Makaila's application has been submitted! Finally!Not the easiest of tasks that is for sure.
Apart from the photos having to be exactly the right way (they show all sorts of sample photos that have been rejected and we now have tons of little photos of M), they have to have a copy of my passport, her father's, an extract from the population registry (in English), a copy of her citizenship document, and someone to vouch for her identity. That person must either be an Australian citizen or a teacher, doctor, chemist, accountant and the list goes on. You have to laugh - I mean are these people more reliable that the average citizen??
Now I know that the Swedish personal identity number can be an absolute XXX. Swedes also hand over their number here and there without realising or thinking just how much someone else can do with that number. It is expected in the most ludicrous times and places - try renting a movie or getting an bonus card at one of the chain stores without disclosing it!!
There are however times when it just makes more common sense than anything else, and it is efficient and convenient!! One of those times is for passport applications (or nenewals), done through the police. You show some ID, no need for a print-out from the population registry (the info is in their system) and they even do the photos their on the spot, so they are done right the first time! After all, the police are experienced mug-shot takers, right? It is all very speedy and easy.
What really bugs me (and many others!!) with the personal identity number system is that you don't exist without one, and the locals just don't cope so well without it. Many times I have been asked for my number and said - you don't need it - I can tell you it throws people into a tizz. I've even lied and told people I don't have one. Tell me why the butterfly house needs my number just because I buy a year's membership - I can show my ID card with it if I must - but my number doesn't need to go into their system.
When you buy a TV you have to give your personal number so they can register it and the government can makes sure you are paying your broadcasting tax. What really gets me is you give them your number, they put it into the system and they then tell you your address and phone number!! If you know someone's personal number you know how old they are (protected information in many parts of the world), their birthday and the worst of it - you can ring the tax office and find out how much money they earn!! How's that for privacy??
Another downside is that they generally don't want to know your name. Ring any government office and they won't even ask you - what is your personal number? is their first question. I think it is SO rude! I am a person not a number!!
While it is possible to disappear in this country - (just read about that in a story covering the abduction of the two boys) - it is more difficult to do it. Almost impossible for the average person. Yet if you lose contact with someone in Australia - it can be impossible to ever track them down.
All in all, there are pros and cons with any system. But it would be nice if there could be some sort of meeting in the middle. The Australians could afford a more systematic approach and the Swedes could afford to learn to live with a few less numbers.