Give you all basic rights of a citizen. It is issued at birth and comes with a credit account. It does all kinds of useful things: keep track of your money, your legal records, your travels, your work – your life, in short.
If you don’t have a SIN, like for example all the people who lost theirs in the Crash 2.0, life is difficult. You are not allowed to vote or cannot travel legally outside your country. Travel inside the country is possible, but hard – you can take a bus, for example, but you cannot buy a month pass or anything. You have no credit account and have to pay for stuff with checksticks. Those cost money and not all businesses accept them. You cannot get a license for driving a car or anything. If the cops stop you for any reason, you’re pretty much fair game for anything they want to pin on you.
And if you get caught doing something illegal, you will be saddled with a Criminal SIN. Basically, you’re fucked then. The state goes all big brother on you – requires you to broadcast your location 24/7, checks in on your finances, controls what you do or don’t do. It’s a life, but shitty one and many people find it easier to ditch their Criminal SIN and go back to being SINless. Until they’re caught again.
For those with money to burn, a fake SIN is an option. Depending on how much you are willing to spend, you get a high quality SIN that allows you to live your life like the next legal citizen.
Corporate Limited SIN
Yay, you got work as a wageslave. And because now you’re legal you get a corporate SIN. Which means you have to pay taxes like a corporate citizen on your wages. Nice way to get back some of the money they paid you for your 12 hour shifts with two recreation days a month. This SIN comes with a corporation bank account on a corporate bank, that will cost you money too and where your wages are paid on and of course it’s not allowed to pay you hard Nuyen, they will pay you in corp script. Which means you may buy food or stuff from corporate owned shops. So the wages you got are floating back into the system and leave you at the end with nothing.
Your bank offers you to change your corpscript into Nuyen, though. But the exchange rate is laughable. And to exchange it illegally on the street might let them ask questions where your money was spent, for they of course monitor your account for advertising and checking if you are still a loyal citizen.
Well of course there are disadvantages. They know everything about you and the SINless see you as a traitor and that you had sold out yourself to the megacorp or maybe that you even now are part of the system that has stripped them of every right they had. And as long as you stay inside your corporate owned apartment that’s maybe something you can ignore but if you get mugged on the next street corner for your corporate commlink you won’t.
You are a full member of a megacorporation. That means you are born into the system, you are the system. And life outside of it is unthinkable. It is very hard to obtain a full corporate SIN as a outsider. But while you have full rights like corporate voting rights and many more and you may be part of the leading caste or may become insanely rich, you are bound for good or bad to the system. With no way out. With no way you know any other way of life. And anything you own might be gone away if you in any case are disloyal to your corporation.
Obtaining a SIN
It’s possible to apply for a SIN. You just need to prove that you are a citizen and that you are legally employed or at least bring an employer’s statement that they will employ you as soon as you have the SIN. And of course you have to pay a fee of a couple of hundred NY. Easy, right?
And if you have been living SINless it might be that you first have to pay the taxes you owe to your state over the last few dozen years in advance, where you avoided the system as a SINless. You get registered and it might even happen that your fingerprints show somewhere where a crime was committed and they put it on the unregistered SINless that had been around by accident, to close the case. You won’t see it coming.
In all honesty, it’s much better for the corps to have all the SINless people out there who are willing to take any job without job security or basic rights. They are allowed as much leeway as they need to, well, survive and everything else is denied. Because, hey, what are they gonna do? Go on strike? Stop voting for the politicians who don’t care about them? Leave the country?