Drudge Retort: The Other Side of the News
Saturday, November 11, 2017

Eyeing more secure alternatives to Social Security numbers, lawmakers in the U.S. are looking abroad. Today, the Senate Commerce Committee questioned former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Verizon chief privacy officer Karen Zacharia and both the current and former CEOs of Equifax on how to protect consumers against major data breaches. The consensus was that Social Security numbers have got to go. Rounding out the panel, Entrust Datacard president and CEO Todd Wilkinson offered some context and insight about why the U.S. should indeed move away from Social Security numbers -- a step that the witnesses unanimously agreed was necessary if not wholly sufficient to protect consumers moving forward, in light of the Equifax hack.

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"Over 145 million Americans' insecure identities are now forever at risk, and they have limited ability to protect themselves," Wilkinson said. "A key question for this committee to consider is: What do we do now given these identities are forever compromised?"

Social Security numbers are a privacy nightmare. While a consumer who gets hacked can replace credit card numbers and other account details, a Social Security number is relatively permanent, linked to a real identity throughout a person's lifespan. In the hearing, Wilkinson and many of the senators present argued that the U.S. needs to move to a dynamic system of personal identity, one designed with digital security in mind -- a stark contrast with an inflexible legacy system that dates back to the 1930s.

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This actually sounds like a damn good idea. Sure, you have to renew every three years, but still I'm pretty sure that the Equifax hacker has my SSN and is taking out a credit card in my name as we speak.

#1 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2017-11-10 06:08 PM | Reply

Great plan. I'm sure Congress will appropriate enough money to fund the implementation of this adequately. Oh wait, it's more important to let Paris Hilton get her daddy's money tax free so it won't be funded at all. Have fun taking a day off to sit for hours waiting with a few hundred of your friends with two employees to help you.

#2 | Posted by 726 at 2017-11-10 07:39 PM | Reply

The solution I am considering is to transfer all my assets to opaque corporations held offshore.
Use my good credit rating to borrow lots of money and apply for lots of credit cards.
Spend a bunch on hookers and blow, and waste the rest. Declare bankruptcy.
Live large using my fake ID credit cards linked to my offshore assets, while applying for food stamps because I won't have a job.

It is similar to the Trump plan, but I don't have anything to sell to Russian mobsters.

#3 | Posted by bored at 2017-11-10 07:41 PM | Reply | Funny: 6

The best thing I ever decided to do is not give out my SSN to anyone who asks for it. Doctors office don't need it. If they press for it I tell them 701-33-5438. Whose SSN is that? Damned if I know. They don't need it. They already take a picture of my drivers license and insurance card.

#4 | Posted by 726 at 2017-11-10 07:43 PM | Reply

#3 You just have to get creative to find things to laundry Russian mob money. An overpriced gold plated gaudy condo is the perfect vehicle. Sure it's real value is $1 million, but if they are desperate enough they will buy it sight unseen for $38 million. Then you take that $38 million, "invest" in some Ukraine bearer bonds which are conveniently stolen by five Russian hookers while you are hosting a miss universe paegent in Moscow.

#5 | Posted by 726 at 2017-11-10 07:46 PM | Reply

#5 Sounds good, but I would get killed by the "handling" fees from the five Russian hookers.

#6 | Posted by bored at 2017-11-10 07:51 PM | Reply

#2 There's a damn good chance all of our SSN's have been compromised, for life. I'd like to do something about that, even if it is slightly more annoying. Also, who doesn't want to take a day off work and sit around chatting on the DR on their smartphone for 15 minutes while they wait (I don't know where you get "hours", my state is pretty damn functional when it comes licenses, tags, cards, stamps, etc. The line moves pretty fast, sometimes it only takes a few minutes. You must live in California.)

#7 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2017-11-10 07:51 PM | Reply

Pretty sure the law already states the SSN cannot be used as an identifier outside of government.

So, you know, "enforce the existing law."

#8 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-11-10 07:57 PM | Reply

"You must live in California."

California you can make an appointment at the DMV.

It's like a special section of the DMV just for people without neck tattoos.

#9 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-11-10 08:00 PM | Reply

#9 So Nixon was right about the California DMV? Huh. I did have my suspicions.

