s The Proposed National ID Card: Your Passport to a Police State
The Proposed National ID Card

Technical Problems with National ID Cards
which make their promised benefits infeasible.

It is one thing to propose a fashionably hi-tech idea like the National ID Card, with the promise of a foolproof solution to some of the country's many problems.  But it's another thing to actually make it work as promised.  There isn't an ID card format in existence that can't be counterfeited, stolen, lost, copied, accidentally erased or compromised in some other way.


National ID Cards:  Analysis and commentary by Bruce Schneier of Counterpane Internet Security.

Real ID's, Real Dangers.  Have you ever wondered what good it does when they look at your driver's license at the airport?  Let me assure you, as a former bureaucrat partly responsible for the 1996 decision to create a photo-ID requirement, it no longer does any good whatsoever.  The ID check is not done by federal officers but by the same kind of minimum-wage rent-a-cops who were doing the inspection of carry-on luggage before 9/11.

Note:  Airline insanity is a related subject on another page.

Single point of failure:  The government wants to keep all your secrets on an I.D. card.
Something from George Orwell.  Sometimes the best defense against the Orwellian schemes of the government is the government's own incompetence. [...] As a feasibility test, the Department of Homeland Security set up a new form of "secure" credential for individuals who work at the nation's maritime facilities.  At first, the new I.D. cards would be displayed to security guards in a conventional fashion, but the push was on to make them machine-readable so that human judgment can be taken out of the equation.  The good news is that so far the idea has been a bust.

How Obamacare Makes Theft Of Your Identity More Likely.  Last week, the Obama Administration doled out tens of millions of dollars to "community groups" across the country, with few strings attached.  These groups — and those posing as them — could gain access to consumer addresses, Social Security numbers, and medical information.  It's the President's gift to some of his grassroots allies.  And it could be a bonanza for identity thieves.

Thousands of illegal immigrants obtained Missouri driver's licenses.  Thousands of illegal immigrants living across the United States used fraudulent paperwork to obtain Missouri driver's licenses in St. Joseph, federal authorities said Wednesday [1/11/2012].  A federal grand jury in Kansas City indicted 14 defendants, including six members of a St. Joseph family, for participation in the conspiracy, which allegedly allowed more than 3,500 illegal immigrants to obtain Missouri driver's licenses and other state identification documents.

Any mass-produced security system can be hacked or bypassed.
How Hackers Can Use Smart Keys To Steal Cars.  Modern smart keys use radio frequencies to let drivers unlock and start a vehicle without fumbling with a key fob.  Now European researchers have found such systems can be hacked, letting thieves easily steal your car. ... The research by the team from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology targeted a new weakness; the smart key fobs common on luxury vehicles and spreading to mainstream models that allow a driver to unlock doors and start a vehicle without touching the fob.  Using radio signals, the fob and vehicle send encrypted signals to each other over short distances, and while other researchers had suggested the fobs could be vulnerable, no one had put the idea to a test.

Online banking encryption broken.  Security researchers have developed a potential cyber attack that could decrypt secure communications used by online banking and payment sites.

Hackers break SSL encryption used by millions of sites.  Researchers have discovered a serious weakness in virtually all websites protected by the secure sockets layer protocol that allows attackers to silently decrypt data that's passing between a webserver and an end-user browser.  The vulnerability resides in versions 1.0 and earlier of TLS, or transport layer security, the successor to the secure sockets layer technology that serves as the internet's foundation of trust.

Online banking encryption broken.  Security researchers have developed a potential cyber attack that could decrypt secure communications used by online banking and payment sites.  "The attack breaks the confidentiality model of the protocol ... potentially affecting the security of transactions on millions of sites," wrote Dennis Fisher on ThreatPost, an internet security news blog run by the antivirus maker Kaspersky Lab.

Bilderberg Pushing Global ID Card.  Of late there is much news surrounding the secretive globalist group known as Bilderberg.  Internationalists are quietly pushing Congress to force global "identity cards" on the world, including all Americans and the entire Western Hemisphere.  Bilderberg's obedient servant, The Washington Post, called for a "biometric card" in an editorial on February 2, 2013.  Bilderberg relentlessly continues its push for war and global "climate control" as steps toward world government.

US military access cards cracked by Chinese hackers.  A new strain of the Sykipot Trojan is been used to compromise the Department of Defense-sanctioned smart cards used to authorise network and building access at many US government agencies, according to security researchers.

AP:  National ID a 'Nightmare' for States.  An anti-terrorism law creating a national standard for all driver's licenses by 2008 isn't just upsetting civil libertarians and immigration rights activists.  State motor vehicle officials nationwide who will have to carry out the Real ID Act say its authors grossly underestimated its logistical, technological and financial demands.

Security of U.S. Passports Called Into Question.  The U.S. government agency that prints passports has for years failed to resolve persistent concerns about the security risks involved in outsourcing production to foreign factories, a joint investigation by ABC News and the Center for Public Integrity has found.

Risks of National Identity (NID) Cards:  We must distinguish between the apparent identity claimed by an NID and the actual identity of an individual, and consider the underlying technology of NID cards and the infrastructures supporting those cards.  It's instructive to consider the problems of passports and drivers' licenses.  These supposedly unique IDs are often forged.  Rings of phony ID creators abound, for purposes including both crime and terrorism.  Every attempt thus far at hardening ID cards against forgery has been compromised.

Man infects himself with computer virus.  University of Reading researcher Mark Gasson has become the first human known to be infected by a computer virus.  The virus, infecting a chip implanted in Gasson's hand, passed into a laboratory computer.  From there, the infection could have spread into other computer chips found in building access cards.

National ID Will Not Improve Security.  There are times when this great nation would benefit tremendously from a good case of congressional gridlock.  The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a national ID bill, which is a proposal that masquerades as immigration reform.  We need immigration reform to stop our country from being overrun by illegal immigrants almost as much as we don't need this bill.

National ID Cards:  A Bad Idea That Won't Work.  The idea of making Americans carry a national ID card bearing their photographs and fingerprints or other identifiers isn't just an assault on civil liberties, it would also be loaded with problems and take years to implement, experts say.

Proposed "Enhanced" Licenses Are Costly to Security and Privacy.  A so-called "enhanced" driver's license or identification card contains more data and different technology than current licenses and ID cards.  Citizenship designations and wireless radio frequency identification (RFID) technology chips will be added to the cards.

RFID Passports cloned wholesale.  Using inexpensive off-the-shelf components (a Motorola RFID reader and antenna, and a PC) bought mostly on eBay and a self-developed Windows app, Chris Paget ("an information security expert") built a mobile platform in his spare time that can clone large numbers of the unique RFID tag electronic identifiers used in U.S. passport cards and next generation drivers licenses.

(Not) Combating Identity Theft with "Smart" Social Security Cards.  HR 98 doesn't do anything to actually address identity theft, which isn't performed using Social Security cards in the first place.  Sensible measures, like making the Social Security Number self-checking, decoupling it from identification, and penalizing corporations who fail to protect SSNs or who misuse them, are notably absent.

New UK biometric passports & identity theft:  It would be fairly straightforward for a courier using a standard RFID reader to scan each passport, in its envelope, as he or she delivers it and hand the details on to an accomplice at some later time.  We know that the encryption has already been broken.  So.  No need to steal the passport, no need even to open the envelope containing the passport.  All the details taken and no evidence to show it.

Issuing Identity Cards:  There are a lot of things wrong with the proliferation of identity checks at airports, hotels, government buildings, and the like.  One, they don't actually solve any real security problem; seeing the identity card of someone doesn't make him any less likely to commit a terrorist act, for example.  Two, it's easy to obtain a fake ID and it's really hard for a security guard to distinguish a good fake ID from a real ID.  And three, they're expensive to implement and inconvenient for everyone.  Given the minimal additional security these checks provide and the large cost associated with them, most of the time they're not a good security trade-off.

State workers face suspension for looking at Obama's driving records.  Nine employees of Secretary of State Jesse White face suspensions of three or more days for improperly looking up the Illinois driving record of president-elect Barack Obama.  The employees, who work in secretary of state offices throughout the state, include workers at licensing facilities and in the departments of Vehicle Services and Drivers Services, spokeswoman Penelope Campbell said.

Testimony of Lori L. Waters,  Before the Congressional Subcommittee on Highways and Transit:  Since 1954, all states have required drivers to be licensed in order to operate a motor vehicle, and there is significant diversity in state laws governing driver's licenses.  Under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, the states control the rules of driver's license issuance, content, and format.  This is as it should be.  No longer does your driver's license just prove that you know the rules of the road.  The private and public sectors are using it as an identity verification document, and because of this, we are reaching a crossroads.  The real question is not about a person getting a driver's license fraudulently to drive around town but rather about what else he could do with it - open a bank account, cash a check, get a library card, board a plane, etc.

Coalition letter to members of Congress opposing National ID.  We, representing a broad and diverse coalition of national organizations, urge you to oppose H.R. 4633, the "Driver's License Modernization Act of 2002."  This legislation establishes a nationwide identification system (national ID) through the bureaucratic back door of state drivers' licenses.

What price security?  Experts doubt national ID and encryption bans are effective.

Transportation Worker ID Card Riddled With Privacy and Security Holes.  TWIC was created in November 2002 as part of maritime security legislation, but the pilot program was delayed for two years and the cost ballooned.  The pilot program was to include up to 200,000 participants at 34 locations in six states; however, only 4,000 prototype cards were issued at 26 sites in six states and the pilot program's cost nearly doubled from $12.3 million to $22.8 million.

Too Many Unresolved Questions On ID Cards, Study Panel Says.  Serious concerns about a national identification system, including how privacy would be protected and how misuse would be prevented, should be addressed before such a system is created, a National Academy of Sciences committee said.

ePassports can be cloned in five minutes.  The ePassport is one of the many measures pursued by the United States and governments internationally after the horror of 11 September. … But as the implementation of the scheme gets underway it is becoming clear that there could be serious problems with it.  With the old passport, we knew where we stood.  If you lost it you knew you had lost it, but with the new, machine readable passports the story is very different.

Hacked passport crashes RFID readers.  A hacker has demonstrated an exploit against the RFID tags in the new US passports that allows him to clone a passport and modify the RFID with bad code that will crash the passport readers.

'Fakeproof' e-passport is cloned in minutes.  New microchipped passports designed to be foolproof against identity theft can be cloned and manipulated in minutes and accepted as genuine by the computer software recommended for use at international airports.  Tests for The Times exposed security flaws in the microchips introduced to protect against terrorism and organised crime.  The flaws also undermine claims that 3,000 blank passports stolen last week were worthless because they could not be forged.

E-Passports Signed, Sealed, Delivered — But Not Like You May Think.  Two years ago security researcher Lukas Grunwald showed how the chips in new electronic passports could easily be cloned. … Changing data on the passport chip would change the hash, indicating that the chip had been manipulated and thus invalidating it.  Dutch security researcher Jeroen van Beek, from the University of Amsterdam, recently made headlines when The Times in London reported that he could get a "cloned and manipulated" passport chip to be recognized as legitimate by passport readers.

Rights Groups Oppose National ID Card.  Civil-liberties and consumer groups are urging President Bush to oppose efforts to create a national identification system, saying that it would intrude on privacy.

The National ID Card:  If they build it, will it work?  (The author does not seem opposed to the idea.)


Political Problems with National ID Cards

The National ID will only accelerate our transformation into a police state.  After you are stripped of your individual freedom and liberty, you'll find that the National ID in your pocket won't make you any safer.  But at that point, you can't go back to the good old days.


NYC Mayor on ID Cards For Illegals: 'Don't Want' Them 'To Feel Like Second-Class Citizens'.  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, said on Monday [1/13/2015] that giving identification cards to illegal aliens allows them to feel like citizens and enjoy some of the same benefits as actual citizens.  "We don't want any of our fellow New Yorkers to feel like second-class citizens," de Blasio was quoted as saying in a National Public Radio website article.  "We don't want them to feel left out."

The National Loss-of-Freedoms Card.  HR 418, a massively unconstitutional and un-American disaster for our freedom, just passed the House of Representatives.  It does nothing to stem the flow of illegal aliens.  Instead, HR 418 will establish a national ID card [and, among other things] re-define "terrorism" in broad new terms that could include members of firearms rights and anti-abortion groups or other such groups as determined by whoever is in power at the time.

Reckless ID card plan will destroy nation's freedom:  The Government has embarked on its most reckless policy to date in pursuing the idea of national identity cards.  The initiative will fundamentally change the nature of government and the character of the nation.

San Francisco approves ID cards that exclude gender.  Next year, San Francisco will issue municipal identification cards showing the usual name, birthdate and photo.  What the card won't include:  gender.

San Francisco delays rollout of ID card for all residents.  San Francisco is delaying a controversial program that would provide identification cards to all residents regardless of legal status.  Mayor Gavin Newsom requested last month that the ID card plan — closely watched by other cities considering similar initiatives — be suspended "until a thorough review has been completed," according to a letter sent to the city administrator.

Muslim woman gets license wearing head scarf.  A Muslim woman has received her Oklahoma driver's license with a picture of her wearing her traditional head scarf after her previous attempt to renew her license failed.  Monique Barrett renewed her driver's license Thursday at the Department of Public Safety headquarters in Oklahoma City.

Obama Throws Muslim Women Under the Bus.  Let's face it:  The Islamic face-veil and headscarf have become symbols of "jihad" and Islamic religious apartheid or intolerance in the West.  And, it is spooky, even frightening to see women, (or are they men?), face-veiled or wearing full-body shrouds.  Masked people, hooded people, have cut themselves off from human contact; they can see you, but you can't see them.  You cannot see their expressions in response to what you are saying.  I would not want to appear before a masked judge, study with a masked teacher, hire a masked lawyer, etc.  Would you?

Governors balk at new US license rules.  Fees for a new driver's license could triple.  Lines at motor vehicles offices could stretch out the door.  Governors warned yesterday [7/18/2005] that states and consumers would bear much of the burden for a terrorism-driven push to turn licenses into a national ID card.

Cyber-Surveillance in the Wake of 9/11:  "Cyber-snooping" has been the subject of heated debate in recent years between the law enforcement community and many privacy advocates who seek to secure their right of free speech and to guard against "unreasonable searches" that new technologies can make easier.  The fears of both sides are well-founded.

