID (5, Funny)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689808)

I also have a number that uniquely identifies me.
Yeah, I have my own id too, it's 1066278.

My very own UUID (1, Redundant)

this great guy (922511) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689854)

I have better: as a geek, I assigned myself this UUID: e455ce96-4457-4612-bb1e-bea339028446

Re:My very own UUID (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22690094)

I like to be anonymous. I use 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0.

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (5, Interesting)

fbjon (692006) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689878)

It is the equivalent the social security number and it consists of my birthdate in format yyyymmdd followed by a three digit number. Unlike in the US, knowing this number means nothing.
Finland, and probably a lot of other countries have something very similar. Here it's ddmmyy-xxxc, where xxx is assigned in birth order with even for females and odd for males, c is a checksum character, and the dash can be (+|-|A) depending on century. These are assigned at birth, so everyone has one of these.

I just don't see how the database in TFA is any different from this or the multitude of population registries that exist all over the world. Can someone enumerate the problems with this, please?

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (2, Insightful)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689950)

where xxx is assigned in birth order with even for females and odd for males, c is a checksum character, and the dash can be (+|-|A) depending on century. These are assigned at birth, so everyone has one of these.

Hehe, I didn't even want to go down in that level of detail... The nnn at the end of my number (which is oddly enough the phone code of my country) indicates the sex too. In the pattern xyx, is the y is odd, you're male, otherwhise you're female. All these numbers are indeed assigned at birth (in order of birth, AFAIK). On top of that, all people that work in my country also get one. After all, they pay their social security here.

I know quite a lot of details on that number in my country. I was involved in implementing a datanbase that stored medical information about people that had biopsies that were checked for cancer.

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (5, Insightful)

Firethorn (177587) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689892)

I AM an american, and all things aside, I don't really have a problem with a proper national ID system.

All this paranoia about IDs and numbers and such, I have to ask:

1. How many people over the age of 16 or so DON'T have a driver's license or state issued ID card? Heck, even students are getting them today in the form of school IDs. I was issued one in HS, never used it other than to get discounts at a few stores that had discounts for students. I had one for college. I have one for my job.

The problem with using the SSN is that it was never designed to be an ID. There just aren't safeguards on it. By law it WASN'T to be used for all the stuff we use it for today. We'd be better off issuing seperate ID numbers for stuff like credit reports - consisting of the two digit state abbreviation then a set of characters determined by the state. Put it on the ID card. Then, for non-face transactions, have a PIN in place to prove it's yours. To reset the PIN, you'd have to go to the appropriate office that would verify your identity.

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (5, Insightful)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689982)

My problem is that it's a single point of failure.

It's my understanding that they want to tie bank accounts, driver's license, social insurance / security (I'm Canadian), passport etc. to one single card.

If you lose this card you are completely fsck'd. And if someone wants to steal your identity all they have to do is either steal or forge your card. And before people say that forging cards is theoretically as difficult as forging a credit card I'll just point out that that's extremely little comfort. Forging credit cards is one of the most common credit card scams. All you need is an account number and the PIN and you can make a card to use in any ATM. It won't fool a person but it's not meant to. Since ATM machines can read credit cards all it needs is the magnetic stripe with the account # + PIN encoded on it. With systems designed in such a brain-dead way with a complete lack of thought put into security the idea of a real ID scares the crap out of me because idiots will be designing them and more idiots will be assuring the population that they're hack-proof.

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (2, Insightful)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690028)

That would really assume everyone would base themselves just on a number. It really isn't like that with national ID cards: you're not going to use an ID card with a picture that doesn't at least resemble you vaguely. Replacing a picture on a stolen card seems nigh to impossible to me. They aren't even comparable with credit cards. Apart from having an ID Card (one of the true ones, like implemented in Japan), I have a drivers license (with a different number) a social security card (with another number) and my bank merely has a photocopy of the ID card I had when I opened the account. Which is (oh, my God!) 15 years ago! T

It really doesn't work that way..... There are surely databases that could connect all of it together, but I have worked for the state and I can assure you: they are so incompetent they won't manage....

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (4, Interesting)

Original Replica (908688) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690152)

It really isn't like that with national ID cards: you're not going to use an ID card with a picture that doesn't at least resemble you vaguely. Replacing a picture on a stolen card seems nigh to impossible to me.

Not so impossible my friend. [hackcanada.com]

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22690032)

Sure, start it with a state abbreviation for a CREDIT REPORT since nobody ever moves from one state to another. Want to get a home loan? Nope, no credit with your NEW NUMBER in your new state. Take the old number with the old state abbreviation with you and keep using it? Then why put the state on there? Think McFly!

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22690112)

You don't understand the American mindset. For decades, you were brainwashed by Cold War propaganda into thinking that national IDs were the tool of communists and a method of oppression. Meanwhile, you've had exactly the same thing only called something else. Your government has exactly the same information on you as any other government would have. The only difference is that you aren't aware of it because you've been brainwashed into thinking it isn't happening to you.

It's the same as freedom of speech. You've got many restrictions on freedom of speech, but you aren't aware of it because of the language you use. Any speech that isn't protected isn't referred to as speech so that you can ban it without confronting your cognitive dissonance.

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (3, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690120)

1. How many people over the age of 16 or so DON'T have a driver's license or state issued ID card?

Few, but some (I doubt many Amish have driver's licenses). But the ID card isn't the problem. It would be entirely possible for the state to issue an ID card which merely associated a name and date of birth with a photo, and had record keeping.

