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New Jersey DMV Employees Caught Selling Identities 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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New Jersey DMV Employees Caught Selling Identities

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  • Re:SSNs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Moheeheeko ( 1682914 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @01:53PM (#38192522)
    You would be suprised. At the local Community college, thats like a student ID number.
  • $200 is not cheap (Score:4, Interesting)

    by argmanah ( 616458 ) <argmanah@y a h> on Monday November 28, 2011 @01:59PM (#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.
  • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @02:06PM (#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.

  • by drew_92123 ( 213321 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @02:15PM (#38192780)

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

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @03:57PM (#38193926) Homepage

    Yeah, this is thought to be funny, but in reality, the SSN should be used only for Social Security purposes. Instead it is a national serial number which was everyone's concern when the program was set up.

    Texas does not use the SSN for the driver's license... not yet anyway... not the last time I got it renewed. I hate to see when other states disregard this and abuse its citizens for a bit of convenience like this. And of course, the SSN is a widely abused thing and the more abused it is, the more damage abusers can case innocents. It's annoying.

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Monday November 28, 2011 @06:56PM (#38195914) Homepage

    Here's Schneier's essay [] describing this approach much better than I did.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.