Ed Hasbrouck takes on the International Standard Name Identifier and asks some good questions about data sources, data quality, data retention laws, and transparency. Apparently they’ve been assigning numbers — 6.4 million so far — to authors based on a fairly opaque and seemingly unreliable system. Why? The motives may be good:
The mission of the ISNI International Authority (ISNI-IA) is to assign to the public name(s) of a researcher, inventor, writer, artist, performer, publisher, etc. a persistent unique identifying number in order to resolve the problem of name ambiguity in search and discovery; and diffuse each assigned ISNI across all repertoires in the global supply chain so that every published work can be unambiguously attributed to its creator wherever that work is described.
If you’re an author, you can look up to see if you have a number (or more than one?), via the ISNI search form.
It seems I was assigned 0000 0003 5245 3354, but it’s linked to only a small fraction of my publications. Queue up the Prisoner?
Kidding aside, and even if the ISNI’s motives are good ones, if Hasbrouck’s facts are right (and my experience with Ed is that they usually are) then there are some flaws in the system — I wonder how (if?) the ISNI will respond.
From Lastpass. Pass it on.
One of the big problems with top-down, logical, designs for national identification systems is that they tend strongly towards a single point of failure.
Fatal crypto flaw in some [Taiwanese] government-certified smartcards makes forgery a snap.
Not the last story like this we’re going to see.
AS WELL AS CAUSING an outpouring of grief, vitriol and general controversy, the death of former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher on Monday also managed to highlight the pitfalls of hashtags.
The trending hashtag #nowthatchersdead was read by many Tweeters – well, those who are totally uninformed on news and global events – as announcing the news that Cher is dead, rather than Thatcher is dead, leading to an outpouring of grief for the entertainer.
— Tweeters mourn passing of music and fashion icon Cher- The Inquirer.
The NYT reports that Senators trying to hash out a bipartisan immigration bill have rejected using biometric ID cards to identify legal workers:
The bipartisan group of eight senators is also still debating how to improve E-Verify, the system that employers use to check the immigration status of their workers. A high-tech, biometric identification card was deemed too costly; instead, the group is considering an enhanced E-Verify system that would allow employers to use photographs to identify job applicants and would let workers provide answers to security questions to help prove their legal work status.
I’d like to think that the report Jonathan Weinberg and I wrote last year, Hard to BELIEVE: The High Cost of a Biometric Identity Card (Feb. 2012), published by the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law & Social Policy at UC Berkeley School of Law, had something to do with this.
This may be the first piece of advice the U has sent me on ID theft that I actually agree with: Tax Season Is Here; File Early to Avoid Scams:
As faculty and staff start receiving their W-2s and other tax documents, it is time to start thinking about filing income tax returns—early. This is also the season when identity thieves go into overdrive, attempting to file fraudulent tax returns. Tax fraud is now the third-largest theft of federal funds after Medicare/Medicaid and unemployment-insurance fraud. South Florida, already the leader in Medicare fraud, is also taking the lead in tax-identity theft. Florida has the highest rate of identity theft in the country, with 178 complaints per 100,000 residents in 2011. Tax-identity theft exploded to more than 1.1 million cases in 2011 from 51,700 in 2008.
Fraudulent tax returns can come in the form of tax-identity theft, refund fraud, or return-preparer fraud. With e-filing, evidence of fraud is difficult to find. There are no signed tax forms, envelopes or fingerprints, and e-filing promises quick refunds. For criminals to e-file in your name, they need your name and Social Security number, combined with a phony W-2 (wages) or fabricated Schedule C (business income). These ID thieves steal your personal information and then use it to file a fake tax return in your name, usually tweaking the numbers to get a large refund. The refund can be posted to an anonymous “Green Dot” prepaid Visa purchased at a drugstore, Wal-Mart, etc. The taxpayer whose ID has been stolen will not find out until he or she attempts to file the real return and then is informed by the IRS that the return has already been filed and the refund sent. That is the primary reason to file as early as possible, before a potential criminal attempts to do so on your behalf. To read the complete tip, including steps to protect your tax identity, please click here.
Interestingly (at least to me) the tip comes from the U’s Office of HIPAA Privacy & Security whose web site suggests it might be run by sensible people. This differentiates it from the junky and fearmongering advice I find strewn on a table at the front of our library at the start of every school year and which is issued by the campus police department.