The problem is the ID number assigned on that card, and the tracking database to which it forms the key, and the nefarious uses to which this database can and will be put, ranging from bad cops stalking hotties to presidents tracking and harassing their political opponents [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (5, Insightful)

mikael (484) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690188)

The big issue with ID cards isn't that you get an ID card with a serial number, your name and photograph on it. The big problem (at least in the UK), is that all the government databases will be linked together using this information; *EVERTHING* from medical records, property ownership, car ownership, travel history, current residential location, employer, purchase histories (thank you private databases).

There is enough information available for any government employee to determine when you are on holiday or away on a business trip to know when to send their mates round to burgle your home.

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (5, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689926)

Would you be comfortable if your card was part of an integrated system that included Belgium and Germany? That's the situation the US faces(in 3 ways: laws vary from state to state, the geographic area involved is large, and the number of people that a unified system needs to support is large). I'm not trying to say whether you should be uncomfortable or not, just pointing out that there are differences to account for when making the comparison.

My biggest objection to programs that unify information and improve database access is that it encourages people to use them in situations where it isn't actually necessary, which then extends problems with that database access into situations where it shouldn't be necessary.

An example would be the treatment that travelers who show identification at airports in the US receive - they are treated as being more 'legitimate' than people who are unwilling or unable to show id, and then subjected to a lower average level of scrutiny. The problem with this is that the cursory checks performed on the id aren't going to detect forgeries or falsely obtained official identification, making the whole process a pointless waste of time.

Falsely obtained official identification also limit the usefulness of using any documentation to 'prove that you are actually you'. An entire system is limited in reliability by the least trustworthy bureaucrat working in it.

Finally, a sort of joking example: Would you expect your wife to sleep with an imposter who had documents proving they were you, or would you expect her to scoff at the documents? Training people to trust the documents in similar situations is scary; I wish I had a better argument against it.

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689988)

Would you be comfortable if your card was part of an integrated system that included Belgium and Germany?

Yes, because it already is.... The EU cooperates on this kind of stuff.

An example would be the treatment that travelers [sic] who show identification at airports in the US receive - they are treated as being more 'legitimate' than people who are unwilling or unable to show id, and then subjected to a lower average level of scrutiny.

We don't show ID, we don't get on the plane. That simple. Recently I went to London from continental Europe with the TGV. ID required. I'm quite sure that they wouldn't have let me board without ID. If I go to the US and don't have a valid passport, I'll be sent home. No questions asked.

Falsely obtained official identification

I could take the ID of my wife and try to board a plane. Won't get very far.... The ID isn't a simple piece of paper with a picture attached. If I want to replicate (and as such that exclused "falsely obtained" which would mean "stolen"), I'll need quite some resources. At least as good as forging currency (and I mean well protected currency, not those lousy greenbacks)

Your last argument is a strawman, and you know it.... If he looks like me, fucks like me, he probably is me...

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22689938)

I also have a number that uniquely identifies me. Why is it a problem?
The problem is that you might be assigned an irrational number, in which case you might actually spend all of eternity identifying yourself.

The evil is not in the ID... (1)

Anne Honime (828246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689942)

... the evil is in the linking of databases. In most european countries I know of, public databases are declared to an authority and must be used within a given scope. Linking is prohibited as a general rule. So you can have an ID, and be kind of privacy safe because your ID is supposed to only prove you are yourself. From what I read, in the US, as soon as someone collects data, public or private, it ends in databases that can be linked to others with very little oversight. This can lead in effect to massive privacy leaks. To top it, there's no limit to which data can be gathered (gender, race, religion, you name it). In europe, you're not allowed to gather much besides name, DOB, and address.

If I was a US citizen, I think I'd be a little worried too.

Re:The evil is not in the ID... (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689996)

So, what exactly stops them from implementing this and make sure the laws are in place that it can be used as in the EU?

Re:The evil is not in the ID... (1)

Anne Honime (828246) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690054)

So, what exactly stops them from implementing this and make sure the laws are in place that it can be used as in the EU?

Errr... Greed ?

Re:The evil is not in the ID... (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690080)

You know, sadly enough that makes sense.... :-(

Re:The evil is not in the ID... (1)

perlchild (582235) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690104)

(I am Canadian, we don't have quite the same troubles, but I'm still worried) You mean besides the conflicts of jurisdiction, the lobbyists, and the fact that a sufficiently EU-like system wouldn't allow them to interpret it the way they choose?

Obligitory (1)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690066)

Where's the guy that's always posting stuff about "goodnight, Liberty" and "ah, my children" and "get out while you can?"

Oh, that's right - this is Japan we're talking about.

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (2, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690170)

"I live in continental Europe and I have an ID card. I know that exactly the same style of ID cards exists in at least Belgium and Germany. Why is it a problem?"

Ask the Jews... well, the ones the German government didn't murder, anyway.

The innocent have nothing to hide, until the day the government turn them into criminals (making merely being alive a capital offence in the case of German Jews); then they suddenly realise why bloated government databases and ID cards were a really bad idea.

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (1)

Destined Soul (1240672) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690176)

I don't even know why it's such a big deal.

In BC (Canada) we require photo ID for most things (Driver's license or ID that's near identical) and a SIN number to work. Too bad they can't just use one card instead of two here. Oh, yes, I also need a medical card. And, occasionally, my certificate of birth for an extra piece of ID.

