Law School Discussion

Law Students => Current Law Students => Topic started by: ecce on December 26, 2005, 04:03:14 AM

Title: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: ecce on December 26, 2005, 04:03:14 AM
SSNs should not be used the way they are currently used.

Refuse to provide it whenever you can -- e.g., strange as it may seem, you can be hired without giving your SSN to your employer.

Yet, SSNs are not unique identifiers as they say. After all, you can simply make up Social Security numbers randomly, and create a valid number not assigned to anyone. On the other hand you can make up a SSN that can be valid, while being probably been assigned to another person.
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: voulez vous on December 26, 2005, 07:31:24 PM
In February 2003, the New York Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton announced that she would support a national identification card for US citizens claiming that she would support it as part of an overall effort to improve national security.

"Clearly, we have to make some tough decisions as a country," Clinton warned. "And one of them ought to be coming up with a much better entry and exit system so that if we're going to let people in for the work that otherwise would not be done, let's have a system that keeps track of them."
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: voulez vous on December 26, 2005, 07:34:12 PM
Many different national identification schemes (NIDS) have been proposed. A key feature in all of them is that people in a particular country would be required, or at least expected, to present an officially issued ID card in order to obtain particular services or pass security checkpoints. Traditionally, NIDS have been used or proposed for handling routine administrative transactions between government agencies and citizens, with benefits claimed in the areas of convenience, cost savings or fraud reduction. NIDS could combine the functions of a driver's license, social security registration, immigration documents, and other government-issued identification. Until recently, NIDS have not been suggested as a way to protect against terrorist attacks, partly because of inherent difficulties in achieving the required levels of security. Suddenly, in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, preventing terrorism is being touted as a possible use of NIDS.

NIDS can either be mandatory or voluntary. In a mandatory scheme, everyone is required to carry and present a card when asked; not doing so is an offense. In a voluntary scheme, those who do not have a card will be subjected to additional background checks while those with a card can more easily obtain services or pass security checkpoints. There are at least two distinct processes in a functioning NIDS.

First is a one-time registration process in which everyone is required to present themselves to the authorities along with their existing identification documentation, such as birth certificate or citizenship papers. If the authorities believe the documentation is valid, they create an individually identified entry in a database and issue the person a card which, in most systems, would be linked to this entry. In recently proposed schemes, this would be a "smart" card containing a micro-chip that stores and accesses information and possibly biometric data about the person, such as finger prints or retina scans. The second process is authentication. This occurs whenever the cardholder is required to show the card to verify his or her identity. A first check is made to ensure that the card actually belongs to the person presenting it. This is done by comparing the information on the card with the person, for example by visual comparison of the cardholder with the photograph on the card, or by digital comparison of a live finger scan with the finger print recorded on the card. If there is a satisfactory match, the card is used as a link to a database. A second check then determines whether there is anything on file that raises suspicion about the cardholder. If not, the person can proceed. There can also be a third process, data-matching. This occurs whenever authorities analyze and compare information in the NIDS databases to determine whether information about a person is present in more than one database, in order to augment what is known about that person.

The overwhelming majority of the September 11 hijackers were in the US legally and had no record with the FBI or other security agency. In other words, they could have obtained a legitimate ID card and the authentication checks prior to boarding the plane would have not have revealed anything that would have aroused the suspicions of authorities. A NIDS offers no security against terrorists who have no record of prior misconduct and are not worried about being identified after the attack (possibly because they will be dead).

Using biometric data such as fingerprints and retina scans can help in verifying that the card actually belongs to the cardholder. However, this is not 100% reliable. There is always a margin of variation between the original sample obtained during registration and any subsequent sample used at the point of authentication. To ensure that no one slips through by pretending to be the cardholder, the range of tolerance must be set so narrow that there will be significant numbers of people who will not appear to be legitimate cardholders when in fact they are.

More fundamentally, however, biometric identification is just one step in the overall NIDS process. The security provided by the overall system is governed by its weakest link. The issuance of a high-security ID card is based on the presentation of low-security documents. Anyone with a convincing passport or birth certificate would be able to obtain an ID card. All biometrics help to do is to make sure that the cardholder is really the person identified by the card and, if they are checked against a central database, then biometrics can ensure that a person does not hold more than one card. However, biometric data cannot ensure that the information the person presents when obtaining the card is correct. This depends widely on the specifics of the system, but no system can ever be 100% secure. While smart cards are among the most secure technologies available, virtually all existing smart card systems have been compromised. Leading security experts point out that as more and more smart cards are put into operation, more and more people know how to break them. If the card is used to check the information against a central database, then the security of this database becomes crucial. It must be accessible nationwide in order to support security checkpoints all over the country. Therefore it will have to be on some network, probably the Internet or telephone system. The security necessary to prevent people from breaking into such a sensitive networked system would be nearly impossible to achieve. For this reason, a NIDS creates security risks that would otherwise not exist. Furthermore, if high-tech security cards can be compromised, it becomes impossible to distinguish a fake card from a legitimate one. A smart card system might be more difficult to forge, but if successful, forgeries would be perfect. Last but not least, a system as complex and comprehensive as a NIDS relies on the cooperation of a thousands of people, hundreds of organizations and dozens technologies. Each of these elements introduces a specific set of vulnerabilities. Securing the entire system against attacks and abuses will be close to impossible.

NIDS would allow individuals to be easily tracked. However, knowing the identity of people will not prevent crime. If the identity of the person who will commit the next crime were known then prevention would be trivial: simply find the person and stop them from acting. However, since crime and acts of terror cannot be predicted, being able to track individuals will not increase security. A NIDS would make everyone vulnerable to the problem of incorrect data in the database. If the data on the card or in the database is incorrect, then innocent people will be victimized through no fault of their own. If other government databases are any indication, a system as large as a NIDS would contain a significant amount of incorrect data. NIDS, then, do not provide additional security against terrorism. With NIDS we compromise civil liberties without increasing security.

Given that the systemic weakness of an NIDS are somewhat hidden, such a highly visible system might well produce a false sense of security. By relying on a security measure that is inadequate, we might end up compromising our security through a NIDS. Two groups have been pushing for NIDS for a long time and are now using the war against terrorism to advance their agenda. The law enforcement community would like a tool to make it easier to identify people on routine checks and to link their databases by using the national ID card as a unique identifier. This has little do with the fight against terrorism but a lot with expansion of police powers. Smart-card identification schemes have also been promoted by large information technology vendors. For them, a multi-billion system would be a great business opportunity. The most prominent promoters of the current wave of NIDS in the US have been Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems, and Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle. Both have been peddling their company's products as the basis for the NIDS. While they offered their products for free, the ensuing service contracts would make their "gifts" highly profitable. Both of these groups stand to benefit from a NIDS even if it does not improve our security against terrorists. So far, failures of proposed smart card NIDS greatly exceed successful implementations.
Title: Technology
Post by: samba on December 26, 2005, 07:43:37 PM
Technology is gonna put an end to the world. People are inherently stupid: they think that just because they CAN do something, they HAVE TO actually do it.

