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New Jersey DMV Employees Caught Selling Identities

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the how-about-some-new-id dept.

Privacy 279

phaedrus5001 writes "Ars has an article about two New Jersey DMV employees who have been accused of selling personal information they routinely had access to. The NJ prosecutor's office claims (PDF) their investigation 'uncovered that two employees of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission were providing the names, addresses, dates of birth and social security numbers of unsuspecting residents that they obtained through their employment. They were charging as little as $200 per identity.'"

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279 comments

This is more proof (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192440)

More proof that the best government is the one that governs least.

Re:This is more proof (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192492)

How so?

Re:This is more proof (5, Funny)

DanTheStone (1212500) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192758)

Obviously the government shouldn't know your Social Security number...

Re:This is more proof (2)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192954)

Well, at least not for your dirver's license. Kinda like using the same password everywhere. Break into one, break into them all.

Re:This is more proof (1)

jmottram08 (1886654) | more than 2 years ago | (#38193020)

Obviously some retard behind the counter at the DMV shouldn't.

If this happened to a private company they would be dragged into court and sued to death, or at least be forced to drastically change policies. Will that happen to the DMV? hell no. They might start a study on methods to control data, and in 3 years the company that got tho no bid contract to do the study will report that it will cost X to implement, which the legislature will reject due to budget constraints.

Re:This is more proof (4, Funny)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192500)

Because a private company would never be caught doing something like this. Nope. They are all completely above any kind of corruption.

Re:This is more proof (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192612)

Because a private company would never be caught doing something like this. Nope. They are all completely above any kind of corruption.

Unlike the DMV, a private company can't force you to use their services. Nor can they push a unique identifier on you which is then used as an id by numerous different databases.

Re:This is more proof (3, Insightful)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192664)

If the private company owns any of your local infrastructure, or it got an outsourcing deal for a former gouvernment service that you need to use, how do you avoid them?
Because that's what "less gov" means around here.

Re:This is more proof (5, Insightful)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192672)

Experian? Other credit rating companies?

I'm sure I could come up with a lot of others that disprove your hypothesis. There are lots and lots of private companies that we have to do business with. We have no choice in the matter.

Re:This is more proof (0)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 2 years ago | (#38193008)

Experian? Other credit rating companies?

Oh, you're one of those people who buys things they can't afford? This is fixable.

(Yes, yes, everyone uses credit these days, even when you rent they generally run a credit report. If they didn't, or if you just paid by the year, my comment would be less ignorantly snarky.)

Re:This is more proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38193014)

You aren't forced to use Experian. You just find it inconvenient if you don't. There's a big difference.

Re:This is more proof (3, Insightful)

neonKow (1239288) | more than 2 years ago | (#38193054)

You are probably forced to use Experian a lot more than you are forced to use New Jersey DMV.

Re:This is more proof (5, Insightful)

jackbird (721605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38193082)

A credit check is increasingly becoming part of employment screening, and is entirely necessary for both renting and purchasing a home (unless buying the home for cash). Being homeless rises above "inconvenient."

Providing a social security number is also required to open a bank account, the lack of which is also a bit more than "inconvenient."

Re:This is more proof (1)

corbettw (214229) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192680)

Can't force you to use them? Sure, OK. Can't make you use a unique identifier that's then used by other orgs? Bullshit. How many websites use Facebook, Google, or Yahoo login services for their users?

Re:This is more proof (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192820)

In effect, none that matter. I don't use my Facebook credentials anywhere except Facebook. The popup says "Log in with Facebook", and I say, "Fuck you!" I either register with a throwaway email, or I don't bother logging in at all.

Re:This is more proof (1)

trum4n (982031) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192942)

Sounds to me like you have deep personal issues. Login with facebook is the best way to get on a forum where you will be constructive(like in my case, car forums). It's fast, it's easy, and I'm not breaking any laws. OH NOES, THEY FOUND OUT I DRIVE A HONDA FIT!?! Who the hell cares. The fucker is orange, and i can be found driving the hell out of it. No one cares enough about you for it to matter. Privacy has its place, but some people obsess.

Re:This is more proof (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192996)

Unless your work environment blocks Facebook. Then being able to log in independently is a blessing.