#10 | Posted by HeliumRat at 2017-11-10 08:09 PM | Reply

You can change your SSN if you're a victim of identity theft and can show that you've been disadvantaged by it.

faq.ssa.gov

#11 | Posted by sentinel at 2017-11-11 10:51 PM | Reply

"Today, the Senate Commerce Committee questioned former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Verizon chief privacy officer Karen Zacharia and both the current and former CEOs of Equifax on how to protect consumers against major data breaches. "

The first two maybe but the last one.....give me a break! The last person on Earth they should be asking for advice about security.

#12 | Posted by danni at 2017-11-13 08:14 AM | Reply

You can change your SSN if you're a victim of identity theft and can show that you've been disadvantaged by it.
faq.ssa.gov

Ha!

Good luck.

It took me three months to get the SSA to retract an incorrectly issued "B" notice for an investment account even though on their own website it has the form they need to fill out to correct it.

www.businessinsider.com

"Last year, a leading expert on data breaches told NPR that he estimated 60 to 80% of Social Security numbers had been stolen in cyberattacks.

The Social Security Administration, meanwhile, assigned only 274 new numbers in 2015."

#13 | Posted by 726 at 2017-11-13 09:37 AM | Reply

"It took me three months to get the SSA to retract an incorrectly issued "B" notice"

Yes, they're slow, but it was done.

" he estimated 60 to 80% of Social Security numbers had been stolen in cyberattacks.
The Social Security Administration, meanwhile, assigned only 274 new numbers in 2015."

I'd wager it's closer to 100% of SSNs that are in the hands of people they shouldn't be. That's not the same as having your identity stolen or having fraud done in your name.

I also wonder how many people even know that changing their SSN is an option if their credit gets ruined by ID theft.

#14 | Posted by sentinel at 2017-11-14 12:29 PM | Reply

Pretty sure the law already states the SSN cannot be used as an identifier outside of government.

It's broader than that. The law actually states that it can't be used for identity period. Several federal agencies that were already using it asked for and received waivers to continue the practice.

Here's what I want to know: my cell phone has the ability to use dual-factor biometric security (fingerprint and iris scanner at the same time), but our government is still using (and RE-using) a mere 9 digit number? It boggles the mind.

#15 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2017-11-14 12:39 PM | Reply

Here's what I want to know: my cell phone has the ability to use dual-factor biometric security (fingerprint and iris scanner at the same time), but our government is still using (and RE-using) a mere 9 digit number? It boggles the mind.

#15 | POSTED BY MUSTANG AT 2017-11-14 12:39 PM | FLAG: Govt has no choice [of changing to digital] because 'apparently' so many citizens are not even capable of getting a photo ID to prove who they are.

#16 | Posted by MSgt at 2017-11-14 12:53 PM | Reply | Newsworthy 1

MSgt don't make it sound like you're in favor of a Federal ID, because you're not, and the GOP is staunchly opposed too.

#17 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-11-14 12:59 PM | Reply

#17 I actually think it's an idea that is overdue and it is a mitigation for a VAST array of problems. The DOD has been using chipped ID cards for some time now (and the technology is already getting old). Think about the potential applications of a federal identity card combined with some form of biometric data:
a. Voter ID. Insert the card into a reader, scan a thumbprint, and vote...anywhere. Your vote would only count in your precinct and you could not vote twice...the system wouldn't let you.
b. Medical ID. The card could either contain your medical history or enable a first responder to access a cloud based history. Hell, when (not if) we go single payer, it'll be your insurance card.
c. Firearms purchases. Insert card, scan thumbprint...form is filled out and your legal and medical history (including mental illness) are provided, along with a yes/no approval for purchase. Background and medical checks complete.
d. Interstate drivers license.
e. Primary or backup Passport. It would only be issued to US citizens.
f. Just like the DOD does, it could be used to electronically sign emails or access websites.

Do I worry about federal overreach? Sure, but it solves a LOT of problems.

#18 | Posted by MUSTANG at 2017-11-14 01:33 PM | Reply

#18 that's good to hear.

A free Federal issue ID that everyone gets, kind of like a social security card, takes voter suppression largely off the 50 states tables. Which is the reason the GOP opposes it.

#19 | Posted by snoofy at 2017-11-14 05:06 PM | Reply

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