After the non-nuclear crisis, such was the devastation that anyone with access to the powerful and emergent technologies of the day could easily read, steal, alter or erase any information stored digitally, from bank account numbers to personal emails, credit history to social insurance data. This coincided with the institutionalizing of genetic cryptography as a carefully scrutinized field of scientific study. Consequently, one of the revolutionary milestones of the First Summit was the proposing of the Genetidentity Initiative in 2039 CE by Professor Emeritus Cameron Westley Langenberg, effectively making identity theft 'impossible' whilst globalizing a grid system shared freely by all member dominions of the CHESS multinational group.
The implementation of the program lead almost immediately to the inception of the Nexus, a second, "better" version of the internet where identities existed not in strings of code, but within personal gene pools (or PGPs) encoded directly into a user's very DNA. It wasn't long before scheming corporations and script kiddies alike realized that sometimes, during an 'extraction' or licensed transfer of genetic information, if you really knew where to look one might experience a phenomenon, originally dubbed 'molecular dissonance', where certain data strings appeared containing an encrypted record of the memories and experiences of that individual. Because of the obvious threats inherent to a person's privacy, a multitude of genetic identity protection measures cropped up, some public, some private, but effectively turning into a worldwide aggregate of diverse interests, firms and companies grossing billions of dollars annually in what has arguably become the most profitable industry the modern world has yet seen.
After the successful sequencing of the human genome in 2019, the successful cloning and replication of complete, functioning human tissue and organs in 2022, and the discovery of genetic cryptographs in 2026, Cameron Langenberg said that complete genetic integration with technology was "the next logical step", and "not only necessary, but inevitable". Langenberg, a highly-respected molecular and microbiologist, headed the team which used the preliminary scientific findings of the genetic cryptographers to draft the earliest versions of a platform that could piggieback encrypted data onto a gene that only someone with that exact genetic sequence had the key to decrypt. Langenberg, who was also a quantum logician with a penchant for cryptoanalysis, assembled a team of colleagues including experts in nanotechnology, biostatistics, molecular genetic engineering and microengineering, and on October 13, 2036, submitted a proposed a plan to design―but not implement―the Geneticon Program (original title) and submitted it, story has it, to both CHESS and the Eurasian Journal of Science, Technology & Medicine the same night before waiting to be peer reviewed. The program was developed by Langenberg and his closest colleague, Knut Hagerstrom, at the Royal Institute of Technology (Kungliga Tekniska högskolan) in Stockholm, Sweden.
Langenberg's plan was met with moderate interest from the E.D. but faced staunch disapproval and rejection from the U.A. As such, his efforts to protect the security of the human identity were temporarily stymied. This didn't stop Langenberg, who completed his final year at Kungliga Tekniska before retiring as a professor emeritus. He immediately withdrew into seclusion for the following year, cryptically broke off contact with everyone he knew including his family, everyone except Hagerstrom who would routinely bring him "food, supplies, and news from the outside world as it would please him". During this time, Langenberg revised the Geneticon Program and redressed it as the Genetidentity Initiative to make it "more tasteful" to the West. This time he heavily emphasized the untapped market that inheritently existed in what he described in his introduction as, "a manageable problem with no managers...a problem that will affect everyone in the Covenant's dominion, that everyone will effect investing in a solution. Be that solution, and you will be a boon unto the people―at any price you set." In the coldest December in more than half a century, Langenberg sold his beautiful 13,855 sq/ft home in Uppsala while his wife, still living in it, was completely unaware of what he'd done, and bought out every seat in the Eurasian Defense Minister Nils Breckenridge's favorite restaurant the night he was expected to be in attendance to secure himself an audience. So impressive was Langenberg's pitch that the two sat in conference for four hours in the restaurant before they concluded for the evening. Breckenridge offered to pay for Langenberg's cab back home, but Langenberg admitted that he'd sold his house that night and had noplace to go home to. Breckenridge bought the house back the following day from its new owners and gave it back to Langenberg before his wife even woke for the day, and promised to secure Langenberg a premier panel at the First Summit.