And people are fighting the idea of a unified ID card!? So, from here I have my personal information and, instead of just 1 universal number, 4 different identification numbers that all of which to do the same purpose but add 4 times the weight to my plastic-infested wallet.

If people are worried that an unauthorized person can get into Juki Net what about the current systems with multiple points of attack? Why not ensure the one door is secure instead of having multiple entrances to secure?

Oh, maybe that's the secret: they want to keep all of those government employees that do the exact same but in different "departments" employed.

Re:Is it that much of a deal? (2, Insightful)

indil (911425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690202)

Based only on the article description, Japanese citizens are being assigned ID numbers, not ID cards. Using an ID card to authenticate yourself works well because it probably has a photo and maybe a fingerprint on it, as well as some other personal information. If someone uses your ID card, it's easy to catch them. On the other hand, using an ID number alone to authenticate yourself is a terrible idea because it's a lot easier to match an ID number with a person than using their ID card. The ID number is treated as a kind of password, as if only you could possibly know your own ID number, despite the fact that you give it to anyone who wants to know who you are (which they assume also proves that you're you). The odds are high that eventually someone, maybe even you, will make a mistake and someone else can then tie you to your ID number.

What's funny is that the U.S. government discourages you from using someone's social security number to both identify them and authenticate them, because of the obvious security problems we see every day. Yet businesses continue to use those numbers for authentication. An easy fix would be for the government to simply publish everyone's SSN at once. Then any business that uses SSNs to authenticate people will be castigated or lose business for being idiots.

I think it would be cool to separate authentication from identification. Everyone gets a unique ID number and chooses a private code that together produce a public code, or maybe many one-time throw-away codes, that you can use to identify yourself without giving away control of your identity.

Farmer jim: (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689740)

*Spit* Nyeeehh, all them dayum numbers look the same to me anyways.

Oh noes! An 11-digit number! (5, Insightful)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689742)

Get real. You have to register yourself at your local city office, so the authorities already know all about you. You also have to have a medical insurance ID. You also need to be registered at the tax office.

Privacy concerns in this day and age are ridiculous. You haven't any.

Fighting the tide only works when you're on the shore. When you're at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, there isn't very much you can do.

Re:Oh noes! An 11-digit number! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22689826)

BadAnalogyGuy said:

Fighting the tide only works when you're on the shore. When you're at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, there isn't very much you can do.
Good name!

Difference of culture (5, Informative)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689744)

It most likely passed through with so few complaints because of how different the culture is there from here. Something like this might seem like the ridiculously obvious thing to do for them. You can't count on very body to think the same as Americans, for better and worse.

Re:Difference of culture (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689782)

It most likely passed through with so few complaints because of how different the culture is there from here.
Perhaps. It's inevitable that we are all ending up on databases of some kind, because this is part of being a part of an organized society. Perhaps they realize that over there, but the real isse as I see it has always been "who gets to see the information and what information are they collecting" and not so much "am I registered somewhere".

Orwell was British (3, Interesting)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689816)

I have often wondered what life would be like if we didn't have the phrases "Orwellian" or "mark of the beast" in our vocabulary? Is our life (in America) better, more free because of our mindset from reading Orwell? Or is it worse because our paranoia about becoming "orwellian" hampers real progress in using technology to improve our lives? Thus also "mark of the beast?" If it were not for the stigma (pun intended) of being subjugated to a totalitarian government/economic system, how much better could commerce and governance be with a "master table" of PIDs?

Go for it: List the pros or cons of each scenario... But just remember, all those pros go away when the people controlling the database go bad. And they do.

Re:Difference of culture (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22689822)

I just rolled my eyes reading the summary, and you're absolutely right. Japan spent roughly 80 years under an unbelievably strict fascist government. From the mid-1800s through the end of the second World War the Japanese government outshone anything Hitler ever came up with. And even since democracy has been imposed on them from outside they still have a quite strict and regimented society compared to how Westerners would like things to be. It seems extremely obvious to me that they would accept this without comment, but that doesn't mean that Americans would or should.

Re:Difference of culture (1)

dabraun (626287) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689906)

How on earth is this any different from social security numbers in the US anyway? They have at least those bits of data and most likely far, far more associated with them. Ok, there's a few citizens in this country who don't have one - but they can't work legally, can't get a credit card, have a hard time opening a bank account (in most places, you can argue this with the bank - if they aren't lending you anything they don't really need it - but they expect it and you're not going to have an easy time.) Basically - if you live on the streets maybe you can't be identified. Good luck buying or renting a place to sleep without having an SSN (or valid alien number, but this article is about citizens so we can leave that out of it.)

Re:Difference of culture (1)

Carbon016 (1129067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690022)

That's a lovely hypothesis but we shouldn't be too quick to subscribe all differences between two countries to culture. We probably wouldn't do it if this was coming out of a European country or Russia or something, but if it's Japan it's "jump on the culture bandwagon". It's a knee-jerk response to anything discussing Japan, a meme that gets annoying after being applied over and over in various contexts, similar to the inevitable "lol, hentai/tentacle rape/pany vending machines". In this case, it was not approved by a majority of voters, it's just a government decision where the general public is apathetic in general to politics. Probably has little to do with "culture" (define what "culture" means in this context?).

Japan, though, does have a very monolithic and corrupt government and I wouldn't be surprised if this was railroaded through with little input by the average citizen. Or maybe the average citizen really doesn't care if the government knows their date of birth. If the latter, it's not culture, it's apathy. You'd be apathetic about politics too if the same party got elected continuously for forty years and most of the prime ministers were crotchety old guys.