National Dragnet Is a Click Away.  Three decades ago, Congress imposed limits on domestic intelligence activity after revelations that the FBI, Army, local police and others had misused their authority for years to build troves of personal dossiers and monitor political activists and other law-abiding Americans.  Since those reforms, police and federal authorities have observed a wall between law enforcement information-gathering, relating to crimes and prosecutions, and more open-ended intelligence that relates to national security and counterterrorism.

The Editor says...
When a Big Brother database exists, and hundreds of major and minor bureaucrats have access to it, the potential for abuse is high.  You don't have to engage in criminal behavior to become the victim of such misuse.  Look around on the internet and you can find a long list of politically motivated IRS audits.  That is exactly why so many people were concerned about the treatment afforded to "Joe the Plumber" during the recent presidential campaign.  His political enemies started digging into their databases, hoping to find some dirt.  I could be wrong, but this might be a symptom of an impending Obama thugocracy.

Forced National ID is the Gateway to Forced Implanted Bio Chips.  Last week the House of Representatives passed an unconstitutional piece of legislation which will force all Americans to accept a national ID/driver's license.  Those who refuse to accept this card will not be able to fly, take the train and one day you will be unable to travel the roads and streets without "your papers, please!"

Reject the National ID Card.  Washington politicians are once again seriously considering imposing a national identification card — and it may well become law before the end of the 108th Congress.  The much-hailed 9/11 Commission report released in July recommends a federal identification card and, worse, a "larger network of screening points" inside the United States.  Does this mean we are to have "screening points" inside our country where American citizens will be required to "show their papers" to government officials?  It certainly sounds that way!

Automatic registration for the draft:  The Texas DPS is going to automatically register 18 to 26 year old males with the US Selective Service (military draft) when they apply for or renew a Texas driver's license.

 Editor's Note:   This raises some important questions.  How many state agencies use their leverage to gather information for federal agencies?  And what other agencies will begin using this technique?

National ID Cards:  My primary objection isn't the totalitarian potential of national IDs, nor the likelihood that they'll create a whole immense new class of social and economic dislocations.  Nor is it the opportunities they will create for colossal boondoggles by government contractors.  My objection to the national ID card is much simpler.  It won't work.  It won't make us more secure.  In fact, everything I've learned about security over the last 20 years tells me that once it is put in place, a national ID card program will actually make us less secure.

The "Real ID Act" is all wrong.  This measure is a horrible piece of legislation.  It would erect new barriers to block those coming to our shores fleeing persecution, bar the granting of driving privileges to those who operate motor vehicles on our highways and cut off immigrants from basic due process and fundamental fairness in immigration proceedings.

New Hampshire vs. REAL ID:  Every once in a while, our legislators do something to make us proud.  And New Hampshire's House has done just that — by telling Washington's Big Government crowd to take its National ID Card and stuff it.  The Senate should follow suit.  A National ID Card would do nothing to thwart terrorism.  Remember that the 9/11 hijackers were in this country legally and had legally obtained documents.

The New Threat of Big Brother:  The REAL ID Act.  At first blush, the requirements of the REAL ID Act do not appear onerous.  For example, the Act commands state governments to include nine categories of information on all state-issued driver's licenses such as full legal name, a digital photograph, and address of principle residence.  These items are already found on most, if not all, driver's licenses.  However, the ninth category requires states to use a "common machine-readable technology, with defined minimum data elements."  In implementing this and the other requirements, the Secretary of Homeland Security would be empowered to impose regulations arbitrarily on all citizens.  This broad and highly intrusive power is key, considering the recent advancements in technology.

National ID at the Crossroads.  On May 10, 2005, President Bush signed into law the REAL ID Act, a sweeping measure that will establish new identification requirements across the United States.  The legislation mandates federal identification standards and requires states DMVs, which have become the targets of identity thieves, to collect sensitive personal information.  Lawmakers in both parties urged debate on REAL ID and more than 600 organizations opposed the legislation.  Moreover, the legislation passed at a time of growing concern about identity theft and the reliability of new hi-tech identification.

States Estimate Cost of Real ID Will Be $11 Billion.  The National Conference of State Legislatures released a report on the Real ID Act, which estimates that that the cost to the states will be more than $11 billion over five years.

The holy grail of snoopery.  All of us are willing to give up some of our personal privacy in return for greater safety.  That's why we gladly suffer the pat-downs and "wanding" at airports, and show a local photo ID before boarding.  Such precautions contribute to our peace of mind.  However, the fear of terror attack is being exploited by law enforcement sweeping for suspects as well as by commercial marketers seeking prospects.  It has emboldened the zealots of intrusion to press for the holy grail of snoopery — a mandatory national ID.

Who gave your rights away?  Many conservatives, liberals and libertarians are protesting the numerous invasions of your liberty that Congress and the Bush administration have imposed during the past two months.

It's 9 PM, Does the Government Know Where You Are?  We are at a crucial time in our nation's history.  The freedoms we are willing to give up today in the name of peace of mind and personal security are the ones we may never see tomorrow.  And we must remember that future generations — our children and grandchildren — will reap the fruits of our rash decisions.

National ID Cards and Military Tribunals:  Congress should not hastily enact any proposal simply because it is packaged as an "anti-terrorism" measure.  Every proposal should be vetted for its necessity, efficacy, and constitutionality.

Your Papers, Please:  From the State Drivers License to a National Identification System [PDF file]

Doors close on bus case.  Deborah Davis' supporters, at first jubilant to learn Wednesday morning [12/7/2005] that she will not be prosecuted, were dismayed to learn hours later that officers of the Federal Protective Service still will ask passengers on the public bus to show their identification.  The policy applies to all passengers, including those, as in Davis' case, who are traveling through the Federal Center and not getting off the bus there.

Five Reasons Why National ID Cards Should Be Rejected

IDs — Not That Easy:  Questions About Nationwide Identity Systems.

Reckless ID card plan will destroy the nation's freedom.  The Government has embarked on its most reckless policy to date in pursuing the idea of national identity cards.  The initiative will fundamentally change the nature of government and the character of the nation.  This is inevitable because the modern ID card is no simple piece of plastic.  It is the visible component of a web of interactive technology that fuses the most intimate characteristics of the individual with the machinery of state.

It's not about control, is it?  None of the proponents of these schemes has ever adequately explained how further tracking, monitoring and scrutiny of the population will combat terrorism.  In fact, it is quite the opposite.  Centralized authority over identity verification would actually increase the risk of ID theft and the scope of harm when, and not if, it occurs.  Moreover, a criminal or terrorist would actually be able to skirt other, multi-layered security measures with possession of the all important National ID.

Big Brother's Solution to Illegal Immigration:  Republicans in the House and Senate are moving quickly forward with Orwellian legislation that would create a national computerized registration system for all American workers.  The new federal computer worker registry, which is intended to reduce illegal immigration, is the crucial first step toward the implementation of a national identification card system for all 120 million American workers.

National Identification Schemes and the Fight against Terrorism:  By relying on the wrong approach to security, national identification schemes may actually create a false sense of security that leaves us more vulnerable than before.

Immigration corrupts:  If the government cannot control the documents it issues, what is the point of issuing more documents, such as a national identity card?

Terrorist Attacks Renew National ID Debate:  Federal law is one of several possible routes to establishing a national ID card.  It now appears more probable that a national ID would evolve bureaucratically from other forms of identification.  The most likely candidate is a card that nearly every U.S. resident over age 16 already possesses, the driver's license.


What could possibly go wrong?

The National ID Card is a great idea, unless you have concerns about losing your privacy, ID theft, leaky interactive databases, and the weaknesses of RFID chips.  You should also pay attention to the many stories of private information databases being cracked, hacked and published on the internet.

Well, for one thing, there's always the problem of counterfeiters.  Not college kids making fake ID's, but foreign governments bent on disruption of our economy.  If the design of the $20 bill has to be changed every seven or eight years because foreign governments are engaged in counterfeiting, you can bet the same problem will complicate the National ID Card program.

No database is immune to intrusion, both foreign and domestic, as the articles below illustrate.

Uber Paid Hackers to Delete Stolen Data on 57 Million People.  Hackers stole the personal data of 57 million customers and drivers from Uber Technologies Inc., a massive breach that the company concealed for more than a year.  This week, the ride-hailing firm ousted its chief security officer and one of his deputies for their roles in keeping the hack under wraps, which included a $100,000 payment to the attackers.  Compromised data from the October 2016 attack included names, email addresses and phone numbers of 50 million Uber riders around the world, the company told Bloomberg on Tuesday.  The personal information of about 7 million drivers was accessed as well, including some 600,000 U.S. driver's license numbers.

Sacramento Regional Transit Systems Hit By Hacker.  Sacramento Regional Transit is the one being taken for a ride on this night, by a computer hacker.  That hacker forced RT to halt its operating systems that take credit card payments, and assigns buses and trains to their routes.  The local transit agency alerted federal agents following an attack on their computers that riders may not have noticed Monday [11/20/2017].  "We actually had the hackers get into our system, and systematically start erasing programs and data," Deputy General Manager Mark Lonergan.

Govt Employees Arrested for Allegedly Selling False IDs to Illegal Aliens for Voter Fraud.  Federal authorities arrested six persons last week involved in an apparent scheme to produce false identification documents through the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV), some of which were then used as ID to illegally vote in Boston, reported Judicial Watch.  Four RMV employees were arrested along with a document vendor and document dealer for allegedly conspiring to provide Puerto Rico licenses and official state ID cards to illegal immigrants in exchange for cash.  In some cases, the false identities and addresses that the perpetrators sold were used to fraudulently register to vote in the state of Massachusetts.  The identity theft operation was uncovered in 2015 when Massachusetts State Police received an anonymous letter alleging that an RMV employee was selling stolen identifications and drivers' licenses.

Licenses, ID Cards Sold to Illegal Aliens by Corrupt State Workers Used for Voter Fraud.  A year after Judicial Watch reported a rise in illegal aliens using fake Puerto Rican birth certificates to obtain authentic U.S. passports and drivers' licenses, the feds have busted a Massachusetts operation run by corrupt state workers.  The state employees sold drivers' licenses and state identification cards to illegal immigrants who bought Puerto Rican documents on the black market, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).  The operation perpetuated voter fraud because some of the false identities and addresses were used to vote in Boston, the state's capital and largest city.  The case is the latest of many illustrating that there's an epidemic of voter fraud in the U.S. that's seldom reported in the mainstream media.

RMV clerks nabbed in fake ID bust.  Four state Registry of Motor Vehicle clerks and two other people have been charged with conspiring to help illegal immigrants get false identifications — some of which were used to register to vote in Boston — in a blockbuster bust that state officials call "troubling and intolerable."  The clerks, who were employees at the RMV's bustling Haymarket Service Center, have been placed on administrative leave without pay pending further review.  All six were arrested yesterday and made their initial appearances at Boston's federal courthouse.

Governments are not in Control.  Sweden's government is in crisis after a government agency accidentally leaked the entire country's personal details database by offshoring its storage without adequate safeguards.  Two ministers have been fired and the entire government may fall. [...] Spectacular as it is, the Swedish disaster is just the latest in a seemingly unending series of similar catastrophes of which the OPM records loss , Snowden defection, State Dept secret cable loss, NSA toolkit theft are but a few well known examples.  The casualties flash past like milestones in a blur.  Britain's NHS lost 100,000 patient records the other day.  Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lost his job today due to "documents leaked from a Panama-based law firm" proving he was corrupt.

Verizon says personal data of 6 million users leaked online.  The personal data of 6 million Verizon users has leaked online, the company said Wednesday.  "Human error" caused the leak, Verizon told CNN Tech.  The error, a misconfigured security setting on a cloud server, made customer phone numbers, names and some PIN codes publicly available online, CNN Tech reported.  PIN codes are used to confirm the identity of people who call for customer service, the media outlet said.  No loss or theft of customer information occurred, Verizon told CNN Tech.

Illegal Immigrants Stole More than ONE MILLION Identities.  Regardless of who steals your identity, the likelihood of it ending up in the hands of an illegal is pretty good.  Yet the Left declares allowing illegals in America humanitarian.  Spoken like people who haven't been the victims of identity theft.

RNC Contractor Exposes Data on Nearly 200M Voters:  Should You Be Worried?  On Monday [6/19/2017], a cyber risk researcher reported that an RNC contractor had exposed a database including nearly every single registered U.S. voter, including names, dates of birth, home and mailing addresses, registered party, and much more.  Should Americans be worried that their data has been accessed and will be used against them?

1.4 million Obama amnesty applicants on deportation hit list.  Some 1.4 million illegals who followed President Obama's request to sign up for two controversial amnesty programs could be among the first to face deportation under the new administration.  The reason:  In exchange for getting into the two programs, they handed over their identities, home addresses, and admitted to being in the United States illegally, making them the easiest to find and legally deport.

New York City rethinking municipal card program for immigrants, may erase ID data.  When New York City launched the nation's biggest municipal ID card program last year, advocates said it would help people living in the U.S. illegally to venture out of the shadows.  But since Donald Trump was elected president, city officials are instead fielding questions about whether the cards could put those same people at greater risk of being deported.

Hacker grabs over 58 million customer records from data storage firm.  At least 58 million people have had their personal information published on the internet — including their names, dates of birth, email and postal addresses, job titles, phone numbers, vehicle data, and IP addresses — after a hacker stole a massive unsecured database.  And, if you think that sounds bad, there may be yet more hacked data still to be exposed.

North Miami man convicted of cashing $11 million in tax-refund checks for dead people.  His North Miami business cashed more than 2,000 tax refund checks issued in the names of people who were dead or disabled.  The refunds added up to more than $11 million, courtesy of the Internal Revenue Service.  Now, Junior Jean Baptiste faces up to 20 years in prison at his sentencing in October after being convicted Tuesday by a Miami federal jury of money laundering, theft of government funds, stealing identities and possessing false driver's licenses.  His crime, though commonplace in Miami during the past decade, stands out for the sheer volume of stolen identities and fraudulent checks.

IRS doesn't tell 1 million taxpayers that illegals stole their Social Security numbers.  The IRS has discovered more than 1 million Americans whose Social Security numbers were stolen by illegal immigrants, but officials never bothered to tell the taxpayers themselves, the agency's inspector general said in a withering new report released Tuesday [8/30/2016].  Investigators first alerted the IRS to the problem five years ago, but it's still not fixed, the inspector general said, and a pilot program meant to test a solution was canceled — and fell woefully short anyway.

