Monday, March 17, 2008

Let's Nationalize an Industry

My reputation as a liberal might be shaky, given some of my posts (those I've posted, and even more the ones I drafted but didn't complete). So let me redeem it by proposing a good old-fashioned nationalization. (For those too young to remember, "nationalization" is when the government takes over a corporation or an industry. Britain just nationalized Northern Rock (a bank) rather than let it go under.)

I'm prompted by this article, on loss of individual data. The reality is you won't have 100 percent compliance with any rule about protecting personal data, whether by government agencies or corporations. It just won't happen until the hard drive manufacturers and database vendors get together and use Moore's law (increasing efficiency of electronics) to deliver hardware/software packages that automatically encrypt all data. That is, until data protection becomes automatic and not something people have to decide to do.

So, what the government should do is nationalize, and its competitors. See this post. Much of what does is to build on existing government mostly. Assuming the service works, I'd have the government provide the coverage to everyone. If it's the government's job to provide for national security, cushion the blows of unemployment, provide a currency, etc. etc., I'd also make it responsible for guaranteeing against financial loss due to identity thief of SSN, name and address.

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