SINS in the Sixth World


So what is a SIN? A SIN is your 'Social Identification Number'. It works a great deal like a social security number in the present-day United States. In 2060, however, it functions as a great deal more than that. The SIN databases are unified, so that a SIN issued in one place is considered valid everywhere. It's not only your identifier for the government, it's also your driver's license, the link to any permits you have, the link to your bank accounts — just about everything is indexed by SIN these days. It's also the link to any outstanding warrants you have; to DNA records; to medical records; to just about everything that might be used to catch you.

Types of SINs

There are three basic types of SINs. A 'real' SIN is a fully legal SIN. It represents who you are. It's usually assigned at birth or shortly thereafter. Megacorporations can also grant you SINs as well — the only time it's possible to have more than one Real SIN is when one of them is a real SIN and the other is a Corporate SIN.

A fake SIN is essentially a fake identity. A fake SIN is something you purchase, and it's always illegal. It gives you a new name, a new number, and essentially a blank slate. It carries a rating that indicates how much scrutiny it will stand up to. A rating four SIN will stand up to most normal scrutiny for day-to-day use. However, for heavy stuff, such as applying for a military permit, it might well end up failing the check.

A criminal SIN started out as a Real or Fake SIN, but got attached to a criminal file. Having an existing Criminal SIN indicates you are wanted on some serious charge by that identity. It's the equivalent of being marked a convicted Felon. If you get arrested and don't have an existing SIN, they will cheerfully create a criminal SIN for you to have a convenient cubbyhole to store your criminal record.

What if I Don't Have a SIN (Sinless)?

If you don't have a SIN, then you don't exist according to the corporate machinery. You are, in Orwellian terms, an 'unperson'. This has both advantages and disadvantages. If you're arrested, then theoretically they can simply make you disappear, legally. Having no SIN precludes getting a bank account, renting many apartments, making many purchases. It means you deal in certified credsticks (the 2060 equivalent of cash), or worse, corp scrip. You are a citizen of nowhere, and technically, it's illegal for you to exist. You have no rights.

The disadvantage of having a SIN, of course, is that it makes it far easier for you to get caught. Unless you've paid a decker to erase your real SIN from record — or at least, to alter the fingerprints and DNA — you can very well get caught by that sort of evidence left at the scene, if they take the time. Forensic science in 2060 is very advanced (think Gattica). By having a SIN, you can be linked by that to that apartment you rented, that grocery store where you buy food, your bank accounts, etc.

What Are The Advantages of Fake SINs?

A Fake SIN gives you some of the best of both worlds. Generally when it's set up, it's part of a new fake identity. You're choosing to, in the eyes of the law, become someone else. In many cases, the new Fake SIN doesn't have fingerprints, retinal patterns, or DNA information on file. A Fake SIN is nice because it can be shed like a second skin. If the heat gets turned up on this SIN, then you ditch it and become somebody else. Bye bye, coppers! Of course, it's most effective when it's done with altering your appearance, your fingerprints, your DNA patterns, and so forth.

In short, a Fake SIN is a good investment for any runner. It's a way to get the benefits of citizenship without some of the risks that are associated with actually *being* who you say you are. But it's often worth it to spend the extra cred for a good one, if you plan to use it for anything more than routine purchases.

In addition, '+news atmosphere credsticks' has good information on credsticks, identities, and identity checks. '+news theme denverlaw' has good information on the legal system and how it relates to SINs.

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