O'Reilly logo

Database Nation by Simson Garfinkel

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Looking Forward By Looking back

Looking back from thirty years later, there are a lot of lessons to learn from the failed federal National Data Center proposal and the nationwide system of databanks, access terminals, and computer networks that private industry built in the resulting vacuum.

Perhaps the most important lesson is that decisions made early on have far-reaching effects. Designed in 1932, the Social Security number has had its role in society constantly expanded over the last two-thirds of this century. No matter how you look at it, the SSN is a bad number. But our country has been unable to stop using it. Witness the huge number of uses that the number has today.[20]

Year

Authorized Uses of Social Security Numbers

1943

Federal agencies use SSN exclusively for employees.

1961

Civil Service Commission uses SSN as an employee identifier.

1962

Internal Revenue Service uses SSN as taxpayer identification.

1967

Department of Defense uses SSN as an Armed Forces identifier.

1972

U.S. begins issuing SSNs to legally admitted aliens at U.S. entry and to anyone receiving or applying for federal benefits.

1975

AFDC (Aid for Families with Dependent Children) uses SSN for

1976

States use SSN for tax and general public assistance identification and for driver's licenses.

1977

Food stamp program uses SSN for household member eligibility.

1981

School lunch program uses SSN for adult household member eligibility.

1981

Selective Service System uses SSN for draft registrants. ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required