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Are Social Security Numbers Going the Way of the Dinosaur?

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    Recently a White House adviser on cyber security has pushed to phase out the age old Social Security number. Plenty of clout has been raised in the past couple of days about it. So I decided to dig into. Here is an article from ABC covering it.

    How did we get our numbers to begin with?:

    I'm a history buff, and sometimes I come across articles such as this one. The origin of the number that identifies every American citizen, for better or worse, is the Social Security number. Most of us know how and why this started back in the FDR days when he was trying to bail us out of the depression.

    Believe it or not, it was controversial even back then. Back in the 1930's people weren't too happy about receiving a number and being tracked by the government. It started out innocently enough. It was developed by economist Edwin Witte for the Social Security Act of 1935, the numbers were created as a way to keep track of the new retirement payment system. They couldn't just use someone's name and birthday. Also it was used for only certain workers, not all citizens at first. It wasn't until 1989 that it went into full force with new laws and such.

    What started out as a retirement tracking number is now the most important form of ID. The SS is now so intertwined with our daily lives, it would be very difficult to get rid of. Just think, one cannot apply for a bank account, employment or even a cell phone without coughing up 9 numbers. They are currently looking into technologies that could change or replace the numbers. So, do you think it's a good thing, or is it just furthering us into a real life Pink Floyd video?

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    Definitely interesting. Is there any good suggestions as to what to replace an SS# with? That article cites 'using public key encryption' as a possible replacement. Sounds like more of the same to me. That would still be a password of sorts, just like our current 9 digit passcode.

    Maybe it will be much harder to steal. Probably so. In that case would be good from an identity theft standpoint. But from a 'libertarian, I don't want the government to give me a number that identifies me as a person' standpoint, exactly the same.

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    J.K.Logic Wrote:

    Definitely interesting. Is there any good suggestions as to what to replace an SS# with? That article cites 'using public key encryption' as a possible replacement. Sounds like more of the same to me. That would still be a password of sorts, just like our current 9 digit passcode.

    Maybe it will be much harder to steal. Probably so. In that case would be good from an identity theft standpoint. But from a 'libertarian, I don't want the government to give me a number that identifies me as a person' standpoint, exactly the same.

    Agree. Perhaps a lovely designer chip in the arm. Same tech that are used on lost pets, just release it in Louis Vuitton or Nike. In all seriousness, as libertarian myself, I'd say leave well enough alone. Hackers and criminals will always find a way around obstacles. The less invasive, the less damage it can do, in my opinion.
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    Yea, I'm not sure what it would be replaced with either. Whatever it is, it would be something that could be used to track you to make sure you're paying all your taxes. And as you pointed out, hackers will always find a way to get around even the best security. So I don't know if anything would come of this because in the end it wouldn't really change anything.

    I'm far more concerned about cyber security than how the government makes sure I pay my taxes.

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    Not quite what your discussing, but coming April 2018 all those on Medicare will be receiving new Medicare ID #'s that will NOT be our social security, nor spouses #.