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May 23, 2007

Government Orders Agencies to Cut Back on SSNs in Data Collection

Hardly a week, or even a day goes by when there isn't an embarrassing disclosure of lost or stolen laptops contain Social Security numbers of a large group of people.  Northwestern University lost data recently on alums, including SS numbers.  Government agencies are no better than universities or private corporations when it comes to securing individual data with sensitive information.  It seems that all identity thefts revolve around the unique 9 digit number most residents have, which is collected again and again by so many entities.

The U.S. government is getting somewhat aware that a problem exists, at least with its own data collection practices  Clay Johnson III, deputy director for management at OMB has ordered federal agencies to eliminate the unnecessary collection and use of Social Security numbers in their records.  The operative word, of course, is "unnecessary."  It's a nice idea, though who knows how this will play out in terms of record keeping.

The story is in the International Herald Tribune.  The  link to the OMB press release is here, and it contains a link to the memo directed to the agencies.  One wonders how the Director of National Intelligence feels about this.

May 23, 2007 | Permalink

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