Don't laugh. This is exactly the problem I had with my
german identity card.

In Germany, you are required to possess either an identity card 
or a passport once you reach the age of 16. If you're younger you
can just have a children's passport in case you need for travelling. 

Usually applying for an ID card is not a problem at all.

For reasons far beyond cryptography my father chose an
unusual given name for me, one that was usual in around the 8th-10th
century. He named me Hadmut. Most people in Germany have never heard
that name before and don't believe, that this name exists. There is
another name, Hartmut, which is ethymologically different, but sounds
similar. Therefore, most people assume that my name is just
misspelled and would correctly be Hartmut. 

When we moved to a different town some years ago, someone made a
mistake in the municipal register, and entered 'Hartmut' instead of
'Hadmut', obviously because he or she believed it was misspelled.

When I applied for an ID card after my 16th birthday, they told me
that they can't issue one, because my children's passport said my
given name is 'Hadmut', while the register said that I am 'Hartmut'. 

Whoever I decided to be, I would not receive an ID card before I could
prove which of both I am. They asked me to bring a certified copy of
my birth certificate. For reasons even more beyond cryptography, that
copy was lost years ago. So I had to go to the registry office where I
was born to get another copy. Fortunately, this was just 20 minutes by
bicycle away. 

For privacy reasons, you can't just go to a registry office and ask
for anyone's birth certificate. You have to proof your identity - with
your ID card. Exactly that circular problem as mentioned in the
posting.

But when I explained that circular problem, they checked by phone with
the town's registry office and gave me the copy of the birth
certificate without an ID card to solve the problem.


But nevertheless, I do not understand why americans are so afraid of
an ID card. It has by far more advantages than disadvantages, and
actually the US driving license is already a kind of ID card. And
whenever I enter the US, I have to give the fingerprints of my index
fingers and they take a picture of me. That's worse than an ID card. 

Remember the PGP signing party at the 1994 IETF meeting in San Jose? 
Several participants who had never seen me before did sign my PGP key 
after I showed them my german ID card (including Perry). 


Funny side effect: Since most americans don't know that we have ID
cards in germany the card is almost always believed to be a driving
license in the US. 

regards
Hadmut  

(currently in Boston, MA, after giving fingerprints at the 
airport immigration)






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