June 06, 2005

University ID's- Blueprints for Real ID?

Some years back when I attended The University of Arizona, the school implemented new student identification cards with machine-readable chips and magnetic stripes (possibly also a bar code- I can't recall) dubbed the CatCard. Like the Real ID is planned to be, the CatCard was basically an internal passport to University services- picture identification, library card, stored "money" electronically for use in campus restaurants, bank card, pay for parking, recreation center access, use in vending machines and dorm laundry machines, building access, etc...

Among other things, they collected student signatures and photos in a database they were calling a "Datamart". (I got involved after a huge scandal broke about the University having sold student and staff information including Social Security numbers to a local credit union and a national telephone company as part of a deal to implement services from these companies loosely related to the cards from which the University would collect financial kickbacks.) Some of the ideas kicked around by University officials for how the Datamart might be used included giving digital photos to the academic departments for use on their websites (without the permission of the person whose photograph it was) and letting the police browse through pictures indiscriminately when conducting criminal investigations.

Look to these sorts of identification programs at universities and colleges for a glimpse into the potential of the Real ID.


Blogger G3K said...

ASU > U of A

Seriously, though, using a card with your SSN on it to access a debit account to buy a burger at Sonic... it's a little weird.

11:02 PM  

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