First Summit & American SupportEdit
In the spring of 2039 CE, Cameron Langenberg presented his plan at the First Summit and won the unanimous support of an economically and environmentally beleaguered conference. The timing was right; humanity was desperate for solutions to some of its biggest problems, and the United Americas were buckling under the weight of an enormous fiscal deficit. On April 24, 2039, at the First Summit in Geneva, Switzerland, the Genetidentity Initiative was penned into CHESS planetary law with signatures from all nineteen of the dominion stewards by then Chancellor in Chief Morgan Moorcock with the official endorsement of Langston McBride, the last internationally-elected president of the Global Climate Management Agency before undergoing aggresively corporate privitization by the Drake Administration.In the beginning, integration of a program requiring all citizens within CHESS dominion to submit their genetic information to an international archive proved a daunting task, particularly in the Americas where there was a significant amount of resistance from both freedom fighters and sympathetic paramilitary groups as well as isolated pockets within the UA full of citizens who chose either to barricade themselves into self-built fortresses or drop off the grid completely and disappear north either into the Canadian wilds or the southern jungles of South America. Once the primary resistance to the plan had been quelled, the vast majority of people were on board, namely due to the fact that much of the world was either in ruins or faced resource and security management shortages. Only after the Genetidentity Initiative was signed into law did the members of the UA branch of CHESS return from the underground bunkers and officially put an end to the Continuity of Government scenario that had been in place since the non-nuclear conflict.
The way in which the genetic identity of an individual has been stored has and continues to vary over time, particularly as new technological innovations are made. Wherever variations occur, however, they are generally contained to the architecture of a type of computer called semi-aware circuitry, or SAC in the present parlance, which is a quantum computer with processors and hard drives constructed with graphene and carbon nanotubes placed upon modified 650mm (26", 1075µm thick) silicon wafers in order to achieve computational speeds, security and intrusion self-modifying algorithmic countermeasures, and storage sufficient to maintain a real-time log of the genetic information of every citizen on the CHESS grid. Primarily, there are 3 main quantum computer hubs running the Genetidentity program; though each of the three major dominions―the UA, the ED, and the PIR―operates a mainframe, the exact location of each is not publically known and legend has it that one or several may in fact be mobile. These three quantum mainframes are the only three on the planet functioning in real time; other small quantum mainframes routinely update themselves and synch up to one of the three main servers. Only one of the three mainframes needs to be online for the other two to function, such that if something catastrophic occurred at two out of the three mainframes, the survival of just one would ensure the continuity of the other two.
Though entirely seperate entities, the storage and usage of genetic identities is tied directly to the Nexus itself. The genetic identities stored on the quantum mainframes contain an ongoing record of a person's data broadcast wirelessly to blackfang nodes and LASR (low altitude signal relay) craft and devices or directly to a mainframe itself using biometrics or on-site DNA acquisition. There are two kinds of information collected and stored each with varying degrees of access:
- Public Record Civilian Information (physical details, such as natural hair color, eye color, height, weight, age, gender, citizenship, zone clearances issued, bank accounts, credit lines, outstanding warrants issued & APBs, property ownership (residential, commercial, industrial, vehicular), medical status, curriculum vitae, current employer, family relations)
- Private Record Civilian/Non-Civilian Information (criminal history, current operational status (military), current employer (military), previous relationships & affiliations, last will & testament, credit history, toxicology report, medical 'checkup' and anomaly alert, medical records, NEX connectivity records)
Connectees to the CHESS grid are able to customize to a great extent how much public record civilian information is broadcast autonomously to the nodes and relays. For instance, elderly citizens may opt to have their health status routinely broadcast to a node if they are living alone. Alternatively, when shopping at an outlet store, a user no longer needs to wait in line or deal with register clerks because a direct connection to their bank account may be opened on-site. Private record information is generally not accessible by anyone without a lawfully executed warrant. A police officer, however, may be within his or her rights to issue a TR-60, the infamous 60 minute toxicology report that uses DNA rather than blood, breath or bodily fluids to determine if an individual is suffering from any abnormal physical, mental, or psychological effects brought on by substance abuse, intoxication, drug consumption of any kind, or mental instability.
Division of Storage
The Genetidentity program was divided primarily between 3 main supercomputer hubs. The ED's supercomputer, the first of its kind ever built, was called the Bombe Quantima, a posthumus nod to Alan Turing. It was partially constructed, perhaps ironically due to its namesake, in Milton Keynes, England with the other parts being constructed in Switzerland, Sweden and Germany. It was originally located beneath the First Summit building in Geneva, Switzerland, but rumor has it that it was slowly moved in secret, piece by piece, and reassembled elsewhere almost a decade ago. The UA's mainframe, perhaps the most famous due to its processing speed and 'artificially intelligent' defense mechanisms, was called Euclid. It's location is also unknown, although there is a prevailing theory amongst many conspiracy theorists, including Nelen's friend Gopher, that Euclid is routinely transported around the United States using a retrofitted series of underground railways accessible only by secret tunnels beneath the restored Library of Congress building. The PIR also has a supercomputer of its own called Ramanujan which is located in a secure mountain facility in Taiwan.
