“Okay, now keep this secure — but of course you know the drill.” The nurse handed Alex a data stick while Dana cuddled the swathed form of the yet-named infant reclined on the hospital bed. “We just uploaded the public key to the State database, and here’s the only copy of the private key; even our techs can’t recover this if it gets lost.”

Alex held the stick firmly between two fingers and nodded to the nurse. He knew, alright. His mom had been on the Senate committee that introduced the emergency legislation to enact this scheme after ØL1ph4n† had published the full social security database on The Pirate Bay, and published the link to Reddit. Nine digit ID numbers that had never been intednded to be secure in the first place, but which had weaseled their way into nearly every aspect of public US life… in a secret-but-not-that-secret kind of way. Don’t tell it to anyone… except your employer and your bank, and your credit card company, and on and on.

Alex and Dana cast each other a nervous look; hopefully the smiling nurse didn’t catch it. They hadn’t counted on the hospital publishing the public key to the database before they’d had a chance to verify it, and upload it themselves. Stupid. Alex cursed himself. If he’d identified the security flaw in the system… (they used to wait until the parents had chosen a name before publishing, to avoid running a database update so soon after the insert… it’s why they’d waited to name the child so far) …then of course the technicians and engineers who worked in it every day were bound to see it eventually.

“Is there a terminal available here? I’d like to verify the keypair myself…” he cast about he room for the telltale slot where a display would have retracted.

“Of course sir” the nurse touched the glass panel beside Dana’s headboard, and a section of the wall on this side slid into view.

[aaaah, I really like this concept, but I’m not sure excatly what Alex and Dana are after here — are they freedom fighters, attempting to liberate their child from some unintended consequence of the gov keypair, or are they nefarious, and trying to steal an unreported private key? What would they even do with that? I guess we’ll have to come back to this one.]