Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Yet another argument against ID cards: Error exposes 26m US veterans to ID theft

Just in case you were wondering we worry about vast government databases, the Times gives us a reminder:
AS IF war wounds and post-traumatic stress were not enough, millions of US military veterans face the risk of identity theft.

Personal data on 26.5 million veterans fell into the hands of criminals when a laptop and computer disks were stolen from a government official who had taken the information home without permission. The data contains the name, date of birth and social security number of everyone discharged from the American Armed Forces since 1975.

The security breach is second in scale only to the hacking attack on CardSystems Solutions last June, which compromised the accounts of 40 million credit card holders. But it is potentially even more damaging because the stolen information contains social security numbers, which can be used to obtain credit cards and loans in a victim’s name.

Veterans reacted with fury at the prospect of having their identities stolen by criminals who might run up huge debts in their names.

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