Congressional record exposes military officers to identity theft, covers up


18 Responses to “Congressional record exposes military officers to identity theft, covers up”

  1. Caroline says:

    phisrow and knodi nail it.

  2. efergus3 says:

    The Stars and Stripes has been pissing off the higher ups since Patton. And they’re now removing SSNs from military/dependant ID cards.

  3. efergus3 says:

    Weird. Tried Posting answers twice.

  4. Anonymous says:

    The DOD and other government organizations would be forced to respond if one of the officers listed filed a privacy act complaint. I’m pretty sure the publicly published Congressional record is not a Privacy Act system, and it is therefore against the law for it to contain personally identifiable information such as an SSN and DOB.

  5. Anonymous says:

    @efergus3 — Any idea of a timeline on the removal of SSN from military ID cards? As the husband of an active duty member of the Air Force, I was glad to see that my SSN has finally been removed from my ID, but my wife’s SSN is still printed on both her ID and mine. You’d think an organization whose entire purpose is to promote security wouldn’t put its members in a position where they’re a lost/stolen wallet away from easy identity theft.

  6. CarlMalamud says:

    To anonymous (#9). In theory, military will have SSNs off the cards this year, will stop using them 2014. Here’s a story from a year ago on the topic. I don’t know if they’re on schedule or not.

  7. Anonymous says:

    I think phisrow is correct the misuse of personal information will be the consumers problem. Maybe we should all pressure the media writers to call it “bank fraud”.

  8. knodi says:

    Not to defend this mistake, but I have a Q about the flip-side of this : Why does a mere SSN give you such great power to steal someone’s identity?

    With “heightened awareness” of the sensitivity of the #, why isn’t there heightened sensitivity on the part of bank officers, credit card companies, and so on, to the fact that knowing a 9-digit number doesn’t prove jack shit?


    • The Chemist says:


      I’ve lived in countries where there is *GASP* no such thing as an SSN or equivalent. They make your signature one form of verification (you need to learn to sign EXACTLY the same every time) while they use good old fashioned photo IDs and pass-phrases. Works just fine.

  9. phisrow says:

    The ultimate problem, of course, is our dysfunctional relationship with the SSN. The same number cannot both be your OMG super Secret! password, sufficient to do all kinds of wacky financial stuff, and an ID number that all sorts of people routinely ask for.

    The problem isn’t that congress would publish the IDs of officers; but that those IDs are all that scammers need to do all sorts of things in their names. (and, quite cleverly, the financial world calls this “identity theft” which makes it your problem, rather than “bank fraud” which would make it theirs. It is impressive, is it not, that if a bank gives somebody money just because they say that they are you, it becomes your problem?)

    As long as the underlying problem remains, any putzing around with the details of where SSNs are likely to show up is just a bandaid.

  10. Hans says:

    Much better to simply make a federal standard for the verification of identity which does not rely on ssn, and a law which mandates usage in certain applications (as we do now for banking… through the ssn). There’s absolutely no excuse for the use of ssn as a form of identification. They were neither intended for that purpose, nor do they adequately serve that purpose.

    The technology exists; we simply need to implement it.

  11. AirPillo says:

    This is a bit tangential, but I’m surprised to see anything even this controversial from Stars and Stripes.

    I openly profess ignorance of them, but I had thought of that publication as being mostly a propaganda machine based upon what I’d heard of it (not always in the perjorative sense of the word propaganda, but in the sense that doesn’t expect much investigative reporting). I had sort of come to expect a lot of encouraging the troops and some mild jingoism and “the US is great!”

    It looks like I was wrong. How far under a rock have I been living?

  12. Michael says:

    Stars and Stripes really does advocate for the military community even when the government screws up. I’ve been similarly surprised in the past.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I agree with knodi and phisrow. Of course if people WEREN’T able to easily do “wacky financial stuff,” by simply giving out their SSNs they’d complain. Just as people complain when asked to show ID when using a credit card. Me, I figure that I’m the one being protected.

  14. Anonymous says:

    The Stars and Stripes is an independent newspaper for military and their families who are overseas. It would not survive if it was merely a propaganda arm of the DoD. No one would pay for a bunch of DoD “rah, rah” crap. I had a subscription to it when I lived in Germany and it was like getting a local paper. It provided news of what was happening in the European theater and beyond. The troops are a varied bunch of people, like everyone else, not a bunch of automatons subject to DoD mind control.

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