Monday, June 05, 2006

ID theft and Big Brother

It was revealed that up to 50,000 active members of the US Navy and National Guard had their ID's stolen when a lap top with those records was stolen from an employee of the Veteran's Affairs department of the US government. Taken were the names, birthdates and Social Security numbers of these servicemen and women on active duty.

Now the government's role in identity theft can't be ignored. And I don't mean just the regular loss of such information from various government agencies. With just the name and the birthdate of a person there is some damage one can do but not nearly as much as with a social security number as well. When this program was started it was supposed to help the old survive. It was never meant as a surrogate national ID for all Americans citizens. It doesn't do its intended job very well but the unintended job it does quite well and that's the problem. It used to be that Social Security cards were given out stamped with the words "not to be used for identification purposes" boldly on the front of it. Now the US feds mandate its use over and over.

Since Social Security was put into place the US government has become more oppressive and spends more and more time spying on its own citizens. To do that easier it needed a national ID. But such measures, through the front door, would be opposed quite strenuously. So instead the bureaucrats and politicians smuggled it in through the back door. More and more the government has forced individuals to use the the card number precisely as an ID number. Now when you rent an apartment you provide the ID number. It used to be that one could open a bank account without a SS# but George Bush ended that. Again the SS# is acting as a national ID number.

All of this personal information starts getting consolidated into records. But that means that if the records end up in the wrong place (as if government isn't already the wrong place) they can be used to wipe an American out financially.

Oppressive and unconstitutional it may be but that just gets politicians salivating for more. And now, as we have seen in previous posts on this site, the US government is trying to force European airlines to turn over the names, ID numbers and credit card numbers of passangers on their flights. Individuals merely changing airlines in the US are being forced to go through Customs, though they have no intent of entering the US, just so the US can collect their data and fingerprints! The United States government is not happy in creating a situation where Idenity Theft is common for Americans but will inflict it on the rest of the world as well. Identity Theft to the government is the collateral damage that gets inflicted by Big Brother's war on privacy.

Government is acting as a collecting point. But in reality they are forcing the collection and transmissions of this information through hundreds of thousands of additional hands and having that information held in an uncountable number of places along the way. The US government is putting the ID of every person on the planet at risk -- at least if you make the mistake of traveling to the United States. Identity theft is a major issue in the US. It is a major issue because the US government has helped force a national ID, in the form of the SS#, on everyone and then mandated that it be used in place after place. As the information is collected and transmitted things go wrong.

Sometimes it is copied and sold, sometimes it is stolen, often with government ineptness it is simply lost. But the requirements that the government has forced on Americans has made the theft of identity an easier and easier crime to commit. And new measures will drag others into this net as well. Americans need to start refusing in giving their SS# out everytime they are asked for it. And they need to abolish the Patriot Act and other such intrusive measures. It wouldn't hurt if they got rid of Social Security either! Europeans, and others, can do their best from being dragged into this disaster by refusing to travel to the US. Also remember that holding assets in the US may subject you to this system. Already all foreign banks can have their US assets seized for numerous excuses. These are threats used to force the banks to turn over personal information on their clients. One way to avoid this is for banks to hold no assets in the US. Unfortunately the US government has made investing in America a bad idea.