Thursday, January 03, 2008

Governments still display a lot of personal data online


There are more indications that government websites are still publishing personal information, including “lodestar” social security numbers. Local governments have published this information with land and property records and civil and criminal cases, and only some have started to remove the information.

The story appeared Wed. Jan 2 on p A01 of The Washington Post, by Bill Brubaker, “Online Records May Aid ID Theft: Government Sites Post Personal Data,” here,

The Federal Trade Commission reports that 8.3 million Americans were victims of ID theft in 2005. The FTC issued a prepared statement to a Maryland Task Force back in September, 2007, link here. There is a lot of discussion of the FACT Act, that is, the Fair and Accurate Transactions Act of 2003. It also maintains a clearinghouse.

Still, one of the weakest links is that private credit grantors (and employers) do not have a reliable way to verify identity and contact points, in large part (and ironically) because of mistrust of government with personal information.

NBC Nightly News covered this story with its Jan. 3 broadcast.

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