A call for technological solutions to crime


The goals and objectives of this page are

Social or legislative solutions to crime are outside the scope of this page. Examples would include the topic of gun control or decriminalization of drugs. I am not talking about the laws per se.

Technological mechanisms which would greatly reduce crime include the following. This will be tough for many people to accept, but please give it a fair hearing: :

Fix the money system

Fix the personal ID system

America is ready for this

The opponents (ourselves) are scurrilous rascals!

Musings on the need for privacy

So let's do it voluntarily



Abolish paper money, and stop anonymous commerce

  1. All paper money and coins are abolished. (At one stroke, most muggings and robberies will stop.)
  2. Citizens are free to choose any bank, cash card or other mechanism. A vigorous competition in debit and credit cards, electronic and internet banking, already exists. These are proven and mature technologies.
  3. However, every citizen is required to have exactly one bank account number, assigned at birth, such as their social security number. You can choose any bank you want, or change banks--but your national bank number stays the same. (It would be preposterous for an adult to turn up at a bank and try to create a new NBA account without a history.)
  4. All payments between separate entities are required to be executed through their National Bank Account. (This does not limit your freedom at all. Every financial institution would quickly make it very easy to transfer thru the NBA accounts.) You could have as many other bank or investment accounts as desired --but they could only execute deposits or withdrawals via your NBA account. They could not pay/receive money to 3rd parties.
  5. Banks prohibited from posting transactions to/from NBA accounts without highly secure identity mechanisms. It would be illegal for a bank to allow transactions anonymous or lacking proper ID.
  6. Protections of Privacy built in, from the ground up, under full glare of public scrutiny.

With all of the wealthy and elites included in the system, it would have strong measures to prevent police abuses, just as we have with wiretaps, drunk driving laws and the rest.

Basically, a criminal could not buy so much as a loaf of bread, let alone drugs, without having legitimate money in his National Bank Account. He could not rob anybody because nobody would have money. Even if he stole your gold watch, he could not get any money for it. He could sell it to any individual, for a direct personal NBA payment. But if he were ever caught for anything, the police would have a complete record of all the people who ever bought anything from him, by reading his bank account! There would be noplace else to stash his "money". Therefore, nobody would ever knowingly buy stolen goods.

Consider credit card fraud: there would be no credit card other than your National ID. To make a credit card purchase you would tell the vendor your NBA number and "charge my VISA", and your ID would be sent to the VISA system to see if you have a credit card account.

A criminal could steal your ID Card, but if he didn't kill you, he couldn't use it for very long. Even if he knew your PIN number, his biological wouldn't fit and he might be immediately detected. He would have to be crazy to carry around the ID card with a radio beacon, after robbing you!

Do you get the picture? This would be the end of almost all types of crimes against property. Law enforcement would be a matter of tedious work, by clerks of low intelligence, who would always win. It would be similar to trying to defeat the IRS, except that you'd go to jail for 10 years.

If criminals could not do things without being identified, they would not break the law:

  1. Every citizen would have a National ID number. Big deal--you already have one.
  2. You would also have a National ID card with a smart chip on it, with a personal electronic signature protected by highly secure encryption. Every National ID card would also have a radio beacon that could be picked up at some reasonable distance like 10 meters. Every product in the department store has a beacon, so why not your wallet? The cards would have photocells and if they went dead, you would leave it in the sun a few minutes. If your card went dead, no problem--you just couldn't buy anything, and if you tried to start your car, enter your house, etc. an alarm would be signalled.
  3. Your National ID card would also contain biological metrics (iris scan, fingerprint, retina, photo, etc.)
  4. It would be possible for sensors all over town to log permanent listings of personal IDs, dates and times of each card detected nearby. These computers may perhaps generate a message with a digital photo to the police, whenever any large animal passed without a valid ID card. (You could do this easy, with a PC, an internet connection, and some cheap sensors and attachments.)
  5. Every vehicle would have a highly secure electronic ID beacon built into several locations of the frame and engine. The roads and intersections would record every date, time and location for every vehicle that passes, and scan its license plate number. At various locations, equipment might signal an alarm and transmit a digital photo to the police, whenever a vehicle passed without a valid ID beacon.

Imagine that somebody has been killed, or a child molested: it would be a fairly simple matter to download all the data for the geographic area and identify everybody who has been there. There would be many digitized photos on tape, of many passersby. A criminal would have to go to such exertions to defeat the technology, hardly any of them could succeed. If they were that smart they would be doing some other hustle such as real estate, banking, or tort law.

A criminal would have to be awfully smart and well-connected to have fake IDs. Technologically sophisticated criminal organizations might make fake IDs. But criminal organizations would lose, in any head-on technology contest with military and business encryption experts. Naturally there would be skirmishes but it would be a losing battle, similar to counterfeit currency today. Nobody succeeds for long, within the territorial U.S. even with present currency being nothing but a dumb piece of printed paper.

The data itself, regarding movements of people and vehicles, would be deeply encrypted at source, and technological means would be enforced to ensure that the uses of the data were limited to the minimum required for tasks at hand. For example, if the 7-11 is required to know your age is over 21 to buy wine, the card would divulge only the YES/NO answer and nothing further. As a result, personal privacy would actually increase in most everyday dealings.


Secrecy advocates - living in the past

Let's face it-- the majority of people recoil in terror at this picture, fearing the concentration of power that it would give to the government. People have lasting memories of nazism in Germany, totalitarianism in Russia, communism in China, etc. Everybody seems to agrees that people are base animals, and genocide will occur again.

