Kudos to CU for rejecting Social Security Numbers

I’m not talking about the intersection of two hotly discussed topics, social security and the slow, painful decay of the University of Colorado system. Instead, as CU faculty (I sporadically teach entrepreneurial business and technology courses), I was pleased to receive a new faculty ID card in the mail today that includes my new student ID instead of my Social Security Number.
The University Card Services group explained this change in the following letter:..

Dear Faculty or Staff member:
Attached is your new Buff OneCard. This card is being sent to you as part of the campus’s SSN-SID Conversion Project. On the weekend of April 9-10, 2005, campus databases will be converted to use newly generated SID numbers as the new primary key. As a result of the SSN-SID Conversion Project, Buff OneCard encoding has changed. This change has made it necessary to recard current students, faculty and staff with a new Buff OneCard in order to ensure cardholders will be able to access campus services using their cards after April 10, 2005.

The letter continues with various tedious details about what’s changing, how the student bus pass stickers cannot be transfered to the new cards, etc. (read the faq), but the gist of this change is a wonderful one: the University of Colorado is changing from using social security numbers to a unique, randomly generated student ID.
In this era of identity theft and weekly reports of college databases being hacked and the personally identifiable information from hundreds or even thousands of student and staff being stolen, my compliments to the staff at the University of Colorado, Boulder for making this expensive change.
So, do share, when was the last time that you were part of an organization that “required” your Social Security Number even though you know it wasn’t an employer, wasn’t going to file paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service, and would do perfectly well with a random, made up sequence of digits instead?

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