Einstein was not stupid when he answered to some peoples' question 'What do you think about the Third World War?,' saying 'I don't know about the Third World War, but I'll tell you about the Fourth.' They asked him, 'What is it? What is it? What is it?' Einstein replied, 'When you go to wage the Fourth World War, it will be with sticks and bows and arrows. We'll be back to primitive man.' What the Third World War is going to bring about is complete devastation.
Title: NAT'L ID CARD
Post by: panda on December 26, 2005, 07:47:15 PM
They can just do that with the social security card. Every USC has one assigned already, they can just add a status to it. I can't see any problem doing it that way, your SS# is everywhere, in your driver license, your checks, etc -- it's not exactly a sacred, closely guarded information anymore.
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: grandpa on December 26, 2005, 07:50:07 PM
panda, it's not a matter of a SSN anymore, if you carefully read above on this very thread you'll see the proposed National ID Card involves a micro-chip that stores/accesses information and possibly BIOMETRIC DATA about the person, such as FINGERPRINTS or RETINA SCANS. It's horrible if it is to be implemented -- it would undoubredly create a Nazi state.
Title: Here it is a little bit more on the issue
Post by: girlfriend on December 26, 2005, 07:58:48 PM
People have always used individual traits for identification. In ancient times, the presence of scars, birthmarks and other unusual features helped minimise mistaken identify. Even today, we use techniques that have been around for centuries, such as passwords and signatures. But passwords are notoriously insecure, and signatures can be forged or ignored. Shop assistants, for example, often don't bother to compare the signature on the back of a credit card with the sample provided by the purchaser. The search is on for better ways of proving identity. As computer power has grown, so too has the idea that the automated capture, measurement and identification of distinctive physiological or behavioural characteristics could safeguard our identities and therefore our property and privacy, and could also be used to fight crime. The technologies now being developed for these purposes have come to be labelled 'biometrics', because they apply statistical methods to biological observations and phenomena. However, the discipline of biometrics is much broader than just identity verification. Biometrics plays a crucial role in agriculture, environmental and life science.

Fingering the issue
--------------------

The most well-known biometric technology of all is the fingerprint – we all know that the biggest mistake a criminal can make is to leave a fingerprint at the scene of the crime. If you look closely at the underside of your fingertips you'll see dozens of swirling lines. These are made by minute, raised 'friction ridges' on the skin; their purpose is to give your fingers better grip in the way that car or bike tyres have 'tread' to keep them from skidding on the road. You can see similar friction ridges on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. The friction ridges form several macro-patterns, the three most common of which are the arch, loop and whorl. Individual ridges also have distinctive variations, known as minutiae. These include:

(http://www.cis.rit.edu/research/thesis/bs/1999/chang/images/minutiae.jpg)

- 'ridge endings', where the ridge ends abruptly;
- 'bifurcations', where a single ridge divides into two or more ridges;
- 'enclosures', where a ridge bifurcates and then rejoins, leaving a little island in the middle;
- dots, which are short fragments of ridges of approximately the same width and length; and
- spurs, which are short offshoots from a main ridge.

(http://www.cis.rit.edu/research/thesis/bs/1999/chang/images/fp-arch.jpg)
Arch

(http://www.cis.rit.edu/research/thesis/bs/1999/chang/images/fp-loop.jpg)
Loop

(http://www.cis.rit.edu/research/thesis/bs/1999/chang/images/fp-whorl.jpg)
Whorl

The arrangement of the ridges and their minutiae on the finger is random: probability theory suggests that the chance of two fingers having exactly the same arrangement is more than a billion to one. Indeed, in a hundred years of the systematic fingerprinting of criminal suspects and more than 100 million fingerprints later, no two have ever been found to be identical. Fingerprints are fully formed in the womb and remain unchanged throughout life. In Australia, the use of fingerprinting in fighting crime was recently updated under the CrimTrac system. But it is not only the police who are excited about fingerprint biometric technologies: ideas for applying them commercially (e.g., to control access to personal computers) are coming almost as fast as you can push a button.

The difference between identification and verification

The use of biometric technologies against crime mostly involves identification; whereas verification is more common in commercial uses. The difference between the two can be shown in the following examples. Imagine an automatic teller machine (ATM) that uses a fingerprint instead of a number as a password. The machine confirms your identity by comparing your fingerprint with the 'reference' fingerprint originally encoded into the card. That’s verification. If a thief breaks into a house, he might leave behind a fingerprint. The question the police want to answer is: who does this fingerprint belong to? It can be checked against a database of criminal fingerprints; finding a match is identification. In terms of computing power, the difference between verification and identification is important: comparing the fingerprint entered by the user with the reference fingerprint (verification) is a simple task. Matching a fingerprint with all those contained in a database of thousands or even millions (identification) requires considerable computer grunt. In most commercial applications of biometrics, the aim is to verify the identity of the user.

Finger scanning

The potential applications of using fingerprints are being made possible by the development of automated finger scanning. Up until a few years ago, fingerprints were collected in the way we see in police movies: put the finger on an inkpad, then place it carefully on a sheet of paper. In the last decade or so, electronic scanners have been used to digitise the old, paper-based prints to form an electronic database. Now, technologies to scan the finger directly are developing rapidly. Optical finger-scanners, which work in a similar way to a photo scanner, have been in use for a decade or so and are starting to be replaced by other methods. One of these is called capacitive scanning: it measures the electrical charge produced by the contact of the fingertip with an array of tiny capacitors mounted onto a silicon microchip. Since the ridges will make better contact with the capacitors than the valleys, this technique generates an image of the fingerprint that can be processed in the same way as an image produced by optical scanning. Ultrasound finger-scanners are also being developed.

Once the fingerprint image has been obtained it needs to be measured. In one approach, a computer algorithm – a program designed to turn raw data into code that can be used more easily by the identification/verification software – identifies minutiae points on the scanned print and 'locates' them relative to other points on the print. It then establishes a mathematical 'template' to serve as a reference. When the same finger is scanned at a later time – perhaps when its owner wants to use an ATM – the computer software compares the template, which could conceivably be stored on a microchip in the user's card, with the newly scanned print.

Applications of finger scanning

Fingerprint verification is already being used – on a limited basis so far – to control access to personal computers, cell phones and ATMs. A quick search of the internet reveals a host of companies selling finger scanning devices and citing very low 'false rejection' rates and even lower 'false acceptance' rates. Techno-visionaries predict applications for finger scanning far wider than merely access to the laptop or ATM. They foresee a time when the right finger in the right place will unlock car doors, open briefcases, verify identity over the internet, facilitate travel across international borders and prevent voter fraud. But sceptics point to potential shortcomings. For example, fingerprinting has criminal connotations that will turn many law-abiding people away and some consumer resistance seems inevitable. Others worry that it could even provoke a wave of violent 'finger snatching', because possessing someone else’s fingerprint could be extremely lucrative.
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: girlfriend on December 26, 2005, 08:02:48 PM
The eyes have it
-----------------

Meanwhile, technology companies continue to invest research dollars in other biometric options. Iris and retina scanning seem to have considerable potential: the patterns in both these parts of the eye are unique to the individual. The retina is the innermost layer of the eyeball 'wall' and is criss-crossed by tiny blood vessels. As these vessels develop in the womb, they form a unique pattern that does not change over the individual's lifetime; retina scanning can map, code and compare these blood vessel patterns. The iris, the coloured part of the eye, contains about 260 unchangeable characteristics – compared to less than 40 in fingerprints – that can be scanned by video camera, coded by algorithms and, later, compared. The chance of an identical match with a different eye is said to be about 1 in 1078, which is a very small chance indeed. Of the two eye-scanning technologies, iris-scanning is the more likely to gain in popularity. It can be done at a distance of a metre or so – in contrast to retina-scanning, which must be done quite close-up – and is therefore likely to be more acceptable to the public.

