Id Theft Alerts

July 16, 2009
Social Security Numbers can be Predicted

Alessandro Acquisti of Carnegie Mellon University has published a paper on how he was able to predict Social Security numbers from an individual's date and location of birth.  These are two pieces of data that are readily available on social networks.

The smaller the birth state and people born after 1988 were much easier to predict.  The later of course is the majority of social networking users.

This finding puts the validity of using Social Security numbers for as a unique identifier into question.
The Mafia and Identity Theft

LexisNexis has warned warned 13,329 consumers that their data may have been compromised.  The data was in the sensitive Seisint databases that were once used to track terrorists.

The data was breached by Lee Klein of Boynton Beach, Florida.  Lee is part of the Bonanno crime family in Florida.  The Bonanno family used the information for a fake check-cashing operation, potential extortion or assault targets, and to find individuals suspected of being involved with law enforcement.

It appears LexisNexis sold Lee access to the databases. [Full story]
IP Addresses Not 'Personally Identifiable'

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones has ruled that IP addresses are not personally identifiable information.  In a ruling the judge wrote, "In order for 'personally identifiable information' to be personally identifiable, it must identify a person. But an IP address identifies a computer."  Jones issued the ruling as part of a class-action lawsuit brought by consumers against Microsoft. 

This ruling seems to contradict other rulings on this issue in the US and abroad. 

This may not appear important but the implications are important for any privacy on the internet.  What the judge failed to appreciate is that when a computer is only used by one person it is personally identifiable.  If this ruling established precedent then there will be very little information the can't be harvested from Internet users.  [full story]
Lawyers Argue Against Red Flag Rule

Add lawyers to the list of people who don't like the red flag rule.  The New York State Bar Association has joined the ABA and the Bar Associations in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio and Virginia opposing the rule.  They say it will affect their attorney client privilege.  The AMA is also opposed to the rule.

The red flag rule is part of FACTA and requires businesses to set up systems to detect potential fraud.  It has already been delayed twice.
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