Your personal information is not safe in Big Brother's hands.
Hackers accessed personal info from 200,000 Illinois voters.  Illinois election officials say private information from up to 200,000 registered voters was accessed by hackers during a breach in late June.  It's part of a breach under investigation by the FBI in both Arizona and Illinois.  In both cases, the hacks involved online voter registration data.

Hotels in 10 States and DC May Have Been Hit by Hackers.  An undisclosed number of people who used credit cards at 20 Hyatt, Sheraton, Marriott, Westin and other hotels in 10 states and the District of Columbia may have had their cards compromised as a result of hack of the hotels' payment system.  HEI Hotels & Resorts, which operates just under 60 hotels and resorts under a variety of brands, said that after being notified by its credit card processor of a potential breach, it conducted an internal investigation that found malware on its payment processing systems at the 20 properties.  The malware was designed to capture debit and credit card information such as names, card account numbers, card expiration dates and verification codes, as it flowed through the systems.

$3.1 billion — at least — lost in bogus tax refunds to ID thieves in 2014.  The IRS has a Taxpayer Protection Program (TPP) that sounds like it should provide security.  It does, but not enough to prevent IRS from paying $30 million to identity theft fraudsters in 2014, based on the 1.6 million screened by the program.  That's just one of the ways Uncle Sam fights identity theft fraud.  About 7,200 of them were bogus.  In total, IRS processed more than 150 million individual tax returns in 2015.  Overall, the GAO report indicates the IRS does a decent job of detecting and stopping ID fraud, which is a big business.  Crooks attempted to get $25.6 billion from bogus refunds in 2014.  The IRS beat them most of the time, stopping or recovering the theft of $22.5 billion, 88 percent of the attempted pillage.  But in the remaining cases, crooks got the $3.1 billion.

When you have all your personal information stored in the National ID Card system, don't count on the government to keep it confidential.
Taxpayers' Data at Risk in IRS's Hands, New GAO Report Says.  Ignoring past audits and warnings, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continues to implement too few safeguards against computer and physical intrusions into taxpayers' private data records, a government watchdog agency reports.  The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), a nonpartisan government agency providing auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for Congress, released a new report in April detailing IRS's shortage of information-technology and physical-security measures protecting taxpayers' personal data.  Despite prior documentation and national news stories exposing IRS practices opening taxpayers up to data breaches and other fraudulent activities from both external and internal threats, the audit found "significant control deficiencies" remain and are preventing the agency from ensuring the "confidentiality, integrity, and availability of financial and sensitive taxpayer information."  GAO says IRS failed to consistently implement physical security measures in its data centers, allowing unauthorized employees and visitors access to restricted areas.  Other failures cited include using weak or outdated passwords on servers containing sensitive data and allowing multiple employees to share security credentials.

Huge number of successful cyberattacks at one federal agency, report reveals.  In 2014, a single U.S. government agency was hit with a blizzard of more than 1,370 external attacks on its most vital computer systems, with three out of every eight incidents resulting in a loss of data, according to a new report by the watchdog Government Accountability Office, suggesting hackers have been far more successful at getting at sensitive government information than previously disclosed.  The highly besieged agency was not named in the report, which was given to government officials in May and made public last week.  GAO officials declined to provide the name of the agency in response to an additional query from Fox News.

Contrary to DNC Claim, Hacked Data Contains a Ton of Personal Donor Information.  When the Washington Post reported Monday [6/13/2016] that the Democratic National Committee's servers had been breached by a team of Russian hackers, the DNC was quick to claim that nothing pertaining to the party's many supporters had been pilfered.  But a new cache of apparently hacked documents obtained by Gawker contains a wealth of donor information, including e-mail addresses and cell phone numbers for hundreds of high-profile and wealthy Democratic fundraisers.

Election fraud feared as hackers target voter records.  Since December, hundreds of millions of voters in the U.S., the Philippines, Turkey and Mexico have had their data discovered on the web in unprotected form.  In some instances, legitimate security researchers found the information, but in others, malicious hackers are suspected of pilfering the data for criminal purposes.  The data breaches are raising questions as the U.S. considers whether to move toward electronic balloting.  More people than ever are using the internet to register to vote and to request mail-in ballots.  Some states have even become vote-by-mail only in recent years.  If you can't keep the voter registration records safe, what makes you think you can keep the votes safe?" asked Pamela Smith, president of election watchdog Verified Voting.

Watchdog: IRS workers steal taxpayer data to plunder the Treasury.  The Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration said this week that three current and former IRS employees have been caught trying to steal money as taxpayers try to pay off their tax debts.  In one case, former Missouri IRS employee Demetria Brown was sentenced in February after pleading guilty to wire fraud and identity theft.  Her scheme was to obtain people's personal information, like Social Security Numbers and dates of birth, to file fraudulent federal and state tax returns.

IRS Giving Tax Credits to Illegals Who've Engaged in Identity Theft.  In a typical year, April 15 is Tax Day when hard-working Americans cede over an enormous amount of their income to the federal government so they can redistribute it to all sorts of special interests and protected classes, including illegal aliens.  You heard that right.  The IRS has admitted to knowingly granting refundable tax credits, which work as back door welfare payments, to illegal aliens who break the law and steal Social Security numbers to obtain employment and file their taxes.  During a meeting of the Senate Finance Committee, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen admitted to Sen.  Dan Coats (R-IN) that illegal aliens were stealing Social Security numbers and using them to receive refundable tax credits through their annual returns.  Worse, he felt it was a good thing they were filing and didn't seem committed to stopping it.

The IRS again fails to protect taxpayer information.  On 12 April 2016, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) released its 28 March 2016 Letter Report describing the IRS's failure to effectively sanitize personal information such as Social Security numbers from OICs availed for public inspection.  This includes inadequate ballpoint pen cross-outs of the information where the Social Security number is still discernible. [...] The IRS has been on notice since at least as far back as 1979 that identity theft is a problem warranting its serious attention.  This author and others have expounded at length in these pages, quite profusely, on the IRS's continuing failure to adequately protect the identities of taxpayers who necessarily entrust personal information to it.

IRS Commissioner: 'More Than 1 Million Malicious Attempts' to Access IRS Computers Daily.  IRS Commissioner John Koskinen told the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday [4/12/2016] that the Internal Revenue Service's computers "withstand more than 1 million malicious attempts to access them each day.

IRS: Er, those 100,000 tax records illegally accessed? Make that over 700,000.  The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has admitted that its problem with "Get transcript" scammers is much worse than first thought — over seven times as bad to be precise.  In May of 2015, the IRS reported that around 100,000 people had had their tax returns and income forms sent out to criminals who gamed its "Get transcript" feature by providing stolen personal information between February and mid-May that year.  In August, that number rose by 220,000 following a further review.  On Friday, America's most-disliked public agency said that number had risen to over 700,000, with another 295,000 attempts to steal taxpayer transcripts.

Data breach affects 80,000 UC Berkeley faculty, students and alumni.  A hacker broke into the University of California, Berkeley computer system holding financial data of 80,000 students, alumni, current and former employees, school officials said Friday [2/26/2016].  The university said that although there is no evidence that any information has been stolen, it has notified potential victims of the breach so they can watch for signs of possible misuse of their personal data.  Those notified include students and staff who received non-salary payments though electronic fund transfers, such as financial aid awards and work-related reimbursements.  Vendors whose financial information was in the system for payment purposes are also at risk.

IRS: Cyber hackers got info on roughly 700K taxpayers, double earlier estimate.  The IRS acknowledged Friday [2/26/2016] that cyber hackers have stolen Social Security numbers and other information from more than 700,000 taxpayers — roughly double the number the agency previous estimated.  The cyber thieves hacked into the agency's "Get Transcripts" system in which taxpayers get returns and other previous-year filings.  The breach, believed to have been carried out in Russia by a criminal operation, was discovered in May 2015, and the increase was reported first by The Wall Street Journal.  The IRS originally said information was taken from about 113,000 taxpayers.

The IRS Says Identity Thieves Hacked Its Systems Again.  Identity thieves attempted to breach computer systems at the Internal Revenue Service to file fraudulent tax refunds.  The criminals were especially after E-file PINs, which are used by some individuals to electronically file a return, the agency said in a statement released Tuesday [2/9/2016].  Around 464,000 unique social security numbers were involved, and of that total, 101,000 SSNs were used to successfully access an E-file PIN.  The thieves used personal taxpayer data that was stolen elsewhere to help generate the PINs, the agency said.  No personal data was compromised or disclosed by IRS systems, and affected taxpayers will be notified by mail of the attack.

DHS, FBI employee data dumped in hack.  A hacker claiming to have downloaded information about thousands of FBI and Department of Homeland Security employees through a Justice Department computer followed through with a threat to publicly release the information online Monday [2/8/2016].  The data appears to consist of the names, positions, email addresses and phone numbers of an estimated 9,000 Homeland Security employees and 20,000 FBI employees.  The online posts, made separately on Sunday and Monday [2/7-8/2016], are accompanied by a pro-Palestinian slogans.

29,000 FBI Agents and DHS Staffers Had Their Contact Info Revealed.  A hacker published info of more than 20,000 Federal Bureau of Investigation agents online on Monday [2/8/2016].  A day prior to the leak, the same hacker posted info of 9,000 Department of Homeland Security officials.  The data dumps, which appeared on the website cryptobin.org, included people's names, email addresses, job titles, and phone numbers.

Millions of Voter Records Posted, and Some Fear Hacker Field Day.  First and last names.  Recent addresses and phone numbers.  Party affiliation.  Voting history and demographics.  A database of this information from 191 million voter records was posted online over the last week, the latest example of voter data becoming freely available, alarming privacy experts who say the information can be used for phishing attacks, identity theft and extortion.  The information is no longer publicly accessible.

191 million US voter registration records leaked online — report.  A security researcher has uncovered a publicly-available database containing the personal information of 191 million voters on the internet, but it isn't clear who owns it.  Chris Vickery, who shared his findings on DataBreaches.net, disclosed the trove of voter data, which includes names, home addresses, voter IDs, phone numbers, and birth dates, as well as political affiliations and voting histories since 2000.  The database does not contain financial information or Social Security numbers.  The Texas tech support specialist said that he found the database while looking for information exposed on the internet in an attempt to raise awareness of security breaches.

Six from Secaucus among a dozen suspects charged in ID fraud ring that stole $3M.  The 12 people allegedly involved have been charged with first-degree money laundering, second-degree theft by unlawful taking and third-degree fraudulent use of credit cards.  Those charged are Naim Tahir, 47, of Clark, Hassan Shahbaz, 42, of Jersey City, Aqeel Ahmed, 60, of Secaucus, Shama Munir, 49, of Secaucus, Faisal Mushtaq, 37, of Secaucus, Mohammad Shakeel, 46, of Jersey City, Rilvan Junaid, 49, of Spring Valley, N.Y., Shakeela Ahmed, 56, of Secaucus, Aqeel Sheikh, 54, of Secaucus, Mahamed Khan, 53, of Piscataway and Huda Ahmed, 27, of Secaucus.  All have been arrested except Khan, who is being sought as a fugitive, Hoffman said.  When making the arrests, investigators also seized $150,000 in cash and multiple bank accounts containing $320,000.

IRS Policy Labels Illegal-Alien ID Thieves as "Borrowers".  Bob Segall, investigative reporter for WTHR Indianapolis, has released a new two-part report on illegal immigration and the Internal Revenue Service. [...] Segall won the Center's Katz Award in 2013 for his 11-part series exposing fraud and mismanagement within the IRS that allowed illegal aliens to receive billions of dollars in improper tax credits and refunds.  In his new series, Segall focuses on the IRS policy labeling illegal aliens who use the Social Security numbers of Americans and legal residents merely as "borrowers" against whom no action may be taken by IRS employees.  The report interviews the victims, IRS whistleblowers, and even the illegal-alien fraudsters.  [Video clip]

Secret IRS policy hides identity theft from victims.  Findings of the [WTHR] 13 Investigates report include:
  •   The IRS accepts millions of tax returns — and issues tax refunds — even when taxpayer documents show clear warning signs of identity theft
  •   Confidential IRS policies instruct IRS employees not to tell taxpayers when someone else uses their social security number to earn income
  •   The IRS allows illegal immigrants to "borrow" social security numbers that do not legally belong to them
  •   The IRS is discontinuing a program to notify taxpayers when their social security number is used by someone else to gain employment

Malaysia arrests man for hacking U.S. security data to supply targets for Islamic State.  At the request of the United States, Malaysia has arrested a man on charges of hacking personal data of more than a thousand U.S. officials and handing it to Islamic State militants in Syria so they could target the individuals.

Hacker Charged with Stealing Personal Data on U.S. Troops, Passing It to ISIS.  In a landmark cyberwar case, the Justice Department has accused Ardit Ferizi, a 20-year-old citizen of Kosovo currently detained in Malaysia, as being a hacker and stealing personal information about U.S. military and government personnel to pass along to ISIS.  The so-called "Islamic State Hacking Division" used this data to encourage terrorist attacks against American personnel and their families.

ID Thieves Love Millennials. Here's Why.  For tech-savvy millennials, the threat of becoming a statistic doesn't register, even though their behavior makes them more susceptible, says Tim Rohrbaugh, chief information security officer at Intersections Inc., an identity risk management company.  "There's a certain amount of trust inherent with these systems" by millennials, Rohrbaugh says.  "They are digital natives.  A lot of stuff, they take for granted."

Feds lost 5.6 million Americans' fingerprint files in cyber hack.  More than 5 million Americans' fingerprint files were stolen from the federal government, the chief human resources agency said Wednesday [9/23/2015], acknowledging the massive data breach was five times larger than they'd previously admitted.  The fingerprint data was stolen in the breach that saw the government lose the most sensitive information on more than 21 million Americans.  Chinese hackers have been blamed for the breach.  The OPM insisted the ability to misuse fingerprint data "is limited," though the agency said as technology improves, the dangers could grow.

Fortunately, stolen fingerprints are of little value, at present.
5.6 million fingerprints stolen in U.S. personnel data hack: government.  Hackers who stole security clearance data on millions of Defense Department and other U.S. government employees got away with about 5.6 million fingerprint records, some 4.5 million more than initially reported, the government said on Wednesday [9/23/2015].

