Identity Management: From Cradle to Grave
Last week, CSID participated in the 3rd annual UT Center for Identity ID360 conference. The conference brought together some of the best and brightest minds in identity management to talk about problems, trends, and solutions related to protecting and securing PII.
A number of topics were discussed during this year’s conference but there were a few key themes that resonated through many of the presentations and panels.
There is no such thing as a free lunch, and there is no such thing as a free social media site.
This is one that we have been discussing lately at CSID. If you think you are getting social sites like Facebook and LinkedIn for free, you are not. If you click “like” on Facebook to get a coupon or enter a contest with a business – that exchange is not free. When post your job experience on LinkedIn, check in to an establishment on Four Square, or post a review on Yelp – all of these are costing you. You get to use social media sites in exchange for your personal information, including name, history, interests, etc. – and this personal information has value. Most social sites use this data to sell targeted advertising, but that may not always be the case. A complete identity profile for an individual can be sold for as much as $8,000 on the identity black market. Always remember that your personal data, no matter how innocuous you feel it is, has value, and be wary of what you share online.
Vital documents need a facelift.
One of the most engaging panels of the conference was on “The ‘State’ of Identity Records: Who owns, protects, and uses vital identity documents issued by the State.” Panelists talked about vital documents like birth certificates and Social Security numbers, and some of the efforts underway to better protect these documents. The state of vital records is a bit of a mess. Every state and every registrar within a state issues its own records. For example, there are more than 400 registrars in the state of Texas and only 254 counties. Each of these registrars issues their own birth certificates. That means there are more than 400 different designs of birth certificate you can get in Texas, which becomes difficult when it comes to identifying fraudulent records. There are efforts underway in this field to secure vital documents. In Texas, for example, there are efforts to get all registrars to use the same type of paper when issuing a vital document. This will make it a bit more difficult for forge records. In the future, it is very likely that vital documents we be digital. This will let states work together more easily to verify document authenticity and also reduce instances of forgery.
Don’t ignore the identity issue.
One key theme throughout the conference was the importance of taking control of your identity. Once an individual’s identity has been compromised, there are resources that can help restore and recuperate. However, it is always better to act defensively from the get-go. Be vigilant and practice the fundamentals like using secure passwords, locking your devices, and checking your accounts frequently for fraudulent activity. An identity protection service can help with some of the most time-consuming aspects of the fundamentals. As the conference’s “Cradle to Grave” theme implies, protecting your identity is a life-long endeavor.
What are you currently doing to protect your identity? Who owns, protects and uses your PII? Let us know what you think on Twitter and Facebook, and be sure to check out our Tumblr for the latest industry news stories.