Editorial on Ellison, McNealy, and national ID card

Jim Whitehead ejw@cse.ucsc.edu
Thu, 25 Oct 2001 11:00:40 -0700

> _But they don't have different primary keys._ This is what the "Fight
> the big DB!" camp doesn't get. There doesn't need to be a big DB,
> there just needs to be a lot of little DBs that use the same GUID.

There is a *lot* of information in the complete DNA sequence of a person.
You don't need the entire sequence to get a GUID. Different databases can,
and should, use different GUID generators. Unless everyone standardizes on a
common sampling and GUID generation technique, the primary keys *will* be

> The real question is "What do we want to see happen with that
> capability." Anyone singing the song of "Lets keep this from
> happening" is just laying more cement into the Maginot line. Its
> happened. Its over. There is a national ID system, there is a global
> ID system in fact, and using it, any two arbitrary databases anywhere
> in the world and do a merge to come up with a single match.

The scenario you describe is not cast in stone. In theory, every
firefighter, EMT, and police officer with a radio should be able to
communicate with each other. In practice, achieving this goal has required a
lot of work.  We could divide the genome into "frequency bands" and require
by law that each separate database use a different band (aka, location in
the sequence) as their GUID.

- Jim