Japanese value obedience above all else (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22689754)

Obedience to the will of the group, and to authority, is about the only virtue the Japanese recognize. Of course they didn't complain.

Japan != USA/Europe (3, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689756)

The Japanese don't have such an irrational fear of databases and information. In part because of their culture (which is not so contaminated with outside influences such as cultures that most slashdot readers might be familiar with) and also in part because they are not subject to the US constitution (gasp, shock). Here's an idea: perhaps the Japanese are able to determine which laws they want? I know, a radical idea - they didn't even consult the UN before implementing this.

Re:Japan != USA/Europe (4, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689792)

The Japanese don't have such an irrational fear of databases and information.
The Japanese have an irrational acceptance of authority and conformism.

Re:Japan != USA/Europe (2, Interesting)

Cutriss (262920) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689840)

The Japanese also have an irrational sense of honor and trust in others. It probably never occurred to most of the everybodies who found out about this system that it would ever be misused.

ChoicePoint. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690182)

Those who brought lawsuits obviously felt like the system could be abused. The stealth nature of the program highlights the risk.

It would be better if they put this baby ChoicePoint [wikipedia.org] to sleep before it grows up. That kind of information should not be trusted with anyone, no matter how honorable, because it's no one's business. Japan might also request their data purged from ChoicePoint and other TIA children.

Re:Japan != USA/Europe (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22690184)

Must have developed after the 1940s, when they attacked Pearl Harbor while still engaging in negotiations...

Re:Japan != USA/Europe (0, Flamebait)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689984)

And I have an irrational need to ejaculate in your beautiful beautiful mouth. Surprise! It's me! And I still remember the unjustified attack, you talented cocksucker.

Re:Japan != USA/Europe (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690008)

Is any such acceptance necessarily irrational? Perhaps there are customs or restrictions that limit the abuse of authority. Utterly unamerican notions like honor and public-service, perhaps?

Re:Japan != USA/Europe (4, Insightful)

badasscat (563442) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690178)

The Japanese have an irrational acceptance of authority and conformism.

What's so irrational about it? They didn't always have such an acceptance. This is a country that has existed for thousands of years, the first couple thousand of which were spent in a state of near-constant civil war without any centralized government. It was only after a strong central government was formed - and further refined with our help - that they became a prosperous, peaceful country with one of the highest standards of living in the world.

Acceptance of authority and conformism has brought them peace, prosperity, high educational standards, low crime, good health and long life expectancy. They are no less "free" than we are, either. Their government does not wiretap their citizens' phone calls or endorse torture, and their taxes do not go to supporting a massive military industrial complex or a set of oil cartels. So in what way is their culture "irrational"? Especially in comparison to ours?

Accept the fact that not everybody thinks the way Americans do. We are not the center of the universe and the way we think is not the "right" way.

Re:Japan != USA/Europe (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689814)

Ehm, just concerning Europe... Many European countries have a Identity Document [wikipedia.org] ... The list on wikipedia is not complete. Mine is not listed.... So, in reality you'd better say Japan/Europe != USA

Re:Japan != USA/Europe (1)

kmac06 (608921) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689846)

[...]and also in part because they are not subject to the US constitution (gasp, shock). Here's an idea: perhaps the Japanese are able to determine which laws they want?
Or perhaps the Japanese politicians are able to determine which laws they want regardless of basic rights the people want, since said rights are NOT outlined in their Constitution.

Re:Japan != USA/Europe (1)

InakaBoyJoe (687694) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690110)

The Japanese don't have such an irrational fear of databases and information. In part because of their culture

That's simply not true. Where is the data to back up your claim?

In 2005 the Personal Information Privacy Law [wikipedia.org] went into effect, and pretty much anyone who works for a company in Japan has had a stern talking-to about the consequences of information leakage (which nevertheless occurred in a series of scandals over the past few years). Data from 2/2007 [pripo.jp] shows that almost 80% of company employees surveyed said that the law had affected their business. IANAL, but my impression is that the law is more of a European-style law; in general, Japan has stronger privacy laws than the USA.

The fact that the debate about National ID is even occurring in Japan is evidence that people are concerned about personal information. Of course, the politicians pull out the usual set of excuses: "It's Necessary to Fight Terrorism" and "The Americans Are Doing It, So Why Don't We?" -- the same lame stuff that got the fingerprinting machines installed at immigration ports [slashdot.org] .

Anyway, I generally turn on my BS filter for any messages that begin with "THE Japanese ..." , but I thought this story should be set straight. Public backlash is the reason that the national ID component of Juki Net was never implemented.

Re:Japan != USA/Europe (3, Interesting)

MidnightBrewer (97195) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690174)

Cultural contamination? They had their constitution written for them by the United States military, their Diet was first borrowed from the Germans and then reformed into a British style, their school system is modeled after the German, and their current pacifistic ways were forced upon them by external powers as well. In daily life, they're inundated with western pop culture. Granted, the Japanese core is still largely the same, but their youth is moving in liberal directions and the older generation are blaming the West for it. Some of the most recent annoyances for the government include unionization and public demonstration. In Osaka, for example, the UN's International Labor Organization is backing the teacher's union, which is suing the board of education based on what they believe to be an unconstitutional review system (basically, teachers' salaries and tenure are determined by a letter grade, and the grounds for the grade they receive are kept secret, and there is no way for the teacher to dispute or appeal the results).

