Hanging them with their own rope

A biometric login for your computer is useful and very cool. A biometric database of 9 million Jews with pictures, fingerprints, name, date of birth, national identification number, and family members is a target.

From 1933 through the early 1940’s IBM made a lot of money helping the Germans collect, sort, and distribute that sort of data.

That target was hit and is now available for free download.

Think about the implications before you advocate for a National ID card or the mandating of ID in order to be functioning member of society. Giving up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety has known consequences.

Update: Tamara knocks it out of the park.


5 thoughts on “Hanging them with their own rope

  1. Only with IBM’s technologic assistance was Hitler able to achieve the staggering numbers of the Holocaust.

    Proof that the Russians and Chinese are superior to the Germans–they didn’t need any high-falutin’ adding machines to kill way more people than the Nazis did.

  2. I’m not sure if I would take that as proof of superiority. Sure, they killed way more people, but they also had way more people to kill. I have sometimes wondered how high of a percentage of the population each of these “societies” destroyed.

    Which doesn’t lessen the horrors, of course. In addition to all the murders and tortures committed to “ensure” that the Master Plan will work, there are the millions of families who starve, but don’t quite die, because the Master Plan most definitively DOES NOT work. It’s truly heinous when someone has a vision so important it has to be forced on those who want no part in it–and this is true, whether the vision is religious or secular.

    Now, back on topic: This is one reason why I’ve become opposed to government-issued ID, of any type (and that includes records of gun sales). I do not like the idea of Government having access to information on individuals. And I’m not convinced that we need ID to function as society.

    Oh, sure, our bank needs to have a way to identify that I’m “Joe Blow”, to make sure that no one else withdraws money from the account–but there’s no reason why the bank can’t issue its own identity to me. And what does it matter if my name is really John Smith, so long as I have access to my money, and no one else does?

    Indeed, I have come to realize that one of the HUGE reasons why illegal immigration is such a problem, is that those who come here illegally, seeking a better life, have to have some sort of “identity” to work–and since they came here from other countries without a “formal” identity, they have to steal one. Hopefully, when they make up a Social Security Number, it will be invalid, but too often it’s not.

    While we blame the illegal immigrants for “identity theft”, the real problem is that we’ve simply made it nearly impossible to work without having an ID–and I have come to realize that this ought to be considered intolerable. But it’s tolerated!

    I wish I could remember the name for the special group, but there’s a good historical model we can use as an alternative to ID. A dozen Saxons would form a group, and that group would be responsible for each others’ debts, and if one in the group did something illegal, it was the responsibility of the other eleven to find him and bring him to justice. The group was free to accept or reject any new member into it, and if someone was misbehaving, the group was free to kick that individual out. Unfortunately, the Normans bastardized this, by forming groups of ten that were forced to be together, which in turn, encouraged misbehavior, because responsibility was diffused among ten people who had no recourse.

  3. @perlhaqr, I realize your comment was mostly in jest but another thing to consider is that one might claim the Germans were more selective than the Russians and the Chinese. But you are correct, the quoted sentence is exaggeration.

    I don’t know a lot about the Chinese purges but I have read a fair amount about the Soviet Union events. They murdered people with even just a hint (justified or not) of disloyalty. And entire geographical areas were targeted for extermination. You don’t need tabulating machines to do that.

  4. Alpheus: Lack of a sarcasm and irony font strikes again. :/ I do not in any way think that actually makes the Soviets or Chinese superior. I have nothing but the greatest disdain for all their accomplishments in these matters.

    Joe: Sure. And the Germans did it faster than the Soviets, too.

    My comment was pure riffing off the quoted material from the linked article. No endorsement for genocide on any scale or biometric IDs intended. 🙂

  5. To see the possible use of national databases, read The Handmaid’s Tale. Don’t bother with the film, though it is disturbing enough.

    As to Chinese vs Soviet death tolls… the Holodomor in the 1920s… Soviets killed 11 million Ukrainians, by the simple method of 1) taking all their food and 2) having the march long distances, cross country in winter. (Freezing them to death.) Though the apologists like to downplay the number because rags like the NYTime didn’t report on it. (They wanted Communism to succeed and were sure this was just a first misstep.) Chinese numbers are harder to get your hands on. But between the Great Leap Forward, The Cultural Revolution, and a series of purges in the 1960s that didn’t get names, they are probably much beyond the 11 millions of the Soviets. (Not that the Soviet number is 11 million. The Holodomor was practically Stalin’s first act after coming to power. There was much more later on.)

    There are more instances in other countries. Exterminating groups of people – or at least chasing them to the border with torches and pitchforks, seems to happen with depressing regularity.

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