Monday, February 11, 2008

Discarded Identity Management Strategy

OK, I'm going to do it twice in one night, and for a man of my age I hope you appreciate that I'm putting myself out for you.

Still, I've had a bit of a rest so I should be all charged up for a bit more social intercourse[1] again now; and after all, I was only Bashing the Bishop earlier so that doesn't really count. Posting - I'm talking about posting here, I know how my reader's mind works (and yes, Rod, I deliberately put the apostrophe before the "s").

At lunchtime the lads and I had a parley which came close to the good old days of the curry-conversation - which was a regular occurrence during which a bunch of fellows would sit round a table and talk bollocks for an hour. Of course, it could only be close, because that tradition was mortally wounded when Podcaster joined the dark side of the business park.

Unfortunately, the inspiration for those rambling chats was directly proportional to the quality of food served up in the staff restaurant. When the comestibles started to taste like the afforementioned bollocks, the wit and wisdom just died a death. Today, we had a good meal.

Sparked by recent cases of identity theft, hospital baby swap horror stories and password management we discussed ways and means of people proving their bona fides - which might look like Polari, but is actually Latin for 'not bent'.

So, what you want is a simple, clean way for a person to prove who they are - so that we could do away with passports, passwords, credit cards and all manner of other inconvenient things which the thoroughly cosmopolitan dude needs to cart about with them these days - but it still needs to be "on one's person".

Ever been through US immigration? well, for a while you've had to give two fingerprints when entering the country, and just recently it's progressed on to having all eight fingers and two thumbs printed. Presumably this is to prevent any members of the Yakuza getting in - many of them dont have eight fingers - see Yubitsume. Anyway, it's tiresome, because the machines are a bit finniky - a faster and more reliable method is required.

Well, there's the Gattaca approach - great film, great idea, but a touch invasive at times and easily circumnavigated (provided you arent too fastidious) by simply carrying around a small sample of somone else's piddle -though it does rely on having a bloke at home who's prepared to hide in the microwave if the rozzers turn up.

What's the solution? Well, obviously it's tattoing a unique number in the form of a barcode onto the arse of every newborn. With the simple expedient of installing a laser scanner in every airport, supermarket checkout, PC keyboard etc it will be a simple case of dropping the strides (or lifting the skirt - another plus point for thongs there, easy identification) for a quick moon, and Bob's your uncle! How foolproof is that? Lets face it, there are precedents for using the backside as an ID card in the animal world too, have you ever seen a pair of dogs introduce themselves?

Trouble is, it didnt really take that long to shoot the idea down. There were two main complaints:

1) Babies are not born obese. However, in the UK and US these days, scientists have determined that by the year 2010, fourteen out of ten thirteen year olds will weigh more than a twelve month old elephant. Apart from the fact that the inherent 'barge-arse' effect on fatties would cause the lines on the barcode to get further apart, there's te danger that one of these hefty folk might sit on the scanner and squash it, and also a chance that stretch marks might actually corrupt the digital signature. Thus, by waving his 'arris' at a convenient scanner, Harry Poter's corpulent cousin Dudley could empty the bank account of a poor innocent spinster in Cheam. Less than ideal.

2) This is the clincher really. There's a movie - cant remember which one (audience participation required here - please comment if you know the answer) in which someone escapes from a prison by gouging out the governor's eye and using it to fool a retina scanner on an automatic gate. This raised the horrific possibility of a mugger slicing off a victim's bum-cheek in order to get a free week's shopping at Tesco's.

You have to appreciate, really, that we *like* sitting around and talking bollocks. That's just not going to be at all comfortable with only half an arse. So, a great idea, but unfortunately a non-starter at the end of the day.

[1] Perhaps it would be more fun if that did mean having sex with more than one person at a time.


Rowley said...

its Demolition Man. Stallone and Snipes.

I see your point and I do see that some kind of chip/biometric ID is going to become normal.
If it's going to be body chemistry, then sometimes that changes with treatments, say for cancer.
fingerprints can be lost, or even copied. Retinas I have heard can be faked, or at least made to confuse systems.
My choice? a Chip inserted onto your skull, so when the bill arrives you can rub it on your head to pay for it. Imagine dozens of people doing that in a McD's after eating a super whopper Mc Blubber Burger.


rod said...

"I know how my reader's mind works (and yes, Rod, I deliberately put the apostrophe before the "s")." Ah, but if you felt the need to address the comment to me by name, that implies you think you have more than one reader. Didn't think of that, did you, Watson?

Not sure about the retinal scanner film, but I think the device was used in the Bond film Never Say Never Again.

As for your closing comment, the idea is not so much a non-starter as half-arsed, surely.

By the way, the verification word I have to type in when posting this comment was "pympfru". That's got to mean something, surely - if only I could think what.