Assuming they also don't block Disqus. Weasels.

Re:This is more proof (2)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#38193088)

I don't sign up for services when they require a Facebook account because I don't have a Facebook account. I, as a human being located in the United States of America do not need a Facebook, Google, or Yahoo account. In fact, more than half the country don't have any of those accounts.

You can't say the same thing about who is in a DMV system. Even if you don't drive or even not allowed to drive, you need to have identification. Just the basic idea of being a human being in the US at 20 years of age will get you arrested for not having proper identification. That is wrong. Alliances between companies is wrong, but on such a lower level it isn't even funny.

Re:This is more proof (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192730)

Have you ever read about Americans who refuse to use their social security number for absolutely anything? It's almost Kafkaesque.

Re:This is more proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192738)

So...what? You sound like you're suggesting that not having a standard identity card for things which require them is a good thing:

"Yes officer, that's a valid ID, I got it from Honest Bob's Discount ID's just this very morning!"

What's even more worrying is you may actually be seriously suggesting that we shouldn't have ID for anything at all, which is equally stupid:

"I'll take the sniper rifle and a couple of boxes of ammo. Am I convicted felon with a history of violence? No sir, I am not. Why thank you, you have a good day too!"
"No officer, I am not an escaped criminal on the run. My name is John Doe, honest. O.K Sir, I sure will drive carefully!"

Re:This is more proof (3, Insightful)

lucifuge31337 (529072) | more than 2 years ago | (#38193074)

"I'll take the sniper rifle and a couple of boxes of ammo. Am I convicted felon with a history of violence? No sir, I am not. Why thank you, you have a good day too!"

This might be a convincing argument if it weren't for the fact that one can do this in most states legally for a private party face to face transfer. Also, "sniper rifles" aren't all that scary. They are typically nothing more than an off the rack deer rifle (that you can walk in and buy from Wal Mart) with a bipod and a different stock. Better ones have some accuracy work done to them, but it's really not much of a huge difference.

Re:This is more proof (3, Insightful)

Jessified (1150003) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192802)

Well, just like if you don't like airport security you don't have to fly, if you don't like the DMV you don't have to drive, amiright? /sarcasm

Re:This is more proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192946)

If you don't like the DMV, just drive anyway... :)

Re:This is more proof (4, Insightful)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#38193140)

This is the debate. If you don't like the restrictions, don't drive.

This is the WRONG attitude and approach.

We expect our government to, among other things, serve us by managing certain things. One of these is the licensing of drivers, so that we can be marginally safe on the roads, that entirely unqualified drivers are not allowed to operate vehicles, and that dangerous drivers are removed from the road to some degree. Imperfection is rampant, but it works farly well.

Driving is, in much of American a NECESSITY. To claim it is a privilege may be linguistically accurate, but it is not accurate at all. It is a necessity for most of us.

In that light, our governments' role shoudl never be to make licensing as difficult as possible, nor should it be to force applicants to exert themselves merely to satisfy the bureacracy's self-serving purposes. It should be the goverments' role to facilitate and deliver the needed service, IE licensing etc.

The argument that driving is a privilege is to leave open the option that for some reason, we should serve our govermnent. The opposite is the desired relationship, and one that should be not only normal, but expected.

I know you're being sarcastic, and you're excused from being the target this screed. But some people actually hold that driving as a privilege means that the agencies can be permitted to make it difficult to maintain the privilege.

That is wrong.

Re:This is more proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192828)

Ask the inmates in TX, NM, AZ, and the US about not having to use Corrections Corrections of America "services", then return back to me about that...

Re:This is more proof (4, Insightful)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192642)

Great soundbite. Now expand on it. Tell us how, exactly, you would put your proposal into practice.

Fewer cops? Less regulations? Which ones? Fewer teachers? No DMV (and no vehicle registrations, or safety regulations, or license plates, or insurance?)

I want to know.

Re:This is more proof (5, Informative)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192854)

No DMV (and no vehicle registrations, or safety regulations, or license plates, or insurance?)

