Monday, July 6, 2009

And You Thought You Had Privacy

Predicting Social Security numbers from public data
Alessandro Acquisti,1 and
Ralph Gross
+Author Affiliations

Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Communicated by Stephen E. Fienberg, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, May 5, 2009 (received for review January 18, 2009)
Information about an individual's place and date of birth can be exploited to predict his or her Social Security number (SSN). Using only publicly available information, we observed a correlation between individuals' SSNs and their birth data and found that for younger cohorts the correlation allows statistical inference of private SSNs. The inferences are made possible by the public availability of the Social Security Administration's Death Master File and the widespread accessibility of personal information from multiple sources, such as data brokers or profiles on social networking sites. Our results highlight the unexpected privacy consequences of the complex interactions among multiple data sources in modern information economies and quantify privacy risks associated with information revelation in public forums.

Read the whole academic study:

Shit, this is not a new knowledge. It has been doable for years. But now it is OUT THERE!

Now we will all have to get those damn RF implants and the secret UPC code under the upper lip, and have them all correlated to our eye's retinal scan.

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