Remind me again:  Why does the Department of Energy exist?
Obama Administration Yawns As Energy Dept. Gets Hacked 159 Times.  USA Today obtained federal records showing that the Department of Energy was successfully hacked 159 times between 2010 and 2014 ) — potentially putting the nation's power grid at risk and nuclear stockpile at risk.  A third of these intrusions were "root compromises," the paper found, which means that the hackers gained administrative privileges, giving them wide access to the Energy Department network.  The USA Today investigation also found that 19 of the successful attacks involved the National Nuclear Security Administration, which is responsible for managing the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile.

How Millions Of Ashley Madison Passwords [were] Cracked.  A group of enthusiast hackers managed to decipher millions of leaked Ashley Madison passwords, thought to be cryptographically protected using bcrypt.  Bcrypt is an algorithm that makes cracking these passwords almost an impossible task — it was thought the process to crack the 15 million leaked Ashley Madison passwords would take decades.  Instead, almost all of them were broken in less than two weeks.  The group, which goes by the name CynoSure Prime, said they had discovered programming errors that made the passwords easier to crack.  With that knowledge, it took them some 10 days to crack 11 million passwords.  They're looking to crack the remaining four million next.

Hackers Finally Post Stolen Ashley Madison Data.  Hackers who stole sensitive customer information from the cheating site AshleyMadison.com appear to have made good on their threat to post the data online. [...] AshleyMadison.com claimed to have nearly 40 million users at the time of the breach about a month ago, all apparently in the market for clandestine hookups.

IRS reveals hack was worse than thought.  A breach of taxpayers' information at the Internal Revenue Service was bigger than initially disclosed, the agency said Monday [8/17/2015].  Hackers gained access to the information of as many as 220,000 more people than the 104,000 accounts that IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in June may have been compromised.  The IRS said it is mailing 220,000 letters notifying people that their information may be compromised.  It said that it would also offer free credit protection and Identity Protection PINs to the victims.

Just like bad unemployment numbers, these figures are being quietly revised upward after a few weeks.
IRS: Computer Breach Bigger Than First Thought; 334K Victims.  A computer breach at the IRS in which thieves stole tax information from thousands of taxpayers is much bigger than the agency originally disclosed.

IRS says cyberattacks more extensive than previously thought.  The IRS said in late May the tax return information of about 114,000 U.S. taxpayers had been illegally accessed by cyber criminals over the preceding four months, with another 111,000 unsuccessful attempts made.  A new review has identified 220,000 additional incidents where data was breached, the tax collection agency said.  It identified another 170,000 suspected failed attempts by third parties to gain access to taxpayer data.

Stolen fingerprints, blown spy covers: The risks to national security from the Chinese employee hack.  A new government review of what the Chinese hack of sensitive security clearance files of 21 million people means for national security is in — and some of the implications are quite grave.  Covert intelligence officers and their operations could be exposed and high-resolution fingerprints could be copied by criminals, the Congressional Research Service disclosed in an analysis of one of the most harmful cyber thefts in U.S. history.

Entire US national security system possibly compromised by year-long cyber-assault.  The prolonged hacking into the White House Office of Personnel Management, which put the personal information of at least some 21.5 million past and current federal employees in jeopardy, is only the beginning of the security threat to the Obama Administration and its successors, a number of top-level experts in cybersecurity have told Fox News.  The attack has been frequently sourced as coming from China.

U.S. Fears Data Stolen by Chinese Hacker Could Identify Spies.  American officials are concerned that the Chinese government could use the stolen records of millions of federal workers and contractors to piece together the identities of intelligence officers secretly posted in China over the years.  The potential exposure of the intelligence officers could prevent a large cadre of American spies from ever being posted abroad again, current and former intelligence officials said.  It would be a significant setback for intelligence agencies already concerned that a recent data breach at the Office of Personnel Management is a major windfall for Chinese espionage efforts.

Valerie Plame: OPM breach is 'absolutely catastrophic' to security.  "Information is power," said Plame, who worked to stop the spread of nuclear weapons as a CIA agent and serves on the advisory board for Global Data Sentinel, a cyber security firm.  "When you have access to information about the friends, family members and health issues of someone who works for the U.S. government, you can use that to try to get close to that person and gather intelligence," she said.  "To my mind, the OPM breach is absolutely catastrophic for our national security."

This is only slightly off-topic:
LifeLock shares tank after FTC says it doesn't protect consumers data as it claimed.  LifeLock, the company that aggressively advertises its identify theft protection service, came under fire from the federal government Tuesday [7/21/2015] for failing to protect the data of its customers — once again.  Shares of the company cratered nearly 50 percent after the government announced its finding, closing at about $8 a share.  The Federal Trade Commission said LifeLock has been falsely promising that it would protect personal data such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers and bank accounts.

OPM Hack Part of Large-Scale Cyber Attack On Personal Data.  Nine major cyber attacks targeting the personal data of millions of Americans were carried out against federal and private computer networks in the past year, according to an internal report by the Department of Homeland Security.  The July 2 report by the department's National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center stated that two of the incidents involved "millions" and "hundreds of thousands" of stolen personal records respectively in what appears to be a coordinated campaign of bulk personal data theft.  A U.S. defense contractor was also hit by the data breaches.  The report did not identify the hackers behind the attacks, but stated that they were conducted by sophisticated attackers.

The Editor says...
Naturally they'll say they were the victims of "sophisticated attackers."  What else could they say?  We were successfully attacked by amateurs?

Counterterror Expert: Obama 'Almost Criminally Negligent' on OPM Hack.  A former adviser to four presidents on national security said on Sunday [7/12/2015] that the Obama administration was guilty of "almost criminal negligence" for its response to China's massive cyber attack on the U.S. government.  "I don't blame the Chinese," Richard Clarke said on ABC's Face the Nation.  "This is what intelligence agencies do.  This is what the United States does.  We steal this sort of information.  I blame the Obama administration for taking this issue not seriously enough.  This is almost criminal negligence."

OPM hack shows what happens when governments get too big.  The hack at the Office of Personnel Management shows what happens when lax security gets combined with organizations or governments getting too big.  CNN has a pretty interesting rundown on how the hackers may have found a way to get into OPM servers.  One way involves figuring out which agency hasn't had their servers updated in some time.

Blame For The Massive OPM Hack Belongs To Obama.  "When I am president," said Barack Obama back in 2008, "the days of dysfunction and cronyism in Washington will be over."  Tell that to the 22 million government workers whose personal data are now in the hands of Chinese hackers.

Katherine Archuleta ousted as OPM director after massive data hack.  Katherine Archuleta, the chief human resources officer who oversaw arguably the worst data breach in federal history, was ousted Friday [7/10/2015], just a day after she insisted she was staying in for the long haul.  She caved to bipartisan pressure from members of Congress who said they'd lost all confidence in her ability to clean up after hackers stole what amount to complete biographies of more than 21 million Americans from the Office of Personnel Management computer systems last year.

Cyber Hacking Makes Clueless Obama Most Transparent Ever.  President Obama has finally, if unwittingly, kept a powerful campaign promise.  During August of 2007, in a press release, Barack the candidate pledged "the most transparent... administration in history".  The big time hacking of his Office of Personnel Management has moved that ball forward in a hurry.  With this historically unprecedented cyber security breach of federal employees, and those with whom they may be connected, Obama kept his vow.  Congratulations!  CNN reported, "The personal data of an estimated 18 million current, former, and prospective federal employees were affected by a cyber breach at the Office of Personnel Management — more than 4 times the 4.2 million the agency has publicly acknowledged.  The number is expected to grow, according to U.S. officials briefed in the investigation."

Hacks of OPM databases compromised 22.1 million people, federal authorities say.  Two major breaches last year of U.S. government databases holding personnel records and security-clearance files exposed sensitive information about at least 22.1 million people, including not only federal employees and contractors but their families and friends, U.S. officials said Thursday [7/9/2015].  The total vastly exceeds all previous estimates, and marks the most detailed accounting by the Office of Personnel Management of how many people were affected by cyber intrusions that U.S. officials have privately said were traced to the Chinese government.

Will ObamaCare Enrollees Have Their Data Stolen, Too?  In the case of OPM, they had been repeatedly warned that their networks were vulnerable to cyberattacks, yet did little to improve security.  As a result, private data on more than 21 million people, some of whom were applying for federal security clearances, are in the hands of hackers believed to be from China.  At least all of these people were current or former employees of the federal government.  Healthcare.gov, on the other hand, now collects information on millions of private citizens who apply for ObamaCare coverage at this federal exchange, and operates a data hub that connects a multitude of other government databases.  It, too, appears to suffer from the same indifference to cybersecurity as OPM.

God help us all.  Erin Kelly and David Jackson of USA Today report that "the massive hack of background check records at the Office of Personnel Management compromised the data of 21.5 million people — five times more than were affected by an initial breach, the agency announced Thursday [7/9/2015]."  The details of everyone who has applied to the Federal Government in the last 15 years have been taken.

OPM Director Katherine Archuleta Quits.  Katherine Archuleta, the director of the Office of Personnel Management, has resigned from her post amid a cascading scandal over her handling of a massive breach of federal employee data.  Archuleta, who has been at the helm of OPM since November 2013, submitted her resignation Friday morning [7/10/2015].  OPM announced Thursday that the size of a hack that began last year led to the pilfering of sensitive personal information of 21.5 million former and current employees.  That admission, following weeks of scrutiny on Capitol Hill after OPM acknowledged a separate data breach that affected 4.2 million, led to a rush of lawmakers who called for her ousting, including the top three House Republicans and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Katherine Archuleta, Director of Office of Personnel Management, Resigns.  Katherine Archuleta, the director of the Office of Personnel Management, resigned under pressure on Friday [7/10/2015], one day after the government revealed that two sweeping cyberintrusions at the agency had resulted in the theft of the personal information of more than 22 million people, including those who had applied for sensitive security clearances.  Ms. Archuleta went to the White House on Friday morning to inform President Obama that she was stepping down immediately.  She said later in a statement that she felt new leadership was needed at the federal personnel agency to enable it to "move beyond the current challenges."

Also posted under Obama and his team are incompetent.

Obama's Cyber Security Failure Creates a Greater Threat than ISIS.  The most recent hacking of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) should concern us all.  First, the scale is staggering; important information about some 18 million government workers was stolen.  Second, the government was dishonest about the intrusions — revealing only the hacking of personnel files at first, and then admitting eight days later what they had known all along that the thieves had also made off with highly classified materials related to security clearances.  Third, it turns out that the system being used to protect government data has cost hundreds of millions of dollars, and is hopelessly outdated.

The OPM Hack and Obama's Politicization of the Federal Bureacracy.  How does a government failure so consequential — a foreign power accessing 18 million confidential records, including the intimate personal details of federal workers' infidelity, drug abuse, and personal debts uncovered during the background-check process for security clearances — happen?  For many Obama critics on and off the Hill, the answer lies in a troubling pattern of incompetent management from Obama appointees selected more for their political loyalty than for their expertise, skill, or leadership abilities.

GOP lawmakers call on Obama to fire OPM chief after massive data breach.  Echoing statements he recently made at a House hearing, [House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason] Chaffetz and the other lawmakers blamed Katherine Archuleta, director of the Office of Personnel Management, for the breach that's been described as one of the worst in U.S. history.  Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour should also be dismissed, a letter to Obama states.  "Simply put, the recent breach was entirely foreseeable, and Director Archuleta and CIO Donna Seymour failed to take steps to prevent it from happening despite repeated warnings," the two-page letter states.

Even Behind Closed Doors, Senators Aren't Getting Their OPM-Hack Questions Answered.  After weeks of revelations about cyberattacks that may have exposed the personal information of as many as 18 million federal workers, Katherine Archuleta, the director of the Office of Personnel Management, gave senators a classified briefing Tuesday to try to put lawmakers' questions to rest.  But senators from both sides of the aisle say they were far from satisfied with what they learned behind closed doors.

U.S. data hack may be 4 times larger than the government originally said.  The personal data of an estimated 18 million current, former and prospective federal employees were affected by a cyber breach at the Office of Personnel Management — more than four times the 4.2 million the agency has publicly acknowledged.  The number is expected to grow, according to U.S. officials briefed on the investigation.  FBI Director James Comey gave the 18 million estimate in a closed-door briefing to Senators in recent weeks, using the OPM's own internal data, according to U.S. officials briefed on the matter.  Those affected could include people who applied for government jobs, but never actually ended up working for the government.

Did Hack Include Files of CIA and Military Personnel? OPM Director: 'I Would be Glad to Discuss That in a Classified Setting'.  When Office of Personnel Management Director Katherine Archuleta testified in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last week she said that the personnel records of about 4.2 million current and former federal employees had been "compromised" by a "cyber intrusion" into the OPM's computer systems.  She also said that "an additional OPM system was compromised."  "These systems included information based on the background investigations of current, former and prospective federal government employees, as well as other individuals," Archuleta told the committee under oath.

Leap of Faith.  More details have emerged about the theft by Chinese hackers of millions of records from the Office of Personnel Management.  A team from the New York Times says that "undetected for nearly a year, the Chinese intruders executed a sophisticated attack that gave them 'administrator privileges' into the computer networks at the Office of Personnel Management, mimicking the credentials of people who run the agency's systems."

New Revelations Suggest Chinese Hackers Had Inside Help.  Heading into the weekend, we learned the Chinese hackers who hit the Office of Personnel Management had a whole year to root around in the security clearance database.  Now we find out they were "root" while they were doing it.  The New York Times delivers news that will chill the bones of anyone who knows anything about system administration: [...]

Report: One of OPM's IT Contractors Was Located In Mainland China.  During Tuesday's [6/16/2015] House Oversight hearing probe on the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hack, Director Katherine Archuleta was repeatedly asked by Chairman Jason Chaffetz why the systems had not been protected with encryption prior to the discovery of the breach.  Archuleta hemmed and hawed, finally answering that "[i]t is not feasible to implement on networks that are too old" but adding that the agency is now working to encrypt data within its networks.  According to ARS Technica, encryption wouldn't have made much difference.  Why?  Because the attackers may have been accessing the system from within.

Timeline: Roughly 4 weeks pass before gov't reveals hacking.  The Obama administration is increasingly confident that China's government, not criminal hackers, was responsible for the extraordinary theft of personal information about as many as 14 million current and former federal employees and others, The Associated Press has learned.

