Political Change

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For Penn State College Application

The country will see a new president elected this year, with “change” the dominant theme from both candidates for the nation’s top office. Regardless of your political preferences, what one change would you recommend to our next president, if you had a one-on-one audience with him shortly after his election?

Although personal privacy is not as important as healthcare, the economy, or global conflicts, it is vital that we reduce identity theft and make sure that personal information remains protected. Currently, our Social Security Number (SSN) serves as both a personal identifier (unique key) and as a method of authentication. With my knowledge of computers, I know that this is a bad idea. We should have some form of identifying people by number. This number should be public so that there is no fear of it falling into bad hands. We must also have some form of authentication with which we can securely confirm who we are.

Some people may dislike such a system because they feel that it would infringe on the privacy rights of Americans. However, we must be able to know, for example, which lab test belongs to which person, or which admissions recommendation letter belongs with which person. In addition, we should be able to know and control who is able to access our records. For example, people were able to access Sarah Palin’s email account by recovering the password. These password recovery questions asked information that was available to the public. This issue may not be on the forefront of the next President’s agenda, but they will affect millions of people.


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