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I tried to search for past threads on this, as I’m sure they’re here, but the darn search function won’t let me search for 3-character keywords; I wish that would get fixed – it’s not the first time that’s been a nuisance.

At any rate, much is said in official sourcebooks about what a SIN *contains*, but not the form it takes. I have difficulty imagining it as a purely digital file/license. I’m looking at it from the point of view of the legal authorities who issue them. If it’s essentially just a file / digital certificate that’s copied onto your commlink, well, how do you prove it’s *you* that’s copying it onto the commlink? What happens when you lose your commlink? Can you just copy the file onto a new one? Because if it’s this easy, there’s nothing to stop anyone from making 10,000 copies of their SIN and passing them out as party favors if they feel like it. You can try biometric access to control the copying and declare a “1 SIN on an active device at a time” rule, but if you say you lost your commlink, how exactly do you prove that? If you say you lost it, and that’s enough to get you an authorization for a new file download whatever central authority, then even a 5-year-old can tell that the potential to have more than 1 active SIN copy at a given time is huge. But if you *don’t* do that, then if someone really *does* lose their commlink (and they will, periodically throughout their lives), then you’re not allowing someone to have the valid ID you want them to display walking down the street.

My solution was to declare that all SINs are high-tech Driver’s Licenses in a government-proprietary format mini-data-card form, and that all commlinks will have an integrated slot reserved for just this mini-data-card. The core pieces of a person’s identity will be permanently burned onto one of the chips on this card, unalterable, at whatever factory presses them out under government contract with high security. Other areas of the card would be open for controlled/authorized read/write access (new medical history entries, etc.). If lost, you would have visit the DMV (or wherever) and pay to get a new one, and the unique ID of the old one would be flagged in the government’s central ID database as lost/stolen/invalid.

This would seem more secure to me than just a file that could be copied.

Your thoughts?
I feel obligated to respond since I asked pretty much the same question just a couple days ago!
Nobody's been able to find anything hard and fast RAW (that they shared with me), but this is what my group decided on:

Your SIN is all the information about you available to most of the world's official agencies ala cloud storage. Your ID is a sim-card like chip that you plug into a commlink for PAN purposes.
If you lose your commlink and you have a legal SIN, you can go to the Super Hi Tech DMV, they'll run biometrics, and 6-8 weeks later a new SIN may or may not show up in the mail.

So.. exactly your idea, except the info is also stored in the matrix for retrieval purposes / cross reference.

Edit: Page 96 of Unwired mentions "stripping" an ID of biometrics so it can be resold on the black market. From what I understand, most fake SINs out there are just stolen IDs changed to have your biometrics and whatever terrible name you came up with on the spot. (My Cyborg is "Sean Conner.")
There seems to be a lot of identity theft in the sixth world.
Well, I always thought of it as purely the "System Identification Number" - just a number, nothing else. But as it's connected to a ton of databases, among them plenty with biometric information, you can't just take another SIN for yourself.
I feel obliged to point out that the big problem of the Crash 2.0 was people's SINs suffering critical existence failure. So, physical media are right out, since any physical media a SIN would come on would be the sort of thing a government would want to be read-only; even the crash worm can't wipe that.

Really, I think your SIN is purely digital these days, unless you have one that dates back to the '30s or early '40s. Remember, we use the generic term for it, but there's nothing generic about your SIN - an Ares SIN is likely to have a completely different alphanumeric structure to a UCAS SIN... Okay, bad example, Ares SINs likely have exactly the same structure as a UCAS SIN - an Ares SIN has a completely different structure from, say, a Yamatetsu SIN, or an Amazonia SIN, or an NAN SIN.

In the 2070s, when you're broadcasting your SIN, your commlink is saying "This is who I am; here's my SIN to prove it." Most places don't care if you're not who you say you are, they just care that you're not trying to ghost around electronically: Club Infinity doesn't give a toss if your SIN is fake as the third Mona Lisa that's gone on sale on the auction house this month, they just want you to be not-hidden so their systems have an idea of where you are (and, with whatever data profile you have gathered, so their auto-advertisers can offer you a drink that's like the drinks you've bought in the past, first drink 30% off.) So they only have a Rating 1 SIN - same with Stuffer Shack, etcetera. Rating 1 is probably the least they can get away with having by law, because they don't care that your Troll who speaks like the half-wit offspring of George of the Jungle and Mungo really isn't Matthew Upton III, they only care that his nuyen is good. Police stations, on the other hand, are where they're going to have those damn Rating 6 ones, because they actually do care, and any place or application where you're asking for a line of credit, suddenly the Rating 3-4 scanners come out. (Club Infinity doesn't care that you're not Matthew Upton III, until you try to run a tab in his name; this is likely to be waived if you're using a SIN that has established good credit with that person in the past, mind you, as long as you're not obviously not the guy.)
ShadowDragon pretty much hits it on the head methinks. biggrin.gif

Though I've always thought of it as a sim-card like item that associates with your ID number sort of thing. Makes it slightly easier to keep track of.

In the 50's you had a credstick that was about the size of a pen that held your SIN & licenses and such. With the ubiquitous nature of commlinks now, it does make some sense that it would be able to be a chip that you can plug into your commlink like one would a sim card in present day cell/smart phones. Would make it really easy for the wageslave to swap chips when they get that new [insert brand name here] model commlink, rather than having to go through who knows how many kilometers of red tape to get the forms turned in that you got a new commlink.
Based on a few scrabs of info, conjecture, and "how would I do it?" I'd say the SIN you carry around and broadcast is really just a number. That number acts as a "file number" for the data held at the SIN registry. If somebody wants to verify a SIN, they query the registry with the number and some biometrics taken from the person presenting that number, and get told if both match.

