Democrats & Liberals Archives

Your Identity for Sale

Are you worried that someone may steal your identity and then spend you into bankruptcy? No need to worry about identity theft. It will soon be possible to do it legally, by permission of the IRS. Believe it or not, that formidable organization is promulgating a new rule that will allow your tax preparer to sell the information on your tax form. Your identity is for sale - LEGALLY.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer:

"The IRS is quietly moving to loosen the once-inviolable privacy of federal income-tax returns. If it succeeds, accountants and other tax-return preparers will be able to sell information from individual returns - or even entire returns - to marketers and data brokers."

Republicans have been denigrating privacy for a long time. They say things like:"What is so important about privacy? "If you have nothing to hide why worry?" According to Justices Roberts, Thomas and Alito, there is no right to privacy. These justices want to strip citizens of their privacy with reference to sexual activity in the home; it shows up in their opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion and other non-conventional private behavior.

Now Republicans are stripping privacy protection from money information. Are you going to let them get away with it?

To Republicans, money is more important than privacy. How do you get money? By selling things. How could Republicans have so long overlooked the treasure trove of private information that can be found in tax forms? Finally, the Bush Administration breaks the dam. Sell the information, it says. This stuff is too valuable to be left untouched. What a bonanza!

Democrats are alarmed. The fundamental value of privacy is being shredded. We should have expected it. After all, Republicans have deprived citizens of their civil rights with the Patriot Act? So, how much worse can it get if they deprive all of us taxpayers of our money-information rights? Democratic Senator Barack Obama said about this:

"There is no more sensitive information than a taxpayer's return, and the IRS's proposal to allow these returns to be sold to third-party marketers and database brokers is deeply troubling."

It's more than troubling. It shows a complete disregard of American citizens as people. As long as we obey the law - and we do obey the law when we reluctantly fill out IRS forms - we should feel comfortable we would not suffer by doing so. If our tax information is sold, we WILL suffer. We can be positive that the information will be used to hurt us.

It boggles the mind that any administration, even if it's Republican, would allow income-tax information to be sold. Tell your representative and senators to stop this atrocity. You don't want to sell your identity!

Posted by Paul Siegel at March 23, 2006 6:18 PM
Comments
Comment #135575

We need biometrics.
Then you don’t need any cards or identification.
You, yourself are your ID card.
A combination of two or more metrics (e.g. iris scan, finger-print-scan, hand-scan, and other metrics) would make it damn hard to falsify.

Now, I know this will meet resistance, but it is probably going to happen, because nothing else is working.

It wouldn’t solve everything, but it would put a huge crmp in identity thieves’ style.

The way it is now, it doesn’t do a bit of good to arrest and deport illegal aliens, because there is no way to keep them from coming back.

Take this example for instance:
Jorge Hernandez, a.k.a. Jorge Soto, who killed Min Soon Chang, an 18-year-old college freshman, in a terrible head-on wreck while Hernandez was driving drunk. He had been arrested 3 previous times for drunk driving in 3 other states, and he had been deported to Mexico 17 times!

Biometrics could help put an end to this.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 23, 2006 7:08 PM
Comment #135586

///
Is this the reason that telefile was eliminated this year? I used to like that, it was so easy. I filed online, which was time consuming, since you have to file your own W2s. You are also giving your info to an internet company, instead of directly to the IRS. It looks like a bad idea, all around.
///

Posted by: ohrealy at March 23, 2006 7:50 PM
Comment #135590

I follow my credit card spending closely. I monitor it online. The only way a crook can damage me is if he does it quickly. I realize I could easily be damaged, but I’m prepared for the most part.

@d.a.n.
I can’t say I’m with you on that biometrics idea.

Posted by: bryan at March 23, 2006 8:54 PM
Comment #135593

bryan,
Yes, I monitor my accounts too.
I hate paying for the service, but
it’s the only way I know of to stay on top of it.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 23, 2006 9:23 PM
Comment #135594

Also, even if you detect it soon, the damage can be substantial, and adversely affect you for years to come.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 23, 2006 9:25 PM
Comment #135597

d.a.n, biometrics is hardly a feasible plan… However, if you manage to push it through be sure to tell me so I can get a heads-up on stocks to buy :)

Paul, your post failed to mention that written consent is required for this to take effect. In other words, it is still one’s choice whether or not you sell your tax-return information.