The genocide thing, and the totalitarian thing, don't happen anymore, except very special circumstances. In Bosnia you have populations in hatred, which mirror each other. Their hatred depends on the other ethnic group. These populations learned the wrong lesson from 1,000 years being overrun by Turks, Christians, Moslems, etc. African countries experiencing genocide have profoundly ignorant populations which are also totally different from the American culture.

Totalitarianism will never happen in the information age, in America. Americans would never agree to such monstrous actions by their government. Americans have vastly more personal honesty and courage as individuals. Americans will speak out in public, and are ultimately prepared to defend their liberty against the government, or anybody else, even if it costs them their lives. Let's tap into these tremendous strengths and exploit our great character!

The totalitarianism of the 1930s happened before television, let alone the internet, fax machines, cellular phones, etc. Nothing like the 1930s could ever happen in such secrecy again. And yet, even in the 1930s, even in the socialist-oriented Europeans managed to suck up their guts and fight it.

The 1930s were a historical aberration based on the sudden appearance of unlimited warfare and weapons of mass destruction. It won't happen again because of the universal spread of nuclear weapons and the very widespread understanding of the results of unconditional warfare, particularly among the, ahem, elite ruling classes.

The elites in America profoundly influence American politics to this day, just as European, Asian and Russian elites control theirs. The American elites would push us into ground war in the middle east in 2 seconds, for example, if oil supplies were at stake. But our American elites do not want unlimited warfare, and they will certainly never put up with a government of thugs that threaten their interests.

Totalitarianism will never happen in America if all of the elites in America are required to be included in the system.



The real reason most people resist the National ID and technological control of money, is that most people want to cheat:

  1. The wealthy and powerful who dominate public policy, generally want to cheat on their taxes, any way possible and would do it in 2 seconds if they knew they wouldn't get caught.
  2. Substantial numbers of middle class also want to cheat on their taxes.
  3. At least 10 million recreational drug users, who would get up early in the morning and fight all day long, to protest techonological advances in law enforcement.
  4. Many people want to cheat somebody financially, or already have. There are fifty million people who owe somebody some money, or have disputed balances with somebody, or dream of stealing or "winning a lottery".
  5. Many people are already fugitives from criminal or civil authorities.
  6. There are fifty million divorced dads, or dads who wished they were divorced, who might want to cheat on alimony or child support.
  7. There are fifty million other people who want to conceal many aspects of their purchasing history and daily activities from their spouse, neighbor, employer, or anybody else, and continue with those behaviors.

We are still living in an age of dishonesty, both to ourselves and to each other. There are so many unresolved and unreconcilable civil conflicts, that it would be explosive to expose them all. They act like a continuous, economic tax which is so substantial, it forces us into larceny to make ourselves whole.

Many civil conflicts continue without resolution or confrontation only because one of the opposing parties has run away, or managed to conceal certain facts. These conflicts tend to expire into oblivion, only by passage of time-- added to the oppressive knot of general, mindless frustration.


Privacy obsession and its causes

We are still living in an age of shame over our sexual preferences and many other personal realities. Many people have an unreasoning need for privacy because they either cannot accept things about themselves, or are sick and tired of dealing with criticism. We would rather go to our graves never understood, unvindicated.

Citizens concerned about solving murders and other major crimes will never get anyplace in a head-on confrontation with peoples' sense of privacy. Society isn't ready for it. Society won't be ready for it for a long time, perhaps centuries.

The single most significant, key constraint blocking the new data networks, is privacy. The technological solutions to crime are being sacrificed on the altar of privacy. This is so ironic, because the networks will actually accelerate the resolution of conflicts. The acceptance of diversity because it will be so very undeniable. The networks will relieve much of human misery, in forcing what was secret into the light of day.

An interesting fact to consider is that systems already exist, which disseminate only "Yes/No" answers out of a private database without compromising privacy at all. For example, the liquor store operator could only obtain the answer whether the card holder is over 21, not the person's name or address. We would achieve, in many respects, greater privacy than today under such a system.

But the irony of this "Privacy" issue is that so much of what people imagine to be secret is already known by the other party.

The other party has already figured out who you really are, and forgiven you, and factored it into their whole contract for living with you. Companies managers already know their employees, spouses know their husbands and wives, and the banks and government agencies can already know most of whatever they want to know. Now, in the age of information, finally, the last remaining people will come to know: the ignorant will come to know. Is that O.K., people? It could be the end of exploitation based on tricks. The end of manipulation by concealment of facts.


The Radical Openness Society - are you ready?

The irony of technological solutions to crime is that they are intrinsically nonviolent and non-coercive. They are based completely on information and data. Coersion is completely irrelevant.

In fact, the entire range of technological solutions could be effected on a voluntary basis. As members in a free society we have already surrendered the right to steal, extort or rob. Why not take the pledge, and carry a sensor? If more and more people did this, there would be fewer and fewer criminals and they'd stick out more.

I advocate forming new organization, where you would receive the ID card, single account, stop using cash, etc. You might also receive a computer and a full-time internet connection, with a few security sensors to plant in your front yard to capture digital photos of passing cars and people. What's wrong with that? What's wrong with not carrying cash? What's wrong with voluntarily publishing your digital ID, and doing all transactions through a single bank account?

What would be wrong with civilized people in the consensual economy, stiffing all the criminals and thieves, and preventing them from getting any of our food, housing, or other economic products? Let them build their own worthless economy.