The BBB also says that "[t]he actual numbers that compose a SIN are generated by a complex formula from several pieces of personal data. What this means is that law enforcement officials can determine your birthdate, state or country of origin, citizenship, and initials from your SIN." So I imagine it like the German ID card number, which is a conglomerate of birthdate, expiry date, issuing authority, nationality, and a couple of checksums and sequential numbers...and I just realized mine expired last year, thanks DS biggrin.gif
ShadowDragon8685 and Sengir explain it best I think. If you have a tablet, think about how it associates itself with your online ID today, like your gmail account and everything that ties into.
QUOTE (ShadowDragon8685 @ Feb 7 2013, 12:04 PM) *
Really, I think your SIN is purely digital these days, unless you have one that dates back to the '30s or early '40s. Remember, we use the generic term for it, but there's nothing generic about your SIN - an Ares SIN is likely to have a completely different alphanumeric structure to a UCAS SIN... Okay, bad example, Ares SINs likely have exactly the same structure as a UCAS SIN - an Ares SIN has a completely different structure from, say, a Yamatetsu SIN, or an Amazonia SIN, or an NAN SIN.

There is the Global SIN Registry (GSINR), a department of the Corporate Court that sets technical standards for the SIN system. Corporations are legally required by the CC/GSINR to use a common SIN format, and national governments also use that format either out of necessity or convenience.
Pepsi Jedi
I figure it's alot like social security numbers these days. You might have a physical card with your number on it but that's just a peice of paper. the number itself is in the databases with all the information attached to it. In SR chances are you have it on your comlink and all but you also likely have it on a card or paperwork at home too. Many if not most governmental things are digital in SR but they still have hardcopy for some stuff. Your SIN is going to get written on all those forms and such.
The last time I saw one of these threads, I put together System Identification Number at the Shadowrun Wikia

A SIN is an alpha-numeric sequence around 12–18 symbols in length. Basically a U.S. style Social Security Number, but longer and not limited just to the digits 0–9.

In the Matrix, the SIN is linked to the databases of its issuing authority (and the subjects bank, employer, etc.), where the subjects file includes everything the issuing authority is authorized to track about its citizens. How much of that file you get access to when you check a SIN varies by both who is checking and the rating of the check.

In the ID carried by a person, the SIN is linked to a copy of the biometric identification information in the issuing database.

If the entry in the issuing database is erased, the person might still have their ID with their SIN on it, but with no corroborating database entry, the SIN is now unverifiable rendering the person "SINless"

A working fake ID is a carried ID with real biometric details and a fake/stolen SIN. As long as the details added to the related databases by the hacker who created the fake contain enough detail, the ID passes the check.
I like your solution.

With regards to how to prove you lose your commlink, you don't. The sixth world is a horrible and authoritarian dystopia. If you can't hack it, lay down in the street and die.
I'm a fan of all seven, myself. wink.gif
There are tons of IC and OOC examples in books of people's SINs, and insofar as I remember, they do all share the same basic format. I'd echo the Soc. Sec. analogy. Which leads me to pointing out that the lack of real, definitive info on SINs in the books is a problem...I realize it's a far more advanced system than SS, but I've not had an SS card for over five years, during which I worked various jobs and did all kinds of other things you're not supposed to be able to do without one...and had them mail me a new one which never arrived over three times. Which is a problem, as technically speaking you can only have it reissued five times per lifetime. And for those of you who aren't Americans, it's like, literally a piece of paper, you could probably forge one with a printer and Photoshop Elements.

Many folks have played games where SINs never even came up, and tons of sourcebooks completely overlook them, yet every time they're brought up in the books they're treated as if they're functionally equivalent to a soul. They should make a dedicated SIN sourcebook, even if just to make lots and lots of puns about the word "sin." Or more likely a long, dedicated, clear chapter. Including an explanation of exactly how the universal attitude towards the number that's supposed to define you in The System went from being something incredibly lacking in security to something so tight. And cool full-color artwork of the riots that broke out when all the rightfully-paranoid folk exploded in rage over it.
I kind of like this idea, especial the riot artwork. Full bloody colour. biggrin.gif
I just thought of something... isn't one of Shadowrun Online's kickstarter rewards a Saeder-Krupp SIN with your picture on it? This could be because it's... y'know, a reward for The NowTimes, or because the game's set in the Future-Past, but...

I second the idea that there should be a book dedicated to SINs, fake IDs, terrible puns, and awesome art. ...or that such a chapter be included in the 5th Ed source book.
QUOTE (Dunkelzahn’s Will)
To the bearer of SIN 5T2G-8U6V-PK02: present yourself to the Draco Foundation on any Wednesday between 10:00 and 10:15 a.m., and the Foundation will grant you one wish. This offer stands good for one year from the day of my death. I believe the saying is, be careful what you wish for—you may well get it.
And now we know what a SIN looks like! biggrin.gif
Pre-crash SIN not valid argument!
QUOTE (CanRay @ Feb 11 2013, 12:10 PM) *
*Cough*And now we know what a SIN looks like! biggrin.gif

The simple wish: "I want 10,000,000 nuyen.gif in certified credsticks."
Whenever you're in a "be careful what you wish for" situation, cold hard cash is usually the safest bet.
"I want a trust fund that will maintain a High lifestyle for me, in the place and manner of my choosing, for the rest of my natural life, plus one hundred years."
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