Posted by: Zeek at March 23, 2006 9:38 PM
Comment #135611
We need biometrics. Then you don’t need any cards or identification. You, yourself are your ID card. A combination of two or more metrics (e.g. iris scan, finger-print-scan, hand-scan, and other metrics) would make it damn hard to falsify.

On this point I’m going to make a personal plea to everyone reading. If we move to the biometric surveillance society, I feel that the capacity of our society to respect individual dignity will be completely dissolved. We’re not somebody’s property to be tracked, we’re human beings. I’m begging people to recognize that we have personal lives apart from our public ones, and we need a degree of anonymity for our own sanity and sense of self. d.a.n., I agree with you when you say we need to vote out irresponsible incumbents, but we also need to learn to respect ourselves and draw a line between our public and our personal, private lives.

Posted by: Amani at March 24, 2006 2:46 AM
Comment #135618

Money.

Our government has made it easy to sell us out but hasn’t done much to protect us from identity theft.
The horror stories of identity theft….
When ‘We the People’ are victimized by identity theft we should be issued new accounts and given new numbers within a week. There should be no damage from the theft that follows us. Our financial lives should be made to look like the theft never happened.

Posted by: dawn at March 24, 2006 7:48 AM
Comment #135624

Once again the neolibs try to lie and make something different that what it actually is. Truth to the neolibs is a fleeting idea. The design is to make the information safer. If you can’t understand this then there is no hope for you. Why is it you neolibs have to mischaracterize everything and place it in some context that is false?

Here

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today issued proposed guidance on the disclosure or use of tax return information by tax return preparers. A key principle underlying the proposed guidance is that tax return preparers may not disclose or use tax return information for purposes other than tax return preparation without the knowing, informed and voluntary consent of the taxpayer.

The pre-existing regulations under Internal Revenue Code section 7216 were drafted in the early 1970s, prior to the advent of many of the business practices and technology uses that define the electronic preparation and transmission of tax returns by preparers.

The proposed regulations broaden the definitions of tax return preparer and tax return information, revise the manner and form of obtaining taxpayer consent to use or disclose tax return information and add a requirement to obtain taxpayer consent before preparers send tax return information offshore.

“Safeguarding of tax return information is critical,” said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. “It’;s vital we update the preparation rules for the 21st century. Americans ought to know when their tax returns are being outsourced and prepared abroad. In particular, I want to thank Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey and others for drawing our attention to this important issue.”

The new regulations also take into account the presence and wide-spread use of computers in tax preparation. If a tax return preparer hires contractors who will need access to tax return information to repair computers or data files, the tax return preparer must notify those contractors that they will also be subject to restrictions on their use or disclosure of tax return information

Posted by: nunya at March 24, 2006 8:28 AM
Comment #135631

“revise the manner and form of obtaining taxpayer consent to use or disclose tax return information”

I bet part of Bush’s evil plan is to implement new tax forms that use the “butterfly” layout.
That way, people won’t know what they are really doing and all the money from this will go straight into a Bush Swiss account.

Geez, now dumb ole Bush and the evil Republicans are responsible for creating telemarketers and identity theft.
Whats next?

Posted by: kctim at March 24, 2006 10:12 AM
Comment #135634

Paul,

How can you continue to read and interpret so myopically on this and any topic? Read the WHOLE article, DO the research BEFORE you reach an opinion, not the other way around…

Oops…I forgot, this is the Bush Administration, it HAS to be wrong…

Posted by: Cliff at March 24, 2006 10:39 AM
Comment #135639

“Another way for Republicans to fleece the public”? How about this idea…A U.S. Senator speaking said, “Gentlemen, let me tax your memories”, and Ted Kennedy was heard to murmur…”Gee, why didn’t I think of that?”

Posted by: Jim Martin at March 24, 2006 11:13 AM
Comment #135653

I am with the conservative justices on the USSC regarding privacy.

That being said, I think our liberal friends are exaggerating given some of the documentation supplied above and they are being alarmist. Also our President has no legal power to enact taxes or tax laws. Congress does that.

Our government hasn’t sold us out. We sell ourselves out by electing officials who may want to sell us out. You want a change? You need to change it otherwise it will never change. Will the Dems do any better? In my opinion, it is highly unlikely. Don’t kid yourselves. The Dems are just as good as playing the games as the Repubs.

