Introducing your Secret Name


The government is going to give you a name. This name will be revealed by the government only to you, and you will have to use it in your dealings with the government.

Wrongdoers will, if they know your real name (slave name, strawman name, all-caps gold-fringe UCC admiralty wingnut name, whatever you call it) and learn your secret name, have a measure of power over you—they’ll be able to make your life more difficult. Your secret name will be seven letters long.

There will be a pattern to a name : the first four letters will identify when and where the name was
issued, and the last three will be issued in sequence—AAA, AAB, AAC,
and so forth. So a malefactor can generate a secret seven-letter name, but it won’t match the real name to which the government has attached it.

You should definitely keep your secret name a secret. But other people can make revealing your secret name a condition of your doing business with them. In fact, many people will make it a condition. You will often have to choose between keeping your name secret and dealing conveniently with modern life.

A preposterous idea, right? There are people that believe in secret names that, if known, can harm them, but those people are “primitive” “savages” while we are civilized. And besides, even if we were to adopt secret seven-letter names that could be used “as a handle by which to injure their owners,” we sure wouldn’t let the government have them, much less assign them. Further, we wouldn’t go sharing them with other people for mere convenience.

Forget the whole thing—these Secret Seven-letter Names will never catch on.

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Note: I chose seven letters not for the sake of the abbreviation, but because, using a 26-letter alphabet, words must have at least seven letters to have as many permutations as a 9-digit number.


9 responses to “Introducing your Secret Name”

  1. There’s always going to be a need for secure identification procedures and there’s always going to be a desire for efficiency. Beyond semi-relevant ranting, do you have a proposal that would do away with the need for social security numbers?

    • Andrew,

      I apologize; I should have administered this correction the last time you made this particular error.

      Your readership of this blog does not obligate me to provide you with “relevance,” “solutions,” “a proposal,” or anything else to which mommy and whatever personality disorder you suffer may have led you to believe you were entitled.

      This blog’s smarter readers will have gotten the point, which you have managed to miss. (You generally seem to miss the point intentionally; I suspect that this time your failure to get the point is inadvertent.)

      Yes, it is the communicator’s obligation to make sure his audience gets the point; unlike in other forums, though, here I have the luxury of choosing my audience and the privilege of removing from it those who don’t belong.

      Goodbye, Andrew.

  2. Your secret name idea is stupid. The space of possible names is so small that a randomly-guessed name has about a 4% chance of belonging to someone in the U.S. And since the first four letters encode information, this this reduces the possible names further and makes it even easier to guess a valid name. Anyone with even a little bit of cryptography training could have told you this.

    And don’t even get me started on the problem with issuing names sequentially. If a malicious person obtains even one valid secret name–such as their own–they could easily find hundreds of others by incrementing or decrementing the last three letters, especially if they actually start with a known value as you indicate.

    Anybody with even an ounce of common sense would have used a longer sequence of letters, and issued them in a random order, making it much harder to invent a valid name from nothing. Of course you should also add a check letter at the end–calculated from the other letters using a simple algorithm–so you can tell if you’ve made a transcription error when manually entering the number without having to check it against a master database. Credit card companies have been doing this sort of thing for decades.

    No one in their right mind would use the system you describe. And if, by chance, they inherited it from an earlier legacy system, they would see the wisdom of replacing it as soon as they can, and they certainly wouldn’t do anything as insane as continuing to use it in an ever-growing array of applications.

  3. We are a major corporation with a well-known brand, providing a service that everyone wants and needs, and which can’t be obtained from anyone significantly different than us. We have 30,000 employees, some of whom work for us for no more than a month or two, and few of whom are vetted beyond their willingness to take the job at the amount we pay. They require no particular education or background, and we provide them with minimal training, sufficient to perform their monkey-like functions.

    You are require to provide our employees with your secret name or you cannot have our service. Our competitors require the same. We put your secret information into our data banks so that we can use it to find ways to get you to use ever-increasing amounts of our services. Our data is available to all of our employees.

    You are safe. You can trust us. We would never abuse your secret name. None of our employees would ever take advantage of the information we have required you to provide us and use it for their own benefit or in any improper way. Never. To prove that this is true, we have a written policy against it.

    Therefore, there is no problem. Carry on.

  4. Your secret name will never be secret.

    You don’t need private companies to lose personal data – Governments do a good enough job on their own:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7103566.stm

    I appreciate that this was only a parochial example involving a mere 25 million people.

    I’m sure your Government won’t be so clumsy.

    Your personal data will be at greater risk if the Government has it.

  5. As a practicing hexakosioihexekontahexaphobe I am comforted to know the secret number algorithm gives us due consideration. There is always a bright side.

  6. Thanks for the good stuff on your secret name. For more check out:

    http://www.yoursecretname.com/

    You have 3 names:

    ?Birth Name–the name assigned to you when you arrived in this world.
    ?Given Names–the names you inherit while walking in this world (positive and negative).
    ?Secret Name–the name granted to you by the One who made you.
    He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.
    – NIV Revelation 2:17

    We all have one–a Secret Name that is. The Bible tells us so. Yet few of us know ours. Ignorantly, we’re stuck, caught up in the “Name Game,” searching for our true identity. Author Kary Oberbrunner takes you deep, past clichés to discover Your Secret Name and the vision God has for your life.

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