Despite the surface changes, the Japanese government operates in pretty much the same way it always has; a few people in power who hand the laws down to the common folk and the common folk are expected to bear it. Theoretically, these people in power are supposed to have the good of the people in mind, but the reality differs somewhat. The Japanese people have an inherent faith in their government, although that faith is eroding rapidly in recent years; hence the rapid change of prime ministers since Koizumi.

Darn japanese (1, Funny)

schnikies79 (788746) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689758)

we already have this here in the states with a certain nine-digit every gets at birth.

stupid japanese have to go off a create a eleven-digit number just to show us up.

An outraged privacy advocate (1)

Flynsarmy (1071248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689764)

Well I don't know about the rest of you, but personally i'd prefer my gender NOT be leaked to everyone who wants to spend countless hours hacking this network.

Re:An outraged privacy advocate (2, Funny)

Eddi3 (1046882) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689842)

You're posting on Slashdot. I think we already know your gender. :-)

Re:An outraged privacy advocate (1)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690180)

Wow, I didn't know that Pat Riley [imdb.com] posts here!

To what extent is privacy cultural? (5, Interesting)

davecrusoe (861547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689766)

In reading this story, I wonder about how individuals raised in cultures different than my own (read: USA) view issues of personal privacy vs. common good. Broadly speaking, we in the states tend to defend a "rights" theory; that our personal rights can, in some cases, trump the good of society. However, the idea of a populace giving in some personal rights for those of the supposed good lies on the spectrum of utilitarianism; that by putting in place a universal ID, it's necessary to give up some personal rights, in order to protect the largest number of people.

But, I'd be interested to know about how others compare this issue to the various historical theories of ethics...

Re:To what extent is privacy cultural? (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689830)

that our personal rights can, in some cases, trump the good of society.
Maybe that's the way some people see it in the USA. I see it as personal rights being a requirement for the long-term good of society. That while short-term violations of rights may appear to yield short-term benefits for "the good of society," in the long-term those violations do a net harm to society.

I think its summed up well in the saying about Benito Mussolini -- "At least he made the trains run on time!"

Re:To what extent is privacy cultural? (0, Flamebait)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689968)

In Japan, privacy is not a primary concern. Their technology is good if it's not radioactive, tastes like squid, has blurries over the naughty bits, looks like a kitten, fits in your pocket, and can sink an American aircraft carrier.

Re:To what extent is privacy cultural? (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690144)

In reading this story, I wonder about how individuals raised in cultures different than my own (read: USA) view issues of personal privacy vs. common good.

I'd wonder, too, but I'm still stuck on why the girls all have their bloodtypes in their photobooks [wikipedia.org] .

Or why their fans would want to know.

Or why I know so much about photobooks.

Or notice the bloodtype.

Re:To what extent is privacy cultural? (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690158)

cultures different than my own (read: USA)

and

I'd be interested to know about how others compare this issue to the various historical theories of ethics...

Dude, I think you just lost your US citizenship ;-)

I wish (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22689774)

I wish some of my co-workers were intelligently designed.

Isn't that a bit of a stretch? (1)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689794)

And while an Osaka court ruled against the system, the Japanese Supreme Court has just ruled it is not unconstitutional, on the grounds that the data will be used in a bona-fide manner and there's no risk of leakage.


Now that's a bit unrealistic, wouldn't you say? No matter how much security and other preventative measures you put up, isn't in unrealistic to say that there is zero chance of a break in?

To me, the biggest scare of a national ID is the idea that we're putting all personal info in one database- a fat, juicy target. Other than the Papers please mentality, that is...

And Microsoft charges for its software! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22689804)

Who cares what anyone else does? That doesn't make it right.

"Because everyone else is doing it" doesn't count.

Different cultures, different standards (5, Insightful)

AdamHaun (43173) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689806)

You're astonished that a completely different culture has different standards for privacy? The modern American conception of privacy is hardly universal, and it wasn't too long ago that things like your shopping habits couldn't be private because the people who sold to you all knew you personally.

Re:Different cultures, different standards (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22689916)

That sounds exactly backwards. When I know personally who's selling me something, I can trust that this merchant is not going to do anything harmful to me with that information. (Where does this trust come from? Same place any trust comes from: we build it over time.) When the merchant is a high-school droid the mega-corp hired to run their barcode scanner, I can be assured that I have no privacy.

The idea that my shopping habits could be anything *but* private seems like a fairly modern one. Historically, did Japanese merchants routinely tell the government about their customers? I'm no expert on Japanese history, but I think that in the past, even if the government did want this information, they'd at least have to ask for it, so the merchant would be able to tell the customers "they're asking about you". Automatically sending copious amounts of information to a centralized place is not really a cultural thing, because we simply haven't been able to do that for very long.

Re:Different cultures, different standards (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689918)

and it wasn't too long ago that things like your shopping habits couldn't be private because the people who sold to you all knew you personally.

True. But there's a big difference between your neighbourhood grocer / friend knowing what kind of food you eat and having a database filled with 5 years worth of indexed / searcheable shopping history that can be handed over to any interested party that you don't even know about.

They've had a family registry since 1872 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22689810)

They've had family registries recording all this information since 1872, so this isn't all that new for the Japanese.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koseki/ [wikipedia.org]

Privacy issues are Terran issues government aside. (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689818)

I never bought into the idea that of different cultural standards for different cultures. I'm a secular leftist. I say privacy issues effect all Terrans and culture is irrelevant. Now. Keep in mind, I am a fan of the Japanese. Yes this is a privacy issue. Yes, the Japanese people should resist it. Culture is absolutely irrelevant on issues like this. Using culture is an excuse for bad behavior.
All Terrans of all the world should have standards of privacy, due process, autonomy, those sorts of things. I'm not advocating the US way is the best way, because really, I'm ashamed of what the US is slowly becoming. I'm simply stating these are the rights all people should have.

