1996-01-10 - SSN collection prank

Header Data

From: “Vladimir Z. Nuri” <vznuri@netcom.com>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: 6fc3697bf6aa3164a65fb0f065bb1ff1d59610610ce67493c7f85d5732ff01a3
Message ID: <199601091945.LAA18379@netcom17.netcom.com>
Reply To: N/A
UTC Datetime: 1996-01-10 15:22:42 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 23:22:42 +0800

Raw message

From: "Vladimir Z. Nuri" <vznuri@netcom.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 1996 23:22:42 +0800
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: SSN collection prank
Message-ID: <199601091945.LAA18379@netcom17.netcom.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

I haven't seen this here. somewhat amusing.

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Date: Sun, 7 Jan 1996 19:49:14 -0500 (EST)
From: Brad Dolan <bdolan@use.usit.net>
To: snet-l@world.std.com
Subject: (fwd) Private SSN Collection Project <cool!> (fwd)

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Date: Sun, 31 Dec 1995 00:01:48 -0800
From: Clint Danbury <danbury@shell.wco.com>

Thank you for your response.

Please send Full names and Social Security Numbers of anyone you know,
including government officers and/or employees, to: 

Clint Danbury, 
Box 750037, 
Petaluma, CA 94975-0037

email: danbury@ssnShirt.com

Questions And Answers On The Nationwide SSN Collection Project.

- - -1-	Why are you collecting SSNs ?

Answer: For fun and amusement.  

- - -2-	What do you plan to do with them ?

Answer: Put them on sweatshirts and sell them through specialty
clothing retailers.  It has been suggested also that I post them on
large billboards along the Mexican border, but I don't have enough
capital to pull of such a stunt at this time.

- - -3-     How long do you intend to continue this ?

Answer:   Until it becomes illegal.  The moment any legitimate
government authority informs me of the specific laws which (A) Forbid
the collection, recording, and distribution of SSNs by private parties,
and (B) Provide legal recourse for the individual citizen against
private parties which do so, I will stop.

- - -4-     What if the government finds out what you're doing ?

Answer:    First off, the government knows very well what I'm doing.
I've been "reported" multiple times to the SSA and the Secret Service.
Secondly, the government can find me quite easily (I'm in the phone
book).  Third, I will cooperate completely with any legitimate
government authority.

- - -5-     Here's my ex-spouse's SSN; will you make him/her miserable for
	me ?

Answer:   Hell No ! If you want me to engage in illegal activity for
you, then go somewhere else !

- - -6-     Isn't what you are doing illegal ?

Answer:   Not according to the SSA.  They have declared the private use
of the SSN unrestricted.  (More on this in a few questions)

- - -7-     If My name/SSN were in your database, would you tell me ?

Answer: In order for me to confirm this, you must first tell me what
your full name and SSN is, then I will tell you if you were already in
there.  If this sounds like two-faced hypocrisy, great!  I got the idea
from CBI-Equifax; that's their very own policy.  If you don't tell them
what your SSN is, they won't tell you what they've got on you.
Therefore, I have decided to do the exact same thing.  (If you don't
believe it, then why don't you call them and ask for yourself?)

- - -8-     What if someone did the same thing to you ? How would YOU feel

Answer:  This already has  happened to me.  I told the SSA office about
it, repeatedly, and they would take no action.  (The story appears in
the next answer.)

- - -9-     How did this all start ?

Answer:    In 1985, a co-worker learned that I object to the
"Uni-Number" concept of identifying a single person across multiple
databases.  I was (and still am) specifically concerned about the use
of the SSN for Non-Tax identification.  The company placed our SSNs on
our name tags, which, thankfully, we did not have to wear constantly,
although we would occasionally have to display it for a guard during
certain times.

This co-worker went poking through my briefcase while I was out of my
office, copied down my SSN, and then, for his own fun and amusement
(I'm guessing at his motives, I don't know his true reasons) displayed
it for me, and would not tell me where he got it.  Seeing that this
angered me, he then went to other co-workers, who joined him in making
my SSN even more public.  They then went to the personnel files, (which
the company made no attempt to keep locked) and double-checked the
number with my job application.  After that, they memorized it, and,
(again, I'm guessing here) for their own amusement, they would recite
it in unison around the lunch table.  (I know this sounds impossible,
but it really did happen.)

After that job ended (not very happily, surprise) I let myself cool off
for a few months, and then moved to another city.  During my time in
that other city, I contacted the SSA office there, seeking another
SSN.  I made dozens of phone calls and wrote letter after letter, all
to no avail.  My letters got shorter and to-the-point, not long drawn
out things.  It took only 30 seconds to read them.  This continued for
several months.

The result was always the same: words without action, and no
replacement SSN.

The company in that city went down the tube, and I had to move again.
I wrote and called off-and-on over the next few years, and got the same
treatment; empty words, stall-him-off, and they would make no statement
one way or the other.

In September of 1993 (perhaps an earlier date, I'm not sure) the SSA
finally came out and gave their official written approval for
unrestricted use of the SSN by private individuals and private
organizations for any purpose, including fun and amusement.  The
pamphlet is entitled "Your Social Security Number", is SSA Publication
05-10002, and dated September/1993.  You can get a copy by calling them
at 1-800-772-1213.

On page 9 of that pamphlet, they have finally removed all restrictions
on the private use of the SSN and they've put it in writing...

"Because there is no law concerning the use  of a person's Social
Security number by a  private individual or organization, Social
Security has no control over such use."

So, if those are the rules they've made, fine.  Those are the rules by
which I'll act.  The collection and distribution of other people's SSNs
is (as you've just read) a legally unrestricted activity and that's
exactly what I'm doing.

- - -10-    Where do you get the SSNs ?

Answer: "...there is no law..." so, just like CBI, TRW, TU, et.al., I
don't have to tell you where I got yours.  Ask CBI where they got your
SSN; they won't tell you, and neither will I.

- - -11-    How do you check for accuracy ?

This question bothered me a lot at first, however, it has become
astoundingly simple to check whether a number is accurate or not.  So,
just exactly how do I do this ?   CBI doesn't have to tell, and neither
do I.  "...there is no law..."

- - -12-    How can I get a copy of your list ?

Answer: Unfortunately, I have found the drones to outnumber the
worker-bees by a factor of about 10-to-1.  This is not the
soup-kitchen, it's a group project.  If you want SSNs from me, then I
want SSNs from you.  In the past, I offered a 1-for-1 exchange.  I will
no longer make that public offer.  What is offered is this: If you will
send me full names and SSNs of prominently elected officials,
media-babes, et.al., then I will (to the extent my database allows)
send you back full names and SSNs of other prominent politicians and
media babes, 1-for-1 if I can.  Of course, full names and SSNs of any
individual or group are still welcome, they just don't qualify for the
1-for-1 offer.

				Copyright, 1995 by Clint Danbury

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