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privacy

Protecting us from corporate intrusion
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I believe the federal government, perhaps via the IRS, should create a new kind of credit card designed to protect our right to privacy and to prevent identity theft.

The card would have only your picture on it and a credit card number and expiration date.

Any normal credit cards you have could be linked to it to prevent the merchant you use the card at from discovering who you are and to prevent the credit card company from discovering where you used the card, and what you bought.

Furthermore, credit card companies, and other market research organizations, could offer to buy your consumption data, and you could sell it to them, again with the government acting as an escrow agent of sorts.

ananias, Dec 06 2000

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       A bit paranoid aren't you??? But why involve the government? They know too much and have their hands in too many people business right now as it is!
Susen, Dec 06 2000
  

       The idea as described only converts a bad and unnecessary privacy problem (merchants learning, and hence able to record and link, your identity) into a far worse and even more unnecessary one (a single, centrally-maintained database that, if compromised, reveals just about everything about just about everyone). Better solutions include things like temporary credit card numbers (like AMEX and others now offer), not printing a name on the card (like my bank does with my ATM card), and just using cash.   

       Even better solutions involve the use of cryptographic techniques that allow credit-card convenience but with the unlinkable privacy properties of cash.   

       An aside: US Department of Defense civilian employee ID cards have a photo but no name. This seems like a very sensible design, given that its purpose is primarily allow the holder to prove that she is an employee, not to link a name with a face. Since it's a government issued photo ID, I suppose you should be able to use one to check in for a flight...
mab, Dec 06 2000
  
      
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