The following quantum mainframes are officially endorsed by the CHESS Supertreaty Dominion.
|Bombe Quantuma||Eurasian Dynasty||2039||1st Summit Building, Geneva, Switzerland||55.87 petaflop processing speed, Intel-Qualcomm Andromeda G7 processors, cryogenic cooling|
|Euclid||United Americas||2039||High Point Special Facility, Bluemont, Virginia||61.03 petaflop processing, mix of Intel-Qualcomm Andromeda and Google-Samsung Custom Fenix processors, magnetic cooling, protected by 'Turk' software by Vicarious Intelligence Inc.|
|Ramanujan||Pacific Island Republic||2039/2040||Dabajian Mountain Facility, Hsinchu County, Taiwan||55.89 petaflop processing speed, uses just over 5 million cores, cryogenic cooling|
|Merlin||Eurasian Dynasty||2041||The Beetham Tower, Manchester, England||Housed in on the penthouse level of the ED-converted Hilton Manchester Deansgate Hotel. Named for the mythical thinking computer from H. Beam Piper's novel, The Cosmic Computer (1963).|
|UniComp 2||United Americas||2041||Allegedly Raven Rock Mountain Complex (RRMC), Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania||Named after the central computer governing all life on Earth in This Perfect Day by Ira Levin (1970).|
|Khayyám||Neo-Araby||2042||Cairo, Egypt||52.1 petaflop processing speed. Named for Omar Khayyám, Persian mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and poet.|
|Mido||Independent/Japan||2043||Tokyo 2 (Kawasaki), Japan||Little is known. Running fabled Cerebellum hard drives each with 2.5 petabytes of disk space. Claimed to be the first true 'artificial intelligence'. Requires truly gargantuan amounts of energy to keep operational.|
There are less than 20 quantum mainframes operating within CHESS dominion. It is certain that there are not more than this number because several quantum mainframes are 'intelligently' searching for other mainframes that might periodically synch up to the main grid, even if they do so unobtrusively in packets using proxies from all over the planet. These mainframes are able to both estimate and establish bandwidth ceilings to assist with these searches. Furthermore, in order to buy many of the parts required to assemble a quantum computer, you require a series of highly specific and monitored clearances and are analyzed by the systems and CHESS themselves. Thus, non-authorized mainframes exist, but are few and far between.One of the most famous of these is T.E.N.C.H. 900C, personally designed by Roman Ivory, a brilliant computer scientist who was one of the original designers of the Euclid. Ivory, president and CEO of the Roman Ivory Group, was a quantum research magnate and tenured professor of computer sciences at Cambridge University, and in 2039 he was approached by the United Americas to build and improve upon the model of the quantum mainframe used by the Bombe Quantuma. Several key improvements were made, such as the integration of the most sophisticated computer security program ever designed, an enormously expensive and complex magnetic supercooling system, a noticeable increase in processor speed and larger quantum disk space as well as the inclusion of the prototype Guardian Angel A.I. and a complete redesign of the unit's shell. Roman Ivory decided to build his own supercomputer, presumably sometime during the summer months of 2045, which he installed upon his customized and tactically-amored Airbus Beluga, the Daedalus, demonstrating the first 'mobile quantum mainframe' the world had ever publically witnessed. The inspiration for the name came from the shipboard super-computer, the T.E.N.C.H. 889B, in A Maze of Death by Philip K. Dick.
Methods of Genetic AcquisitionEdit
A person's genetic identity and the personal information released with it can either be obtained directly on-site through either some sort of biometric or GAD (genetic acquisition device) or dispatched wirelessly through a blackfang connection to a nearby node. The interface itself is either a subdermal chip or an implant, although in recent years a new method hit the scene featuring a transdermal tattoo which could be designed by the user, and thus is considered by some more fashionable. The interface can be controlled and monitored by blackfang nodes when a security clearance is granted by the wearer. Wireless clearances are usually granted by voice command, but may also be granted manually and with more control using an iLink or similar device.
Medical Proceedures & ImplantationEdit
When children are born today, their parents decide if they want to choose a subdermal chip or implant. The child can not be granted dominionship if the child is not assigned to the grid. Later in life, the chip or implant can be either deactivated, removed or destroyed and a transdermal tattoo done in its place. The chip is checked by physicians once a year as a matter of course.
Biometric readers are like land lines to CHESS mainframes. The DNA or genetic identity of the user is read at the location itself which has a direct connection to the Genetidentity Grid. For instance, optical/fingerprint scanning machines at checkouts in the retail industry have forgone the need for plastic credit cards and paper money both, checking the aggregate wealth of that individual with the amount in their bank as collected by the mainframe.
Users who like to exhibit complete control over exactly what details are being circulated and to whom may opt to open a channel with the grid wirelessly with their iLink or similar device. The iLink, which interfaces directly with the human body itself, acts as a relay between your genetic code and the internet where your details are ferried through they air to local blackfang nodes and passed on to the appropriate servers. iLinks also allow people to install their own personal firewalls in addition to CHESS security protocols.