Re:Privacy issues are Terran issues government asi (1)

Atlantis-Rising (857278) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689978)

So who defines what those rights are? You?

If you believe that rights are absolute, you must present who defines what they are- that leads into a subjective bias imposed by the person doing the definition.

If you believe that rights are subjective but defined by the entire population group, that theory propagates down to any small population group that is self-lead- like say, a state government.

Re:Privacy issues are Terran issues government asi (1)

Zombie Ryushu (803103) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690044)

Its one of those things kinda like the definition of Porn; I know it when I see it. I'm not that brilliant an orator. And no, I don't think I'm qualified to know what those rights are. I will leave that for greater minds. But we all seem to know Human rights violations when we see them.

Re:Privacy issues are Terran issues government asi (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690196)

But we all seem to know Human rights violations when we see them.

We do? I have one word for you: waterboarding.

Just to clarify, you brought up porn. I don't think a nipple is porn, but the US broadcasters thinks so. For religious muslims a girl in bikini is porn. I recognize porn only because it qualifies my definition of porn, not a "absolute" definition of porn.

You are uninformed about the system! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22689824)

The government attempted to implement a system similar to Social Security numbers quite a while ago, but strong public opposition made that impossible. However, lack of a unique identifier for each individual makes a lot of tasks difficult. The new hospital "denshi karute" electronic distributed patient information database for example would be very difficult to maintain into the future without that unique identifier. But still, because older people are so opposed to any type of system like this the current implementation is only forced on newborns (both of my children have numbers).

The major thing you need to consider is that this is only tracking some trivial information. Name, birthday, possibly telephone number, etc. If someone had stolen the cell phone of a friend of yours they would be able to access all that information and more about you, so access to this amount of information is really so bad?

You also have it wrong about foreigner registration. Japanese people also need photo-ID's to do the same thing you need to do with your foreigner registration. Want to sign up for cell phone service? Well, you need a way to officiate you are who you say you are, and that's a photo ID; and guess what? nobody can read your foreign drivers licence which DOESN'T have your Japanese address written on it. Furthermore, gaikokujintourouku shoumeishou (foreigner registration cards) are not even forced on you. The only reason you need to take one is to use it as a photo ID or to officiate your address so you can get a bank account or work etc.

Overall a paranoid and opinionated article with lack of information. I'd prefer it if Slashdot would at lest link to a news article than just posting up some random guys e-mail.

i don't understand the hysteria (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689864)

why is there a kneejerk attitude towards a national in the usa?. a national id seems rather prudent, a cost and effort saving initiative. most every other modern western democracy has one. it's just a good, modest idea. really

and yet you encounter this sort of hysteria like it iss satan himself doling out the mark of the beast and we will all be under the boot of fascism if we have a national id. it really doesn't make any sense. we already have drivers licenses

the issue is not that a national id is some major encroachment on privacy rights. the issue is just the idea of a national id has become a lightning rod for immediate kneejerk rejection, regardless of any sane rational thought on the issue

for those who go into rabid frothing at the mouth over a national id, just calm the f*** down, really. it isn't a big deal

OH MY GOD I'M A JACKBOOTED THUG. PAPERS PLEASE

pfffffft. irrational hysteria

Name, address, date of birth, and gender? (1)

The Iso (1088207) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689884)

Is that all? You give those out any time you buy alcohol.

Re:Name, address, date of birth, and gender? (1)

crispin_bollocks (1144567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689986)

or Sudafed :-(

Similar system in Costa Rica (5, Interesting)

alriode (1161299) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689900)

As for us in Costa Rica (not Puerto Rico), in Central America (in the middle of the whole continent), an ID system called "cédula de identidad" has been used since some decades ago for all citizens (a Costa Rican is a citizen once he/she is 18 years old). A 9-digits number is related with full name, gender, date and place of birth. Recent "cedulas" even include a version of one's signature (recollected by a writing tablet). It is an necessary ID for every kind of (bureaucratic) transactions (voting at the national and local elections, signing in for a bank account, obtaining a driver licence, etc.). Most of us are not concerned about the privacy issue (specially because the Government itself isn't Orwellian at all).

privacy? welcome to the information age (3, Insightful)

x00101010x (631764) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689910)

Seriously people, it's the 21st century, the information age. Privacy does not exist. You WILL give your information to banks, governments, health care agencies, employers, etc. in order to function in this world. They in turn will eventually fsck up and disclose said information publicly. I'm in favor of regulations that provide recourse and stiff penalties for organizations that mishandle information. However, they won't always be enforcible and lobbyists will put in loop holes making them ineffective, that's just reality. In the information age, your identity is your face. You don't walk down the street wearing a mask, do you? No, you'd look pretty silly. Do you yell at the shop clerk to not look at your face? No, you'd be considered rude. Just shut up and get used to it. Your identity is already public. Your personal information is likely to end up public. The best thing you can do is keep up to date on your credit profile and not be an idiot about spreading your information any more than you must.