Other biometric tools
----------------------

We all have other unique characteristics that can be measured. Examples of these other biometric options include hand geometry, typing patterns and voice recognition

Hand geometry
--------------

Since the exact shape of the hand and the relative lengths of the fingers and thumb vary between individuals, hand geometry is touted as a potentially useful biometric. The advantage of hand scanning over fingerprinting is that it is less invasive, very user-friendly and requires little computer firepower. The drawback is that hand shapes are not unique, so hand geometry biometric technology is likely to be limited to low-security applications.

Typing patterns
----------------

Another kind of biometric technology looks at behavioural characteristics. Most of us possess certain patterns of behaviour that are unique to us. Keyboard recognition technology assesses the typing style of the user. It determines dwell time (the time that each key is depressed), flight time (the time taken to move between keys), and a host of other characteristics, such as typical typing errors. An algorithm codes these patterns. When the computer is used at a later time, the software compares the user's typing pattern against the template. If the variation is above a threshold, thereby indicating that an imposter is using the computer, the software denies access to restricted material.

Other technologies are under development
-----------------------------------------

Many other biometric technologies for identity verification are under development, including voice recognition, face recognition (systems are now being developed to assist police and security agencies to identify suspects in crowds), vein measurement, chemical odour analysis, signature identification and facial thermography (the measurement of the radiant heat from a person's face). Some could be combined in multi-biometric systems, so that the limitations of any single system can be compensated by the presence of a second or third system.

(http://www.automa.com.au/images/faceplusdots.jpg)
Face Recognition

Throughout the nation and the world, the debate on the privacy implications of face recognition and other surveillance technologies is heating up. In January 2001, the city of Tampa, Florida used the technology to scan the faces of people in crowds at the Super Bowl, comparing them with images in a database of digital mug shots. Privacy International subsequently gave the 2001 Big Brother Award for "Worst Public Official" to the City of Tampa for spying on Super Bowl attendees. Tampa then installed cameras equipped with face recognition technology in their Ybor City nightlife district, where they have encountered opposition from people wearing masks and making obscene gestures at the cameras. In late August 2001, a member of the Jacksonville, Florida City Council proposed legislation to keep the technology out of Jacksonville.

The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services gave a $150,000 grant to the city of Virginia Beach in July 2001, to help the city obtain face recognition cameras to look for criminal suspects and missing children. Although officials had initially expressed mixed feelings about the technology, the city council voted on November 13 to install the software at the oceanfront. To fully fund the system, the city must pay an additional $50,000.

In the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S., privacy advocates, citizen groups, political leaders, and the manufacturers of the technology itself are debating whether these technologies should be more widely used, and if so, how they should be regulated to protect the privacy of the public. Some airports are considering installing face recognition cameras as a security measure. However, T.F. Green International Airport in Providence, Rhode Island, one of the first airports to consider it, decided in January 2002 that they would not install it after all, citing the possibility of false matches and other technological shortcomings of facial recognition systems. Read more here,

http://www.howstuffworks.com/facial-recognition.htm/printable


Privacy issues
---------------

Biometrics-based identification and verification systems must deal with a host of privacy issues if they are to gain widespread acceptance. For some, the prospect of submitting body parts for detailed examination is enough to make them break out in a sweat, while amputees or the blind may not find certain biometric systems to be particularly user-friendly. Meanwhile, some people worry that biometric data given for an innocent purpose, such as opening a bank account, will be used for other, more sinister purposes by governments or corporations. Another concern is the potential 'hijacking' of biometric data – if transmitted over the internet, for example – by criminals who would then use it to defraud individuals and institutions. Such arguments must be weighed against the fact that the aim of most biometric systems is to increase privacy by requiring a more rigorous proof of identity than has been necessary in the past. If the system is robust enough, criminals will find that beating it is a difficult task. Nevertheless, the technologies present civil libertarians with many issues that must eventually be addressed.
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: jimmyjohn on December 26, 2005, 11:12:48 PM
Would you godd**mned dimented weirdos stop posting diagrams on this website?  That would be great, thanks.
Title: Biometrics Overview
Post by: daverickert on December 27, 2005, 01:10:10 AM
Imagine you're James Bond, and you have to get into a secret laboratory to disarm a deadly biological weapon and save the world. But first, you have to get past the security system. It requires more than just a key or a password -- you need to have the villain's irises, his voice and the shape of his hand to get inside.
You might also encounter this scenario, minus the deadly biological weapon, during an average day on the job. Airports, hospitals, hotels, grocery stores and even Disney theme parks increasingly use biometrics -- technology that identifies you based on your physical or behavioral traits -- for added security.

(http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/biometric-7.jpg)

In this article, you'll learn about biometric systems that use handwriting, hand geometry, voiceprints, iris structure and vein structure. You'll also learn why more businesses and governments use the technology and whether Q's fake contact lenses, recorded voice and silicone hand could really get James Bond into the lab (and let him save the world).

Biometrics Overview
--------------------

You take basic security precautions every day -- you use a key to get into your house and log on to your computer with a username and password. You've probably also experienced the panic that comes with misplaced keys and forgotten passwords. It isn't just that you can't get what you need -- if you lose your keys or jot your password on a piece of paper, someone else can find them and use them as though they were you.

Instead of using something you have (like a key) or something you know (like a password), biometrics uses who you are to identify you. Biometrics can use physical characteristics, like your face, fingerprints, irises or veins, or behavioral characteristics like your voice, handwriting or typing rhythm. Unlike keys and passwords, your personal traits are extremely difficult to lose or forget. They can also be very difficult to copy. For this reason, many people consider them to be safer and more secure than keys or passwords.

(http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/biometric-2.jpg)
Biometrics uses unique features, like the iris of your eye, to identify you.

Biometric systems can seem complicated, but they all use the same three steps:

- Enrollment: The first time you use a biometric system, it records basic information about you, like your name or an identification number. It then captures an image or recording of your specific trait.
- Storage: Contrary to what you may see in movies, most systems don't store the complete image or recording. They instead analyze your trait and translate it into a code or graph. Some systems also record this data onto a smart card that you carry with you.
- Comparison: The next time you use the system, it compares the trait you present to the information on file. Then, it either accepts or rejects that you are who you claim to be.

