Monday, July 6, 2009

Even If It's Broke

Here's a piece which I wasn't surprised to read, though it took smart people to draw it to my attention and to yours.

Social Security Numbers, in our age of sophisticated computers and computer users, are not safe in the sense that they were deemed to be safe when the system was created, when the concept of a computer existed only in minds like Einstein's and at the Institute For Advanced Study at Princeton.

Like dangerous intersections it's likely that no action to prevent this highly predictable, waiting to happen accident, will be taken until many people are seriously hurt.

There's a kind of perverse logic to this, as Mr. Spock might say.

Those who study personality preferences are aware that three out of four people, though they complain about the way things are in their lives, are skeptical, even cynical, about sudden and major change. When three out of four people agree on anything, it's not surprising that they dismiss the differing view of the fourth person.

This preference, if not instinct, gives rise to sayings like, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water", and "If it ain't broke, don't fix it".

The minority view which is summarily dismissed is likely to be taken more seriously by the majority only when necessity rears its ugly head. Then they congratulate themselves by spouting the old shibboleth about necessity being the mother of invention, as if they suddenly want to identify with those who have advocated change.

Predictable and even predicted accidents occur at dangerous intersections, which are re-engineered only after a tragic accident.

Protection against stealing identities through the cracking of the Social Security Number assignment system code will ultimately have to be addressed and dealt with.

Sadly it's not likely to even be addressed any time soon, though many of us have already received notices from our credit card banks that our accounts have been cancelled due to a breach in their own security systems, and that we have to jump through the hoops of their arcane IT language without any training.

Sometimes, and more often than not, it takes far too much time for the public to tell their elected officials to take action, long after those who took the trouble to investigate alerted us to the danger.

Lighthouse Keeper

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