Posted by: ILIndCon at March 24, 2006 12:31 PM
Comment #135654

Like I’ve always said, the only difference between Democrats and Republicans is two (2) letters.

Posted by: Bill M. at March 24, 2006 12:39 PM
Comment #135660
Zeek wrote: d.a.n, biometrics is hardly a feasible plan… However, if you manage to push it through be sure to tell me so I can get a heads-up on stocks to buy.

Zeek,
Biometics is already, inevitably on its way. Watch and see. It is already being used for security, time-cards, etc. Airports are using Iris-scanners. The uses will continue to expand at a rapid rate. Some day, none of us will carry a drivers’ license, passport, or ID of any kind. We will be, ourselves, our ID card.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 24, 2006 1:12 PM
Comment #135662

The reason biometrics it will most likely come about (eventually) is because it simply makes sense.

No other form of ID is reliable. Biometrics is the most difficult to fool, for many obvious reasons. Especially when IDentification includes two or more biometrics (such as Iris-Scan, finger-print, hand-geometry scan, facial-geometry, etc.). And the cost is not that high either. Thus, the only serious weakness is the same weakness that already exists within many existing systems: someone on the inside, with adequate knowledge, and security clearance, would be able to abuse the system. That could happen now though too, with your online banking, checking, stock-trading, etc. However, biometrics would make those crimes more difficult to get away with too. So, the advantages are enormous. The savings in reduces fraud would save many billions per year.

The fact is, biometrics offers many positives, and few negatives. The largest obstruction so far is cost (which is falling fast) are the big-brother-is-watching-you nutters. But, eventually, most will see the logic of it, when they see that their non-participation puts them at risk, and hinders their daily activities.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 24, 2006 1:26 PM
Comment #135669

I think this all comes down to who wrote the regulation.
If the IRS wrote it with the intent of addressing universal concerns with e-filings, then probably OK;
If the IRS wrote it with the intent of addressing business concerns with e-filings and with the possible expansion of telemarketing, then it needs a lot of critical review;
If industry wrote it with the intent of addressing business interests with regards to the use of electronic filings with the possible expansion of telemarketing, then it’s probably a very bad idea and should be discarded.

Posted by: Dave at March 24, 2006 1:48 PM
Comment #135672

I agree with everything Dave said….props to dave

Posted by: Tom L at March 24, 2006 2:02 PM
Comment #135677

Being a member of THE BIG BROTHER NUTTERS, I wonder how the SPYMETRICS thing will make it so much easier for CORPORATIONS, they rule, it’s just a matter of time till everyone gets that right. Reform the way Canidates are elected, take the money away, level the playing field. The trick will be how to sneak real people into politics. Getting rid of those Corporate Robots wont be easy.

Posted by: Patricia Littlejohn at March 24, 2006 2:23 PM
Comment #135686

If we move to the biometric surveillance society, I feel that the capacity of our society to respect individual dignity will be completely dissolved.
Posted by: Amani at March 24, 2006 02:46 AM

Absof*ckinglutely!
People will learn how to fake that as well. I have seen Alias, I know what will happen. Fingerprints, Retina scans, people with money will figure out how to get around anything. Greed is good. Greed works. Shut up, G.G., we were talking about J.J.Abrams here.

Posted by: ohrealy at March 24, 2006 3:20 PM
Comment #135708
Patricia Littlejohn wrote: … Reform the way Canidates are elected, take the money away, level the playing field. The trick will be how to sneak real people into politics. Getting rid of those Corporate Robots wont be easy.

Yes. Voters can do that anytime they have a mind to. Voters are supposed to vote out irresponsible incumbents, and vote in more responsible incumbents. Currently, that may be most (if not all) incumbents. Just vote ‘em out. Or, keep learning the hard way.

Amani, ohreally, Patricia Littlejohn,

The purpose of biometrics is to correctly identify people, so they are unable to steal others’ identities, spend other people’s money fraudulently, etc.

