Apologies for ( potentially ) off-topic response,
but as it involves, at least tangentially:
- 'remote trust'
- secure vs. non-secure transactions
- identity 'proof'
- legal requirements for identification
- verification of message senders/recipients

it may be partially crypto-relevant.

> "A certified copy of your original birth certificate?"
> "Haven't had one since I was born, fifty years ago.  And since I was
> born about 1500 miles from here, getting one is no small task."
> Fine, I'll just order the birth certificate and get it over with, right?
> Wrong.  New York wants affirmative proof of identity for a copy now:
> passport or your [missing] original birth certificate.  Anyone else
> see a circular problem here?

No, I don't.

I recently obtained ( for the first time ever ) a certified copy of my
New York birth certificate, without ever leaving my house, entirely
by a not-in-person no-ID-required internet transaction at this site:

For $20.50, ( $15.00 to NY City Department of Health, $5.50 to 'vitalchek' ),
in less than three weeks, I had a correct, accurate copy of my New York
'certification of birth', suitable for framing, passport applications, or
provision to government agents in response to the classic:
"Zeigen Sie mir sofort Ihre Papiere!"

The amount of identifying information I supplied in filling out the
( not visibly secure ) web form included only information
generally available to anyone who knows me or my family,
or any credit card company, bank, or prior employer who has
ever had me fill out an application form.  ( Not to mention credit
reporting agencies, or anyone else who can afford to spend a few
dollars to order a copy of my credit report )

Now, as it happens, I really was who I claimed to be, and I really
was born in New York on the date and in the place I claimed,
but I have no idea how ( or whether ) any attempt was ever made
to verify my identity.  It also happens to be true that a phone
book reverse search of my mailing address would yield a telephone
number listing belonging to someone with a name not remotely similar
to mine, and I used my wife's credit card to pay for the transaction.

A single counter-example to the claim that "New York wants affirmative
proof of identity for a copy now" does not alter the underlying
point that the (privilege?) of anonymity is rapidly dwindling away,
but I must say that, for me, the situation has not yet deteriorated
beyond repair.

best regards,


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