Alessandro Acquisti: I just found 10 Million SSNs
Milano Ballroom 5-6-7-8
About: Social Security numbers (SSNs) were created in the 1930s as identifiers for accounts tracking individual earnings. Over time,they started being used (and abused) as sensitive authenticators. Hence, they became one of the pieces of information most often sought by identity thieves. To respond to growing concerns with SSN over-exposure and counter the rise of identity theft, policy makers have encouraged individuals to keep their SSNs safe and confidential, and, more recently, enacted legislation to reduce their public availability. But what if even well-meaning consumers may provably be unable protect their SSNs, and legislative initiatives aimed at reducing their availability may in fact backfire? We will examine the possibility that SSNs may be more predictable than currently acknowledged, and discuss the unintended consequences of policy initiatives in the area of identity theft prevention.