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Carl covered this fairly well in his article.
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Costa Rica's economy is being ruined rapidly by the current administration; on the other hand, once it collapses, it may be a good time to be there as things improve.
If I were in Tim's position, I'd look at Italy. Yes, Italy. Although it's a "developed" European country, its people take a very skeptical attitude towards government--especially in the South. Banks commonly have signs at the entrance asking you to deposit "any firearms or knives" while you're doing your business inside...and you'll usually see some in there!
Save up some bucks here, learn some Italian (it's easy, like Spanish), then go over to the southern part of the country (enter as a "tourist") and find a way to make yourself useful to someone. They'll be able to handle the paperwork to make your residence legal (Italy has a lax attitude towards immigration).
Thanks for the information. Since you've provided no resources to back your claims regarding CR, we can't agree with or refute your point. However, it's always an excellent idea to check things out yourself.
On Italy ... you remind us of an interesting virtual foray we made recently into that area. There are pockets in the northern mountainous regions that have a healthy "laissez faire" attitude toward the Italian state. These provinces were sucked into Italy after WW II, and because of their small populations, limited resources, and difficult access, have been pretty much ignored by the government. A PT with some cash to invest into setting up a haven might find one of these areas a near-ideal place to be.
Articles by other PTers are always welcome, especially on unusual locations.
Beyond Mail Drops
I saw and enjoyed reading your response to the person who asked about mail drops. I understood your response pretty well. The #1 privacy catch I'm seeing now that's hardest to manage is the link established between your name and address at the telephone company when you set up local phone service.
Naturally, I expect that this data is more than immediately available to certain parties at virtually no cost to them. Phone companies require an SSN (universal database identifier key for you) in order to set up an account "or other government issued id number" of which I can think of none that are not ultimately linked to SSN (incl. universal health care id soon to be issued under HIPAA regs, or alternate drivers id numbers, military ids, passport ids, etc.).
Anyway, any creative solutions for this, i.e. to still have phone service while maintaining the integrity of the barrier between name, phone # and address, for the purpose of federal database profiling queries? I'm not one whose intention it is to deceive anyone...just would like to legally maximize privacy, the same way that tax lawyers and CPAs say that one should legally minimize their tax burden, you know?
You are absolutely correct that telephone number information is "more than immediately available". Many companies routinely use Caller ID, and if anyone reading this thinks they discard that information when the call is completed, well, you're in more serious need of help than we can provide in this column. There are ways around this, if you're willing to be diligent about your privacy.
First, who sez you need a land line? Cell phone services have become so good that you may not need "local phone service" any more. Cable modem or satellite internet hookup are options instead of dialup or DSL in many places; cable modem service can offer better speeds at lower prices than DSL too. There are places where you can get cell phones anonymously; yes, it costs more, but if you want that level of privacy, it's a small tradeoff. Or, forego phone service at your home altogether, and rely on phone cards and pay phones (purchased anonymously, of course) to conduct your business. Yes, that can be inconvenient, especially in an emergency, but again, is the price worth the privacy to you?
Making up an SSN -- even using a book by authors who claim to know the algorithm for generating them -- is very tricky these days, as automatic verfication is becoming more common. An option that might work for you is to find a valid SSN and use it for this purpose. Bill Gates' SSN has been widely bandied about on the web, for example ... other individuals, especially those who've stopped using theirs, sometimes make theirs publicly available. Some activists even encourage such uses of their former SSNs in ways you'd like, in order to help create disinformation and confusion in the Thought Police files. A worthy goal, that.
If you're sharing living quarters with others, there's always the simple expedient of having utilities in their names, rather than yours. If you aren't listed in the phone book, and don't have any utilities in your name, there's little to tie you to a physical address and telephone number.
Last, have you tried the simply "I don't use that number" and not give them anything else routine? We know people who have done so successfully, but it's worked under fairly limited circumstances. If you can convincingly pull off a claim that you're being stalked by an ex who knows your SSN and other ID information, for example, you *may* be able to get set up without giving revealing information away. To do this, though, you need to be convincing, and consistent.
Other solutions are certainly out there. If others have thoughts and successful tips on this matter, please share them with us.
Many towns and cities have telephone service "resellers" which cater to people with poor credit ratings and "illegal" immigrants without papers. These outfits get the phone account in their names, but physically at your location. You pay in advance every month, and never give the phone your ID. Watch storefronts for signs advertising these little companies. If there's a Hispanic community in your town, check out that area.
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