Journal: News & Comment

Monday, October 06, 2003
# 8:23:00 AM:

Staying yourself

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Technology columnist Bob Cringely had his mail stolen. He's worried about identity theft and, as usual, has some good ideas:

My Social Security number is an artifact of the 1930s, a master identifier that has to change not just into a number that is harder to copy, but into a feisty little program that has only my interests at heart. When someone wants my Social Security number, I want my number to ask, "And who the hell are you?"


Smart numbers have to be combined with truly instant log tracing that enables me (not some investigator who won't investigate, but me who will) to track my data wherever it goes. I own my data, so the path it follows should be available to me, too. [...] If nobody else can follow that trail, then I want to follow it myself. Multiply that by tens of millions and see what happens. 

Better than becoming a hermit in the mountains, anyway.


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