Two terms I've seen recently that have caught my attention: "E-government" and "Identity Theft." It looks like Mark Forman has recently declared that they're considering using Microsoft Passport technology to identify citizens. Why do I find this less than comforting?
Look, I'm totally in favor of increasing the tech level of government. There's no benefit to having antiquated technology in the way things work. E-voting should happen, for instance. Nonetheless, this whole thing has gotten me very frowny.
Could it be that I don't trust Passport? When I think Passport, the first thing that comes to mind is Hotmail. Hotmail used to be really cool until it got bought by Microsoft. Microsoft moved to transition it to mesh with its Suck-Ass No-Good Technology Protocol, and now the integration is complete. My favorite thing is the recent push to get people to pay for their free email by downgrading service and offering improvements for money. "Our service is bad, so give us money!". I can't wait for my rights to be governed likewise.
Could it be the whole Identity Theft thing? Maybe a secret benefit of the inefficiency of old-school dead-tree-based government is that intentional forgeries get caught more easily. Probably not, though. I mean, you can put together protection from that kind of thing. You can. But Microsoft probably won't.
Could it be that this whole thing is hitting my brain on the same day as I find out that the White House is now restructuring the military to spend more time working on Homeland Security? As my secret shiny hero Nivek Ogre tells us, "The police used to be watching over the people, now they're watching the people." I don't mean to imply that the current regime has an agenda of minimizing the privacy and freedom of the populace, but THE CURRENT REGIME HAS AN AGENDA OF MINIMIZING THE PRIVACY AND FREEDOM OF THE POPULACE.
Oops. I didn't mean to imply that. And, to make it worse, I'm putting buzzwords in quotes. I must be a total fucking dork. Please, for my own sake, kick my ass now.
Could it be that I'm secretly a Luddite, with nightmarish dreams of technology gone awry, like there will be some kind of evil "e-government" virus that will turn into a dinosaur and kill kids or something? No.
I think it's just because I would prefer my "e-government" to be based on grassroots, free software technology. Votezilla. Copylefted e-trial software. Ideally, the Senate and the House would get into a flame war over emacs vs. vi.