The following licenses I have, or previously held, none of which are "IDs" requiring SS number:
ham radio license
GROL
former private pilot license (maybe this has changed to photo now?)
former fishing license
several former military operators licenses including really weird stuff like immersion heater (I kid you not) and RTFL rough terrain forklift
my library card is functionally a license as opposed to an ID card
my old non-photo college ID card (I guess those are mostly photo "real forms of ID" now?). It was mainly used at the library and to pay for photocopies.
My temp drivers license when I was 15 until I passed my formal DL test had no "id" properties, it just gave me permission to drive with a parent in the car supervising me.

Functionally American drivers license functionality is merged with ID card functionality, as if any separation is impossible, but its certainly not required. None of the stuff you listed requires ID directly, although registration title transfer is gonna require the services of a notary, and the notary will demand an ID, or the DMV personnel could operate as notaries, ending up right where we started...

Re:This is more proof (1, Insightful)

jmottram08 (1886654) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192882)

It might interest you that there used to be way fewer teachers, no administrators, no dept of education ... and the quality of education was way higher. It might also interest you that the DMV could actually be reduced in size and scope while still making insurance mandatory, same with licence plates. Vehicle registration? deos it really cost 100+$ a year to keep my VIN on record? Safety? The (federal) dept of transportation handles that, not the DMV.

So what does the DMV by and large do? Drivers licences. Which are worthless as they dont do driving tests anymore. . . its a computer test and you can get your license without taking the practical test... certainly not any indication of whether or not you can drive. And they can be renewed online, so you dont even have to pass a eye test -or- a practical.

If you really think that the DMV does anything good you need to think again.

Re:This is more proof (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38193122)

Are you really that stupid? Yes, quality of education may have been higher with fewer teachers when the percentage of the population afforded the opportunity to attend school was lower. What exactly is your point there?

No, dumbass, it does not cost $100/year to keep your VIN on file. The $100/year is a freaking tax, to pay for things you might find useful, like roads.

The federal DOT handles vehicle inspections? No, they set requirements on manufacturers, not vehicle owners.

What idiotic state do you live in that doesn't make you take a road test to get a license?

Re:This is more proof (4, Insightful)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 2 years ago | (#38193148)

It might interest you that there used to be way fewer teachers, no administrators, no dept of education ... and the quality of education was way higher.

Citation, please. Hard data, not more soundbites.

Re:This is more proof (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192718)

Yes, and our roads will be awesome when any asshole can just hop into a car and put the pedal on the floor....

Please, explain how the free market regulates people that don't know how to drive without causing millions of people to lose their lives in accidents. I would love to hear it.

I swear, some of these anti-regulation people must just be closet anarchists. It seems more and more like they just want to live in the Old West where the only rule of law is the one that comes out of the end of a gun...

Re:This is more proof (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192772)

Yes, and our roads will be awesome when any asshole can just hop into a car and put the pedal on the floor....

You haven't driven in Boston, have you?

Re:This is more proof (2)

jmottram08 (1886654) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192952)

. . . ummmm every asshole does jump in a car, every day. Or do you think that the DMV regulates drivers? Because regulation means that some cant do it, and with tests for a drivers licence entirely on a computer and renewals online, they arent actually regulating -anything-, except for age.

These anti-regulation people would say that the market adjusts and insurance prices would keep the bad drivers off the road. Do you honestly think that without a drivers licence telling people that they can drive that millions would die? ...because.... no. A drivers licence literally only tells you that you are over 18, and that is it.

Re:This is more proof (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38193002)

Yes, and our roads will be awesome when any asshole can just hop into a car and put the pedal on the floor....

What stops them now? Absolutely nothing? No problemo then, I guess.

Please, explain how the free market regulates people that don't know how to drive without causing millions of people to lose their lives in accidents. I would love to hear it.

If the manufacturer and/or seller of a gun is liable for what the new owner does with it, or a bartender is liable for what a patron does after purchasing booze, or I get in trouble for selling you a class 4 laser and you do something dumb, I see no reason why Ford can't be legally liable for handing over the keys to someone who didn't pass a vehicle test, or a parent can't be legally liable for loaning the keys to a teenager. Thats how it works in private aviation, anytime anyone crashes for any reason, the vehicle manufacturer gets sued, because that's where the money is.

