Brent Jessop - Knowledge Driven Revolution.com - March 13, 2007

All this trouble over the need for a passport for Canadians to enter the US. So much inconvenience and of course economic ruin. No need to worry. The government has a great solution to the problem they created. New high-tech drivers licences. Complete with all your personal information and fingerprints and a fancy new proximity RFID chip. Convenient. Exciting! Safe?

Ignoring the obvious privacy and safety concerns with the tracking abilities of the RFID chip. Ignoring the fact that this is part of a North American ID card which matches up just so nicely with the new American drivers licences under the Real ID act. Ignoring all of these things there is another major problem. The database.

The new ID cards come with a gigantic database that keeps track of all your personal information and biometric data. How secure are these databases? Lets first look at how well the government currently protects your data.

In July of 2005 the B.C. Ministry of Labour sold high-capacity data tapes at a public auction containing medical information about sexual abuse, HIV status, mental illness and also information from 30,000 refugees. An almost identical incident also occurred in B.C. only four years previous. If you are curious, the tapes netted the government $101. Fortunately this was limited to only patients of one hospital.

Another example of governments not being as responsible with your information as most assume was in September 2006. The US department of Commerce lost over 1,100 laptops including 250 from the Census Bureau containing such personal information as names, incomes and Social Security numbers.

So the government has had some trouble in the past with keeping our personal data personal. But industry with all of their market motivated superiority, surely they must do better?

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