Does Obama Know There's a Cyberwar Going On?  Chinese hackers apparently stole far more data on more federal employees than first suspected, creating a huge national security problem.  Worse, the Obama administration knew this database was being targeted.

Obama Administration Incompetence Subjects Millions of Americans to Cyber Hackers.  Millions of American government employees, former employees, contractors and more have had their most personal and private information breached by hackers, because the government failed to take the necessary steps to protect those records. [...] It is an outrageous and unacceptable breach of trust.  The federal government, through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), interviews everyone who requires any sort of security clearance, and asks the most detailed and personal questions about past associations, indiscretions and behavior, to make sure nothing in their past could subject them to blackmail or subversion.  The interviews extend to friends and associates of those being vetted, and those people are also in the databases that have been breached.  But now it has come to light that OPM failed to hold up the Obama administration's end of the bargain by not doing everything they could to protect those records.

Also posted on the lengthy page about Obama's incompetence.

'Collective Panic' Spreads Among Federal Employees Over OPM Hack.  The first reports of the massive penetration of Office of Personnel Management files and security clearance applications — apparently by Chinese hackers most likely working for, or with, that country's military intelligence apparatus — included grumbles from the affected employees that the administration didn't handle the situation very well.  Those early grumbles were but the snap responses of a few individual employees the media chose at random.  Now that the millions of people potentially affected by the hack have been given a few days to digest the news and consider the Administration's response, their attitude has soured into what government employees described to BuzzFeed as "collective panic."

Cybertheft of personnel info rips hole in espionage defenses.  An Office of Personnel Management investigative official said Tuesday [6/16/2015] the agency entrusted with millions of personnel records has a history of failing to meet basic computer network security requirements.

Irony alert: Password-storing company is hacked.  No one's safe from hackers — not even LastPass, a company that stores people's passwords.

The Government Fails Again to Protect Sensitive Information.  While most people were watching the debate over the NSA's "metadata" collection program, a potentially more serious event occurred.  Under the rules of metadata, personal information, including the contents of phone calls, is inaccessible; only the general outlines of phone numbers and duration are available.  That, one might say, is bad enough — and U.S. courts, backed by Congress, agreed.  But the personal information of approximately four million Federal employees was compromised in April as a result of someone hacking into the database of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

The No Scandal Administration.  There is a severe void of information from our government concerning the massive hack into the Office of Personnel Management that is only now coming out in various media reports, including some from ABC News and The Hill.

The Terrible Scale of the Chinese Cyber-Pearl Harbor Attack.  The scale of a massive cyber-attack on America's governmental infrastructure that was revealed last week is still coming to light.  As is the case with virtually all preemptive strikes, hackers believed to be linked to the People's Republic of China have executed an attack so comprehensive and sophisticated that it could only have one aim:  the preventative neutering of America's defensive capabilities.  Along with others, I dubbed this the nation's cyber-Pearl Harbor last week, and that characterization looks only more apt today.  In concert with the debilitating effect of Edward Snowden's revelations while in Russian custody, this attack may seriously hinder America's ability to secure and respond to more conventional threats to its interests.

OPM Hack Far Deeper Than Publicly Acknowledged, Went Undetected For More Than A Year, Sources Say.  The massive hack into federal systems announced last week was far deeper and potentially more problematic than publicly acknowledged, with hackers believed to be from China moving through government databases undetected for more than a year, sources briefed on the matter told ABC News.  "If [only] they knew the full extent of it," one U.S. official said about those affected by the intrusion into the Office of Personnel Management's information systems.

The OPM Hacking Scandal Just Got Worse.  The bad news keeps piling up with this story, including reports that OPM records may have appeared, for sale, on the "darknet."  Moreover, OPM seems to have initially low-balled just how serious the breach actually was.  Even more disturbing, if predictable, is a new report in the New York Times that case "investigators believe that the Chinese hackers who attacked the databases of the Office of Personnel Management may have obtained the names of Chinese relatives, friends and frequent associates of American diplomats and other government officials, information that Beijing could use for blackmail or retaliation."

How Much Worse Can the China Data Hacking Get?  First, as John Schindler, a Naval War College professor and former NSA employee, explains, it's gradually being revealed that the Chinese hackers who broke into the federal government's Office of Personnel Management got more than just, say, the Social Security numbers of federal employees.  The Times reports that intelligence officials are now telling members of Congress that huge swaths of data on federal employees, including information like contacts with foreign nationals (ahem, including Chinese nationals) disclosed on background-investigation forms, was probably stolen.

Wow — The Federal Cyber Breach Was Not Discovered By U.S. Govt., Was Discovered By Private Company During Product Demo.  A remarkable twist in the story of the biggest data breach in U.S. history.  The Office of Personnel and Management (OPM) previously said they discovered the breach when it had "undertaken an aggressive effort to update its cybersecurity posture".  However, that "update" claim is somewhat disingenuous.  The hack was actually discovered by a cyber software company as it was running a product demo on the system.  The company discovered embedded malware that existed inside the OPM for over a year.

'Friday news dump': And the suspected Chinese hacking scandal just got worse.  So it looks like the hack of government personal records just got a whole lot worse.  Now it's not just civilian employee records that were hacked, but information related to security clearances for members of the military and intelligence community as well.

Union: Hackers have personnel data on every federal employee.  Hackers stole personnel data and Social Security numbers for every federal employee, a government worker union said Thursday [6/11/2015], charging that the cyberattack on U.S. employee data is far worse than the Obama administration has acknowledged.

Obama's Response to Data Breach: 'New Systems and New Infrastructure'.  "Part of the problem is that we've got very old systems," President Obama said on Monday, in a response to a question about the recent hack attack on U.S. government computers.  He said making U.S. cyberspace more secure is "going to be a big project," requiring "new systems and new infrastructure."  The intrusion involving the Office of Personnel Management apparently compromised the personal, identifying information of four million current and former federal employees.

Sen. Isakson on Stolen IRS Data: 'More Personally Identifying' and 'More Dangerous' Than What NSA Does.  Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) said the confidential taxpayer information that 104,000 Americans had stolen at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was "a lot more private, a lot more personally identifying, and a lot more dangerous" than "whatever the NSA ever does," the National Security Agency.

'Shameful': Top cybersecurity architect slams for Obama for blaming Congress.  Former Rep. Mike Rogers, a top cybersecurity champion in Congress before he retired last year, blasted the White House on Friday [6/5/2015] for trying to blame Congress for inaction on cyber issues, after it was forced to acknowledge a massive government data breach one day earlier.  President Obama, he said, not only opposed cybersecurity legislation for years, but he threatened to veto it at a critical moment in 2014 when it had passed the House with bipartisan support, and senators were weighing whether to support it.

Blame game: White House deflects on data breach, blasts Congress for inaction.  One day after acknowledging a massive security breach at the Office of Personnel Management, the White House on Friday [6/5/2015] defended President Obama's record on data security, and tried to turn it around on Congress by saying members have failed to pass a cybersecurity bill.

Chinese Hackers Easily Defeated Secret US Government Security System.  The news about the massive data breach of the Office of Personnel Management, and other federal agencies, by Chinese hackers just keeps getting worse.  Estimates of the scope of the breach have increased since the initial reports on Friday [6/5/2015], while the ability of the attackers to bypass state-of-the-art defensive software is frightening.  Even so, some experts are saying the damage could have been contained if the government had taken better precautions to protect the pilfered data.

Obama's 'Cybersecurity Czar' Is MIA As Hackers Run Wild.  In two weeks, we've learned that offshore hackers managed to steal 100,000 tax filings and personnel data on millions of federal workers.  Who, exactly, is in charge of cybersecurity in this administration?

Millions of US government workers hit by data breach.  Chinese hackers are suspected of carrying out a "massive breach" of the personal data of nearly four million US government workers, officials said.  The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) confirmed that both current and past employees had been affected.  The breach could potentially affect every federal agency, officials said.

On Day of Massive Data Breach, Hillary Clinton Advocates Voter Registration Enabled by 'Technology'.  Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Thursday [6/4/2015] called for "universal, automatic voter registration" enabled by "technology."  Coincidentally, but notable nevertheless, the federal government announced the largest data breach in its history just hours after Clinton told a crowd in Texas that Oregon is "already leading the way" in modernizing its voter registration system — "and the rest of the country should follow," she said.  "The technology is here," Clinton said — on a day when that technology appeared particularly vulnerable.

IG: IRS failed to upgrade security ahead of cyberattack.  The IRS failed to implement dozens of security upgrades to its computer systems, some of which could have made it more difficult for hackers to use an IRS website to steal tax information from 104,000 taxpayers, a government investigator told Congress Tuesday [6/2/2015].

Cash for Slackers, Part III.  [T]he federal government is under daily attack by cyber thieves and cyber spies, government officials warn.  Just last week, cyber thieves believed to be from Russia broke into the IRS via an online service for taxpayers and stole personal tax information for 104,000 individuals in order to get fraudulent tax refunds, now estimated at $50 million.  Due to concern over the rise in cyber-attacks, the Dept. of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement have blocked personal webmail accounts on government computers.  But the federal union has demanded collective bargaining on the policy change.

Millions of federal workers at risk after data breach.  The Office of Personnel Management announced Thursday [6/4/2015] that it is investigating a massive theft of federal employee data that could affect millions of both current and former employees.  By Thursday night, CNN was reporting that some officials believe they can trace the source of the giant hack to the Chinese government.  OPM said it detected a "cyber-intrusion" in April, and said that intrusion predated the adoption of tighter security controls.  OPM, essentially the government's human resources department, said it is working with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security to assess the "full impact to federal personnel," but said millions may have been affected.

Massive hack of federal gov't spurs critical concerns.  China-based hackers are suspected of breaking into the computer networks of the U.S. government personnel office and stealing identifying information of at least 4 million current and former federal workers, American officials said.

Cyber hacking at OPM went undetected for at least four months.  White House press secretary Josh Earnest said officials at the Office of Personnel Management uncovered the hacking at least four months after it occurred, as they were upgrading the agency's computer defenses against such attacks.  "Based on what we know now, this intrusion into the OPM system occurred in December," Mr. Earnest said.  "The OPM detected this particular intrusion in April.  It wasn't until May that they were able to determine that some data may have been compromised and potentially exfiltrated."

Obama administration scrambles to contain damage from 'massive data breach'.  The Obama administration was scrambling Friday [6/5/2015] to contain the damage from a massive cyber-breach which may have put the entire federal workforce at risk, as officials began to point the finger at China-based hackers.  The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement confirming the breach, saying that it had concluded at the beginning of May that data from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Interior Department had been compromised.

U.S.Officials: Massive Breach of Federal Personnel Data.  The Obama administration is scrambling to assess the impact of a massive data breach, suspected to have originated in China, involving the agency that handles security clearances and employee records, U.S. officials said Thursday [6/4/2015].  U.S. officials told NBC News that, so far, the breach doesn't appear to be the "worst-case scenario" — compromise and disclosure of the identities of the covert CIA agents. But they said the breach — which exploited a "zero day" vulnerability, meaning one that was previously unknown — could be the biggest cyberattack in U.S. history, potentially affecting every agency of the U.S. government.

IRS hit by cyberattack, thousands of taxpayers' information stolen.  Thieves managed to steal information on more than 100,000 taxpayers from the IRS, Commissioner John Koskinen said Tuesday — though he insisted the breach didn't affect most average taxpayers and the information they file in their annual returns.  Thousands of fraudulent returns were filed under the attack, and final details about the amount the criminals stole is not available, though Mr. Koskinen predicted it will be less than $50 million.

California woman arrested for identity theft has lived under 74 aliases.  Cathryn Parker, 72, was arrested in March after she gave a deputy a false name when she was pulled over for a traffic violation, Lt. Slade Carrizosa said. Upon learning where Parker lived, detectives larned she was using a fake name there as well.  Officials also said Parker paid utilities under false names and acquired credit cards with other people's financial information.

Should We Kill the Social Security Number?  While tax season is still producing eye twitches around the nation, it's time to face the music about tax-related identity theft.  Experts project the 2014 tax year will be a bad one.  The Anthem breach alone exposed 80 million Social Security numbers, and then was quickly followed by the Premera breach that exposed yet another 11 million Americans' SSNs.  The question now:  Why are we still using Social Security numbers to identify taxpayers?

States flouting post-9/11 ID law, giving cards to illegal immigrants that mirror licenses.  After the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the REAL ID Act to prevent foreign nationals from fraudulently obtaining a U.S. driver's license — by requiring that any ID issued based on unverifiable foreign documents look different in "design or color" from an official driver's license.  That way, TSA and other law enforcement would know the ID holder might not be who they say they are.  But more than a decade later, several state and local governments are openly flouting the law, issuing ID cards that are barely distinguishable from a bona fide driver's license.

The Driving Dead? N.J. driver's licenses issued to hundreds after they died.  The dead apparently can get driver's licenses, registrations and other motor vehicle documents in New Jersey.  A state audit found that documents were obtained from the state Motor Vehicle Commission, using social security numbers of more than 300 people after the date that the federal Social Security Administration listed them as being officially deceased.  The audit of state Motor Vehicle Commission data security also found that 32 lucky people were issued documents with no expiration dates.

Dominican Charged in Scheme to Sell Massachusetts' Driver Licenses to Illegal Aliens.  A Massachusetts' illegal alien has been arrested on a complaint charging conspiracy to fraudulently issue identification documents.  Edwin Amaurys Parra Suarez (Parra), 37, was arrested in connection with a scheme to produce false identification documents.  The complaint affidavit alleges that from December 2012 through January 2013, Parra bribed an employee of the Revere office of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) in connection with a scheme to issue Massachusetts driver's licenses to individuals who were not eligible to obtain such documentation.

Staples says breach affects 1.2M cards.  Staples on Friday [12/19/2014] said cyber criminals may have compromised 1.2 million customer cards.  On Friday [12/19/2014], Staples gave an update to a data breach announced in October, saying criminals deployed malware to point-of-sale systems at 115 of its more than 1,400 U.S. retail stores.  Staples said its investigation revealed that the malware may have allowed the criminals access to transaction data "including cardholder names, payment card numbers, expiration dates, and card verification codes."

Files of more than 40,000 federal workers breached in cyberattack.  The computer files of more than 40,000 federal workers may have been compromised by a cyberattack at federal contractor KeyPoint Government Solutions, the second breach this year at a major firm handling national security background investigations of workers at federal agencies, the government confirmed Thursday [12/18/2014].  Concerned that some data might have been exposed, the Office of Personnel Management has begun notifying the workers that their files were in jeopardy.  Nathalie Arriola, speaking for the personnel office, said it will offer credit monitoring at no cost to those affected by the breach.

