Sunday, July 02, 2006

Taiwan does it better.

As American government agencies, companies, organizations, and institutions crumble under identity theft loss I have been asked repeatedly "what can we do?"

The New York Times had an interesting article "Taiwan's Model for Electronics in Government" on June 26, 2006.

The government of Taiwan has been working for the past fifteen years "... on a far-reaching plan to use the Internet to make it faster and cheaper for bureaucrats to communicate among themselves and with citizens."

The results appear to be impressive already with 92 percent of businesses and 35 percent of individuals filed their taxes electronically. The government also "... distributes about 100,000 documents online every working day, saving about $3 million in postage."
  • "The government also accepts 15,000 online bids each month from companies seeking public contracts. Thousands of students and parents pay school tuition on the Internet, and citizens apply for drivers' licenses, property titles and a host of other certificates online."
The most impressive success has been the creation of a national identification card. The card is a so-called smart card and has a chip embedded that allows authorized persons to scan the card. It uses and ID and PIN number which must be entered by the owner to activate the scan.

Obviously one the problems with securing identity information (and there are many) is the absence of a secure personal identification system in the United States. The most common ID (as we have discussed on this blog) is the state driver's license which is a weak and unreliable form of ID.

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