[extropy-chat] solution to identity theft

Spike spike66 at comcast.net
Thu Apr 8 05:21:41 UTC 2004

> --- Spike <spike66 at comcast.net> wrote:
> > To stop the yahoos from stealing and using credit
> > card applications, could not the fed simply publish
> > *everyone's* social security number?  That would
> > at least stop banks from giving out credit based
> > on that.  Would it not force them to come up with
> > some legitimate means of determining identity?
> What about the chaos it'd cause during the transition,
> when SSN-based security systems still haven't updated
> despite the SSNs having been published?  You could
> give a lead time of several years, and it still
> wouldn't be long enough for all of 'em to switch.

Years schmears.  The SSN was never intended to
be used as a password, yet more and more people are
treating them as such.  Having them published would
put an end to that bad habit before it becomes worse.
There should be no SSN-based security systems, since
a lot of SSNs are already in the public domain: those 
of the unfortunates who have already been a victim of 
identity theft.

This is why I got on this line of reasoning: I
reviewed my home security after an attempted
breakin, and realized it is possible to create
a cheap and effective home security system based
on low-cost consumer electronics.  The old sensors- 
on-every-window-with-a-horn-on-the-outside is too
expensive, too prone to false alarm and unnecessary.

One can set up a simple transmitting camera, rigged
to an inexpensive motion detector, set to transmit
images to your VCR which you set up in your neighbor's
house.  She does the same and sets her VCR in your
house.  VCRs are less than 100 bucks now, and those
motion detector cams are about 60.  Great poor-man's
security system: if one capures burglars on video,
one can post the photos on the internet with a small
reward, and you know *someone* will eventually recognize
the perps.

Well, the perps realize all this, and they are looking
at other lines of work, which pushes them over to
identity theft.  Social security numbers are easy enough
to find out, and so are mother's maiden name.  These are
terrible ways to verify identity.  So lets out everyone.
Lets put the burden for ID verification back on those 
who are eager to commit legal usury, these credit card
companies who offer, are *still* offering, cards at 17 percent
when my bank account earns less than 2.

Bills have been proposed to make credit companies responsible
for the messes they create of people's lives when they give
out cards to false identities.  But they never seem to pass.
So lets forcibly eliminate all SSN-based security systems.
It wouldn't even require any new laws, as far as I can tell.
SSNs are not supposed to be secret, so why could not the
fed simply publish all of them, the way the phone company
publishes your name, phone number and address?


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list