Sony's Hacking Nightmare Gets Worse: Employees Medical Records Revealed.  Documents stolen from Sony Corp. by hackers include detailed and identifiable health information on more than three dozen employees, their children or spouses — a sign of how much information employers have on their workers and how easily it can become public.  One memo by a human resources executive, addressed to the company's benefits committee, disclosed details on an employee's child with special needs, including the diagnosis and the type of treatment the child was receiving.  The memo discussed the employee's appeal of thousands of dollars in medical claims denied by the insurance company.

Obama Amnesty as Feds Bust Illegal Aliens That Got $7.2 Mil from IRS with Stolen IDs.  In the same week that President Obama issued his administrative amnesty sparing millions from deportation, the feds busted a criminal ring of illegal immigrants that used stolen identities to defraud the U.S. government out of $7.2 million in tax refunds.  The mastermind of this sophisticated operation is a resourceful delinquent in Frankfurt, Delaware who runs a landscaping and cleaning business called "Las Tres Mujeres" (the three women).  Her name is Linda Avila and she's admitted in federal court that she filed more than 1,700 fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) using stolen identities assigned to migrant workers — mostly from Mexico — living in the U.S. illegally.

Texas Police Chief Gets 5 Years for Selling Green Cards to Illegal Aliens.  According to court records, individuals unconnected to the City of Jarrell and its Police Department introduced Gutierrez to undocumented aliens who had money to pay for immigration benefits.  Gutierrez or the individuals who made the introductions, or both, then met with the aliens and explained the benefits they could receive if they paid certain amounts of money.  They lied to the aliens, telling them that the Jarrell Police Department would receive the money and use it to pay for law enforcement operations.  They also told the aliens that they would provide information or assistance to the Jarrell Police Department, for use in criminal investigations, in return for the immigration benefits.

Officials warn 500 million financial records hacked.  Federal officials warned companies Monday that hackers have stolen more than 500 million financial records over the past 12 months, essentially breaking into banks without ever entering a building.  "We're in a day when a person can commit about 15,000 bank robberies sitting in their basement," said Robert Anderson, executive assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Cyber Response and Services Branch.

Gmail passwords leaked with 5 million account details exposed on Russian website.  Millions of Gmail users are being advised to change their passwords after a database with usernames and passwords was hacked and exposed on an internet site.  Hackers revealed nearly 5 million Gmail account details and passwords on Bitcoin Security — a popular Russian website devoted to cryptocurrency.  The leak became known after a user posted a link to the log-in credentials on Reddit frequented by hackers, professional and aspiring.

IRS Leaves Millions Vulnerable to Identity Theft.  The IRS has put millions of taxpayers at risk of identity theft by failing to perform background checks on contractors, according to a new inspector general report.  An IG audit performed by the Treasury Department, which oversees the IRS, found that several contractors who are responsible for handling sensitive taxpayer information do not perform any criminal or credit background checks on their employees.  The agency provided millions of Social Security numbers to one contractor without any screening process in place, according to the report.

Community Health Systems says personal data stolen in cyber attack.  Community Health Systems Inc (CYH.N), one of the biggest U.S. hospital groups, said on Monday [8/18/2014] it was the victim of a cyber attack from China, resulting in the theft of Social Security numbers and other personal data belonging to 4.5 million patients.  Security experts said the hacking group, known as "APT 18," may have links to the Chinese government.

Hospital network hacked, 4.5 million records stolen.  Community Health Systems, which operates 206 hospitals across the United States, announced on Monday [8/18/2014] that hackers recently broke into its computers and stole data on 4.5 million patients.  Hackers have gained access to their names, Social Security numbers, physical addresses, birthdays and telephone numbers.

FTC warns: Change passwords after Russian hackers strike.  After a ring of Russian hackers obtained 1.2 billion user names and passwords this week, the Federal Trade Commission warned consumers to be vigilant with their online accounts, The Hill reported.  In a blog post, Maneesha Mithal, leader of the agency's privacy and identity protection division, urged users to update passwords for bank accounts, email addresses and other online accounts containing private information.

Russian Gang Amasses Over a Billion Internet Passwords.  A Russian crime ring has amassed the largest known collection of stolen Internet credentials, including 1.2 billion user name and password combinations and more than 500 million email addresses, security researchers say.  The records, discovered by Hold Security, a firm in Milwaukee, include confidential material gathered from 420,000 websites, including household names, and small Internet sites.  Hold Security has a history of uncovering significant hacks, including the theft last year of tens of millions of records from Adobe Systems.

How to Invent a Person Online.  On April 8, 2013, I received an envelope in the mail from a nonexistent return address in Toledo, Ohio.  Inside was a blank thank-you note and an Ohio state driver's license.  The ID belonged to a 28-year-old man called Aaron Brown — 6 feet tall and 160 pounds with a round face, scruffy brown hair, a thin beard, and green eyes.  His most defining feature, however, was that he didn't exist.  I know that because I created him.

Security Breaches of Personal Information at Federal Agencies More than Doubles Since 2009.  Millions of individuals who recently entrusted personal, medical, and financial information to the federal government while enrolling in Obamacare via Healthcare.gov may find a recent trend reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) rather unsettling.  The number of security breaches involving Personally Identifiable Information (PII) at federal agencies more than doubled in recent years, increasing from 10,481 in 2009 to 25,566 in 2013.  Perhaps even more disturbing, the GOA found that "none of the seven agencies [in a related study] consistently documented lessons learned from PII breaches."

Coca-Cola: Stolen laptops had personal information of 74,000.  Coca-Cola Co. said on Friday [1/24/2014] that personal information on as many as 74,000 employees, contractors and suppliers were on laptops that it said were temporarily stolen from its Atlanta headquarters.  The beverage giant told its U.S. and Canadian employees the data on the laptops, which wasn't encrypted, included names, Social Security numbers and addresses, as well as details like financial compensation and ethnicity.

Bamboozled: Despite MVC improvements, some drivers still can't get real names on licenses.  At most Motor Vehicle Commission agencies, wait times are down significantly and customer service is better.  That's all good. [... But] MVC computers can't handle certain names on driver's licenses.  That means New Jerseyans with two-word first names (Mary Ann) or last names (Price Mueller), or those who use an apostrophe (D'Egidio) or a hyphen (Smith-Jones), can't have driver's licenses that match their other legal documentation, such as passports and birth certificates.

Laptop containing Social Security numbers of South Carolina Health Insurance Pool members stolen in October.  Officials with the South Carolina Health Insurance Pool are investigating the theft of a laptop that contained Social Security numbers and names of people participating in the program, which provides insurance to people with pre-existing conditions.  In a news release provided Sunday to the Associated Press, an attorney said the laptop was stolen in October from a car belonging to an employee of the program's independent auditor.  The attorney says the insurance pool hasn't uncovered evidence the data has been accessed.

Target hackers DID steal encrypted PINs.  The hackers who attacked Target Corp and compromised more than 40 million credit cards and debit cards also managed to steal encrypted personal identification numbers, according to a senior payments executive familiar with the situation.  One major U.S. bank fears that the thieves would be able to crack the encryption code and make fraudulent withdrawals from consumer bank accounts, said the executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the data breach is still under investigation.  Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said 'no unencrypted PIN data was accessed' and there was no evidence that PIN data has been 'compromised'.

Hiding the Hacking at HealthCare.gov.  Christmas shoppers were stunned to learn last Thursday [12/19/2013] that computer hackers had made off with the names and other personal info of some 40 million Target customers. [...] But at least Target informed its customers of the security breach, as it is required by federal law to do.  HealthCare.gov faces no such requirement; it need never notify customers that their personal information has been hacked or possibly compromised.

Weak U.S. card security made Target a juicy target.  The U.S. is the juiciest target for hackers hunting credit card information.

Virginia Duo Hooked Up 300 Illegal Immigrants with Photo ID; WashPost Buries Story on B8.  A former DMV clerk, Maria Cavallaro, and her accomplice, Jose Calderon, pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday to helping roughly 300 individuals "most of them illegal immigrants" to obtain Virginia-issued "driver's licenses, learner's permits and identification cards for those... [who] were not eligible for them," Washington Post staffer Matt Zapotosky reported in the November 7 paper.  Suffice it to say, such a pervasive criminal conspiracy merits prime real estate in a major metropolitan newspaper, but Post editors seem to disagree, placing the 14-paragraph story on page B8 of Thursday's [11/7/2013] paper, the very back page of the Metro section.

3 Identity Theft Horror Stories That Will Make Your Toes Curl.  Identity theft is a scary phenomenon.  It's unnerving to think your identity could be out there somewhere [...] wreaking unfathomable havoc on your reputation and credit score.  But in the hands of a nefarious fraudster, that's exactly what your digital identity could be doing.  Unfortunately, it's becoming more and more likely that you could fall prey to these thieves.

Stolen laptops have health information on thousands of patients.  Medical information about 729,000 patients has been compromised by the theft of two laptops belonging to a California hospital group, company officials say.

IRS dumps up to 100,000 Social Security numbers on the Internet.  We're in the very best of hands, aren't we?  Just wait until the people who slipped up and posted up to 100,000 Social Security numbers onto a website are in charge of your health care information.

Group: IRS mistakenly posted thousands of Social Security numbers on website.  The IRS mistakenly posted the Social Security numbers of tens of thousands of Americans on a government website, the agency confirmed Monday night.  One estimate put the figure as high as 100,000 names.  The numbers were posted to an IRS database for tax-exempt political groups known as 527s [...]

Authorities investigate personal info data breach at DMV.  Fox 13 News has learned authorities are investigating a data breach of personal information at the Utah Department of Motor Vehicles.  Investigators are accusing a former employee at the DMV of taking people's information and passing it to others, who would then go out and commit crimes.  But state officials acknowledge they may have no way of knowing how widespread the problem is.

2 sentenced in NJ driver's license scheme.  Two more people were sentenced to jail Thursday [3/21/2013] in connection with a black market license scheme in New Jersey.

Government Gave 4,317 Aliens two Social Security Numbers Apiece.  A report from the Social Security Administration Inspector General (IG) found 4,317 instances where a non-citizen was able to obtain two Social Security numbers, including 542 instances that happened since 2001.  "We identified 4,317 instances where the Numident record of 2 SSNs assigned to noncitizens contained matching first, middle, and last names; dates and places of birth; gender; and fathers' and mothers' names," the IG reported on Dec. 10, 2012.

Registry worker accused of promising illegals licenses for cash.  A Registry of Motor Vehicles employee who police say promised illegal immigrants driver's licenses at $2,000 a pop and claimed she could their delay deportation proceedings through an inside source at Immigration and Customs Enforcement now faces a 27-count indictment after her arrest today at the registry's Watertown branch, authorities said.

South Carolina: 'The mother of all data breaches'.  In a nation where hackers steal personal data from computer systems on a near-daily basis, the cyberattack on the South Carolina Department of Revenue stands out as the largest breach against a state tax agency in the nation.  "From a state point of view, this is kind of the mother of all data breaches thus far," said Larry Ponemon, chairman of The Ponemon Institute, which researches privacy and data protection.

3.6 million Social Security numbers hacked in S.C.  The U.S. Secret Service detected a security breach at the S.C. Department of Revenue on Oct. 10, but it took state officials 10 days to close the attacker's access and another six days to inform the public that 3.6 million Social Security numbers had been compromised.

Military heroes' ID numbers posted online.  The Social Security numbers of some of the nation's most highly decorated Army war heroes from Iraq and Afghanistan were posted this week by a civilian contractor on a publicly available website.  The Army has launched an investigation to find out how the privacy of its heroes was violated.  Of more than 500 names and profiles on the site, 31 contain Social Security numbers.

94 Million Exposed: The Government's Epic Fail on Privacy.  Believe it or not, this number — which was just revealed in the latest report from tech security firm Rapid7 — is only the most conservative estimate.  When you take into account the difference between reported data breaches, which is what this report measures, and actual incidents, you are talking about a much, much bigger number.  As bad as the numbers are, it gets worse.

States make fake IDs quick and easy.  Federal investigators were able to get fraudulent driver's licenses in all three states where they tried, according to a report released Friday [9/21/2012] that shows continued problems with states' ID programs more than 11 years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks highlighted the problem.  States are particularly flummoxed by out-of-state documents, according to investigators from the Government Accountability Office who conducted the audit.  The investigators used forged birth certificates purportedly issued by Ohio and New York, and successfully submitted them in three other states.

Hackers claim 12 million Apple IDs from FBI.  A hacker group has claimed to have obtained personal data from 12 million Apple iPhone and iPad users by breaching an FBI computer, raising concerns about government tracking.

Four workers arrested in Phoenix for using fake I.D.s.  After a search of employment records, deputies say they determined that some of the 20 employees at the business were using false identification to gain employment there.

Possible fraud involving 24,000 Minnesota driver's licenses.  The state of Minnesota has found nearly 24,000 possible cases of fraud involving driver's licenses issued in the state, Fox Minneapolis reports.  A facial recognition scan of the state's 11 million photo database found nearly 1.3 million duplicates.

One hour and $260 can get you phony green card, soc. security and license.  In just one hour, The [New York] Post was able to buy a phony green card, Social Security card and New York state driver's license from a stranger on a corner — all of which could serve as a gateway to obtain legitimate IDs.  The cards are frighteningly real — convincing enough to fool creditors, potential employers and security at buildings and even the airport.

Social Security wrongly declares 14,000 people dead each year.  Of the approximately 2.8 million death reports the Social Security Administration receives per year, about 14,000 — or one in every 200 deaths — are incorrectly entered into its Death Master File, which contains the Social Security numbers, names, birth dates, death dates, zip codes and last-known residences of more than 87 million deceased Americans.  That averages out to 38 life-altering mistakes a day.

Durbin questions Illinois rate of false deaths.  U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has asked the Social Security Administration why its Death Master File lists so many Illinoisans as dead when they are still alive. ... Illinois has the third-highest rate of such mistakes in the country, according to a Scripps Howard News Service report.  Nationally, about 14,000 of these errors occur every year.

Personal info of 3.5 million Texans exposed online.  The Texas attorney general and the FBI are reviewing a breach in Internet security at the state comptroller's office that exposed the personal information, including Social Security numbers, of 3.5 million Texans for more than a year.

