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    The story of a bad legacy system (not even any check digits!) that can’t die due to network effects. One gripe:

    Another idea, a national identification card, “creeps people out, because it seems very Orwellian,” Velasquez said.

    The U.S. enacted a national identification card with the REAL ID Act. The program is still being implemented by the states, but it’s a national program with a single standard for data collection, retention, and sharing. When the article says

    The government has tried to lessen our dependence on the Social Security number as the ultimate identifier and authenticator—for example, some states ask for a driver’s license or state ID on income tax forms.

    Almost all of these acceptances were added since the passage of the REAL ID Act because the driver’s license or state ID identifiers are national ID numbers.