Uses of Social Security Numbers in the Private Sector: Why SSNs Are Not Appropriate for Authentication

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization, based in San Diego, California, and established in 1992. The PRC invites individuals’ questions and complaints via e-mail and telephone, and we operate much like a “Dear Abby” of privacy.

The top issues for which individuals have contacted us in our 15-year history include: identity theft, credit reporting, employment background checks, medical records, and the topic of today’s workshop, Social Security numbers (SSNs). If you think about it, each of these topics incorporates the issue of SSNs. For example, the crime of identity theft is perpetrated by an imposter, primarily because he or she knows the SSN of the victim and is able to provide it when filling out applications for credit.

URL Focus Areas: BPEL | DITA | ebXML | IDtrust | OpenDocument | SAML | UBL | UDDI
OASIS sites: OASIS | Cover Pages | | AMQP | CGM Open | eGov | Emergency | IDtrust | LegalXML | Open CSA | OSLC | WS-I