Re:privacy? welcome to the information age (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690058)

Penalties for misuse of aggregated personal information don't help the individuals who were violated. They're hosed whether the perpetrators are penalized or not. That's the problem, and personally I'm against data aggregation. The benefits to organizations (whether governmental or private-sector) of massive databases are obvious: they're less so when it comes to private citizens. They gain power and more of our money, and what to we get? Stalkers, identity thieves, targeted advertising, a host of things we would rather do without.

Re:privacy? welcome to the information age (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22690082)

Privacy does not exist. You WILL give your information to banks, governments, health care agencies, employers, etc. in order to function in this world.

I was OK with this except for the "governments" part. The others are all voluntary. Governments tend not to be.

They in turn will eventually fsck up and disclose said information publicly. I'm in favor of regulations that provide recourse and stiff penalties for organizations that mishandle information. However, they won't always be enforcible and lobbyists will put in loop holes making them ineffective, that's just reality.

Far worse than lobbyists: the government itself. How good are they at policing their own foul-ups?

In the information age, your identity is your face. You don't walk down the street wearing a mask, do you? No, you'd look pretty silly. Do you yell at the shop clerk to not look at your face? No, you'd be considered rude.

If people could reliably identify (and store and index) strangers by seeing their faces on the street, "Law & Order" episodes would be about 4 minutes long. And if the shop clerk snapped a photo of me and put it in a database, I might get upset at him. If he sent it to the government, I certainly would. I'd also cease purchasing anything from him, an option that does not exist if the government does it.

Just shut up and get used to it.

Golly, I can't tell you how safe that makes me feel. I could tell you about the last time I heard "just shut up and get used to it" as a response to government privacy intrusion, but I'd Godwin myself.

Your identity is already public. Your personal information is likely to end up public. The best thing you can do is keep up to date on your credit profile and not be an idiot about spreading your information any more than you must.

I think "getting the government to stop secretly collecting personal information for unspecified purposes" is pretty good, too.

They're going to keep records (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689920)

In America, at least, we've had government records for a very long time on our citizens. You have to. Even court records have to be kept on people who've been brough to trial, convicted, sued, etc. Why wouldn't you want a unique ID number for each citizen and legal immigrant? Think of how much easier it'd be to tell TSA to piss off if the social security number had been turned into the Federal Identification Number. They tell you you're a terrorist, you tell them to check the FIN on the list, and lo and behold, wrong person, and they look like an idiot.

What is really upsetting isn't the ID number, but how much and what data the governments of the first world countries store on people.

Here's the real issue. (4, Insightful)

Carbon Copied (909743) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689956)

If you want to sign up to your own ID card system, fine, I have no problem with that whatsoever.

The problem is, if I don't want to sign up with your system, you get to put me in jail.
This is downright wrong and against the basic right that all human beings have to stay silent about their personal information.

Not to mention, any time in human history where ID schemes and mandatory databases have been misused they used exactly the same "what could go wrong/what have you got to hide" reasoning as they are using now.

Godwin's law be damned, how do you think the Nazi government knew where all the jews lived when they started handing out arm bands and shipping them to concentration camps?

The point isn't what today's government in today's climate will do with it. The point is that no organization should be given that much unchecked power to mandate citizens to give up their private information when it has never been proven that a government is immune to corruption and incompetence.

Governments have proven themselves untrustworthy with this level of information on the general public.

The UK government lost 28 million peoples private information LAST YEAR alone.

But the government has proven itself competent and reliable in every other aspect of its business so I guess we should trust it on this one.....

yeesh

Sources :

http://www.betanews.com/article/UK_government_loses_data_on_as_many_as_25_million_people/1195687877 [betanews.com]
http://www.news.com/U.K.-government-loses-data-on-driving-test-candidates/2100-1029_3-6223292.html [news.com]
http://www.news.com/U.K.-government-loses-pensioner-data/2100-1029_3-6223493.html [news.com]

So the US is still fearful (1)

Bluewraith (1226564) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689966)

of someone coming around and issuing a number that can identify each and every individual in the country? I'm sorry, but last time I checked we already had a national database of (nearly) all of our (mostly) legal residents. Seems like nobody is scared of a social security number given to your children at birth, but we've been using them since what, the 30s? I think we are used to the idea of non-privacy now.
Granted, you can't really take a SSN and determine sex and current address from that number alone, but you can check state of birth, and have a reasonable idea of when they were born. Given the right knowledge [ssa.gov] and "1337 skillz [wikipedia.org] " one can also phone up their local office and request the information on a given number at any given time. Now then... don't you feel even more secure about your special super secret only to me(and everyone I want to do business with) ID number?
Also, just to step on both sides of the fence for a minute, you are not required to get a social security number in the US. Your parents did you the favor, so they can claim you on their taxes. Granted, without a SSN, you'll be hard pressed to get a job that doesn't involve picking fruit or disposing of bodies. Good luck getting a bank to look at you for very long either. Even though there is no law requiring you to show proof of a SSN, without one you might as well kiss anything that requires money goodbye.

America only has a 9 digit number (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689970)

My 9 digit national ID number links to only my name, birthdate, gender and address. And my healthcare provider, and my entire credit history.

39.296.090-4 (3, Insightful)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 6 years ago | (#22689980)

that's the number on my registration card. it was issued when i registered and had my fingerprints taken in the public security office here in sao paulo.

and you know what ? IS NOT A BIG DEAL.

get over it, USians. the govt already know who you are. how many databases you're registered on ? DMV, social security, schools permanent records, with the military, and so on.

if the govt is not abusing all that info, then a national ID will be just a formality without adding any risk.

now, if they ARE using all the info they already have against the population, a new database won't make any difference. and you people should seriously start considering a revolution.

