1993-03-01 - Re: Real life pseudonyms (was re: more ideas on anonymity)

Header Data

From: wcs@anchor.ho.att.com (Bill_Stewart(HOY002)1305)
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: d20672336a2b919c53157e252abc386befafb9fb18ea166ef021d48c50fbacfb
Message ID: <9303010106.AA15307@anchor.ho.att.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1993-03-01 01:06:13 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 28 Feb 93 17:06:13 PST

Raw message

From: wcs@anchor.ho.att.com (Bill_Stewart(HOY002)1305)
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 93 17:06:13 PST
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: Re:  Real life pseudonyms (was re: more ideas on anonymity)
Message-ID: <9303010106.AA15307@anchor.ho.att.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text

Jordan Hayes incorrectly (IMHO) states that "Banking and Tax regulations provide
solid legal ground for requiring banks to verify identity and tax status in tehe 
US."  There are really two halves to the problem:
- accounts paying interest - this is taxable, so they DO need your SSN,
	and you even have to tell them if they should do backup withholding.
	So you can have multiple accounts under different names if you're
	energetic about it, but they'll have the same SSN if you've only got 1.
	So of course the IRS will know.
- non-interest-paying checking accounts - remember those, from long ago ? :-)
	You could probably legally run a bank that didn't require SSNs 
	for these, though most banks don't.
	I haven't read through the immense pile of bank laws to find out
	what it takes to become a bank, or how much you can do if you're
	not a registered bank.

As far as "true names" go, in some states in the US, you can use any name
you want unless it's for fraudulent purposes, e.g. California ;
in other states they have this racket called "legally changing your name",
where you have to convince a government honcho to let you rename yourself,
with the implication that all your future transactions will happen under
your _new_ true name; New York and New Jersey are into this sort of thing.

(Offering a "name registration service" is a different game entirely,
though the free market is less likely to do so if there's a government
service already provided that you *have* to use for some purposes.)

Some places make it easier than others to build up ID under a new name;
the people I've known in the acting profession haven't had much trouble,
and if you're young and keeping the same first name, the line 
"my parents were divorced and I used the other name when I lived there"
seems to work fine; if you're female and keeping the same first name
you can mumble something about your first husband or maiden name.
In either case, the SS number is usually something you're stuck with,
so you just have to avoid using it when you can.

# Bill Stewart    wcs@anchor.ho.att.com  +1-908-949-0705 Fax-4876
# AT&T Bell Labs, Room 4M-312, Crawfords Corner Rd, Holmdel, NJ  07733-3030