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Monday, December 11, 2023
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We’ve Got Your Number Soldier

The Department of DefenseToday I received one of those letters the government is sending out telling vets that their personal information may be at risk. I was somewhat surprised as the U.S. military and I permanently parted company back in 1972. Evidently one federal employee is capable of carrying around information dating back as much as 35 years ago on (according to the letter) “up to 26.5 million veterans and some spouses”. This includes DOB (date of birth) and SSN (Social Security Number) — which can enable an identity thief to hijack your identity and wreak havoc with your financial life.

I am understandably upset by this information, but don’t think that just because you aren’t a vet that you are safe. We now know that the federal government, specifically the National Security Agency (NSA) is probably eavesdropping on every call you make. I heard today that a special Pentagon program is busily data mining the MySpace web site, sucking up every bit of data it can on the kids who frequent the site. Not only that, but they are using sophisticated programs that seek to make connections from the data they mine on that site to data found on other sites as well. Evidently our government is REAL interested in what the kids are doing. And if they’ve got your kids, you can bet they can get you too.

Now the feds would have you believe that they would never, never, never, never misuse the information they collect on you. They have safeguards on safeguards to insure that it never happens. They have severe penalties for those who do misuse the info. OK. But suppose you piss off one of those fine federal employees who safeguard your data? Suppose they have a grudge against you, what then? Or better yet, suppose some data entry clerk miskeys something and all of a sudden you become a member of an Al Quaeda sleeper cell? Or, they could just take some work home and have their laptop stolen.

Now, tell me again why I should trust the government with my personal data?

Tom Paine
Tom Paine
Systems Administrator for ASP for hospitals/med surg facilities. Politics mostly socialist/populist. Anti-corporate, pro working class. Student of history who fervently believes that "those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it".


  1. I got my letter today also. It’s scary that they let people take material like that out of the building much less access it from a unsecured terminal. Data of that nature should only be available from a secured terminal with restricted, need to know access.

    Any time you allow someone to hook devices to a secure network you place the security of that network into question.

    A recent security test at a bank involved USB key chain drives left in the banks parking lot. The USB device contained several photographs and a hidden Trojan horse which monitored the banksĀ internal network and sent data from it out of the banks network to the security consultants remote site. It could have just as easily happened at a military base, at the VA, FBI, or Secret Service.

    If you let employees load data on a laptop and then carry it home you no longer have any reasonable controls on that data except for whatever trust you have in that individual, not everyone is truely as honest as we like to believe that they are.

    Too many times data has been disclosed by inside individuals who take private or confidential data and then sell it to spammers, identify theft information brokers, and others.

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