(http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/biometric-10.jpg)

Systems also use the same three components:
- A sensor that detects the characteristic being used for identification
- A computer that reads and stores the information
- Software that analyzes the characteristic, translates it into a graph or code and performs the actual comparisons

Handwriting
-----------

At first glance, using handwriting to identify people might not seem like a good idea. After all, many people can learn to copy other people's handwriting with a little time and practice. It seems like it would be easy to get a copy of someone's signature or the required password and learn to forge it.

But biometric systems don't just look at how you shape each letter; they analyze the act of writing. They examine the pressure you use and the speed and rhythm with which you write. They also record the sequence in which you form letters, like whether you add dots and crosses as you go or after you finish the word.

(http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/biometric-5.jpg)
This Tablet PC has a signature verification system.

Unlike the simple shapes of the letters, these traits are very difficult to forge. Even if someone else got a copy of your signature and traced it, the system probably wouldn't accept their forgery.

A handwriting recognition system's sensors can include a touch-sensitive writing surface or a pen that contains sensors that detect angle, pressure and direction. The software translates the handwriting into a graph and recognizes the small changes in a person's handwriting from day to day and over time.
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: daverickert on December 27, 2005, 01:12:15 AM
Hand & Finger Geometry
----------------------

People's hands and fingers are unique -- but not as unique as other traits, like fingerprints or irises. That's why businesses and schools, rather than high-security facilities, typically use hand and finger geometry readers to authenticate users, not to identify them. Disney theme parks, for example, use finger geometry readers to grant ticket holders admittance to different parts of the park. Some businesses use hand geometry readers in place of timecards.

Systems that measure hand and finger geometry use a digital camera and light. To use one, you simply place your hand on a flat surface, aligning your fingers against several pegs to ensure an accurate reading. Then, a camera takes one or more pictures of your hand and the shadow it casts. It uses this information to determine the length, width, thickness and curvature of your hand or fingers. It translates that information into a numerical template.

Hand and finger geometry systems have a few strengths and weaknesses. Since hands and fingers are less distinctive than fingerprints or irises, some people are less likely to feel that the system invades their privacy. However, many people's hands change over time due to injury, changes in weight or arthritis. Some systems update the data to reflect minor changes from day to day.

For higher-security applications, biometric systems use more unique characteristics, like voices. We'll look at voiceprint systems next.

(http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/biometric-4.jpg)
A hand geometry scanner

Voiceprints
-----------

Your voice is unique because of the shape of your vocal cavities and the way you move your mouth when you speak. To enroll in a voiceprint system, you either say the exact words or phrases that it requires, or you give an extended sample of your speech so that the computer can identify you no matter which words you say.

When people think of voiceprints, they often think of the wave pattern they would see on an oscilloscope. But the data used in a voiceprint is a sound spectrogram, not a wave form. A spectrogram is basically a graph that shows a sound's frequency on the vertical axis and time on the horizontal axis. Different speech sounds create different shapes within the graph. Spectrograms also use colors or shades of grey to represent the acoustical qualities of sound.

(http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/biometric-6.jpg)
Speaker recognition systems use spectrograms to represent human voices.

Some companies use voiceprint recognition so that people can gain access to information or give authorization without being physically present. Instead of stepping up to an iris scanner or hand geometry reader, someone can give authorization by making a phone call. Unfortunately, people can bypass some systems, particularly those that work by phone, with a simple recording of an authorized person's password. That's why some systems use several randomly-chosen voice passwords or use general voiceprints instead of prints for specific words. Others use technology that detects the artifacts created in recording and playback.

Other systems are more difficult to bypass. We'll look at some of those next, starting with iris scanners.

Iris Scanning
-------------

Iris scanning can seem very futuristic, but at the heart of the system is a simple CCD digital camera. It uses both visible and near-infrared light to take a clear, high-contrast picture of a person's iris. With near-infrared light, a person's pupil is very black, making it easy for the computer to isolate the pupil and iris.

(http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/biometric-1.jpg)

When you look into an iris scanner, either the camera focuses automatically or you use a mirror or audible feedback from the system to make sure that you are positioned correctly. Usually, your eye is 3 to 10 inches from the camera. When the camera takes a picture, the computer locates:

- The center of the pupil
- The edge of the pupil
- The edge of the iris
- The eyelids and eyelashes

It then analyzes the patterns in the iris and translates them into a code. Iris scanners are becoming more common in high-security applications because people's eyes are so unique (the chance of mistaking one iris code for another is 1 in 10 to the 78th power [ref]. They also allow more than 200 points of reference for comparison, as opposed to 60 or 70 points in fingerprints.
 
(http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/biometric-3.jpg)
An iris scanner
 
The iris is a visible but protected structure, and it does not usually change over time, making it ideal for biometric identification. Most of the time, people's eyes also remain unchanged after eye surgery, and blind people can use iris scanners as long as their eyes have irises. Eyeglasses and contact lenses typically do not interfere or cause inaccurate readings.

Some people confuse iris scans with retinal scans. Retinal scans, however, are an older technology that required a bright light to illuminate a person's retina. The sensor would then take a picture of the blood vessel structure in the back of the person's eye. Some people found retinal scans to be uncomfortable and invasive. People's retinas also change as they age, which could lead to inaccurate readings.

Vein Geometry
-------------

As with irises and fingerprints, a person's veins are completely unique. Twins don't have identical veins, and a person's veins differ between their left and right sides. Many veins are not visible through the skin, making them extremely difficult to counterfeit or tamper with. Their shape also changes very little as a person ages.

(http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/biometric-9.jpg)
Vein scanners use near-infrared light to reveal the patterns in a person's veins.

To use a vein recognition system, you simply place your finger, wrist, palm or the back of your hand on or near the scanner. A camera takes a digital picture using near-infrared light. The hemoglobin in your blood absorbs the light, so veins appear black in the picture. As with all the other biometric types, the software creates a reference template based on the shape and location of the vein structure.

Scanners that analyze vein geometry are completely different from vein scanning tests that happen in hospitals. Vein scans for medical purposes usually use radioactive particles. Biometric security scans, however, just use light that is similar to the light that comes from a remote control. NASA has lots more information on taking pictures with infrared light.

Privacy and Other Concerns
--------------------------

Some people object to biometrics for cultural or religious reasons. Others imagine a world in which cameras identify and track them as they walk down the street, following their activities and buying patterns without their consent. They wonder whether companies will sell biometric data the way they sell email addresses and phone numbers. People may also wonder whether a huge database will exist somewhere that contains vital information about everyone in the world, and whether that information would be safe there.

At this point, however, biometric systems don't have the capability to store and catalog information about everyone in the world. Most store a minimal amount of information about a relatively small number of users. They don't generally store a recording or real-life representation of a person's traits -- they convert the data into a code. Most systems also work in only in the one specific place where they're located, like an office building or hospital. The information in one system isn't necessarily compatible with others, although several organizations are trying to standardize biometric data.

