Savage Reich Star Tech #3.1: ID Papers/Cards
Since the early 1990s, technology has advanced considerably – smart phones, smart cars, and smart TVs. I am not sure we could have seen any of that coming. Given the advancement, how would we expect it to advance in 50 years and at the same time, overlay the perspective of the Axis powers winning the war. Although different, I still think it would be similar. Similar but more Orwellian.
I think Germany would be much more efficient at a “paperless” society. The motivation would be different but effect the same. I do not see the Nazis trying to “save the trees”, unless it is just another political smoke screen to increase political opinion. Not to overuse a word but there would be more Orwellian reasons for doing that. In the core Reich Star rulebook (remembering that it was set in 2134) it covers the use of a passport to travel between colonies.
The appearance of passports are similar to credit cards, with visual information stating nationality, expiration date, name, date and place of birth, height, weight, profession, and photo. This passport card is also a “smartcard” that can be inserted and read in a smartcard reader by Customs and Immigration. – p 158
To be honest, given our current perspective on technology, I would imagine that this would be integrated into the futuristic version of the smart phone or some kind of personal data device. Or perhaps a personal data chip implant. A physical copy probably would have been phased out in the 20th century.
Commonly called Tag-Chips, Tags, or Chips, both the Reich and the Empire have their own (inter-compatible) version. By the late 21st Century, everything is linked to these cards – from finances to medical records, identification/passports to criminal record. They are not easy to forge but they can be hacked if you have the money and the technology. A considerable underground has formed around this technology.
ZugangsIDkarte (Access Identity Card or ZIK)
Personal Access and Identity “Card” is actually a smart chip traditionally embedded in the wrist (reminiscent of concentration camp tattoos). It acts as personal identification, passport and money. It also contains personal, medical criminal as well as genetic records of the individual. All are expected to present their wrist when asked by anyone of authority. It used to access public locations, personal and public Netz terminals, as well as private residence.
The ZIK chip technology involves several layers of encryption and data security. It has a primary memory for the scanners to read the data and permanent back-up memory that stores a backup of the personal data in case of corruption or tampering. The backup is under even more layers of encryption and data security. The backup can engage randomly or triggered by a special scanner.
The chip is linked to the person’s own electromagnetic signature so it is impossible to steal without cutting off the limb it is attached to. Even on those cases, the chip is only good for a limited time. This technology has been adopted by all major powers.
Kartenleser (Card Readers)
Card readers can be found at all security check points through out the solar system. Some are manned while others are not. Many areas deem low security risk areas simply have unmanned automatic readers that have a direct line to the authorities. Most have robotic surveillance somewhere near by as well. It is illegal to bypass the readers, and this is an offense punishment by a prison sentence, at least. In the Reich, it is common practice implant the readers into kyperhunds. The kyberhunds are programmed to attack if a bad chip is read.
Every time someone passes through, the data is collected into the government computer systems. A computer system is being developed that will track movement and behavior. Right now, the data is analyzed in part by computers and in part human analysts, which is a very slow process. See Technology Update 2 about the “Aufseher” system.
The Tag Underground & Hacking
It is very difficult to hack a Zugangskarte, but it can be done. They can be forged and reimplanted by black market surgeons at a high cost, but there are some underground hackers that know how to access the existing chip externally and reprogram it with new identification.
They can be hacked in two ways – temporarily or permanently. Temporarily hacking does not require contact with the chip and involves magnetically imprinting a new identity on to the chip. This usually lasts a certain amount of time depending on the strength of the imprinting method. There is risk however, in that the backup can kick in and restore the old identification if it detects a corruption. So the imprinting has to be flawless and instantaneous. However, outside influences can also trigger the backup, including a specific signal from a reader. However, the restore process takes time and is rarely triggered on purpose unless there is absolute need.
Permanent hacking involves a wrist band like device that inserts a needle into the wrist to make contact with the chip. This process can be painful. It access not only the primary memory but also the backup. This is highly illegal and can be detected if the chip is removed and inspected.
There is also a considerable underground surround severed limbs containing chips. It is not uncommon to find bodies in dark alleys or in sewers. Their chips are ripe for the picking if found in time. Chip Scavengers (known as Schneiders in the Reich and Kattas in Nippon) commonly hunt the various locations bodies can be found abandoned to steal these chips by cutting the limbs off and preserving them in specially made containers. The black market pays big money for such items, although their of limited use because eventually the body is discovered, the person is reported missing or the chip burns out.