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Electronic ID cards


bhchao

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What do you think about China's plans to switch from paper identification cards to electronic identification cards? These electronic ID cards contains a microchip which stores the citizen's personal information that can be checked against databases kept by authorities.

Trial runs of the electronic cards are taking place, and most Chinese citizens should receive the new cards in 2005.

Thailand and Hong Kong are currently using the smart ID card. The US is also considering adopting the idea ever since the September 2001 attacks.

But there are many people who are opposed to this idea because they say these electronic identification cards infringe on individual privacy. Similar attempts to adopt electronic ID cards in Korea and Taiwan have failed in the past.

A "pro" of smart IDs is that it will eliminate the counterfeiting of paper identification cards often associated with white collar crimes.

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Trial runs of the electronic cards are taking place, and most Chinese citizens should receive the new cards in 2005.

Have they started large scale? If not, how are "most" of 1.3 billion people going to get their cards next year?

Quote:

they say these electronic identification cards infringe on individual privacy

How?

Two ways are most commonly talked about. The first dates even to the era of paper cards where it is claimed that simply requiring an id card is potentially a tool of government oppression. For example someone could be minding their own business or taking part in a political protest or whatever and the police will ask for their ID. This does two things: 1) even if they have their card it is a hassle and can be used as a tool by police to temporarily detain people briefly, 2) if they don't have their ID they are now guilty of what critics of ID cards would consider a meaningless crime.

The second privacy concern is more specific to our modern computer age. ID theft is growing in most countries from what I read. With an electronic card, someone stealing your card and having the right technical know how and equipment could really do some damage or find out a lot about you, depending on how much is put on that card or its assoicated database.

Last time I was in Taiwan, they were rolling out IC chip health insurance cards. They were already discovering problems whereby someone who got hold of your card could find out your medical info and there was talk that the database itself was not sufficiently secure (ultimately I think all databases are insecure, from what I read). Actually, I don't know if they've completely switched over now. Anyone know?

I saw a news story in the US about a company with a service for the elderly where they would implant a little chip (I think in the shoulder) that would have only the information the person wanted. The compnay was trying hard to stress that it was only the information the person wanted because they knew people would be scared of this sort of thing. It was meant for old people (who are more frequently in need of medical care) so that if they were unconscious the doctor could just wave an electronic wand over their shoulder and see what existing medical conditions they have or what drugs they might be allergic to.

On the surface these all seem like trivial issues, but once they're in place it's a hell of a thing to get rid of them if there are problems.

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I saw a news story in the US about a company with a service for the elderly where they would implant a little chip (I think in the shoulder) that would have only the information the person wanted.

Is this news or is it a story? It sounds kind of scary. We only do this to dogs in HK. :evil:

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Have they started large scale? If not, how are "most" of 1.3 billion people going to get their cards next year?

Sorry I was wrong on that. Trial runs are already taking place this year, while nationwide distribution of the smart cards will begin next year. About 800 million Chinese citizens should have the cards by 2006. Everyone should receive them by 2008.

Yeah it sounds too ambitious to have most citizens receive them in 2005. With such a huge population, that would not be feasibly possible.

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Is this news or is it a story? It sounds kind of scary. We only do this to dogs in HK.

If grandpa has a stroke one day and ends up in the hospital, unconscious, with the doctors not knowing what his pre-existing medical conditions are or what drugs he is allergic to, you might feel differently. It's a company, so it's just for those who want it.

Yeah, we do that for dogs, but that's just to find them.

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They were already discovering problems whereby someone who got hold of your card could find out your medical info and there was talk that the database itself was not sufficiently secure (ultimately I think all databases are insecure, from what I read).

Exactly, that is one of the discussed problems of those electronic cards in China. Since the card contains your personal identification number, birthdate, gender, driver's license number, and your eligibility to receive health benefits; an insecure computer network would leave all this information vulnerable for a would-be hacker.

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