Heavy Lifting - thoughts and web finds by an economist
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Friday, July 10, 2009
On how to predict SSN from birth date and birth place information. The real irony is that the US government implemented a program requiring newborn babies to apply for a social security number with the birth certificate. This was intended to reduce fraud in assigning social security numbers. Unfortunately, all the babies born, say, in Concord, North Carolina, on a given Tuesday will have very similar social security numbers. Using publicly available data on social security numbers on those who have died, it turns out that with a basic two-variable regression model the 9 digit SSN can be obtained in less than 1000 guesses, often in less than 100 guesses.
Not so good.
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