Tuesday, May 23, 2006

National ID Card

WaPo reported As many as 26.5 million veterans were placed at risk of identity theft after an intruder stole an electronic data file this month containing their names, birth dates and Social Security numbers from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs employee, Secretary Jim Nicholson said yesterday....The theft represents the biggest unauthorized disclosure ever of Social Security data, and it could make affected veterans vulnerable to credit card fraud if the burglars realize the value of the data, one expert said. "In terms of Social Security numbers, it's the biggest breach," said Evan Hendricks, publisher of the Privacy Times newsletter and author of the book "Credit Scores and Credit Reports." "As long as you've got that exact Social, most of the time the credit bureaus will disclose your credit report, and that enables the thief to get credit."

Instapundit blogged
This kind of thing is why I'm not impressed with calls for a National ID. Of course, it's also why I'm not impressed with credit bureaus.

Actually this example is one that would encourage a National ID card, IMHO. If people had to have an ID card with their photo, fingerprint, and other such biometric information on it, and if swiping that card through an inexpensive reader and checking it against a national database could verify other information that would be in the magnetic stripe and the database, but would not be known to forgers, identify theft would be significantly reduced. But if all one needs to know is a social security number, and then get that printed on a paper card, with no other biometric data on it, identify theft is much easier.

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