How does biometrics hurt anyone? How is it worse than a drivers’ license? How is it worse than a passport? Both of those things can be lost or falsified. A lot is already known about you by many institutions (e.g. your bank, your employer, the government, etc.). Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S. because it is so easy. But, it would not be so easy to fake an Iris-scan, finger-print, hand-print-scan, etc. Nothing is perfect, but biometrics could solve much of the identity theft problems, and help protect you better. The point is, don’t you want the merchant charging purchases to your credit card to be sure it is you, and not someone who stole your identity?

But, don’t get me wrong. People should never be forced to provide biometrics if the don’t want to. It should be voluntary. Those that don’t want to provide biometrics could continue to provide ID cards, etc. (as it is now). But, I believe, in time, they will see that they are at more risk of being a victim of identity theft with easily falsified identity methods.

That is probably how it will begin. Banks will start using biometrics for customers that want it, to provide more protection, and reduce the chances of identity theft (which is wide spread and growing fast). Merchants will start linking into the system, without even needed to know a customer’s name. Governments will start using it to track criminals (much like finger-prints are already used now).

There’s a good chance it’s coming whether we like it or not.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 24, 2006 5:41 PM
Comment #135711
“There is no more sensitive information than a taxpayer’s return, and the IRS’s proposal to allow these returns to be sold to third-party marketers and database brokers is deeply troubling.” It’s more than troubling. It shows a complete disregard of American citizens as people. As long as we obey the law - and we do obey the law when we reluctantly fill out IRS forms - we should feel comfortable we would not suffer by doing so. If our tax information is sold, we WILL suffer. We can be positive that the information will be used to hurt us.

Letting the information out isn’t right.
Yes, it will be used.
Biometrics could make it much more difficult.

I’m well aware that there is a fear from civil liberty groups that using biometrics with information stored in databases that can be accessed anywhere in the country may lead to abuses in personal freedom and privacy. Reasons for resistance is similar to that against a National ID system.

But, that is really a separate issue.
If government abuses their power, all voters have to do is vote them all out, always, until they behave. That’s all.

And, it is high time we do just that, because the culture of corruption we are seeing now will only get worse.

Voters, with nothing more than their vote, can change it, and peacefully force government to be responsible and accountable.

If not, then it is understandable why some politicians have such a disdain for voters. Especially when all they have to do is cast a ballot to remove irresponsible incumbents, but instead, re-elect the very persons that use and abuse them.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 24, 2006 5:56 PM
Comment #135718

///
If we still have a Constitution and a supreme court, I think biometrics would be considered unconstitutional under one of GWBushs least favorite amendments: The people have the right to be secure in their persons etc., against unwarranted searches, etc.
///

Posted by: ohrealy at March 24, 2006 7:02 PM
Comment #135727

You guys got to understand. Its not the republicians or the democrats that cause this problem its THE LIBERAL SOCIALISTS. Its the cradle to the grave saviors who want the government to protect them from everything at any cost, who support and bow to the IRS. Wimps who cannot take care of themselves because they have been taught in school that its unimportant to win because that may cause another participant pain. When these prols get out into the real world they find the only people in pain are themselves. Why? Because they are products of the feminest weirdos who have succeded in bringing men down to the level of “women”. When in a quandry as to weather they were fired because they didn’t have the balls to do the job or because they didn”t have the proper faggot attitude they can only turn to the all powerful government for redress. The government that is supported by the fewer by the day productive people who are stupid enough to belive their taxes are going for the betterment of the country. Its a shame that most of the drones that read this post will degrade it and belive that Im a radical, when in reality I am simply a product of the 50’s when people were expected to take care of themselves. I probably wont be around to see the complete destruction of what was a wonderful country by a bunch of no account cry babies but somehow I feel thats ok.

Posted by: commanderjc at March 24, 2006 7:25 PM
Comment #135730

d.a.n

“It is already being used for security, time-cards, etc. Airports are using Iris-scanners. The uses will continue to expand at a rapid rate. Some day, none of us will carry a drivers’ license, passport, or ID of any kind. We will be, ourselves, our ID card.”

I am not saying that it will never be a viable solution. Only that it will take a while before there are enough suppliers for such ID to be economically viable. As such, we can hardly wait around in the mean time and so a more immediate solution is needed.

Posted by: Zeek at March 24, 2006 7:34 PM
Comment #135753

Here’s a head-trip thought; If your tax preparer can sell your info and you are forced for the most part to do your taxes yourself and in doing so it raises the stats on there being a mistake in your filing (such as I always have ten dependents annually—goldfish ya’ know). And ofcourse mistakes can be interpreted a myriad of ways from tax fraud to a whole host of other things. Um would the IRS not benefit from such an incursion or error?

If the rich aren’t paying their share anymore (federally) and small business and wage employers can pretty much do their own taxes—The ones who get dicked the hardest are the upper middle to wealthy on this one as they are the targets.

WHOA now republicans are steaming I’m assuming! I love seeing a cannon backfire and take off somebody’s legs and them’s be upper middle class and wealthy legs predominantly that are having their personal info sold outright. Even with private accountants they have this right to do this, correct? All professional tax preparers essentially.

Posted by: Freud was right at March 24, 2006 10:58 PM
Comment #135755

D.A.N.,

I really don’t want anymore incursion into my own private matters and especially monetary ones. Not that I have anything to hide particularly but when it comes down to it the majority of Americans will probably be set against the “scanning”. People would probably have to own that equipment and it quite expensive for small business and private use.

But…

What about a digital code that is printed on your hand that Christians can be alarmist about for decades to come—there’s a bang-up of an idea! They move to the woods and we live in a mindless privacyless distopia of our own making under a one world ruler whom we all praise—as to be played by Morgan Freeman. That would be ideal yeah! “Big brother keeps you safe” messages could be broadcast daily through mindchips in our heads also available in smell-ovision. Hey are those cookies—no, that’s our fearless leader telling us we’re safe!

Posted by: Freud was Right at March 24, 2006 11:21 PM
Comment #135771

commanderjc,
I think you ought to lighten up on the caffeine, pal.

Posted by: ElliottBay at March 25, 2006 1:23 AM
Comment #135782
How does biometrics hurt anyone? How is it worse than a drivers’ license? How is it worse than a passport? Both of those things can be lost or falsified. A lot is already known about you by many institutions (e.g. your bank, your employer, the government, etc.).

The difference is, when you’re walking down the street you can choose whether or not you want to divulge your identity to faceless strangers. Do you not realize that if this technology becomes accepted it will be everywhere? Think of the money and the power to be had! You better bet it will be adopted by civic governments, businesses, and institutions for more than just personal financial security. As you go about your affairs you will be constantly scanned, without your permission, by who knows whom: stopped at intersections, reading at the library, shopping at the mall. Just imagine, for example the boon for business. Invaluable data compilations from their customers- your credit history, income, buying habits- the very details of your personal life- available with such ease to anyone and everyone who scans you as you pass, via a national biometric database. That is identity rape, d.a.n., and an insult to human dignity- like having to wear your driver’s license around your neck or having a number tattooed to your forehead. It’s bad bad bad, and if we accept biometric I.D.’s for our financial security, with so much money on the line you can bet that it won’t be long before they are everywhere else in our lives as well. You want to see how far greed can go in hollowing out the human spirit? Go that way.

Posted by: Amani at March 25, 2006 4:04 AM
Comment #135805
D.A.N., I really don’t want anymore incursion into my own private matters and especially monetary ones. Not that I have anything to hide particularly but when it comes down to it the majority of Americans will probably be set against the “scanning”.

And that is fine. Nobody should be force to participate or provide biometrics.

But, I would participate, because it would make it damn hard for identity thieves to plunder my financial accounts, and ruin my good name.

Regarding the digital code that is printed on your hand … I’m assuming your joking? That, like any IDentification system (other than biometrics), is too easy to falsify. Two or more biometrics, such as Iris-scan, finger-prints, hand-geometry-prints, voice-prints, etc., is extremely difficult to falsify. But, as I said, nobody should be forced to participate. But, watch…it is coming. Merchants in Texas are already taking finger-prints for people writing checks. Employers are using Iris-scanners, finger-print-scanners, hand-print-scanners, voice-print-scanners, etc.

Zeek,
The cost is falling fast. A finger-print scanner is less than $100. Where I work, they have hand-print scanners. It’s coming, whether we like it or not. I personally think it can be a good thing.

But, I understand the potential abuses.
But, those potential abuses already exist.
Identities are already being stolen.
Fraud is already rampant.
Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America.

