Why not scramble SSN’s

I've been reading about identity theft for long time. It is easy to steal and it is very hard if not impossible for consumers to protect themselves.  Most of the time when data is stollen, SSN's are used for primary keys in database and are present in almost any piece of data that describes you (almost everywhere).

While I am sure government will have to come up with something better than what is today, in the meantime I would propose simple solution that would keep data harder to get.

First don't use SSN's as primary key. which is extremely dumb to do when almost all RDBMS (databases for short) provide auto-increment type which is made for primary keys and does job magnificently.

Second, don't store SSN's in plain format. Use MD5 or some other algoritm to scramble them and make them plain only where you actually use them in communication with government services.

These two steps would be enough prevent and make unusable majority (90%) of data losses that happened.

For rest, I would suggest to make companies that open account liable for any account expense that cannot be proven is opened by genuine person. Why that is not so already is beyond me. 

So, this is my take on identity theft. 


~ by Zeljko Dakic on May 30, 2006.

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