There is a mass confusion about free markets, in that they like to say there is one in the USA, but everyone knows how the market works in the USA is the big and powerful have no rules, therefore a "free-er" market must mean there would be no rules for anyone at all, other than might makes right. Not so. All it means is the govt is not a counterparty to every agreement and activity, that's all. It doesn't mean no laws could ever exist, or no judicial system could ever exist, or no civil courts could ever exist.

Wow (1, Funny)

DWMorse (1816016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192460)

I bet there are a whole SLEW of Psychiatrists that would just LOVE to learn their methodology for making identities!

Not surprised (5, Funny)

Lyrata (1900038) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192480)

I wouldn't pay more than $200 to be from New Jersey, either!

Re:Not surprised (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192880)

it would really depend on 'which exit'.

(some will get this; and some will not.)

Re:Not surprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38193042)

i saw that movie, too!

(true non exclusive or false)

SSNs? (5, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192490)

Why can normal day to day employees even view plain text social security numbers? Wouldn't it make a lot more sense to hide that information like banks do with credit card numbers?

Also, I find it ironic that these two relatively low level criminals will get the book thrown at them, but when the DMV legally sells that information to marketing companies everyone is happy. I guess they don't sell SSNs but still, thin line.

Re:SSNs? (3, Interesting)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192522)

You would be suprised. At the local Community college, thats like a student ID number.

Re:SSNs? (3, Informative)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192662)

I've seen employers use it as the employee ID too. One place I worked at you had to type your SSN in to a physical console twice a shift (to punch in and out.)

Re:SSNs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192732)

Same, when I worked at Circuit City. Oddly enough at the time I thought it was helpful, as that how I finally got around to memorizing it...

Re:SSNs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192556)

What would make a lot more sense is for banks and credit agencies to stop using the SSN as a master password. That's not what it was ever designed for.

Re:SSNs? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192616)

What would make a lot more sense is for banks and credit agencies to stop using the SSN as a master password. That's not what it was ever designed for.

They "need" it to tell the IRS who made interest income so they can cross check automatically against tax returns. You'd need an alternative solution, such as possibly, stop charging income tax on interest.

Re:SSNs? (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192902)

such as possibly, stop charging income tax on interest

lol, if that's a "solution" it's to a completely different problem.

Re:SSNs? (1)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192904)

It's an identifier, not a password. Anyone expecting it to be secret or treating it as a password is wrong. SSNs should be public identifiers as they are in other nations, not some secret code.

Re:SSNs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192744)

We needed a universally unique personal identifier. Only the feds could actually create one, and the SSN is the only one they ever got political consensus to create.
The real problem is treating it as both identification and authentication.

Re:SSNs? (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192890)

We needed a universally unique personal identifier. Only the feds could actually create one, and the SSN is the only one they ever got political consensus to create.
The real problem is treating it as both identification and authentication.

Three ID's for Credit Reporting Agencies under the sky,
Seven ID's for Three Letter Agencies in their halls of stone,
Nine ID's for each system you log on to.

One ID for the DHS on it's dark throne,
In the Land called DC, where the shadows lie.

One ID to rule them, One ID to find them
One ID to normalize the database and in the darkness bind them.
In the land called DC where the shadows lie.

(Apologies to just about everyone)

Re:SSNs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192918)

What would make a lot more sense is for banks and credit agencies to stop using the SSN as a master password. That's not what it was ever designed for.

This is exactly right. At least according to The Federal Government [ssa.gov] .

Re:SSNs? (4, Insightful)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192578)

normal day to day employees can probably read them because we have become lax about where we use our SSN.
Want a phone? SSN
want a rental? SSN
want credit? SSN
talk to someone at support? SSN

Once upon a time these were supposed to be a Secret number that you only shared with the government and an employer.
Now it's how you prove your citizenship and credit worth.

Re:SSNs? (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192644)

None of those employees need to be able to read existing entries though. All they need is a field where the rep asks you for your SSN, they type it in and hit a button, and it matches it against the database. If for some reason it wasn't matching, and they needed to actually view the entry, they would request a manager to unlock the one record for them temporarily.

This would severely limit the amount of information they had access to.

Re:SSNs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192856)

Step 1: Receive call
Step 2: Type in SSN
Step 3: Ctrl-C to Notepad

Am I the only one that doesn't see the deterrent in your system? The only change that would exist would be you have to call/visit the DMV to get screwed.

