The Individuals Register is the foundation upon which all other public registers are built. When used in conjunction with other registers it prevents crime and provides certainty in commercial dealings. It is a proposed enhancement of traditional Births, Deaths and Marriages registers.

Numerical identifier

Each citizen should be issued with a unique identifying number, analogous to the United States Social Security number. This number is not just the primary key for all government registers but also for private sector databases to avoid duplicates and to allow cross-referencing against their own, each other’s, and government databases.

Privacy settings

The register should have privacy settings that allow each individual to show more or less information. For example parents might temporarily allow a particular school to access information about their children for enrollment purposes.

DNA collection

Each record should contain several markers from the individual’s DNA. The sequences should only be long enough to allow for verification of identity. The data should only be available for forensic purposes, and only upon issue of a warrant or subpoena for probable cause, but should include scans of the entire database. For example to identify:

  • Parents for the registration of births;
  • Fathers or mothers so they can pay child support;
  • Corpses;
  • Rapists, murderers, and other criminals who leave DNA at the scenes of their crimes;
  • Impostors.

Marriages, divorces, children

All marriages, divorces, adoptions, and births should be recorded with links to the counterpart records of the individuals concerned. Whether this information is shown should depend on the person’s privacy settings. Those who choose to conceal this information should only be forced to reveal it for forensic purposes, and only upon issue of a warrant or subpoena for probable cause.

Biometric data

The register should store biometric data for point of sale consensual identification, international travel without passports (border identification), and security access (for example, allowing residents into neighborhoods damaged by storms). It will also allow street cameras and store cameras which feed into the police system to be constantly scanned for abducted children, missing persons and fugitives, and to identify suspects. Felons breaching their parole or restraining orders (for example, violent ex-husbands stalking their ex-wives) will be able to be quickly detected before innocent people are murdered. Serial killers can be detected by their presence in the neighborhood of two murders rather than after multiple slayings. Criminals of all kinds can be identified by their proximity to the site of repeated crimes.


Fingerprints of persons arrested as suspects for serious crimes should be stored for forensic purposes.

Name changes

All name changes should be recorded in the database. Persons searching a former name should be routed to the current name record.


The register should record the definitive spelling of a person’s name. It should be illegal for a person to write their name on contractual documents, websites, letterhead, marketing material or other commercial documents using any other spelling. The reason for this rule is that it is very common for fraudsters and persons of ill-repute to slightly change the spelling of their names slightly to avoid their deserved opprobrium. It should of course be perfectly legal to change the spelling of your name.


All felony convictions should be on public display. They should link to court records that include a copy of the written judgment and information on when and where the sentence was served. Details of good behavior bonds as well as current and past parole should be on public display.

Civil judgments

All unsatisfied civil judgments should be listed with a link to a copy of the judgment.


All bankruptcies should be recorded with the total of monies lost by creditors and a copy of the trustee’s final report. Where a bankruptcy has been annulled by the repayment of 100 cents on the dollar, plus interest at scheduled rates, it should be expunged from the register.


If the person is or was a recipient of welfare this should be shown, together with any conditions of the grant, such as curfew and sobriety conditions. The total amount drawn down by the recipient should be on public display unless and until it is repaid together with interest.


The register should list all companies of which the person is, or has been, a director with a link to the corresponding record on the Company Register.

Trading names

The register should list all trading names registered as belonging to the individual with links to the corresponding entries in the Trading Names Register.

Residential address for electoral roll purposes

Each person should be required to keep the register up-to-date by inputting their current residential address. Whether this information is shown or not should depend on the person’s privacy settings. Those who choose not to reveal this information should only be forced to reveal it for forensic purposes, and only upon issue of a warrant or subpoena for probable cause.

Professional qualifications

Details of past or present membership of public professions should be included, together with links to the relevant registers. This enables verification of credentials and to discover if someone has been disbarred for dishonesty or incompetence.

Address for service

Each individual should be required to provide a current email address to which the registrar can forward notifications. They should receive email notification from the register when documents are formally served, and be able to log in and download past notifications.

When commencing court proceedings against an individual, the plaintiff should be required to identify the defendant by his numerical identifier. The court should then automatically, through its interface with the Individuals Register, effect service. Parties wanting to serve contractual notices on an individual should be able to upload those notices to the Individuals Register, and the individual will receive a notification from the register. These uploads should be visible to the individual being served, to the serving party, and to the court, but invisible to the public.

These measures will eliminate the need for process servers and make the administration of justice more efficient by preventing people from escaping responsibility for debts and other obligations. This in turn will increase respect for and adherence to contractual obligations, thus promoting commerce.

Personal property charges

Charges over property legally or beneficially owned by the individual should be available for search upon authority being granted by the individual to the proposed creditor to search a particular chattel.

Power of Attorney and trusteeships

Powers of Attorney, Letters of Administration, orders of guardianship and grants of probate should be recorded on the Individuals Register.


A doctor’s death certificate should form part of the register. If there is a coroner’s inquest, the findings should form part of the register. The records of deceased persons should remain accessible in perpetuity. Privacy settings on the deceased’s profile should be controlled by their executor but lapse after a set period of time, for example fifty years after death.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove