US Agriculture Department Revealed Thousands Of Social Security Numbers On Its Website
from the nice-work dept
ekc writes "Apparently people don't need to find lost government laptops in order to get people's social security numbers. The agriculture department was nice enough to make them available in a searchable public database." Even better is the fact that the database's records were available via Google. The only way this was discovered was because a bored farmer did a vanity Google search and was surprised to find her social security number displayed. The article quotes numerous people wondering (a) why the Agriculture Department was using SSNs for identification purposes and (b) how no one could have noticed that they were then putting that info into a public database. By this point, though, it seems pretty reasonable to just admit defeat: your social security number is not private. It's available, and anyone who wants it can probably get it. What should be done, then, is for everyone to simply stop using it as a means of identification, but somehow, that seems unlikely to happen any time soon.