Every American Should Receive New Social Security Numbers

With the breaking news of the Equifax cyberattack, approximately 50% of all Americans have had their social security numbers stolen. It’s time for each one of us to get issued new social security numbers, using new and more secure methods.

History of Issuing Social Security

The Social Security Act was signed into law by President Roosevelt on August 14, 1935. In addition to several provisions for general welfare, the new Act created a social insurance program designed to pay retired workers age 65 or older a continuing income after retirement. The process of issuing Social Security numbers is called “enumeration.”

After understanding the history and the why and how of the social security number issuance process, you can see that it is archaic by today’s standards.

John Sweeney received the first SSN account, and his was not the lowest number ever issued. That distinction fell to New Hampshire resident, Grace Dorothy Owen. Ms. Owen received number 001-01-0001.

The nine-digit SSN is composed of three parts:

  • The first set of three digits is called the Area Number
  • The second set of two digits is called the Group Number
  • The final set of four digits is the Serial Number

After understanding the history and the why and how of the social security number issuance process, you can see that it is archaic by today’s standards.

Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), is a specification for the encryption of electronic data established by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in 2001. AES has been adopted by the U.S. government and is now used worldwide. The algorithm described by AES is a symmetric-key algorithm, meaning the same key is used for both encrypting and decrypting the data.

I am not a software programmer, or a crypto-security or data scientist expert, but must there be a safer way to issue, encrypt, and safely store our social security numbers?

What if we used massive government super computers with 256-bit encryption to generate our new social security numbers? Can’t our social security number be like a Bitcoin and use blockchain technology as a ledger system? We could automatically get notified if our new social security number was queried or used in any way.

If your social security number was stolen, it is out there in the cyber-world forever. I do not want to always be looking over my shoulder to deal with another incident of identity theft, so UNCLE SAM – please issue me a new, more secure social security number!

What’s your answer to this problem?

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