Re:SSNs? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192924)

None of those employees need to be able to read existing entries though. All they need is a field where the rep asks you for your SSN, they type it in and hit a button, and it matches it against the database. If for some reason it wasn't matching, and they needed to actually view the entry, they would request a manager to unlock the one record for them temporarily.

This would severely limit the amount of information they had access to.

1) Please note what time it is.
2) Read your post again.
3) When you realize your folly, note the time again.
4) Please reply with the amount of time it took you to realize that if the employee KEYS IN the SSN YOU PROVIDE to match against, THEY KNOW the one you gave during account setup and the one you gave during the support call when they match. If they don't match, they know the one you gave during the support call and your solution is to UNLOCK THAT SINGLE ENTRY for them to view, so they know both anyway.

The proper thing to do is to NOT FUCKING STORE SSNs. But that would make selling the information and doing credit checks much more troublesome. So they don't give a shit. At lot of places at least let you set up a PIN number that you can use when talking to a customer support peon (as opposed to the last 4 of your social), at least.

Re:SSNs? (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192964)

Again, SEVERELY LIMITING. If an employee is writing down every SSN that comes in, it will be extremely easy to figure out which employee is the one stealing ID's. Not to mention it'll be pretty obvious to supervisors walking around the office when they see someone writing down the SSN's. Furthermore, the number of ID's they can steal in a given month is minuscule in comparison.

Re:SSNs? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192656)

Drivers licenses aren't national so they don't work well as identifying information and passports aren't common enough to work either.

The one piece of identifying document everyone has in the US is a social security number, until a national ID is standard the SS# will be used out of necessity.

Re:SSNs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192922)

Really, I don't get what the big deal is with this SSN thing. Where I live we have them too, but if you want a phone/rental/credit you MUST show an id and then sign for it. Also you'll need to make copies for them, it takes only one or two minutes more.
If the person with the id doesn't match the picture, then the bank is responsible, if the id is fake, again, they're responsible. That SSN is NOT a password.

This just seems like the effects of some idiot in charge cutting corners to "streamline" stuff.

Re:SSNs? (3, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192640)

Social Security Numbers were never really meant to be all that secret.

Every organization that decided to use them as a secret was stupid, and if they were intended to secure anything important, irresponsible/criminal.

SSNs, like biometrics, have all the right characteristics for account ids, and all the wrong characteristics for a password.

Re:SSNs? (2)

jmottram08 (1886654) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192766)

Lets be clear here, it was criminal to use them for anything other than social security for anyone, private or government.

Now it is illegal for any government agency to require you to give your SS#, apart from the social security office.

Re:SSNs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192866)

Now it is illegal for any government agency to require you to give your SS#, apart from the social security office.

It would be interesting to see the source for that claim.
If true, it's a huge Catch-22, since other laws make it illegal for many government agencies to provide services without a SSN.

Re:SSNs? (2)

DRBivens (148931) | more than 2 years ago | (#38193112)

Lets be clear here, it was criminal to use them for anything other than social security for anyone, private or government.

Now it is illegal for any government agency to require you to give your SS#, apart from the social security office.

{{Citation Needed}}

I don't believe you're correct. A person's SSN is also their TIN, so the IRS requires it. Also, HHS requires it for Medicare (and--I think but am not sure--Medicaid), FEMA requires it on disaster aid loan applications, and every employer is required to collect (and report) it for tax purposes, not just for FICA. Have you ever tried to open a back account without one?

I suspect there are others examples.

Re:SSNs? (1)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#38193104)

There is no incentive for the DMV to hide that information.

There is a lot of incentive for a bank to hide a credit card number...they are the ones ultimately liable for all the purchases.

And sold the identities to Nigerians? (1)

Squidlips (1206004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192496)

A few years back, some Nigerians openned their own credit agency and captured thousands of SSNs which they sold to other Nigerians for about $100 each.

You're Going To See More and More of This. (4, Insightful)

smpoole7 (1467717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192508)

It's not a government vs. private sector thing, either. The simple fact is, you will always be able to find some corruptible person who's will to sell (or "leak," if he/she is just trying to harm a rival) information.

