Social Security numbers have been used for identification for as long as most people can remember. But now, some people believe the system has outlived its usefulness and that the Social Security number system as a means of identification has become obsolete.
A recent massive data breach of Equifax has prompted the Trump administration to explore ways of replacing the use of Social Security numbers as the main method of assuring people’s identities.
In addition, federal departments and agencies have been tasked to investigate vulnerabilities of the identifying system which is also tied to retirement benefits. Government agencies have also been asked to find ways of replacing the system.
The Social Security number system as we know it today has been in use since 1936, and nearly 454 million different numbers have been used. With numbers like those, and with it being such an ingrained system, finding a replacement will be difficult and will take time to deploy. The system was originally intended as a means of tracking U.S. workers’ earnings to determine their Social Security benefits, but before long it was used as a general identifier for virtually every American.
Many government officials believe that the Social Security number has outlived its usefulness as a means of identification. Much of the criticism of the system comes from cyber security specialists who believe that the system as it is today is highly vulnerable to cybercrime.
Social Security numbers have become a major part of peoples’ identities, so it has become valuable target for cyber criminals who see much to gain by stealing it.
Today we live in a world where personal identification can be accomplished using various means. Social Security numbers were more useful in a day when we didn’t have a better way to identify and keep track of millions. It will be interesting to see what method for identification will replace the Social Security number, and how secure it will really be?