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Ask Slashdot: How To Back Up Physical Data? 245

An anonymous reader writes "After many years I now have a backup of all my digital data in (at least) two physical locations. But what do people recommend to back up my physical data? And then how to prove my identity? I call it the 'gas leak problem,' because a gas leak in my town caused an explosion that leveled a house. If it had been my house, it would have destroyed all my paperwork that proves who I am. If I'd come home from work and found my house was now a pile of rubble, how would I prove I lived there, knowing my key no longer fits the smoldering lock? If I'd left my wallet at home, my bank cards would have been destroyed so I couldn't withdraw money or book into a hotel. Or if I'd left my phone at the office, I wouldn't know anyone's number to call, or get anyone to vouch for me. What preventative steps can you take? Since having this nightmare, I've exported my phone's VCF file to an online repo, made online notes of all my bank account numbers and passport ID, I keep ICE numbers with me at all times (separate from phone/wallet), and I've hidden a spare mobile phone and house key in a box in a nearby field. But there must be more to do!"
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Ask Slashdot: How To Back Up Physical Data?

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  • Overly Paranoid (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @05:19AM (#46876415)

    When they issue a photo I.D. for someone the state also keeps a record. The same goes for Passports(federal), they want your picture in a database.

    Loosing credentials happens to travelers in foreign countries all the time. You go the embassy and request new credentials.

  • Re:um... (Score:4, Informative)

    by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <> on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @05:59AM (#46876573) Homepage Journal

    Well, I know the DMV in Florida keeps them. A little while back, I asked what my file looked like. It was a slow day, so they turned the monitor so I could see it. They had every drivers license photo I've had since the 80s.

    I thought the passport office asked for two. It's been a long time. says one photo now. I guess they figured out how to scan them finally. :)

  • Re:Overly Paranoid (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @07:23AM (#46876931)

    Requesting a replacement Social Security card does not explicitly *require* photo identification. All they ask for is "evidence of identity" [] and specifically mention scenarios where you may lack government-issued photo ID (ex. license, state-issued ID card, or passport). The government-issued photo ID just makes the process quicker/easier for them, that's all, else you're asked to provide alternate forms of identification: military record, certificate of naturalisation or certificate of birth, employee ID card, medical record or immunization record, Medicaid card, or even a life insurance policy or adoption papers. I had to do this several years ago as I lost my original social security card (I had copies, just not the actual paper card provided by the SSA).

    It works the same way when getting a US passport, actually -- if you can't provide either a driver's license or state-issued ID card, you're given about 20-25 alternate forms of proof (the more you have of these the better; call the State Dept. if you want the full list, the website [] doesn't list off all of them). You can also fill out a DS-71 form (witness validation -- someone who's known you for 2+ years, is a US citizen or permanent resident, has valid ID (see above), and must be there with you physically at the time of passport submission).

    How do I know all this crap, especially passports? Because a few months ago I went through trying to get a US passport at the local post office (a few blocks from here) -- solely for use as a form of ID -- resulted in irritation and humiliation. I do not have a driver's license (I don't drive nor have I ever) and cannot go to a DMV to get a state-issued ID card due to medical problems (hence why I wanted a passport). I'm a US citizen and was born here. The "reviewer" at the post office, despite being provided with 7 alternate forms of permitted ID, *and* with a witness (someone I've known for over 15 years who has a valid US passport and driver's license), rejected accepting my passport submission citing "the circumstances were weird [that I had no plans to travel abroad yet were asking for a passport]", speculated that "I could have found some random dude and paid {said friend} to act as a witness for a DS-71", and told me to come back "when I had a doctor's note to prove I couldn't go to the DMV to get a state ID card". To be clear: it was not a passport agency which rejected me, it was some jackass at an official "passport acceptance facility" (i.e. post office).

    Because I kept questioning myself ("What did I do wrong? What forms of secondary ID weren't compliant?"), I made a call to the State Dept., which resulted in an investigation -- they were particularly interested in the fact that I was told to get a doctor's letter, since that has no bearing on anything relating to a passport and is a very tricky subject here in California. Two managers at the State Dept. both told me that the doofus should have accepted everything I had -- the DS-71 wasn't even necessary, so they say -- and sent it off to Los Angeles where it probably would have been approved. I haven't gone back there post-investigation since there's apparently no way to guarantee I'll see someone different (I worry I'll get the same guy, despite the investigation, and he'll just be an even bigger dick), and going up to San Francisco to the official passport agency isn't an option given my health.

    Sorry for the long story there, but this "ID verification" thing is still fresh in my mind.

    The one place that does require state-issued photo ID to get something is -- are you ready? -- a library card from a local library; they won't accept anything else, which is probably what you were getting at (you can actually use a local library card as a form of alternate ID when applying for a passport, but how do you

  • by rogo78 ( 252468 ) on Wednesday April 30, 2014 @10:06AM (#46878263) Journal

    My bank doesn't require an ID. Just the key, box number, and a signature they compare with what they have on file.

Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.