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News Link • Surveillance

A National Digital ID, Courtesy of the U.S. Postal Service?

• Bloomberg
When China passed a new law two weeks ago requiring people to give their real names when signing up for Internet and phone service, it raised alarms over the surveillance implications for the world’s largest population of Web users.

It also highlighted what may be an uncomfortable reality for U.S. netizens: a national digital ID, which essentially is what China is proposing, isn’t entirely a foreign concept.

The U.S. is also slowly moving to a system where online personas are inextricably linked to real-world identities, an idea with huge privacy and security implications. The tactics and enforcement mechanisms being explored in China and the U.S. are worlds apart, but the central idea is similar: knowing someone’s real name improves accountability online. That’s a double-edged sword, though, depending on who’s doing the accounting.

The White House’s National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, or NSTIC, is leading the government’s efforts in this area. 

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