13 November 2005

Papers Please

Getting prepaid WiFi access cards turned out to be a bureaucratic mess. I tried in vain to get WiFi cards within Seoul; I was eventually forced to return to Incheon Airport, where I am now, to buy the cards.

Due to the APEC summit in Busan this week, the entire nation is in high security mode. I had to show my passport to armed troopers just to enter the airport.

The requirement to use a National ID number for everything, combined with having to show an ID just to enter a facility, makes life a hassle here. It makes South Korea's outstanding WiFi network unavailable to many foreigners, particularly those unlucky enough to land late like I did last night. Moreover, the birthdate and gender information plainly embedded in Korean National IDs gives away information I wouldn't want others to have about me (especially gender). And it's probably a good thing that I am not in my "proper" female presentation right now, because I had been forced to give up the IDs to back them up, and cannot prove my identity in a "Papers Please" society like South Korea.

FYI, I have been to other nations where the law requires carrying a National ID card. But none of them actually went as far as requiring me to actually show an ID just to stroll around or do basic stuff.

I am afraid that the Real ID Act will cause the United States to fall into the same crap. And given the fascist tendencies of the US government right now, that's a scary proposition.