Saturday, February 24, 2007

identity theft

Think Your Social Security Number Is Secure? Think Again - New York Times--Identity theft is still a big topic these days, and this NYT piece gives a good history of the evolution of the Social Security number's use as the "personal identification document" it was never intended to be. Also in the article is a link to a new on-line tool:

TrustedID, a company that sells services to consumers to give them more control over who sees their credit reports, has compiled a database of compromised numbers that could already be traded or sold on the Internet.
It has created an online search tool,, where people can check at no cost to see if their number is one that is in a too-public domain.
TrustedID said that about 220,000 people had tested their numbers in the three weeks the site has been open to the public.

It seems from the article that breaches of personal security are happening at some level of government most often. Is it time to assess some penalties for our government employees and elected officials being irresponsible custodians of our privacy? It's ironic that our government mandates all these privacy notices and security practices on the part of everyone else, and then itself repeatedly fails to protect our interests. We need to get this set straight: "What's good for the goose is good for the gander", as the old folks used to say.

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