You might as well ask for a new set of fingerprints.
Social Security Denies ID Theft Victim New Number.  A 23-year-old Brighton man has been fighting five years to replace a Social Security number that has been fraudulently used by a suspected illegal immigrant since 2003, according to police and state tax officials.  The Social Security Administration has twice denied his request for a new number, saying his credit has not been damaged by the identify thief...

Milwaukee police officer busted for I.D. theft.  Members of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association (MPPA) have chosen sides with their public sector union comrades against the hard-working taxpaying citizens of their state, the very people who pay the salaries of those who are sworn to uphold the law.  The Journal Sentinel brings us a story about one of Milwaukee's finest.  Five year police veteran (and WPPA member) Lymon L. Taylor was in court Wednesday [3/16/2011] facing charges of felony identity theft.  The 33 year-old officer has been charged with stealing the Social Security number of a 7 year-old Racine boy and using it to purchase a 2007 Mercedes-Benz S550.

70,000 'living dead' on eNaTIS.  "You can't renew your car's licence because you are deceased."  This is the message a Stellenbosch businessman received when he recently tried to renew one of his cars' licences. ... According to the eNaTIS (National Traffic Information System) database, he's one of the approximately 70,000 other "living dead" South Africans.

Fake ID business is booming.  North Carolina officials are reporting an alarming growth in the size and sophistication of the fake identification business, which has graduated from nuisance industry to national security threat.  At the end of October, the Department of Motor Vehicles had recorded 373 arrests for driver's license fraud, which includes both manufacturing and possessing the bogus IDs.  That's a larger number in 10 months than the 294 arrests made during all of last year.

Sometimes important information is lost -- in huge quantities!
Medical diagnoses for 130,000 people vanish into thin air.  New York-based Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center has become one of the latest medical providers to expose highly sensitive patient data after CDs containing unencrypted data sent by FedEx never made it to their destination.

UK national ID card cloned in 12 minutes.  Using a Nokia mobile phone and a laptop computer, [Adam] Laurie was able to copy the data on a card that is being issued to foreign nationals in minutes.  He then created a cloned card, and with help from another technology expert, changed all the data on the new card.  This included the physical details of the bearer, name, fingerprints and other information.  He then rewrote data on the card, reversing the bearer's status from "not entitled to benefits" to "entitled to benefits".  He then added fresh content that would be visible to any police officer or security official who scanned the card, saying, "I am a terrorist — shoot on sight."

Met Police wants handheld ID card readers.  A tender notice published in the Official Journal of the EU said the Met was looking to award a three-year framework agreement to supply, support and integrate handheld mobile identification units (MIUs).

Government spends £140,000 to keep ID card review secret.  The Office of Government Commerce has spent at least £140,000 on legal fees to keep secret two early Gateway reviews on the national ID cards scheme.  Costs will rise further if government lawyers appeal against a new order by the Information Tribunal to disclose the reviews.

Social Security number code cracked, study claims.  For people born after 1988 — when the government began issuing numbers at birth — the researchers were able to identify, in a single attempt, the first five Social Security digits for 44 percent of individuals.  And they got all nine digits for 8.5 percent of those people in fewer than 1,000 attempts.  For smaller states their accuracy was considerably higher than in larger ones.

Obama gets busy shifting the wealth.  Don't be surprised if someday soon you're asked to punch in your Social Security number when you swipe your credit card at the gasoline pump.  Why?  So your income tax files can be checked to determine how much you'll pay per-gallon — the more you make, the higher the price.

The hazards of a cashless society are very clear to those who will observe.
Man charged $23,148,855,308,184,500 for one pack of cigarettes.  A New Hampshire man says he swiped his debit card at a gas station to buy a pack of cigarettes and was charged over 23 quadrillion dollars.

The Editor says...
First of all, how is a pre-paid debit card capable of incurring a 23 quadrillion dollar charge?  And secondly, if the customer had been charged $23 instead of $23 quadrillion, what are the chances that he could have recovered his money?

Glitch hits Visa users with more than $23 quadrillion charge.  A technical snafu left some Visa prepaid cardholders stunned and horrified Monday to see a $23,148,855,308,184,500 charge on their statements.  That's about 2,007 times the size of the national debt.

The Editor says...
Even at the end of Obama's term as president, that will still be at least twice as much as the national debt.

Delray Beach bureau was one-stop shop for illegal driver licenses.  Five women who worked at the Delray Beach driver's license office and a Delray Beach man have been charged in connection with a scheme to provide hundreds, if not thousands, of illegal immigrants with valid driver's licenses.

Hackers' discount — stolen card details for 8 cents.  The theft of personal information by hackers is so prevalent — and efficient — that stolen credit card details now sell for as little as eight cents a card, a report by one of the world's biggest computer security companies says.

Undercover Agent Obtained Passport with Fraudulent IDs; Passed Airport Security.  Carrying a fake New York birth certificate and a phony Florida driver's license, an investigator walked into a Maryland post office in December to apply for a U.S. passport, filling out documents with the Social Security number of a man who died in 1965.  In four days, the investigator received his passport.

Good or bad, this was an unintended consequence:
A REAL Problem for Obama.  On his second day in office, President Obama issued an executive order to shutter the Guantanamo Bay detention camp within one year — without any plan for how to dispose of the 241 detainees held there.  With the clock ticking, the president is discovering that closing Guantanamo is more easily said than done, especially now that his own party in Congress has deserted him. ... His greatest obstacle could be a national security law — and one that he voted for.  The REAL ID Act of 2005 prohibits anyone affiliated with terrorist activity from entering and living in the United States.

Fake documents swamp Houston.  Illegal immigrants fearful of being caught in stepped-up workplace raids are fueling a growing market in Houston for phony immigration and work documents.  The result, experts say, is a glut of false, altered and counterfeit documents that are easily obtained at Houston-area flea markets, businesses and clandestine printing shops set up in homes and apartments.

Crime 'franchise' hub in Denver.  Federal and state authorities are working to permanently close a metro Denver counterfeit documents ring allegedly masterminded by a Mexico-based crime family they believe operates in at least 33 states, churning out tens of millions of dollars worth of fake IDs.

Passport official quits amid probes.  The State Department official in charge of U.S. passport services stepped down yesterday [4/4/2008] amid investigations into security breaches in the document records and overcharges for blank passports.  In the latest blow against the agency, court documents show a State Department employee provided personal information from passport applications for use in a credit-card fraud scheme.

Treasury Office Faults IRS Computer Security.  Two new IRS computer systems that will eventually cost taxpayers almost $2 billion are being put into service despite known security and privacy vulnerabilities, a Treasury watchdog said in a report coming out Thursday [10/16/2008].  The office of the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said Internal Revenue Service officials failed to ensure that identified weaknesses had been addressed before putting the new systems into use.

State Department warns of possible identity theft.  The State Department said Friday it has warned nearly 400 passport applicants of a security breach in its records system that may have left them open to identity theft.  The department has so far notified 383 people — most of them in the Washington, D.C. area — that their passport applications containing personal information, including Social Security numbers, may have been illegally accessed and used to open fraudulent credit card accounts, spokesman Sean McCormack said.

School ID Rule Has Some Seeing Red.  Hall passes just don't cut it anymore at a Missouri high school.  Now the staff and 1,300 students have to wear IDs when they roam the halls.

You Want Pancakes?  Show Your Driver's License First.  In Quincy Mass, an International House of Pancakes (IHOP) was requiring driver's licenses before you got your food.  It was apparently an attempt at stopping people from skipping out on their bill.

Identity theft linked to illegal immigration.  Nobody likes getting a letter from the IRS.  So imagine Amanda Bien's reaction last Valentine's Day when the agency wrote to demand $3,300 in back taxes.  For jobs she never worked.  Five of them.  In multiple states. … Someone, somewhere, got Bien's name and Social Security number and gave it a workout.

Private details of EVERY family in Britain 'lost' by taxman.  Alistair Darling had to make an emergency statement to the Commons revealing that records of 7.2 million bank accounts of all parents or guardians who claim child benefits had gone missing. ... A total of 25 million people's names [addresses, bank numbers and National Insurance numbers] are on the discs, potentially leaving them all at risk of identity fraud.

UK Government disks were not well encrypted.  There are electronic connections on multiple security levels between those departments -- there was really no need at all for that data to travel physically.  And this lot wants the population to agree to a central IDcard scheme?

Election Computers Stolen in Tennessee.  Thieves stole laptop computers containing the names and social security numbers of every registered voter in the city from election commission offices over the Christmas holiday.  The computers also contain voters' addresses and phone numbers.

Data loss shakes voter trust.  The Metro Nashville building from which thieves stole two computers containing sensitive voter data does not have security guards on duty for half of the day on weekends, and it has no alarm system or video surveillance.  The Metro Office Building on Second Avenue South has had one guard on duty 12 hours a day on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays for about 10 years, said Velvet Hunter, Metro General Services' assistant director for administration. She declined to specify the hours….

Mandatory Student ID Cards Contain RFIDs.  Parents in a northern California public school district and civil liberties groups are urging a school district to terminate the mandatory use of Radio Frequency Identification tags by students.  A letter was sent today [2/8/2005] expressing alarm at the Brittan School District's use of mandatory ID badges that include a RFID device that tracks the students' movements.  The device transmits private information to a computer on campus whenever a student passes under one of the scanners.  The ID badges also include the student's name, photo, grade, school name, class year and the four-digit school ID number.  Students are required to prominently display the badges by wearing them around the neck at all times.

Parents protest radio ID tags for students.  The only grade school in this rural town is requiring students to wear radio frequency identification badges that can track their every move.  Some parents are outraged, fearing it will rob their children of privacy.

(More about RFID issues.)

Ordering a Pizza Could be Complicated by Your National ID Card.  A Shockwave satire, presented by the ACLU, which makes some interesting points about the privacy-destroying potential of the National ID Card.  I'm no fan of the ACLU, but at least they can see where this road is headed.

Are new passports an identity-theft risk?  Privacy advocates warn data chips can be "seen" by anyone with reader.

REAL ID:  The REAL ID Act requires driver's licenses to include a "common machine-readable technology."  This will, of course, make identity theft easier. … It actually doesn't matter how well the states and federal government protect the data on driver's licenses, as there will be parallel commercial databases with the same information.

Preventing Identity Theft by Terrorists and Criminals:  A statement by Congressman Ron Paul:  "It is long-past time we recognized the ways in which Congress' transformation of the Social Security number into a de facto uniform identifier facilitates identity crimes.

Smart Cards:  Big Brother's Little Helpers.  Smart cards will be able to generate records of the date, time and location of all movements on public and private transport systems, along with details of all goods purchased, telephone use, car parking, attendance at the cinema, and any other activities paid for by smart cards.  These records will also be processed and stored in central databases, where they will be used to create detailed customer profiles.

Identity Theft Diminishes Military Capability.  The crux of identity theft is interactive databases.  Once false information is entered, it results in a geometric progression similar to a computer virus.  This can result in false warrants, arrest records, default judgments, tax problems and ruined credit.

Can You Prevent Identity Theft?  The best approach is to be proactive and take steps to avoid being a victim.  Here are a few of the suggestions.

Number of Identity Theft Complaints Double Last Year.  Complaints about identity theft soar as the fast-growing crime tops the government's list of consumer frauds for a third consecutive year.

Privacy advocates sue over national IDs:  A privacy group says it has filed a lawsuit against the federal Office of Homeland Security in an attempt to gain access to information about a proposed national identification system.

Anonymity in America:  Does National Security Preclude It?  Anonymous speech has proud roots stretching to the origins of America.  Gentlemen calling themselves "Publius" wrote the Federalist Papers.  Thomas Paine's Common Sense was signed by "An Englishman."  Today, computer programs that allow us to encrypt emails – to scramble them such that only the intended "key-holding" recipient can decipher the message — represent perhaps the newest incarnation of the old tradition of speaking both freely and anonymously.

Note:  There is more on this page about identity theft and leaky databases.


Massive interactive databases

Numerous anecdotes can be found to demonstrate that giant databases with personal information aren't completely safe and secure in the hands of big business or big government.  That's already a problem, but imagine the seriousness of this problem when all aspects of your identification are merged into one database.


Municipal ID law has 'delete in case of Tea Party' clause.  The city's new municipal ID program allows for personal info provided by applicants to be destroyed at the end of 2016, in case a conservative Republican wins the White House and demands the data, the law's co-sponsor told The [New York] Post on Monday [2/16/2015].  City Councilman Carlos Menchaca (D-Brooklyn) said the measure was crafted so data submitted by those seeking the cards can be destroyed on Dec. 31, 2016.  The cards are aimed at undocumented immigrants.  "In case a Tea Party Republican comes into office and says, 'We want all of the data from all of the municipal ID programs in the country,' we're going to take the data," he explained.

Peninsula woman battles DMV over alleged false conviction.  Maryann Raab says she hasn't been to Florida since 1977, yet the DMV claims it has proof she was convicted of DUI there in 2005 and as a result suspended her driver's license last month.

Immigration reform bill establishes a national biometric database of all Americans.  Smile, you're on Obama-cam. Because buried deep inside the Senate immigration reform plan is a comprehensive national ID system.  Wired broke the story last month.

Hidden in Immigration Reform: Bio-Metric Data Base of All Adult Americans.  Deep within the diseased bowels of the 800 page immigration reform bill is a profound threat to privacy in the US; an authorization for the Department of Homeland Security to create a bio-metric data base of every adult male in the US.

Biometric Database of All Adult Americans Hidden in Immigration Reform.  The immigration reform measure the Senate began debating yesterday would create a national biometric database of virtually every adult in the U.S., in what privacy groups fear could be the first step to a ubiquitous national identification system.  Buried in the more than 800 pages of the bipartisan legislation is language mandating the creation of the innocuously-named "photo tool," a massive federal database administered by the Department of Homeland Security and containing names, ages, Social Security numbers and photographs of everyone in the country with a driver's license or other state-issued photo ID.

Putting Private Info on Government Database.  Far more personal information on students than is necessary is being collected by public schools, according to the Fordham Law School Center on Law and Information Policy, which investigated education records in all 50 states.  States are failing to safeguard students' privacy and protect them from data misuse.  Some states collect a lot of data that has nothing to do with student test scores, including Social Security numbers, disciplinary records, family wealth indicators, student pregnancies, student mental health, illness and jail sentences.  A couple of states record the date of a student's last medical exam and a student's weight.

