A recent report that Web 2.0 (Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, et al) continues to
friends to share private information at an alarming rate is hardly a
surprise. Research at a number of universities demonstrates that things are
probably worse than most people image. For instance, the 2009 paper entitled "Predicting
Social Security numbers from public data" from Carnegie Mellon explained
how easy it is to predict patterns of data that leads to accurate predictions
of Social Security numbers (SSNs) and birth dates from public data. Cyber
thieves are taking advantage of the personal information on the Internet as we
are well aware.
Electronic Health Records (EHRs)
To make matters more interesting the expansion of EHRs over the
next four years will expose more personal medical information on the Internet.
deadline of 2015 implementing all EHRs may sound great to some, but we
should be concerned about how well that personal information is protected. Actually
the EHRs may make the personal information a bigger target to cyber thieves.
Recent warning about cyber threats from the FBI
and DHS should make us all uneasy.
SSNs Used for Personal Identification
As many of us remember for many years health insurance companies used SSNs
for their insureds' account numbers and a number of states used SSNs for
drivers' license numbers. So there are millions of historic records on US
citizens that include SSNs. As a matter of fact, millions of Internet
court records include divorce decrees, motions, and affidavits with SSNs,
drivers' license numbers, credit card numbers, and bank account numbers. Many
states now limit posting of this personal information on the Internet, but
records from the past abound with personal information. Given our open
government view of open records laws which sprang forth after Watergate in 1972 most people think
government and court records should be open, but a hidden danger lurks in
protecting personal information within those court records.
A recent report that Web 2.0 (Facebook, Twiter, MySapce, et al) continues to encourage friends to share