In addition to the potential for invasions of privacy, critics raise several concerns about biometrics, such as:

- Over reliance: The perception that biometric systems are foolproof might lead people to forget about daily, common-sense security practices and to protect the system's data.
- Accessibility: Some systems can't be adapted for certain populations, like elderly people or people with disabilities.
- Interoperability: In emergency situations, agencies using different systems may need to share data, and delays can result if the systems can't communicate with each other.

As Seen on TV
-------------

Television shows and movies can make it look spectacularly easy or spectacularly difficult to get past biometric security. They usually show people trying to get past the sensors rather than replacing the data in the system with their own or "piggybacking" their way in by following someone with authorization. Here are some of the more common tricks and whether they're likely to work.

(http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/biometric-8.jpg)
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: emc on January 12, 2006, 03:02:50 AM
wow, pretty interesting thread!
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: mrtn on January 19, 2006, 12:30:14 AM
I agree, emc, very interesting! I guess, even more interesting than your moniker :)
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: qui tam on January 20, 2006, 03:15:24 AM
hmmm!
Title: 1099s and W2s
Post by: pourquoi pas on January 22, 2006, 06:09:42 AM

[...]e.g., strange as it may seem, you can be hired without giving your SSN to your employer.
 

The companies that want to contract with you for higher-paying, longer-term work usually don't want to pay in invisible cash. Cash offers them no paper trail for tax write-offs. So they either "1099 you," if you're a contractor who earns more than $600 per year from them, or they report your earnings to the IRS on a W2, if you're a wage slave. In each case, they'll ask for your SSN.

As you're probably painfully aware, employers deduct taxes from their wage slaves before paying them a dime. Contractors, on the other hand, generally get the full amount they earn and are responsible for "voluntarily" paying any taxes they owe.

1099s: Let us say you are an individual who works on your own (a sole proprietor) and you have one or more client companies. At some point in your relationship with each client, they'll ask for your SSN, usually by using the IRS's W9 form.

If your clients are small companies, they may hire you first and only ask for an SSN later in the year. This is good; it means you already have a relationship with them before they learn that you're not Numbered. They may be more motivated to work with you. Big, lawyer-ridden firms, heavily regulated businesses, and businesses in some of the nation's burgeoning People's Republic states will ask for an SSN (and possibly a business license number), up front. This is bad.

Whenever the query comes, you explain that you have no number, and inform your client business that they aren't actually required to get one from you.

This is true; under the IRS code they're only required to request your number, and continue to do so each year you do work for them. There's only a $50 fine for failing this task, and you can offer to pay that.

One of three things happens after you say you have no number.

- The company representative you're dealing with goes non-linear and you get banned from working for that firm.
- The company sends you and the IRS a report of everything they paid you for that year on the IRS's 1099-Misc. Form, without an SSN.
- The company (particularly if it's a sympathetic small business to which you've given a significant break in costs) forgets to 1099 you from that point onward.

If the company 1099s you without a number, theoretically, the IRS demands that they immediately begin withholding 29% (formerly 31%) of your earnings. They can be held liable for that amount by the IRS if they don't. Ouch.

Be aware that if you allow your clients to withhold the 29% (called backup withholding), that money will usually be stolen, either by your client or the IRS. Don't expect it to be credited to you on anyone's books, although it's supposed to be.

In practice, many smaller companies wait until the IRS demands backup withholding. The IRS, in turn, is so overburdened and can be so dinosaur-slow that you may receive your full pay for years before the IRS frightens your client into backup withholding. But once the IRS makes that demand, the stuff hits the proverbial rotary airfoil.

If you are "into" tax resistance, there are various things you can do at each stage, which may or may not save you from the dreaded backup withholding. Most of these are beyond the scope of this article. They also involve legalistic maneuvering that spotlights you as one of those "illegal tax protesters."

One alternative, however, is to continue doing business with that same client company, but on different contracting terms – as described later in this article.

W2s: But let's say you're not a contractor or don't want to be. You want to be an employee. What happens to you? You apply for a regular job. They'll ask for your SSN, usually right on the application. You explain that you have no SSN, stating, "It's against my religion." Believe it or not, if your objections are religious, there are precedents on your side. However, these precedents, while hope-inspiring, aren't legally binding on anyone but the participants in the cases.

If you press the issue (perhaps subtly suggesting that you're sure the company wouldn't want to commit illegal religious discrimination), you have a miniscule chance to get hired without a number. A friend's teenaged son has now worked two summers at a regular job for the same employer without an SSN – and this year the employer didn't even hassle him about it.

However, most corporations are so risk-averse and terrified of the IRS that, even if you convince a prospective boss that you have a right to work without an SSN, she'll probably find some other excuse not to hire you. With no SSN, it's really best in the long run to avoid conventional employment. If you succeed in getting a job, the employer takes out all the usual deductions, sends the money off to the feds and the states, and reports it under a "place-holder" number (999-99-9999). Again, don't count on ever seeing any of that money back
Title: Your Own Little Corporation or Partnership
Post by: pourquoi pas on January 22, 2006, 06:12:38 AM
You establish a limited liability company (LLC), limited partnership (LP), or corporation in one of the states that are tax-friendly and that specialize in easy, inexpensive business incorporation. This usually means Wyoming or Nevada. Businesses can be incorporated in these states for only a few hundred dollars.

You must have a local representative (a "registered agent") with an address in that state. Very easy, people there commonly perform that function as a routine part of a law practice or business service. An officer of your new company must give an SSN. You don't want that officer to be you. In both these friendly states, you can remain anonymous while choosing a nominee officer and using that person's SSN.

The best possible officer – if you can diplomatically manage it – is a friend or relative who is dying and who won't be off "doing his own thing" with his identity in the years after he helps you incorporate your business. Alternatively, anyone you trust and who trusts you can become the nominal principal of your company. Many businesses that help set up corporations will provide nominee officers, as well. But for both cost and security, most Numberless folks would rather have their own nominee. Depending on the type of entity you've established, your new company then applies to the IRS for the third available type of number, the Employer Identification Number (EIN), and can also apply for a business license in the state where you'll be working.

Your shiny new business contracts with clients for work. It gives its EIN and business license number (if required), not yours. When an SSN is required, it's that of your nominee officer. Your company pays you, but probably doesn't 1099 you. (That's up to you.) If you're already working as an independent, you can contract with your existing clients under this new entity. Furthermore, you can set up a new Wyoming or Nevada company every few years if you need to.
Title: Private Contracting
Post by: pourquoi pas on January 22, 2006, 06:17:06 AM
Finally, we come to one of the most interesting and least known options, private contracting.

Private contracting (as distinguished from the IRS's regulation-ridden "independent contracting") is a term used by Charlie Adams, whose service, Contract America, was one of the pioneers in this field. There are now several companies offering similar services. Some are listed below, with contact information.

Here's how it works once you've been accepted by a private contracting firm. If you are already an independent contractor getting a 1099, you simply switch to contracting under this new arrangement. Your client will probably want a new copy of form W9, which (instead of showing your information) now shows the EIN of the contracting company and the fact that the contracting company is a corporation – not a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or an LLC controlled by you.

