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The scary part of data is that it identifies you…


The scary part of data is that it has the extra and important role of identifying the subject.

An ID system needs to pick on some aspect of an individual that will be very hard for other people to fake.  ID theft involves the thief extracting enough knowledge about the victim’s confidential affairs to plausibly pass as the victim….  ID theft is a worry because it is comparatively hard to prove, as it is the victim’s identity that is in question.  The crime can happen without anyone being aware it, for a while, even something as basic as unauthorised use of a credit card.

This leaves the victim with a bad record, or bad reputation as a result of the theft.  You may find yourself inconveniently on a credit blacklist, or dangerously on an FBI wanted list, and yet it is hardly possible to check.  Someone with a bad credit record can take years to regain their good name.

The War on Terror means the end result might be weeks or even years in prison with precious few ways of establishing innocence.

After all, it is not a case of proving that you are who you say you are; you have to prove that there is another person who has been masquerading as you, a much harder task, (O’Hara et al, 2008).

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