Via CNET, Michael Tiemann writes, “It is well known that Apple is a very secretive company. This does not necessarily mean that they handle personal data more responsibly than a very transparent company, it just means that it’s very difficult for an average person like me to discover the truth about what they are doing and what they are hiding. But AT&T? They are defendants in a class-action lawsuit after a federal judge denied AT&T’s motions to have the case dismissed. The case alleges that AT&T gave the NSA “unchecked backdoor access to its communications network and its record databases”, violating the law and the privacy of its customers. Whatever the court may find, the AT&T case clearly demonstrates why it is proufoundly bad judgment to give a telephone company (or most any other company) sensitive personal identifying information such as one’s SSN. Period.

Before writing me off as a privacy kook, consider this testimony from 1992 by the group Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) before the Special Joint Subcommittee Studying State and Commercial Use of Social Security Numbers for Transactional Identification. According to their testimony, ‘[until] 1972, each card issued was emblazoned with the phrase ‘Not to be used for ID purposes”. They cited a report by the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare that recommended, in unqualified terms, that the SSN not be used as an identifier (bold text in the original document):

We recommend against the adoption of any nationwide standard personal, identification format, with or without the SSN, that would enhance the likelihood of arbitrary or uncontrolled linkage of records about people, particularly between government or government-supported automated personal data systems

Read the entire article, Before you activate your iPhone, Read this!


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