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The State's Taking the "Security" Out of Social Security Numbers

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Here's a lead that makes you want to keep on reading:

Troy Aikman may not be happy about it, but the State of Texas has made his address and social security number available via the Internet.

It comes from this story published today, which says that a fraud-prevention expert has discovered that the Texas Secretary of State's SOSDirect Web site is chock full o' sensitive info most of us would like to keep private. Seems, however, that you can access some folks' Social Security numbers when you call up such items as "tax liens and loan agreement notifications filed with the state." And all it costs you is the low, low starting price of five bucks per document. If that.

Steven Peisner, who discovered the breach, says he accessed the info with a fake name and without following the site's credit-card etiquette. Notes the piece:

Peisner said he spoke with staffers at the Texas Secretary of State's office of his concerns last week, but to no avail. "You would think if somebody called up and said that this Web site has a hole so big that you could drive the Spruce Goose through it, that they would take it down."

The state's going to redact sensitive info, according to a Secretary of State spokesperson. But if you find your most intimate details on the site, do feel free to give the state a ring. They say they'll remove the info post-haste, no doubt without the requisite, "Dude, we are so sorry." --Robert Wilonsky

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