23.57.30 - Mark

I normally do a good job of ignoring TV ads, but the one for lifelock where the CEO goes around some city with his claimed social security number painted on the side of a truck piqued my interest, and I started wondering if it was real or just a good looking fake. The structure falls in to the Social Security Administrations documented structure, but I'm too lazy to try registering for the Social Security Number Verification Service so that's by no means definitive. A little light googling suggests that the guy is real and because he's stupid enough to advertise his social it gets used fraudulently, but then again over 40,000 people have claimed 078-05-1120 as their SSN since 1938 (it was a valid SSN until it was used in advertising). I wonder if Lifelock and 457-55-5462 is the new "Woolworth number"

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Refuse to be Terrorised

23.41.39 - Mark

I was about to post Bruce Schneier's "Refuse to be Terrorized" essay on my Intersting Links Page, but I think it deserves a little more comment that I like to place with links. Despite what you maybe hearing from the Government or Media the Terrorists have won - our country is living in fear. Maybe not all of us, but enough of us that we regularly see articles about "hoax devices" in Boston, or the random racist woman who keep flights grounded for 10 hours while some non-white guy(s) get questioned by Homeland Security.

We now put up with invasive security checks at airports while some other screener is taking away all but 6oz of liquid, since someone decided Hydrogen Dioxide can be used to blow up airplanes.

Its insane with no end in sight. We as a nation need to move past 9/11 (we didn't use the Oklahoma City bombing as a righteous cause, we don't bring it up to win arguments like we do with 9/11), past our invasion of the middle, and strive towards building a country were we acknowledge legitimate security issues and address them rationally. We need to start living in the real world, and not in some fantasy land where a guy with a gun and a cell phone can foil any terrorist plot (or three) you can throw at him while dealing with personal issues all in 24 hours

Just stop being afraid.

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Boom Boom

13.19.25 - Mark

The unofficial Mount Airy Bomb Threat Count is up to 6 threats in ~10-12 weeks (depends on how you want to count the winter break).

2 at the High School
3 at the Middle School
1 at the Upper Elementary

While I've heard that people in the district administration like the idea of a distributed evacuation, they haven't built it into their existing plans. From what I've heard, all of the evacuations have been handled in the same way with the schools following existing procedure. I think it's good that they're attempting to follow a set protocol, each and every event despite how inane it must be getting, but if you feel the same way I do about large group evacuations, it is very, very disturbing.

If you have people willing to call in bomb threats, how long before people stop being vigilant and/or someone builds up the courage to do the real thing?

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That's $5.50 and your SSN please.

15.08.44 - Mark

I'm not a major privacy nut, if I was I'd off trying to be an ungoogleable rather than write on a blog at a vanity domain, but I tend to take the same approach to identity issues that I do with security. I try to be aware of it, and while I won't go out of my way to practice it to an extreme, I know better than to haphazardly blow it off, and I try to follow sane practices, and will even change some of my habits to be a bit above average.

That's why I'm really pissed off about the way my school is throwing around Social Security Numbers. It's bad enough that the school uses the only 4 really unique digits in the SSN in student passwords. But when I can walk into an office and be told to sign my full name and SSN to get a folder full of information it takes the step from scary to outright dangerous. If I was evil, I could have very easily taken a picture of the log, and walked out of that office with 30+ names and SSNs resting in my pocket, almost all of them belonging to people with clean credit reports.

Maybe I should have, maybe then they'd have to change their policy about acceptable use of student SSNs.

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