After the Equifax Breach, it’s Time America Replaces the Social Security Number

Everyone’s got a Social Security number. In fact, if you were born after 1991, you’ve had one from the moment you were born. Everyone has one, and they’re practically an ID number. Nothing else is nearly as universal; not everyone has a driver’s license, a school ID, or any other type of government-issued identification. The social security number is as close as America has to a national ID card.

But the Social Security number was never supposed to be that way. It’s just a number; the card itself doesn’t have a picture, any built-in security., or anything other than that 9-digit code and your name. And that number isn’t special; in fact, you could probably make a chart to create other Social Security numbers just by knowing what the numbers mean. They aren’t random. The Social Security number is split up into three parts, like this:

XXX-XX-XXXX

The first part is a geographic area; it’s a location number, based on where you were born. The second part is a pair that indicates the year you were born, and ticks up every year. The last part just ticks up by one for every person who has the same first one parts. So basically, you could Google all of this information and figure out the Social Security number of a person based on their location and year of birth—with social media, that information is not hard to come by. Or, you could just add one to the last section of your Social Security number and you’ve got another valid social security number. In fact, that number would be pretty much a descriptor of you, so you could pass that off as your own.

Other card numbers have built-in security: have certain digits add up to other digits so that a card is harder to fake, or patterns of prime and non-prime numbers that mean you can’t obviously fake a number. That’s not true of the Social Security number, and the Social Security number might just be the most important number to any American.

But that’s not the worst of it. The scariest part is that your Social Security number might already be out there. Anyone who followed the Equifax breach this summer would know that some 143 million American people had their Social Security numbers released. This is potentially devastating for any and all Americans: if an identity thief wanted to take your identity, they’ve now got a plethora of ways to obtain your Social Security number.

It’s time for America to move on from the Social Security number. It was never supposed to be an ID number (older Social Security cards used to print “do not use for identification” right on them!), and it’s way too easy to fake, break, or simply make it up. We need a more secure way to verify who we are, and we need one fast—we can never tell if another breach is coming, but once it comes, lives will be ruined.

 

Read up on Social Security’s history, the Equifax breach, and why the Social Security number is not an ID number here:

The Story of the Social Security Number

Social Security Cards Explained

The Equifax Data Breach: What to Do

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THAT MASSIVE EQUIFAX BREACH

THE EQUIFAX BREACH EXPOSES AMERICA’S IDENTITY CRISIS

REPLACING SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS WON’T BE EASY, BUT IT’S WORTH IT

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Facebook is a Key Factor in Helping Stay-at-Home Moms Make Money

LuLaRoe is a clothing company that is giving the ability to stay-at-home moms to make money through online sales. The company, founded in 2012, sells comfortable, practical and affordable clothes mainly for women, but children and men too. LuLaRoe is similar to companies like Mary Kay or 31 Gifts where people can become consultants and sell product. The company is not cheap to start up a shop, with starter consultant packages priced around $6,000. 


When someone becomes a consultant, they typically start up a Facebook page almost immediately. Many women are effectively utilizing Facebook to sell their product and connect with people throughout the country. Through the Facebook pages people host LuLaRoe parties, live streams and other events where the inventory is sold. A vast majority of the products are sold online through these Facebook groups. 


LuLaRoe groups have become vastly popular over the past few years, and the groups are becoming increasingly popular. Some Facebook groups have upwards of 50,000 members from all over the country while others have only a few hundred. Inside the Facebook groups are where photos of inventory are posted for potential buyers to browse through. 


People have had different perspectives about if LuLaRoe is actually helping people gain income or just putting them into a financial hole. With the large startup fee, LuLaRoe claims that consultants make an average of anywhere from a $2,250-$3,000 profit off their startup boxes. LuLaRoe also offers perks to its consultants including opportunities for bonuses and they match gifts that their consultants make. 


Learn more about becoming a LuLaRoe consultant on the LuLaRoe website

A messed up Google Home Mini recorded a tech reporter 24/7

The Google Home Mini was given to a number of tech reviewers for them to try out. The Home mini seemed to be working fairly well with no indications of malfunction. Although the reviewers soon caught on to the Home Mini due to the constant blinking lights that indicate it is recording. The devices had been persistently recording background audio for days, and they had never been activated by a hot word.

In today’s society the Google Home Mini and devices alike, have been around for a little while. The idea of having one in your bedroom or living room is not as creepy as it once was. Although maybe this malfunction with the new Google Mini will have people second guessing themselves.

Google handled the incident with expertise. Immediately Google sent someone to physically retrieve the device indicating they were aware of the malfunction. They also released a statement explaining this malfunction only happened with the pre-release units giving to reviewers.