I'm a geek and I loves me some technology, but still, I'm not blind to the dangers of giant databases filled with sensitive data And to be honest, I itch at the thought that anyone -- be it the federal government (with the Affordable Health Care Act) or private business (think of some large, national hospital group) has access to all of my medical records -- including prescriptions, diagnoses, and all the rest of it.

But I don't know what the answer is. Someone smarter than me will have to come up with that.

No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192682)

I don't know what the answer is. Someone smarter than me will have to come up with that.

There isn't a politician or bureaucrat alive who isn't smarter than you -- and with hundreds of ideas on how to make the business of government bigger and more lucrative.

Re:You're Going To See More and More of This. (3, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192692)

The answer is government run healthcare with a government run database. Then if your medical records leak out it is *only* a privacy violation, and cannot effect further access to employment or medical care.

The advantages of a functioning single database are enormous. Depending on where you live, you may have to carry all of your relevant records between specialists as you get sent through the system when something is wrong with you. Each of those steps risks you losing something important, and puts undue pressure on the doctor you are seeing to assess whatever you bring them right there in front of you, while you're waiting. Assuming everything you bring is in a format they can use, and if not, well then there's a lot of time spent faxing/phoning etc. back and forth. The risk that your privacy can be invaded is well outweighed by the fact that your allergy to some random medication, or obscure but potentially serious condition is going to show up in a record somewhere when you get into a car accident on holiday out of province/state.

I'm in canada, so the only people who particularly care about my medical records but wouldn't be granted access to them are, my 'spouse' my kids (which I don't have but you get the idea), and well, that's it. And it doesn't matter who runs the healthcare system, if there's something in there I'm trying to hide, it's equally likely they'll be told regardless of who runs the database. But in a system where that information matters to insurance companies and employers, well then you have a problem.

The DMV thing having SSN's is unfortunate, but I guess it makes sense. Criminal activity (which I guess would be tied to your SSN?) is going to impact your ability to interact with the DMV, and as a government agency they're authorized to collect that data. Unfortunately, there's not a lot you can do to secure information they have legal access to under normal circumstances, it doesn't matter if it's paper or electronic.

Re:You're Going To See More and More of This. (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192752)

The answer is government run healthcare with a government run database. Then if your medical records leak out it is *only* a privacy violation, and cannot effect further access to employment or medical care.

Well, we'll just chop off your nose, that way if you cut yourself shaving it's really no big deal.

Re:You're Going To See More and More of This. (1)

jpapon (1877296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192956)

Yes, because a privacy violation is "chopping of your nose", while not being able to access medical care is "cutting yourself shaving". I think you have your analogy backwards, buddy.

Re:You're Going To See More and More of This. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38193022)

what? how the heck does that fit into context? Or are you suggesting public is worse by default? In fact that if you are American then both our health care services are worse than the Canadian system by any normal measure of success. Your system is more expensive than theirs while also being worse than mine (which is also public but costs more than a third less per person than the Canadian system) feel cheated yet?

Re:You're Going To See More and More of This. (2)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 2 years ago | (#38193064)

I'm sorry you feel that way. To many of us around the world, the US War on Public Healthcare looks an awful lot like the US War on Drugs. The information is only valuable because of how it can be (mis)used. Give everyone equal access to what the private information grants a select few, and the problem goes away. Of course, there *are* other problems created, but not of the "chop off your nose" variety.

Re:You're Going To See More and More of This. (5, Insightful)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192768)

The solution that someone much smarter than me (Bruce Schneier) has repeatedly proposed is this: When doing something that involves sensitive data, you don't verify identity, you verify transactions. For instance, if you want to transfer money from your bank account, the question is not "Are you smpoole7?", it's "Does smpoole7 really want $150,000 to go to an account in Pakistan?". A smart bank will use alternate ways of contacting you (if they're really worried, they might even ask that you do this in person) to confirm that it is in fact your intent.

This has a lot of ancillary benefits that probably make it worth the expense. For instance, it helps catch errors by the actual owner of the account.

Re:You're Going To See More and More of This. (1)

smpoole7 (1467717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192896)

> you don't verify identity, you verify transactions.

