Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Saturday, February 01, 2014

MundiMuster! Mr President, Order the USPS to Set Up A Postal Banking System for Those Who Lack Access to the Commercial Banking System


John Howard said...

That's a good idea, I've log thought everyone should have a secure public bank account and email address. And I've long thought that the USPS should be tasked with providing identity verification and protection services, since they already know where everyone lives. Identity theft is a huge problem and we need the federal government to protect us from thieves and forgers. They should also do voter registration out of the Post Office, making sure people are only registered in one state. I'm picturing retina scanners at the post office counter, and postmen coming to the door with portable ones to verify that the person actually lives where they say they do, tied in to our social security and voter database.

Boy the transhumanist libertarians don't like that idea though. They think only smart people should be able to have security, and dumb people deserve to have their identity stolen. Just wait till it happens to them!

Dale Carrico said...

There is no real problem of in-person voter impersonation -- indeed, the highest proportion of almost non-existing voter fraud involves mail-in ballots. I do think post offices can continue to manage their services -- even the expanded ones entertained here, check-cashing, minor savings and loans, passports, notarizing, voter ID, and so on -- without lugging retina scanners or blood tests and all the rest of that techno-fetishizing paranoia-propagating nonsense into the picture. I agree that identity fraud is a problem -- but it seems to me a problem primarily resulting from the ubiquity of corporate surveillance and lots of misinformed consumers. Consumer protection should be more of a public priority, as cracking down on corporate criminality should also be. As I have written extensively elsewhere -- check out the pieces collected under the "surveillance" topic in the Superlative Summary available at the sidebar -- I think privacy concerns tend to be misframed, and that it is not so much our exposure to scrutiny that is a problem as the circumscription and control over interpretations of what is exposed that threatens privacy. By all means read those arguments and criticize them as you will.