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Intervention by Denise Caruso Read Intervention by Denise Caruso, Executive Director of the Hybrid Vigor Silver Award Winner, 2007 Independent Publisher Book Awards; Best Business Books 2007, Strategy+Business Magazine

LAST FOUR OF YOUR SOCIAL? … AND PRIVACY’S KILLER APP

by ~ March 19, 2010.
Permalink | Filed under: Social Trust Online.

Interesting tidbit in the NYT yesterday about how developers can use public information to get the remaining 5 numbers of your SSN:

The Carnegie Mellon researchers used publicly available information from many sources, including profiles on social networks, to narrow their search for two pieces of data crucial to identifying people — birthdates and city or state of birth.

That helped them figure out the first three digits of each Social Security number, which the government had assigned by location. The remaining six digits had been assigned through methods the government didn’t disclose, although they were related to when the person applied for the number. The researchers used projections about those applications as well as other public data, like the Social Security numbers of dead people, and then ran repeated cycles of statistical correlation and inference to partly re-engineer the government’s number-assignment system.

This is why the b-day listed on my Facebook account is NOT my actual birthday, just my Facebook Birthday. I encourage everyone else to do the same.

In fact, if some of you hackers out there want to put your skills to good use, I’ll open source this idea for a killer privacy app: Develop a “misinformation virus” that goes around the internet making false and conflicting claims about individuals (and their doppelgangers). Make it so only people who know a person can distinguish between fact and fiction. I’d gladly download a “Plausible Deniability” iPhone app that that swarms users together to generate bogus tweets, text messages, photo tags, etc. in the interest of privacy. Anyone want to take me up on this? Reply with the first four of my social so I know your for real.

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