By the way, an Iris-scan is more reliable than DNA. The iris is different even for identical twins. Not so for their DNA. Also, DNA analysis is too expensive (at the moment). Iris scanners are already in use, and not that expensive.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 25, 2006 10:19 AM
Comment #135806

Zeek,
If you want to make investments in biometrics, now is the time. It’s growing fast.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 25, 2006 10:21 AM
Comment #135867

d.a.n, I realize this is off track, but you’re wrong as far as the DNA analysis goes. Identical twins would not have the same DNA unless they were cloned. I guess this is a vague possibility, but I’ll wager that I don’t need to worry about having my identity stolen by a clone duplicate any time soon.

Of course, you’re right in that it is even less economically viable to check DNA than an iris.

But I have an interesting side question: does this apply to people who don’t have eyes?

Posted by: Zeek at March 25, 2006 3:52 PM
Comment #135871

I agree, let’s let a certainty poverty level receive no tax and everyone else gets a flat tax. It wipes out the IRS almost altogether.

How’s that sound Paul?

Posted by: Steve Chaw at March 25, 2006 6:04 PM
Comment #135944
Zeek wrote: d.a.n, I realize this is off track, but you’re wrong as far as the DNA analysis goes. Identical twins would not have the same DNA unless they were cloned.

Zeek,
Are you certain about that (i.e. identical twins)?
I have found several sources regarding DNA of identical twins that say it is identical:


(1) When one egg is fertilized by one sperm cell, and then divides and separates, two identical cells will result. These cells will then develop into identical twins. The DNA profiles for identical twins will be identical. Additionally, the physical attributes of identical twins will seem similar for traits such as hair color, hair texture, eye color, height, and weight. They must also be of the same sex.

(2) Identical twins occur when a single egg is fertilized with a single sperm and very early during development the egg splits into two separate eggs. These two eggs contain the exact same genetic potential.
(3) In contrast, identical (monozygotic) twins occur when a single fertilized egg splits after conception into two identical halves, each of which develops separately. Each identical twin will have exactly the same DNA, a fact that can be established through DNA testing.

But, DNA is less reliable (at this time) for other reasons too. Yes, as you acknowledged, DNA testing is certainly more costly than Iris-Scanning.

I’m not a DNA expert, but according to Bromba (2004), the accuracy of DNA is considered as lower than the one of the Iris or Retina recognition. Moreover, the high possibility of DNA sample contamination and degradation also impacts the accuracy of the DNA method.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 26, 2006 11:09 AM
Comment #135945

Zeek,

Steve Chaw,
Tax Reform.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 26, 2006 11:22 AM
Comment #135948

I’m just a simple man trying to survivie in a complex world and many of these postings went right over my head. I don’t have a credit card and I don’t buy anything off the Internet. I support my local economy and make my purchases in cash. It’s not as sexy as the Internet or flashing a wallet full of gold credit cards I agree, but then I don’t have to lay awake at night worrying that somebody is out there pretending to be me.

Posted by: Bill M. at March 26, 2006 11:57 AM
Comment #135961

Bill M.

You’d better start worrying about it.
You may not have credit cards, but someone pretending to be you may have plenty.

You should review your credit report as often as possible to catch it before it destroys your good name.

Bad credit can keep you from getting a job, security clearance, a home loan, a car loan, etc. It is the fasting growing crime in America. So, do yourself a favor, and monitor your credit report (it is free).

Do you get credit card offers in the mail?
That’s where it often starts.
My wife has already been victimized twice (for many thousands of dollars).

Posted by: d.a.n at March 26, 2006 1:59 PM
Comment #135984

d.a.n.

I agree with your concerns and maybe I should have explained further, as I was only focusing on credit cards. I do check my credit report a minimum of twice a year. I have also signed up for a service with a local credit bureau that will automatically notify me of any activity on my credit report. I also guard my social security number like my life depended on it, which, in a way, it does. I also am careful about who gets my driver’s license number. Some businesses, like Radio Shack, always ask for your telephone number when making a purchase. If they insist, I take my business elsewhere. My wife uses a checking account and our local bank is very good about contacting her when a suspicious expenditure shows up, as they have done on at least three occasions. But you’re right. We have to be vigilant and protective of personal information that could be used to harm us. And that’s a personal responsiblity, not a government function.