Genetic Identity Protection (G.I.P.)Edit
One of the largest and most profitable industries in the world is that of gentic identity protection: keeping identities safe. For while it may appear to be impossible to steal somebody's information wirelessly through the internet, there's still nothing to be done about stealing their information physically, up close and personal. For this reason, two main types of genetic identity protection businesses have cropped up internationally. They are detailed below.
Genetic Identity Protection FirmsEdit
GIP Firms are the muscle, the companies that insulate employers and isolate threats. They have a very recognizable physical presence. The best of these firms are generally very well connected, staffed largely by ex-military and paramilitary soldiers with some of the best training in the world. Sparhawk Security Group is perhaps one of the most reputable of these, and held a spotless record of protection up until the Second Summit incident involving Nelen Frost and their employer Elvis Drake.
Genetic Identity Recovery AgenciesEdit
GIRAs deal with the tracking down and recovering of lost or stolen genetic identities. Oftentimes there will be negotiations, ransoms, or extortions involved and large transfers of money wired to criminals. If the genetic identity can be tracked to a source and that source is not willing to turn over the material, the GIRA will usually either contact the relevant dominion authority to deal with the menace or, depending on the firm, employ mercenaries to harass the target until a price has been reached. Logan, Price & Appleyard (formerly The Logan Price Group, or colloquially Logan and Price), the firm at which Artemis Appleyard is a senior partner, is one such organization with many connections throughout the world, headquartered in the Manhattan district of Region 12, York-Hampton Metapol.
Genetic Identity Distribution LawsEdit
Naturally there are a number of laws and statutes in place regulating and governing the distribution, storage, and sale of genetic information. Because of the Rule of Decay, genetic storage lockers exist, but are fiercely monitored, policed, and subject to tight regulations regarding security protocols, system automation and employee candidacy. Backalley "meat freezers" as they are often referred to in derogatory fashion, such as Sergei's Popsicle Stand where Nelen visits, do not typically follow these protocols, but are affordable to pretty much anyone with no questions asked. Selling one's genetic identity for profit has been expressly outlawed, but the blackmarket for "second hand GIs" is massive. Even the simsense phenomonon, in which a very specific memory rather than a user's attributes are targetted for collection, faces intense scrutiny from the highest authorities of Dominionship.
Aside from the obvious corporate-level criticism from more liberal-minded individuals, many feel the genetic identity program is dangerous, unstable and an invasion of privacy, despite the fact that no quantum mainframe has ever been hacked. A great deal of the criticism comes from the public retail forum, where simsensation packages are one of the most expensive and popular items on the biotech market. Second hand GIs are also becoming increasingly more difficult to deal with, particularly within the PIR where the sale of GIs is cheaper and more widespread. There is also both scientific and philosophical concern that the manipulation of DNA and genetic code may have unforeseen and potentially disastrous effects on human beings and that genetic extraction and cryptography should be studied in far greater detail before being adopted by the whole of mainstream society.
The Simsense PhenomononEdit
Essentially, because selling a memory experience on the open market is still selling a part of your identity, the Simsensation Phenomonon of the 2040s is also strictly regulated. The genetic cryptographs are stored, just like the genetic markers that work in tandem with the user's biodata, in the DNA itself. A well-trained eye―that of an extractor, for instance―can use a transmedial interface to look for sequences of genetic cryptographs that contain an audio-visual record of a person's memories and experiences. These are considered a person's property, however, and to seize their property requires a CHESS warrant with sufficient clearance. For ease of sale, it has been made possible that public-use licenses may be pre-approved if digital copies of the contract between the memory owner and the memory resaler are publically available. Some argue that a person's memories and experiences should not be considered 'property' because they are something far more intimate and abstract. This idea has given rise to the spiritual argument that to steal or sell somebody's memories is like stealing or selling a piece of their soul, regardless of the fact that the person who sold them does not actually lose knowledge or memory of the experience.
GIs for SaleEdit
One of the biggest problems inherent to the system is that anyone willing to part with a little genetic material and doesn't care what becomes of it can basically sell their genetic identity. The process is difficult, not only because of the Rule of Decay but also because the seller isn't truly giving away his or her genetic identity―he or she is loaning it, so to speak―and because the buyer still cannot use that identity wherever manned-security checkpoints or onsite biometrics (without a biometrics spoofer) are employed. And though sellers like to believe they have control over what information they're selling, the best hackers are said to be able to "backhack" their way to the source and steal any information they want from the quantum mainframes. Furthermore, a seller must agree