I do not see the need for a Google Mini in my home personally. The idea of having something that could malfunction and capture all the audio in my house is also still too creepy for me.

A messed up Google Home Mini recorded a tech reporter 24/7

Trump Continues to Attack the Media

This week, there has been heightened tension between Donald Trump and the media. In a series of interviews and tweets, Trump has attacked journalists and different media outlets. Since taking office, he has made many comments regarding “fake news”, and has complained about many news outlets reporting false stories about him and the White House. In an Oval Office conference with Canadian Prime Minister yesterday, Trump continued to blast the media. Trump spoke about nuclear weapons in the conference,  and later claimed that NBC reported fake news about increasing the United States’ nuclear arsenal.

Trump stated in the conference, “It’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write and people should want to look into it.” A series of tweets followed, where he continued his attack on NBC and the media, threatening to revoke NBC’s license.

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As we know, Trump frequently uses Twitter to speak to the public. However, this often backfires and causes much debate on the platform. Many journalists and news broadcasters have responded to the situation, including the FCC chairman and a number of commissioners.

It is important to remember our First Amendment rights in this situation. Freedom of the press is an essential element of our democracy, and Trump is threatening to take it away from us. It certainly seems this would be a step backwards for journalism. As this plays out, it will be interesting to see how the media continues to respond.

Apple’s newest smartphone, the iPhone 8, is a bust

The bad news continues for Apple’s newest iPhone! Reports from iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus users suggest possible battery issues with the new product. Users have identified that the battery inside the iPhone 8 is swelling which is causing the internal parts of the smartphone to be exposed from splitting open.

Unfortunately for Apple, a handful of reports have already emerged from five different countries of the iPhone 8 splitting open. It is too soon to tell if there are other defects with the iPhone 8, but as of right now, the device is only experiencing swelling of the batteries. Luckily for Apple, the iPhone 8 has not caught on fire, unlike Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7.

Apple decided not to release the sales of the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus from the first weekend. According to some analysts, many consumers are waiting until the iPhone X is released until they upgrade their phone. Consumers will be able to pre-order the iPhone X starting on October 27 and the devices are expected to ship on November 3.

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As a loyal Apple Inc. customer, the news of the iPhone 8 is very concerning! Recently, I’ve thought about upgrading to the iPhone 8, but after hearing this news I am feeling hesitant. As a college student, I am constantly using my phone to send emails, tweet, and make phone calls. It is crucial that I have a phone that is reliable and not a safety hazard. Hopefully things will begin looking up for Apple with the release of the iPhone X!

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VR is Becoming More Accessible than Ever Before

Facebook is looking to bring VR to a billion people world wide in the coming years. Their plan to do this begins with a new product called Oculus Go. Oculus Go is an improved version of the Oculus Rift.

One of the difficulties VR has faced since becoming available more readily is that people are somewhat overwhelmed by it. They think is more confusing than it actually is so they do not even give it a shot. The Oculus Go will be available in 2018 as a stand alone headset. This means once you have the headset you do not need anything else. Another reason people tend to disavow from using VR is because they believe the costs are too expensive. To combat this belief, Oculus Go will be listed for $199. While it is still not cheap, this price point is much more in range for the average consumer. For comparison, the Oculus Rift is still being sold for $399.  There is also a stereotype around VR that it is an anti-social activity. However, Mark Zuckerberg made the point that VR is just the opposite of anti-social because you are opening a vast number of experiences to people that normally would not have the chance. Which he says is, “freeing”.

In addition to this product’s uses recreationally, Facebook is also looking to bring Oculus into the business world.

The End of an Era: AOL Messaging

After cringing at our embarrassing AOL usernames for over two decades, it is the end of an era as AOL announces the end of their instant messaging app, according to a TechCrunch article. As of December 15th, our once cherished buddy lists, well thought-out away messages, and creative usernames will be lost in cyberspace. After the rise of Facebook, text messaging, and WhatsApp, AOL was struggling to attract activity when competing with apps designed to accommodate mobile use. To announce the death of the app, AOL sent out a heartfelt email to users which included nostalgic memories associated to unique features within the app.

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https://techcrunch.com/2017/10/06/aol-instant-messenger-shut-down/

Former AOL employee reflects on memories most all AOL users can relate to. These memories including AOL messaging as a means to build our earliest forms of friendships and even silly, prepubescent romantic relationships. From the beginning, AOL creators were convinced that technology would totally alter the way people interact. These creators certainly were not wrong. Today most people would rather send a text rather than communicate face to face with another person.  Despite small negatives, AOL paved the way for future means of technological communication throughout the world. AOL may have been absent in most of our lives for nearly a decade now but the sound of a door slamming will always remind me of logging out of my AOL messenger.