The contracting company invoices your clients. (Some may have you send the invoice, using their name and address.) Your clients pay the contracting company. Upon receiving the check, the contracting firm pays you, taking out a fee for itself. (Contract America, for instance, pays you 92% of the total and keeps 8% as their own fee. If you're lucky or persuasive, your client will cover the 8% fee.)

The beauty is that the contracting service doesn't file any paperwork on you. Also, because the service is a corporation and not a "pass-through" entity like an LLC or partnership (in which monies paid in go directly to the owners), nobody has to 1099 it. Charlie Adams reports that IRS-spooked businesses feel more secure dealing with a corporation for this type of transaction.

What if, instead of being a contractor, you're already an employee of a small business? With your employer's agreement, you resign your job, then sign on as a private contractor, with your payments going through the contracting agency. As Charlie Adams says, "If you're cashier #32 at Wal-Mart you can't persuade your employer to do this." But a small business person might see considerable advantage in it. For instance: your former employer (now your client) doesn't have to calculate, deduct, and disburse all those payroll taxes, and he doesn't have to match your Social Security or Medicare "contributions" because you're not making any such contributions. On the other hand, if you've previously been paid in cash under the table, the company hiring you now has the comfort, and the paper trail, of a recorded payment and should be willing to pay you more as a result.

Does the IRS approve of all this? Probably not. They don't respect the right of individuals to contract on their own terms, and they've taken it unto themselves to decide who can be an "independent contractor" and who must be a wage slave. Nevertheless, Contract America has been in business for approximately five years without so much as getting a letter from the IRS. I also interviewed a man who had been using another service, Accurate Consulting, for five years, and he reported he's had zero problems with the IRS under this arrangement, despite having had many IRS troubles in the past.

You must also understand that you won't be accruing any Social Security or unemployment "benefits" or any other perks. And the absence of a paper trail that makes you so happy today may come back to bite you two years from now if you decide you want to apply for a bank loan and need proof of income. Don't do this just to put a little extra money in your pocket because the long-term consequences can be profound. Do this only if you are philosophically committed to living free and making the necessary sacrifices in that cause.
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: profdmeanr on January 23, 2006, 12:28:02 AM
hmmm ..
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: arrogantbastardofahunk on January 24, 2006, 10:06:36 PM
pourquoi, if you know all of that why are you going to law school?
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: ramon on February 02, 2006, 10:18:54 AM
Quite intersting!
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: hiccup on February 03, 2006, 07:59:11 AM
LOL pourquoi! ;)
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: newmommie on February 05, 2006, 08:04:33 PM

Other technologies are under development
-----------------------------------------

Many other biometric technologies for identity verification are under development, including voice recognition, face recognition (systems are now being developed to assist police and security agencies to identify suspects in crowds), vein measurement, chemical odour analysis, signature identification and facial thermography (the measurement of the radiant heat from a person's face). Some could be combined in multi-biometric systems, so that the limitations of any single system can be compensated by the presence of a second or third system.

(http://www.automa.com.au/images/faceplusdots.jpg)
Face Recognition

Throughout the nation and the world, the debate on the privacy implications of face recognition and other surveillance technologies is heating up. In January 2001, the city of Tampa, Florida used the technology to scan the faces of people in crowds at the Super Bowl, comparing them with images in a database of digital mug shots. Privacy International subsequently gave the 2001 Big Brother Award for "Worst Public Official" to the City of Tampa for spying on Super Bowl attendees. Tampa then installed cameras equipped with face recognition technology in their Ybor City nightlife district, where they have encountered opposition from people wearing masks and making obscene gestures at the cameras. In late August 2001, a member of the Jacksonville, Florida City Council proposed legislation to keep the technology out of Jacksonville.

The Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services gave a $150,000 grant to the city of Virginia Beach in July 2001, to help the city obtain face recognition cameras to look for criminal suspects and missing children. Although officials had initially expressed mixed feelings about the technology, the city council voted on November 13 to install the software at the oceanfront. To fully fund the system, the city must pay an additional $50,000.

In the wake of the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S., privacy advocates, citizen groups, political leaders, and the manufacturers of the technology itself are debating whether these technologies should be more widely used, and if so, how they should be regulated to protect the privacy of the public. Some airports are considering installing face recognition cameras as a security measure. However, T.F. Green International Airport in Providence, Rhode Island, one of the first airports to consider it, decided in January 2002 that they would not install it after all, citing the possibility of false matches and other technological shortcomings of facial recognition systems. Read more here,

http://www.howstuffworks.com/facial-recognition.htm/printable


A very interesting article!
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: emilysreasons on February 06, 2006, 02:42:48 PM
And a little bit scary, I'd say!
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: Budlaw on February 06, 2006, 06:07:00 PM
Some people have waaaaaaay too much time on their hands.......
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: fab on February 10, 2006, 06:17:05 PM
Bud, ALL of us hanging out here on these boards appear to have too much time on our hands, don't you think?! :)
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: mendeleiev on February 20, 2006, 02:39:38 PM
pourquoi pas, don't you think the motive of someone who finds ways around the use of SSNs is kinda strange, to put it this way, for lack of a better word that's not on the tip of my tongue right now?
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: jisel on February 26, 2006, 05:43:19 PM
What do you mean, mendel?
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: wa on June 25, 2006, 05:41:15 PM
Strange thread!
Title: Re: Technology
Post by: ism on July 15, 2006, 03:19:41 AM

Einstein was not stupid when he answered to some peoples' question 'What do you think about the Third World War?,' saying 'I don't know about the Third World War, but I'll tell you about the Fourth.' They asked him, 'What is it? What is it? What is it?' Einstein replied, 'When you go to wage the Fourth World War, it will be with sticks and bows and arrows. We'll be back to primitive man.' What the Third World War is going to bring about is complete devastation.


A prediction made by many scientists would be the possibility of a "nuclear winter." In a full scale nuclear war, that is a war with the detonation of 10,000+ megatons, a vast cloud of dirt, smoke, and radiation would cover the earth, blocking out the sun. This would last for four plus months, and anyone surviving the war and the radiation for this long would face starvation, as almost all plant life on earth would die. The temperature of the earth's surface would drop drastically, as the temperature inland could reach -30 degrees Celsius, and near any ocean, where the temperature would be moderated, but storms many times greater than those of today would level anything not already destroyed. This projected drop in temperature led to the term, nuclear winter. After this cloud settled, the sun would come out, but would be much more intense than before the war. There could be upwards of a 70% destruction of the ozone layer, and solar radiation would flood into the atmosphere, further complicating the problems of the war. The elevated radiation levels and destruction of plant life could spell the end for mankind.
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: kinakjou on September 17, 2006, 04:09:16 AM
Some people use a made up number, some others actually buy the SS card of somebody else to whom was legally issued to, and some others secure a legal SSN fraudulently via a fake birth certificate.
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: bu on September 17, 2006, 06:04:43 PM
thanx for letting us know, kinkajou ... your post is kinda funny taken into account that is totally unrelated to what was being discussed ..
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: xawgz on February 28, 2007, 09:29:11 PM

Some people use a made up number, some others actually buy the SS card of somebody else to whom was legally issued to, and some others secure a legal SSN fraudulently via a fake birth certificate.


