In reply to this article:
I think a lot of UK/European readers won’t get why the social security number thing is such a big deal. If memory serves some genius back in the early days of US IT decided that, rather than give everybody their own customer number, they’d just use the guaranteed unique SS number. This soon became common practice.
So, it’s not that McNealy’s SS number is compromised particularly, more that a knowedgeable hacker can use this number when they break into other systems to find out things about him and also pretend to be him and commit fraud.
In the UK I don’t think most of us would give a toss if someone knew our NI number because it isn’t plastered all over our credit card vendor’s internal systems. I do wonder if this will change if the UK government manage to get their crackpot id card scheme off the ground, will this number then start mattering because it will be plastered everywhere like it is in the US? Then the hackers will find committing fraud (sorry, “identity theft”) much easier. I bet no-one’s thought about it at all.