Posted by: Bill M. at March 26, 2006 4:08 PM
Comment #135989

Bill M.
That’s good. You’re right that it is not the job of government to make these things secure.
But, it is government’s job to enforce the laws to prosecute the identity thieves.

Bill,
Just curious about your opinion about this…
Do you think your biometrics would make your life better or worse?

I’ve asked this question many times, and some just say the data will be abused, and things will be worse, but few can say how it could be worse than it is now. After all, banks, government, etc. already have lots of data about us. So, I don’t see much change there. Corporations and marketing organizations already have a lot of data about us. So that would not change. Unscrupulous insiders that can access and manipulate the information already exists. So that won’t change much. Without biometrics, or some way to uniquely identify peoples’ true identiy, is how that information is being abused now. Nothing is perfect and never is, but that doesn’t justifies doing nothing to improve. So, the argument “they’ll figure a way around it” isn’t really a valid argument.

But, with biometrics the largest and fastest growing crime in American (identity theft) would be severely curtailed, because two or more biometrics would make it very hard to falsify. To beat it would require it to most likely be an inside job. And, the possibility of an inside job already exists. So, that’s not really an issue either.

So, I’ve yet to hear a good argument against biometrics….aside from cost, which is falling very fast. A finger-print scanner is now about $90.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 26, 2006 5:24 PM
Comment #136130

Here’s a few reasons why I oppose biometrics.

Say if someone steals your credit card. What then? You can deactivate it and simply get a new one. A credit card is temporary. Now what if someone stole your biometric data? That’s not a piece of plastic that can be changed. They now know something about you, biologically, that always will be there. Since you always have the same iris (for now at least), they can always use it no matter what.

I know you’ll say that biometrics is infallible, but I doubt it. I’m sure a professional can forge the biometric data ( fingerprints on a membrane or fake finger) and as technology improves it will be easier. Remember also the data is changed into a digital code of 0s and 1s and sent for validation. If a thief couldn’t create a fake body part he could still somehow use the data if he obtained it.

Also, now thieves value a part of your body and not something in your wallet. I read about a guy who had his car stolen. However, his car didn’t use a key it used a fingerprint to start(I think this was in Singapore not the US). The result of this is that his assailants cut off his finger so they could use his car.

In addition to how biometric data can be forged and stolen, I personally wouldn’t want such a private piece of information stored in a gov’t or corporate database. The government already no longer respects privacy and civil liberties, so this would be a nightmare in a power-hungry state. I’d much rather just have a card and/or a long password for it, one that could be replaced.

Posted by: john at March 27, 2006 3:54 PM
Comment #136227
Say if someone steals your credit card. What then? You can deactivate it and simply get a new one. A credit card is temporary.
Sorry, but it’s not that simple. First of all, credit cards are only one of the instruments used by identity thieves. They can take out loans, and get new credit cards, etc. that you don’t even know about. By the time you discover it, you will have to spend a lot of money and time undoing the damage.

With biometrics, all of that would be extremely difficult.

Now what if someone stole your biometric data? That’s not a piece of plastic that can be changed.
First of all, that can already happen now, and it can be devastating. With biometrics, it can be resolved because only you can match the data. Thus, stolen biometrics data won’t be much good to the thief without your eyeballs, fingerprints, hand-prints, voice-prints, etc. The best system would use two or more biometrics.
If a thief couldn’t create a fake body part he could still somehow use the data if he obtained it.
Maybe. But not easily. An iris or retina is awfully hard to fake. Security equipment would be tamperproof.
I know you’ll say that biometrics is infallible,…
Nothing is perfect. But, some things are better.
In addition to how biometric data can be forged and stolen, I personally wouldn’t want such a private piece of information stored in a gov’t or corporate database.
And, you should not be forced to do so. However, in time, when you see how it makes you more secure, you may reconsider.
I’d much rather just have a card and/or a long password for it, one that could be replaced.
Hmmmmm. But, then a criminal may torture you for your password? So, be sure you don’t forget it.


Posted by: d.a.n at March 27, 2006 10:21 PM
Comment #171074

The main thing here is by the time you discover. I have a number of cards and I don’t watch them day and night. And it’s only a couple of minutes to get money from the merchant machine. Yes there are cameras everywhere. But he can go to another country or just change his appearance. That’s not so simple.

Posted by: Kelly at July 27, 2006 1:08 PM
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