A 54-year-old homemaker owns one house. Imagine her shock when she was told that her Social Security number had been used to buy two houses in Ohio and one in Texas. The four combined mortgages totaled more than $500,000. Then there were the 9 car loans totaling more than $200,000. And 10 additional credit lines from various department stores and wireless service providers. An investigation by the Social Security Administration revealed that an illegal immigrant was using her Social Security number as a means to enjoy his slice of the American dream. And like most folks in this country, he was using credit to do it.

There are an estimated 9 million illegal aliens living in the U.S. In order to work and obtain credit, they need Social Security numbers — something they cannot obtain legitimately because of their illegal immigrant status. But a fake number isn't hard to get. There's a very good black market that has fostered this. You can buy a Social Security card on the street for $20. Fake cards are produced and sold by organized crime groups, which generate Social Security numbers and sell them to illegal immigrants with their own names on the card. The numbers, however, often belong to real people.

The result can be a bizarre form of identity theft. Traditional theft typically involves a person stealing someone's name and identification and then racking up huge debts under that name. But with Social Security-number-only theft, oftentimes abusers have no intent of stealing anybody's good credit. They simply want the number so they can work and establish their own lines of credit — in their own name. In essence, two separate identities are created from one Social Security number. Even in above-mentioned case, where there were a suspiciously large number of loans, the perpetrator had kept current on most of his payments, although the victim says he's under criminal investigation for other activities.
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: lmn on May 02, 2007, 11:29:13 PM

Some people use a made up number, some others actually buy the SS card of somebody else to whom was legally issued to, and some others secure a legal SSN fraudulently via a fake birth certificate.


There are an estimated 9 million illegal aliens living in the U.S. In order to work and obtain credit, they need Social Security numbers — something they cannot obtain legitimately because of their illegal immigrant status. But a fake number isn't hard to get. There's a very good black market that has fostered this. You can buy a Social Security card on the street for $20. Fake cards are produced and sold by organized crime groups, which generate Social Security numbers and sell them to illegal immigrants with their own names on the card. The numbers, however, often belong to real people.


I've heard they change the letters so that it'll resemble to the real name, but I don't think the actual number XXX-XX-XXXX belongs to a real person, even if the changed name and last name is the same as that of several other people ("Maria Grazia" gets changed to "Marta Graziola" for example)
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: financial aid on May 03, 2007, 06:33:22 PM

I've heard they change the letters so that it'll resemble to the real name, but I don't think the actual number XXX-XX-XXXX belongs to a real person, even if the changed name and last name is the same as that of several other people ("Maria Grazia" gets changed to "Marta Graziola" for example)


Could you elaborate a bit on the issue, lmn?
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: grand slam on May 16, 2007, 04:00:36 AM

In February 2003, the New York Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton announced that she would support a national identification card for US citizens claiming that she would support it as part of an overall effort to improve national security.

"Clearly, we have to make some tough decisions as a country," Clinton warned. "And one of them ought to be coming up with a much better entry and exit system so that if we're going to let people in for the work that otherwise would not be done, let's have a system that keeps track of them."


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BcHnO_vo6M
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: The Negotiator on May 17, 2007, 03:52:46 AM

In February 2003, the New York Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton announced that she would support a national identification card for US citizens claiming that she would support it as part of an overall effort to improve national security.

"Clearly, we have to make some tough decisions as a country," Clinton warned. "And one of them ought to be coming up with a much better entry and exit system so that if we're going to let people in for the work that otherwise would not be done, let's have a system that keeps track of them."


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BcHnO_vo6M


What a female dog!!!
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: paladin on May 30, 2007, 01:39:47 AM
Very interesting pourquoi pas, very interesting posts!
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: Kathleen Turner on June 02, 2007, 11:41:36 PM
It's not incredibly hard to figure out (with decent probability) someone's driver's license number. Of course, the key is to know how the number is generated in the first place. Thanks to some public information and a little Perl, we can easily and rapidly calculate people's driver's license numbers

http://www.cs.indiana.edu/~sstamm/projects/dl/
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: christy on June 02, 2007, 11:49:03 PM

http://www.highprogrammer.com/cgi-bin/uniqueid/dl_fl

So is there a way to figure the Social Security Number of someone once you know his/her Drivers License Number?
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: @ on June 12, 2007, 01:31:28 AM

http://www.highprogrammer.com/cgi-bin/uniqueid/dl_fl


Great link, Kathleen!
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: Santa Baby on August 18, 2007, 08:10:45 PM

In February 2003, the New York Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton announced that she would support a national identification card for US citizens claiming that she would support it as part of an overall effort to improve national security.

"Clearly, we have to make some tough decisions as a country," Clinton warned. "And one of them ought to be coming up with a much better entry and exit system so that if we're going to let people in for the work that otherwise would not be done, let's have a system that keeps track of them."


http://youtube.com/watch?v=SbgiM7rhsmc&mode=related&search=


What a female dog!!!


Indeed!

Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: consort on August 18, 2007, 10:15:28 PM
Ha, funny username, Santa Baby!

http://www.links2love.com/christmas_songs_santa_baby.htm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0piYwdPD29g
Title: Re: Private Contracting
Post by: recriminate on August 19, 2007, 12:11:18 AM
Finally, we come to one of the most interesting and least known options, private contracting.

Private contracting (as distinguished from the IRS's regulation-ridden "independent contracting") is a term used by Charlie Adams, whose service, Contract America, was one of the pioneers in this field. There are now several companies offering similar services. Some are listed below, with contact information.

Here's how it works once you've been accepted by a private contracting firm. If you are already an independent contractor getting a 1099, you simply switch to contracting under this new arrangement. Your client will probably want a new copy of form W9, which (instead of showing your information) now shows the EIN of the contracting company and the fact that the contracting company is a corporation – not a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or an LLC controlled by you.

The contracting company invoices your clients. (Some may have you send the invoice, using their name and address.) Your clients pay the contracting company. Upon receiving the check, the contracting firm pays you, taking out a fee for itself. (Contract America, for instance, pays you 92% of the total and keeps 8% as their own fee. If you're lucky or persuasive, your client will cover the 8% fee.)

The beauty is that the contracting service doesn't file any paperwork on you. Also, because the service is a corporation and not a "pass-through" entity like an LLC or partnership (in which monies paid in go directly to the owners), nobody has to 1099 it. Charlie Adams reports that IRS-spooked businesses feel more secure dealing with a corporation for this type of transaction.

What if, instead of being a contractor, you're already an employee of a small business? With your employer's agreement, you resign your job, then sign on as a private contractor, with your payments going through the contracting agency. As Charlie Adams says, "If you're cashier #32 at Wal-Mart you can't persuade your employer to do this." But a small business person might see considerable advantage in it. For instance: your former employer (now your client) doesn't have to calculate, deduct, and disburse all those payroll taxes, and he doesn't have to match your Social Security or Medicare "contributions" because you're not making any such contributions. On the other hand, if you've previously been paid in cash under the table, the company hiring you now has the comfort, and the paper trail, of a recorded payment and should be willing to pay you more as a result.