I'll Google Schneier's proposal. I was thinking about something like that this morning, only for online transactions. I mean, it can't be all THAT deep, can it? I know it'll cost and it'll slow down the speed of transactions, but ... well, the way I look at it, 100 years ago, you either paid in person and/or signed a contract, or you didn't get what you wanted. I know we can't go back to that now, not unless we want to wreck e-commerce and online records in general.

But honestly ... why couldn't someone at least send me a quick email or text that says, "Joe Schmo wants to withdraw $500 from your bank account," or "Dr. Whazzup is looking at your medical records?"

We have the technology to do it.

Thanks for that. I'll take a look at Schneier's idea.

Re:You're Going To See More and More of This. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192826)

Odds are, punishment for the breach isn't stiff enough.

They're essentially 'breaching the public trust', which all things being equally, really damages perception for the entire system. Punishment should be massive fines and long-term probation. Jail just doesn't seem beneficial here, since jail isn't about rehabilitation. Is it!

Do this sorta enough, and to extremes, and people are going to take their ball and go home. When basic services in 'the system' can't even be trusted (and let's face it, you really can't trust banks, the market, or insurance companies anymore, can you?), full fledged social break down isn't far off.

Re:You're Going To See More and More of This. (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192944)

every now and then, I see pushes (by someone) to have me put health records online or to have exchanges with doctors be online.

I have to explain to them - out of force of habit - that as a computer professional, and one who has a tiny bit of experience in security, I can't recommend this. I'm not sure if they are being pushed (the doctors) to advise their clients to 'go online' but I have to point out that I don't recommend it. I take advice *from* the doctor about bodily matters; but I would like them to take some advice from *me* when the subject is my expertise. they know nothing about how vulnerable computers and networks are; and its foolish to encourage their patients to 'go online'. nothing good will come of this and lots of bad surely will. we all know this.

health and private matters should NOT be encouraged to 'go online'. we are not good enough (overall) in security and until we have perfected it, personal and private things should not be encouranged to be publically networked. its just too soon, it really is. we have done a lot with computers but we still can't seem to secure them well enough for this kind of matter. lets hold off 'moving forward', ok?

Re:You're Going To See More and More of This. (1)

Zironic (1112127) | more than 2 years ago | (#38193048)

What are you on about? We don't 'all know' that 'nothing good will come from this'.

There's massive HEALTH benefits in having better communication with and between your doctors, it's those benefits you have to weight against the potential privacy issues and for most people personal health will win over privacy risks any day of the week.

Re:You're Going To See More and More of This. (1)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#38193150)

Very true. It happens in all systems with similar ideas. The different here is that with the DMV, you don't have a choice. In a way it is like being forced into military service. You can disagree with the idea all you want, you would be forced into it. Hence the moral issue with government. It is giant trade-off between freedom and services.

Sigh (5, Insightful)

Aerorae (1941752) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192510)

I didn't realize that our identities were so worthless. Whether it is attributed to evil, or a lack of humanity on the part of the two employees, this represents a fundamental problem among people today: "Doesn't affect me, so I don't care."
I believe that will destroy us even faster than bank collapses or political corruption, in a sense because those maladies are results of the "I don't care" problem. "I can buy these horrible securities, if it goes bad, it doesn't affect me, so I don't care", "My constituents want this, sure it'll put 100,000 people out of work, but it doesn't affect me, so I don't care", "Hell I'll sell peoples identities, sure they'll be plagued by this for a matter of decades to come, but it doesn't affect me, so I don't care."
People need to care about things that don't affect them or else this world is very very doomed.

Re:Sigh (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192848)

Welcome to the repercussions of the "Me" generation. It all started with shifting focus from the outside and how to fit into society and live with others to the inside. People don't know how to empathize with others any more. If it feels good to them, do it. Thanks hippies.

Social security numbers? (3, Insightful)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192532)

How does providing a SSN verify that the DL requester is who they say they are?

Re:Social security numbers? (2)

JJJJust (908929) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192600)

It doesn't directly.

But, through SSOLV (Social Security Online Verification), DMVs match name and date of birth in SS record to name and date of birth on driver license/ID. If they don't match, no license is issued until the social security or license record is updated.

Re:Social security numbers? (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192756)

How does providing a SSN verify that the DL requester is who they say they are?

