what's your social?
The United States supposedly doesn’t have a national ID system. However, the social security number has become the defacto standard to identify and track individual citizens for everything from tax information to telephone bills — and more. The omnipresent reliance on the SSN for identification purposes makes it easier for identity thieves to do their work — all they need is someone’s SSN and a few other identifying bits of information. Wired has a story (9-Digit ‘Social’ Overused as ID - 01/29/03) today about new legislation in California aimed at curbing the use of SSNs, including requiring that colleges use a number other than the SSN in assigning student ID numbers. It’s a good first step in setting up some privacy safeguards for a citizenry whose movements are increasingly tracked and databased.