Does the IRS approve of all this? Probably not. They don't respect the right of individuals to contract on their own terms, and they've taken it unto themselves to decide who can be an "independent contractor" and who must be a wage slave. Nevertheless, Contract America has been in business for approximately five years without so much as getting a letter from the IRS. I also interviewed a man who had been using another service, Accurate Consulting, for five years, and he reported he's had zero problems with the IRS under this arrangement, despite having had many IRS troubles in the past.

You must also understand that you won't be accruing any Social Security or unemployment "benefits" or any other perks. And the absence of a paper trail that makes you so happy today may come back to bite you two years from now if you decide you want to apply for a bank loan and need proof of income. Don't do this just to put a little extra money in your pocket because the long-term consequences can be profound. Do this only if you are philosophically committed to living free and making the necessary sacrifices in that cause.


Is this legal?
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: largess on August 24, 2007, 04:04:31 AM

In February 2003, the New York Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton announced that she would support a national identification card for US citizens claiming that she would support it as part of an overall effort to improve national security.

"Clearly, we have to make some tough decisions as a country," Clinton warned. "And one of them ought to be coming up with a much better entry and exit system so that if we're going to let people in for the work that otherwise would not be done, let's have a system that keeps track of them."


http://youtube.com/watch?v=SbgiM7rhsmc&mode=related&search=


What a female dog!!!


Indeed!


Funny signature line, Santa!
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: spellit on November 03, 2007, 09:13:46 AM

wow, pretty interesting thread!


Your handle is also pretty interesting, EMC!
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: ² on November 24, 2007, 01:31:05 PM

There are an estimated 9 million illegal aliens living in the U.S. In order to work and obtain credit, they need Social Security numbers — something they cannot obtain legitimately because of their illegal immigrant status. But a fake number isn't hard to get. There's a very good black market that has fostered this. You can buy a Social Security card on the street for $20. Fake cards are produced and sold by organized crime groups, which generate Social Security numbers and sell them to illegal immigrants with their own names on the card. The numbers, however, often belong to real people.


That is one reason why Hillary came out against granting driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, although she was for it before she was against it, before she was for it, before she was against it, so to speak! :)
Title: Breach of Obama's Passport Files Investigated
Post by: see ya on April 02, 2008, 11:41:23 AM
I guess nobody thought how important the issue of Social Security Numbers and the like is until Obama's passport files snooping was reported,

Obama's records were accessed without permission on three separate occasions — Jan. 9, Feb. 21 and March 14. It is not clear whether the employees saw anything other than the basic personal data such as name, citizenship, age, Social Security number and place of birth, which is required when a person fills out a passport application. Aside from the file, the information could allow critics to dig deeper into the candidates' private lives. While the file includes date and place of birth, address at time of application and the countries the person has traveled to, the most important detail would be their Social Security number, which can be used to pull credit reports and other personal information.

The violations were detected by internal State Department computer checks because certain records, including those of high-profile people, are "flagged" with a computer tag that tips off supervisors when someone tries to view the records without a proper reason. The system, which focuses on politicians and celebrities, was put in place in recent years, after the State Department was embroiled in a scandal involving the access of the passport records of then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton in 1992. The FBI launched an investigation after the State Department reported that someone had ripped out pages from his passport file from the late 1960s and '70s. The department concluded that a search of Clinton's passport records was an attempt to influence the presidential election, reportedly by trying to show that Clinton tried to seek citizenship in another country to avoid the draft. Clinton was running against President George H.W. Bush. Then-State Department Inspector General Sherman Funk found no evidence the White House ordered department staffers to dig for political dirt in Clinton's passport files. However, Funk said the White House probably knew it was happening.

Here it is a discussion of the controversy:

http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/03/20/obama.passport/#cnnSTCVideo
Title: Georgia Forensic DNA Testing
Post by: cabull on December 30, 2008, 01:54:07 PM
The boundaries between your right to privacy and the law may soon be getting a little more blurred. In the near future, if the Bush Administration gets its way, anyone who is arrested by a law enforcement agent will be required to submit a personal DNA sample. The federal government has proposed the plan for taking all detainees DNA in an effort they claim will reduce the number of violent crimes committed in the United States. The proponents of this policy allege that collecting DNA samples from individuals who have been arrested can potentially keep violent offenders off of the streets so they cannot commit more crimes. According to a study conducted in 2005, 53 murders and rapes may have been prevented in Chicago if a DNA sample had been collected during a prior arrest.

While it is important to keep violent criminals from destroying more lives, there is a flip side to the policy. Opponents of this law are concerned that innocent citizens could be subject to criminal monitoring. They are also worried that the DNA collected during an arrest could be held indefinitely. This would mean that the individual's genetic information would be accessible. DNA samples are not like fingerprints. Fingerprints represent the physical attributes of fingers and are used only to identify people. DNA contains much more information. A DNA sample can not only pinpoint someone's identity – it also contains information on approximately 4,000 types of diseases and genetic conditions. There is no telling what this information can be used for in the wrong hands. The ACLU worries that once innocent people’s DNA is put into a huge database, it would be very hard to have this information removed if they are not charged or convicted of a crime.

If you haven’t already lost enough sleep lately, ponder THIS little twist. Think of 1.5 million DUI arrests per year and DNA being collected and "databased" for all of them. If acquitted, do you get an order of ERASURE of DNA records? George Orwell was right about Big Government taking over our lives, but he was incorrect about the date when he named the book "1984." The current policy seems to run headlong into privacy issues that are protected by the Constitution. Plus, the overreaching created by such new legislation could easily rewrite this frightening version of a Government out of control.
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: johncoths on October 21, 2009, 01:00:57 PM
I guess how do non citizens without permission to work get a Social Security number? And one thing more is why are Social Security numbers used as identification numbers on Medicare cards?
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: gzl on October 21, 2009, 01:06:22 PM
I guess how do non citizens without permission to work get a Social Security number? And one thing more is why are Social Security numbers used as identification numbers on Medicare cards?

I have a question: Why are you effwits breathing my air?
Title: Re: Social Security Numbers = De Facto National ID Card
Post by: GiuGiaku on January 23, 2012, 11:23:18 PM

Some people use a made up number, some others actually buy the SS card of somebody else to whom was legally issued to, and some others secure a legal SSN fraudulently via a fake birth certificate.


I find the latter part hard to believe! Presenting a fake birth certificate to the SSA people to obtain a legit SSN?! Do you know what penalties are in place for doing that?! Would you have the balls to actually go some place and ask for that?!

We've sure have heard about people from foreign countries (Mexico, being the obvious example) having an easy time submitting altered birth certificates (not totally fake, they just might have needed to change, e.g., their birth year, so that they'd fall within a certain age-limit in order to qualify for a particular benefit). In these cultures that's something quite 'doable', so to speak, with legal repercussions in case of detection being miniscule.

But not in the States!