Monday, September 11, 2017

The Social Security Number must die.

The Social Security Number must die.

It’s been evident for years, but recent publicly disclosed hacks makes it even more obvious. The 80-year-old Social Security number is no longer appropriate as a special identification document.

When an important device to exclusively identify a person is available to just about anyone, it is not an exclusive identifier. If anyone can “prove” that they are me; I can no longer prove my identity, nor disprove what they claim.

The government needs to assign everyone a new Federal Identity Number for use only by people who have a direct tax or Social Security relationship with you. The restriction should include stiff penalties for anyone else who possesses an identity not assigned to them.

Most of the reasons we gave out our SSN a generation ago were never valid. Present technology allows us to prove to someone else that a fact (our identity) is true without revealing that fact to them. Disconnected databases and encryption could allow authorized entities to “use” the identity without possessing it.

Everyone else just needs to find a way to trust that I am me without demanding a common unique secret from me. Marketers and web trackers sure have succeeded.


Creative Commons License. This work by Bill Barnes is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 US License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at
(cc) 2017- Bill Barnes - Disclaimer - Home Page -

No comments: