State to Fight Identity Theft By Making All Personal Info Public
By Fred Furnace
Published February 21st, 2016
ALBANY – Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced his new initiative Sunday to battle identity theft, and privacy advocates don't like it one bit.
The plan: preemptively publish the most sensitive personal information of all state residents, including name, address, date of birth, Social Security numbers, credit and debit card numbers, bank account numbers, tax return records, cell phone numbers, email addresses, and all known usernames, passwords, and pin numbers.
The plan also calls for publishing answers to the most common security questions, such as mother’s maiden name, name of first pet, street on which you grew up, high school mascot, where you met your spouse, and favorite vacation destination.
"These cyber terrorists are relentless," Cuomo explained. "No matter how hard we try to protect private information, they always find it.”
Cuomo says he has therefore “given up on privacy,” and has "now moved on to Plan B.”
"Criminals don't bother stealing information that is already public," Cuomo explained. “If we make all our private information public, there will be nothing left for these bastards to steal. We will take their legs out from under them.”
Security experts say the plan – while technically removing the incentive for criminals to steal private information – will do nothing to stop identity theft. In fact, they said, it will make things much, much worse.
"I can’t believe I need to explain why this is such a stupid idea,” said one cyber security expert interviewed by The Smudge. "He wants to wrap your personal information with a pretty bow and hand-deliver it to criminals like it’s Christmas. It's just nuts."
A spokeswoman at the ACLU said her organization plans to challenge the plan in court, calling it "unconstitutional,” “ridiculous," “an affront to our most basic privacy rights,” and "the very opposite of a good plan."
But Cuomo remains undeterred.
"I don't agree with the naysayers," he said. "Once this information is public, there will be no incentive to steal it. There you go: Problem solved."