My father did occasional DB consulting work for a collections agency in the 90s, so this is at best hearsay, non the less:

Places that accept personal checks, like to take either the DL number directly or a pointer to the DL such as a grocery store loyalty card.
The DL number points to a theoretically valid SS number.

So, if a guy bounces a check, standard procedure if he completely fell off the face of the earth, with the assistance of the judge, was to ask the bank for money from other accounts owned by the same SS number (presumably the guys savings acct or a CD), garnish the wages based on SS number, etc. Traditionally this was the step where they discovered identity theft (WTF you mean, I live in WI but I bought a used truck in AZ with a personal check that bounced etc etc).

I guess, depending on the state, its possible for a judge to put a hold on a drivers license renewal if a rubber stamped court judgment isn't paid. Also if criminal charges are filed, it can follow the DL number.

$200 is not cheap (3, Interesting)

argmanah (616458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192608)

If you work in computer security and have dealt with the black market for stolen identities, you'll find out that $200 an identity is really pricey. It's a little scary, but the market rate for this kind of information is more like $5 a pop.

Re:$200 is not cheap (1)

Synerg1y (2169962) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192688)

$200 is what the DA says to make the defendant look like an undeniable monster, they do it ALL the time, it's called dramatization. Less people would care if all they were making was $5 a pop, but to sell an identity and get rich off it, whether they did or not, is how the DA is looking to pitch it.

P.S. I agree, $200 is way way over priced, these things come in lists of hundreds and thousands. I guess there is some data integrity guarantee, but not in that big of a price gap.

Re:$200 is not cheap (1)

jmottram08 (1886654) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192720)

But you get to choose who you want it on. 5$ for some random identity from a shady seller that may or may not be real or be abused already vs having a specific persons identity on request from your state.

This is a specific target kinda thing, not a dragnet of identity thieves.

Re:$200 is not cheap (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192794)

And, what's worse, it means that the real identity thieves rarely get caught. Someone can use their place of employment to steal personal information and quietly sell it on the black mark for $5 a pop. They can even sell the same identity more than once. Those buyers, then, turn around and commit the fraud that is usually associated with ID theft. (Buying electronics under another person's name, opening and maxing out new credit cards, buying homes, committing crimes and giving another person's name/DOB/SSN when arrested, etc.) The buyer might be caught, but the seller can slip through to steal and sell more identities.

Corruption in New Jersey?! Never. (0, Flamebait)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192636)

New Jersey isn't know for corruption, what is next the quaint little city of Chicago?

At Least We Know Who They Are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192736)

I won't post them here, but their names, ages, and the street and city of their home addresses are printed here (http://www.trentonian.com/articles/2011/11/22/news/doc4ecc4666f2fd8820324874.txt?viewmode=default) along with ready made drivers license quality photos!

Ironic, no?

I'm guessing they won't have the greatest credit scores though.

downside to buying IDs from DMV (4, Funny)

corbettw (214229) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192740)

You have to stand in line for hours just waiting to get the CD with the data on it. And don't get me started on all the forms you have to fill out!

time to make an example... (2, Interesting)

drew_92123 (213321) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192780)

And give these greedy assholes a decade or two in prison with no chance of parole.

I'm really not worried... (2)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192852)

I'm really not worried; at the speed the DMV moves, we'll have already lost to China in WWIII and have a Chinese ID card (and number) long before they manage to actually sell my American SSN.

NJ MVC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192936)

NJ Motor Vehicle Commission is the MVC and not DMV because it was privatized several years ago.

Most normal/typical requests at a NJ MVC office can be handled in less than 15 minutes since they were privatized. I'm sure identities are being stolen at DMV's all over the US.

I hate going to any government-run bureaucracy for some needed service, but I have to admit that the NJ MVC experience is light years better than the stereotype.

Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38192950)

Why are NJ prosecutors investigating state employees? From where did NJ law enforcement acquire the ambition to file charges on these people? The answer to this question is left as a exercise to the reader. Hint: it comes from the top, as it always must.

Meanwhile; here are some photos [southjerseylocalnews.com] of these lovely people.

This is just the way it's done. (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38192992)

Why trouble yourself making fake licenses when you can get a real one!
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