On January 7, 2003, the Honorable Ron Paul representing the 14th Congressional District of the State of Texas stood on the floor of the House of Representatives and gave a speech in which he urged the Social Security Administration to issue new identifiers over the course of five years; identifiers that would strictly adhere to their original intent when Social Security Numbers were introduced in 1938. That is, the new ‘SSNs’ would be used strictly and exclusively for the needs of the Social Security Administration and none other.
Congressman Paul felt the need to issue such a strong statement because as a headline in the January 5th edition of USA Today warned: “Identity theft often begins with Social Security number.”
This is why I suspect so many convention-bound Republicans are a bit upset when a welcome email was a bit too inviting in that it inadvertently included the name, address, Social Security number, race and other personal information of said volunteers (source: NY NewsDay.com)
So here is my tidbit of advice to you. Do not, under any condition, use Social Security Numbers to track, organize or otherwise identify your church members. Period! Don’t do it!
Likewise, see if there is a firewall between your sensitive membership data and your web site and/or web server. If there isn’t, build one or hire a professional to get it done for you.
Here is a list of some related links if you need more ammo to convince the members of your church council to spend the resources necessary to protect the privacy of your charity’s members and/or volunteers:
- BankRate.com – Guard your Social Security number
- Social Security Online – Identity Theft And Your Social Security Number
- Social Security Online – Identity Theft Links & Resources
- NetworkUSA – Social Security Number FAQ
- Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) – Social Security Numbers
- Privacy Rights Clearinghouse – Fact Sheet 10: Your Social Security Number: How Secure Is It?
- Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) – History and Significance of the Social Security Number
- Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) – Social Security Number FAQ