When I read the title... (3, Funny)

thefear (1011449) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690006)

My first thought was 'how could a country intelligently design all of its citizens'

Japanese media cannot complain about the gov. (1)

tokyoahead (743189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690014)

Japanese media is under tight control of the government anyhow. If they publish stories the government does not like, they risk loosing their license when it has to be renewed next time. So unless there is something happening that is against the law in the first place, they cannot complain about it. If you live in Japan, you should read some international news about Japan in int. newspapers and then compare it to the reporting about the same issue in Japanese newspapers. You will see the difference. Censorship in Japan is normal & much stricter than one would expect from a country like that.

Anonymity breeds abuse (2, Insightful)

Buscape (1153545) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690064)

Americans don't understand being held accountable for their actions hence they're going to fight being identifiable until they've been properly schooled in accountability. Welcome to school children. This is going to be painful.

The real problem w/ REAL ID (1)

LowTolerance (301722) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690068)

I think I would be more understanding of the motivation for the US to roll out a national ID card, if only it weren't under the pretense that it was for our own protection. Right now, if I didn't want to get a drivers license, then I just don't drive and the government could care less. However, if I resist getting a national ID card, I'm going to look like I have something to hide. The fact that the REAL ID had to be slipped into a bill regarding Tsunami relief just makes the real intention for it seem that much more ominous. I think that it's ultimately going to result in the US becoming a much less free country.

This is the Wrong Battle (5, Interesting)

Gorimek (61128) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690086)

I'm something as odd as a hardcore libertarian Swede. I moved to Silicon Valley in 1995, in small part because of that.

Like most other developed nations, Sweden has a system much like Japan's, that keeps track of who people are where they live. This results in vastly superior service to the citizens. You don't have to register to vote, you can get a passport in under an hour, and in general you only have to tell one governmental agency something once, and the others will also get the information on a need-to-know basis.

And here is my point:

The US government already knows everything about you. They even read your email and tap your phone at will. But since they have to pretend not to, we have to keep sending in the same information again and again, things take forever and are often done wrong. We have the worst of both worlds, with little privacy and little functioning services.

Americans fight this kind of system thinking they're protecting privacy. They're not. Their privacy is long gone, and they're just wasting their effort. If you have the energy to fight for freedom, use it where it counts. This, unfortunately, is not such a place.

If it's secret, why do I know about it? (1)

EsJay (879629) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690122)

"...the government can secretly implement such a system..."

I love JUKI! (1)

SpudB0y (617458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690124)

anyone else remember that?

BIG Problem.. why don't you guys notice this? (1)

Paperweight (865007) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690132)

This is a 10-digit code with 1 check digit. In the all-to-near future (after the singularity) since nobody will live on Earth within patches of land called countries, your nationality is arbitrary. BUT obviously, since everyone will choose Japanese by default, they'll run out of unique ID space at only ten billion people! This will result in a universal catastrophic genocide as everyone gets bumped off the bottom of the ID space to make room for the millions and millions of newcomers spawned in the singular cyberspace!

Borrow your knife for a sec, Yoshi? (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690146)

Perhaps the Japanese have a little more faith in their government. Of course, the fact that a bureaucrat caught selling data, cheating or making a mess of things is likely to commit suicide in some spectacularly messy fashion might have something to do with this.

When government officials in the US are caught lying, cheating and stealing, they simply resign and start officially working for Halliburton.

The difference is trust. (2, Interesting)

k1mgy (980756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690150)

The difference is that the Japanese government actually cares about and cares for its citizens - all of them. The proof is everywhere: national health insurance; immediate and effective disaster response; a public transportation system second-to-none; national renewable initiatives. Sure, there are fowl ups and there are crooks, but compared to the criminal maladministration in the US, I'd take Japanese government any day, and I'd gladly sign up and participate in a national ID. The difference is trust.

RFID 4 U AND ME (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22690154)

One step closer to all peoples of the world receiving mandatory RFID chip implants. Looks like Rockefellers plan is coming along nicely.

Edis Krad? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22690164)

Edis Krad writes
Waaaait a second... Edis Krad? That guy who draws pedo furry smut? o.0

DUDE! I'M A FAN! I LOVE YOUR ART!!

Goodness! What a lot of devotees! (1)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690186)

It seems many of the comments here are from people taking the position that it is. . .

A) Prudent and Good for a government to track every citizen individually.

B) Prudent and Good to be rude and abusive in the manner in which they express their support of such a system.

(Does anybody else note the disturbing irony in this?)

In any case, I have two things to say in response. . .

1) Such a system would indeed be Prudent and Good if governments could be trusted.

2) NO government can be trusted.

That is all.


-FL

this is how things go (1)

rice_burners_suck (243660) | more than 6 years ago | (#22690198)

The citizens of every country in the world are quite frankly too busy working for a living to express any concern over how their government identifies them.

It is almost a rule of thumb that governments can get away with just about anything up to a certain threshold, and that threshold is quite high. It's not until things become incredibly bad, to the point that it's nearly impossible to lead any kind of meaningful life in a country, that the citizens rise up, tear down their government, and start from scratch. The whole routine then starts over again, with an initially small government growing and slowly extending its tentacles into every facet of life, until it is once again so involved that it must be fought against once more.

It is this way because until things become that bad, the citizens of the country are so busy earning a living and dealing with the zillions of problems that bombard them every day, that they have little or no time or energy to deal with trivialities like voting, being politically involved, etc.

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