1998-08-11 - RE: Internet growth/Passport correlation?

Header Data

From: Duncan Frissell <frissell@panix.com>
To: “Trei, Peter” <cypherpunks@toad.com>
Message Hash: 82a7e107a006c343370642a62eacdac89493d55753d89e77fcf12d065949bcd3
Message ID: <199808111505.LAA21211@mail1.panix.com>
Reply To: <D104150098E6D111B7830000F8D90AE801795D@exna02.securitydynamics.com>
UTC Datetime: 1998-08-11 15:06:18 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 11 Aug 1998 08:06:18 -0700 (PDT)

Raw message

From: Duncan Frissell <frissell@panix.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Aug 1998 08:06:18 -0700 (PDT)
To: "Trei, Peter" <cypherpunks@toad.com>
Subject: RE: Internet growth/Passport correlation?
In-Reply-To: <D104150098E6D111B7830000F8D90AE801795D@exna02.securitydynamics.com>
Message-ID: <199808111505.LAA21211@mail1.panix.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 09:27 AM 8/11/98 -0400, Trei, Peter wrote:

>These days, US passports are good for 10
>years. Thus, about 1/4 of the US population
>has one. To Europeans this may sound like an
>astonishingly low figure, but it's a big 
>country, and a US citizen can visit Mexico 
>and Canada without one.

And the Caribbean.  Passport issuance is increasing by about 18% per annum because of a number of different trends.  International travel is way up, many new citizens want the passport as easy proof of citizenship without the stigma of the naturalization certificate, native-born Americans who now have to frequently present ID are also turning to the passport.  A passport is a single document that can be used to prove identity *and* right to work in the US when filling out the I-9 form for a new job.

>The duration has been rising - my first passport,
>issued in 1965, was good for only two years. This
>was later bumped to 5, and then to 10. Even so, at
>one time I had to visit an embassy to get extra
>pages for visa stamps stapled in.

Kids still get five-year passports.

Even though I naturally oppose government ID requirements, the passport does have certain advantages for those few times when I "need" government ID.  A passport has no useful information on it aside from name and DOB.  There is no address (unless you write one in the "if lost, return to" section.  No SS#.  The Passport number is not linked to many "useful" databases.  It is not part of the DMV social control system that has grown up around the Driver's License.  It is unchallengeable.