England's NHS loses patient data.  Bad news:  A National Health Service employee lost a flash drive containing personal information of up to 6,360 patients.  Good news:  The data on the flash drive was encrypted.  Bad news:  The password was written on a sticky-note attached to the drive.

TSA widens test of biometric IDs.  The U.S. government is spending $25 million this fiscal year to road test a universal secure identity card loaded with biometric and personal data and tied to government "watch lists."  Though the program is aimed at simplifying the security checks that airport personnel and other transportation workers must go through, privacy experts are warning of unintended consequences.

Slippery Frogs and the US Supreme Court:  The more information we freely give up, the more information will be demanded of us, and probably demanded at some near-future time by force of law.

'Problem driver' database flawed.  A federal database of more than 40 million "problem drivers" contains hundreds of thousands of phony Social Security numbers, a new report says.  The U.S. Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General estimates there are more than 600,000 invalid Social Security numbers — such as 111-22-3333 and 222-33-4444 — in the National Driver Registry.  The database also contains about 161,000 duplicate numbers in which different drivers are using the same Social Security information.

Research Explores Data Mining, Privacy.  As new disclosures mount about government surveillance programs, computer science researchers hope to wade into the fray by enabling data mining that also protects individual privacy.  Largely by employing the head-spinning principles of cryptography, the researchers say they can ensure that law enforcement, intelligence agencies and private companies can sift through huge databases without seeing names and identifying details in the records.

Federal Data-Sharing Program Raises Student Privacy Concerns.  On September 1, The New York Times, USA Today, and other media outlets reported a student at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, working with The Associated Press, had uncovered a little-known data-sharing program conducted by the FBI and U.S. Department of Education.  The program was disbanded shortly after the story broke.

Personal details of 84,000 prison inmates lost in security blunder.  The personal details of the entire prison population south of the Border have been lost in a massive security breach at the Home Office, it was revealed last night.  Information on tens of thousands of criminals — including expected release dates — was lost while private contractors hired by the government were transferring files between computers.

Personal data of a million bank customers found on computer sold on eBay for £35.  The Mail Source employee sold the computer to Andrew Chapman, a 56-year-old IT manager from Oxford.  It held account numbers, phone numbers, signatures and other personal details, none of which are thought to have been handed to any third parties.

FBI's Gun Ban Listing Swells.  Since the Virginia Tech shootings last spring, the FBI has more than doubled the number of people nationwide who are prohibited from buying guns because of mental health problems, the Justice Department said yesterday.  Justice officials said the FBI's "Mental Defective File" has ballooned from 175,000 names in June to nearly 400,000, primarily because of additions from California.

HIPAA, Guns, and Public Health.  Now, most of us assume such sensitive health records are protected in the interest of "privacy."  Isn't that what we've been assured by HIPAA?  So what's the loophole that permits the feds access to sensitive hospital records to make their lists?  What if I had an anxiety disorder or depression in my medical history requiring inpatient admission.  Would I end up on the FBI's "Mental Defective File?"

More States Adding Mental Health Records to FBI Database.  States have doubled the number of mental health records submitted to the FBI's background-check system since the Virginia Tech shooting last April, in a stepped up effort to keep mentally disturbed individuals from purchasing firearms.

200,000 medical records sent to wrong patients, some with SSNs.  BC&BS sent an estimated 202,000 benefits information letters containing personal and health information — identities, ID numbers, and service details — to the wrong addresses last week, Some letters also contained SSNs.

11 Charged in Theft of 41 Million Card Numbers.  Federal prosecutors have charged 11 people with stealing more than 41 million credit and debit card numbers, cracking what officials said on Tuesday appeared to be the largest hacking and identity theft ring ever exposed.

USDA Announces Hacker Stole D.C. Area Employee Database.  A hacker broke into the Agriculture Department's computer system and may have obtained names, Social Security numbers and photos of 26,000 Washington-area employees and contractors, the department said Wednesday [6/21/2006].

Data lost for J.C. Penney, other retailers' card customers.  Personal information on about 650,000 customers of J.C. Penney and up to 100 other retailers could be compromised after a computer tape went missing.  GE Money, which handles credit card operations for Penney and many other retailers, said Thursday night [1/17/2008] that the missing information includes Social Security numbers for about 150,000 people.

Credit card data stolen from supermarket chain.  A computer hacker stole thousands of credit card numbers after breaching security at two U.S. grocery store chains owned by Belgium-based Delhaize Group SA, the companies said on Monday [3/17/2008].  Nearly 2,000 cases of fraud have been linked to the breach….

Lost DOT Laptops:  Compromised Personal Data?  A series of data breaches at agencies under the United States Department of Transportation has put the Personal Identification Information of at least 133,000 people at risk.  According to information WTOP obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, since 2001, the DOT has lost nearly 400 laptop computers and had nine instances when Personal Identification Information was lost or stolen.

IRS:  Kansas City lost our tapes.  A federal investigation of missing Internal Revenue Service tapes from City Hall in Kansas City has concluded that the city failed to follow 'proper safeguards for protecting federal tax return information.' … The IRS has never said what information was on the tapes, how many taxpayers were affected, or whether those taxpayers would ever be notified about the missing information.

1,100 Laptops Missing From Commerce Dept.  More than 1,100 laptop computers have vanished from the Department of Commerce since 2001, including nearly 250 from the Census Bureau containing such personal information as names, incomes and Social Security numbers, federal officials said yesterday [9/21/2006].

More "lost laptop" cases like this are filed under Uncle Sam loses stuff.

AT&T hack exposes 19,000 identities.  AT&T on Tuesday [8/29/2006] said hackers broke into one of its computer systems and accessed personal data on thousands of customers who used its online store.

State Street:  Data stolen from vendor.  State Street Corp. said yesterday [5/29/2008] that a disk drive containing personal details from 5,500 employees and 40,000 customer accounts was stolen from the office of another firm hired for data analysis.  The incident could leave individuals open to identity theft and is the latest example to show how financial companies can be vulnerable to the physical loss of devices storing information, no matter how strong their online safeguards.

Ohio hires expert to review data theft.  The state has hired a computer security expert to determine the likelihood of someone getting access to the data on a stolen backup storage device, Gov. Ted Strickland said Sunday. … Previously, it was revealed the device contained the names and Social Security numbers of all 64,000 state employees, as well as information about 53,797 people enrolled in the state's pharmacy benefits management program and the names and Social Security numbers of about 75,532 dependents.

AOL Proudly Releases Massive Amounts of Private Data.  AOL must have missed the uproar over the DOJ's demand for "anonymized" search data last year that caused all sorts of pain for Microsoft and Google.  That's the only way to explain their release of data that includes 20 million web queries from 650,000 AOL users.  The data includes all searches from those users for a three month period this year, as well as whether they clicked on a result, what that result was and where it appeared on the result page.

E-Mail Gaffe Publicizes Job Seekers in Albany.  Gov. Eliot Spitzer made his name, in part, on indiscreet e-mail messages, as any number of executives who were pursued by the attorney general's office in recent years can attest.  Now his administration has sent out an indiscreet e-mail message of its own:  An e-mail response to people seeking jobs as spokesmen included the e-mail addresses of 227 other job applicants, including reporters and local and city government employees.

Sailors' Data Posted on the Web.  The Navy has begun a criminal investigation after Social Security numbers and other personal data for 28,000 sailors and family members were found on a civilian Web site.

One Click Leads to 20 Years of Your Info.  Ray Schabell recently logged on to a popular people-search Web site, and was surprised to learn just how much personal information about himself was available with a couple of mouse clicks.

Energy Department Discloses Data Theft.  A hacker stole a file containing the names and Social Security numbers of 1,500 people working for the Energy Department's nuclear weapons agency.  But the incident last September, somewhat similar to recent problems at the Department of Veterans Affairs, was not reported to senior officials until two days ago, officials told a congressional hearing yesterday [6/9/2006].  None of the victims was notified, they said.

IRS Laptop Lost With Data on 291 People.  An Internal Revenue Service employee lost an agency laptop early last month that contained sensitive personal information on 291 workers and job applicants, a spokesman said yesterday [6/10/2006].  The IRS's Terry L. Lemons said the employee checked the laptop as luggage aboard a commercial flight while traveling to a job fair and never saw it again.  The computer contained unencrypted names, birth dates, Social Security numbers and fingerprints of the employees and applicants, Lemons said.

College Door Ajar for Online Criminals.  Since January, at least 845,000 people have had sensitive information jeopardized in 29 security failures at colleges nationwide.  In these incidents, compiled by identity theft experts who monitor media reports, hackers have gained access to Social Security numbers and, in some cases, medical records.

Laptop Stolen From D.C. Home.  A laptop containing personal data — including Social Security numbers — of 13,000 District workers and retirees was stolen Monday from the Southeast Washington home of an employee of ING U.S. Financial Services, the company said yesterday.  ING, which administers the District's retirement plan, known as DCPlus, notified the city about the theft late Friday [6/16/2006].

VA Official Steps Down After Data Theft.  A Veteran Affairs deputy assistant secretary who didn't immediately notify top officials about a theft of 26.5 million veterans' personal information is stepping down, citing missteps that led to the security breach.

Government hit by rash of data breaches.  The government agency charged with fighting identity theft said Thursday [6/22/2006] it had lost two government laptops containing sensitive personal data, the latest in a series of breaches encompassing millions of people.

Experts to form ID theft research center.  An alliance of businesses, colleges and federal crime fighters will combine their expertise at a new research center that will study the problems of identity theft and fraud.

Big Brother's Database:  Under the guise of crime prevention, the government is creating databases to track your every move, and stripping what is left of your privacy.

Data theft hit 80 percent of active military.  Social Security numbers and other personal information for as many as 2.2 million U.S. military personnel — including nearly 80 percent of the active-duty force — were among the data stolen from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs analyst last month, federal officials said yesterday [6/5/2006], raising concerns about national security as well as identity theft.

Unlicensed Fraud:  How bribery and lax security at state motor vehicle offices nationwide lead to identity theft and illegal driver's licenses.  [PDF file]

Boston College reveals alumni data breach.  Boston College is fighting against an attack on its fund-raising databases, which may have exposed the personal data of more than 100,000 alumni.

Personal Identification Is Too Important to Be Run by Government:  When showing your card is required before you can board a plane, rent a car, use the library, get a phone, buy a gun, enter the US, leave the US, buy a house, get a loan, see the doctor, buy medicine, or enroll your child in school, the opportunities for "denial of service" against those of whom the state does not approve are chilling indeed.

Pentagon Creating Student Database.  The Defense Department has begun working with BeNow Inc, a private marketing firm, to create a database of high school students ages 16 to 18 and all college students to help the military identify potential recruits in a time of dwindling enlistment in some branches.  The program is provoking a furor among privacy advocates.

USC admissions site cracked wide open.  A programming error in the University of Southern California's online system for accepting applications from prospective students left the personal information of users publicly accessible, school officials confirmed this week.

I'm Sorry, Dave, You're Speeding.  While Toyota views its [Australian] concept car as nothing more than a showcase for cool gizmos, its electronic logging functions would creep into everyday life, giving more surveillance powers to the government, critics say.  Some are equally concerned at the card required to operate it, saying it's a national ID in disguise.

Central Data Banks and American Justice:  A case in point is a New Hampshire woman who was arrested, handcuffed, and had her car impounded for not returning a late rental video!

Bill Would Close Gun Law Holes:  Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., introduced legislation Tuesday [7/30/2002] to close major gaps in the federal firearms background check system that in a 30-month period allowed some 10,000 felons and others prohibited from gun ownership to obtain weapons.  McCain said the hole is the "faulty records of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)."

The Editor says...
There you have another example of a government bureaucracy with faulty records.  Please keep this in mind when the National ID Card debate gets underway.  Here is another example...

30,000 personal records stolen in GMU server compromise.  The server at George Mason University in Virginia was compromised by crackers who stole personal information ("names, photos, Social Security numbers and [campus ID] numbers of all members of the Mason community who have identification cards") on 30,000 students, faculty, and staff.

Top 10 List of Police Database Abuses:  Your address, telephone number, Social Security number, date of birth, criminal record -- all this data and more can be accessed by police officers if they have basic information about you.  Some cops, however, use their database access for less-than-honorable reasons.  Some cops used police databases to harass exes and even get telephone numbers of women they see in cars.

Part 1 of 2: Medical "Privacy" Regulations Destroy Privacy:  Federal privacy regulations issued by the Clinton administration on Dec. 28, 2000, and adopted by the Bush administration on April 14, 2001, perpetrate a fraud on the American people, proclaiming privacy as their goal when ever-wider access to individual medical records is their actual and intended effect.

Part 2 of 2: Medical "Privacy" Rules Advance a National ID:  Why should ordinary people bother to read the medical privacy rules anyway?  Media and government sources continue to assert the benign nature of the new regulations, which are said to promise cost savings through database standardization along with protection of people's medical privacy.  Why be concerned?

2,000 patients hit by lab test mix-up.  An Internet database – which physicians use to view lab work such as blood and urine tests – mixed up results between patients and posted records under the wrong names.

Information system for Lisbon hospitals stopped for ten days.  Lisbon newspaper "O Público" reports that the main information system for the Lisbon Hospital Center, which supports three large Lisbon hospitals, has not worked since July 8.  It appears that the master patient index has become inaccessible, and may be lost. … The waiting list for surgery also appears lost, although that has not been confirmed.

This is for all the people who believe anything that pops up on a computer screen:
The Risky Business of Spreadsheet Errors.  Spreadsheets create an illusion of orderliness, accuracy, and integrity.  The tidy rows and columns of data, instant calculations, eerily invisible updating, and other features of these ubiquitous instruments contribute to this soothing impression.  At the same time, faulty spreadsheets and poor spreadsheet practices have been implicated in a wide variety of business and financial problems.

Privacy Advocates Fear National ID Scheme:  State motor vehicle agencies are working on a plan to create a national driver's license by using state agreements, possibly backed by federal law, that could end-run civil rights and political opponents.

Related item:  Impact of Artificial "Gummy" Fingers on Fingerprint Systems.

Photo finish:  A proposed "private" database of driver's license photos turns out to have federal funding and backing.

"Smile for the US Secret Service":  Image Data is purchasing driver's license photos for the USSS.

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