During the holiday break, I spent some time browsing the ideas submitted by citizens at the Ideas For Change In America site. Like anything else in life, some ideas were well-developed and others were confusing at best. While you may or may not have voted for President-elect Obama, I think that we can all agree that a democracy works best when citizens participate. That's the idea behind the Ideas For Change In America site: collect and prioritize citizen-submitted ideas to turn the broad mandate for change into specific policies.
While browsing the site after the Christmas holiday, I read a couple ideas regarding identity theft. The first:
"Immigration, Welfare, and Identity theft reform: I love immigrants, our country was built on the foundation that this is the land of opportunity. A concern is that illegal aliens are qualifying for welfare benefits without being required to follow through with the naturalization process. We have no right to be mad about this, because we (the people) set it up this way. Social Security numbers are NOT verified and sometimes not even required..."
"Allow Americans to Protect Their Identity: Do you realize it is estimated 7 million Americans have had their SSN stolen by illegal aliens? Do you realize that children' SSNs are considered the best id's to steal because it will be many years before the theft is discovered? Do you realize Americans who have had their SSN stolen (and it is estimated that each stolen SSN is used by 13 people), your credit is ruined, you can get stuck paying the thief's bills, and you permanently lose SS benefits you worked for? Do you realize that Americans are not permitted to check with Social Security to find out if someone else is using their SSN..."
Several months ago, I wrote a blog post exploring the issues when another person uses your Social Security Number. Are the above two ideas for change good ones?
Which ideas for change are important to you? Which ideas for change do you want the incoming President to consider? We get to decide as a group. At December 26, citizens had already submitted more than 5,100 ideas. Frankly, this is the type of citizen engagement tool Congressional representatives should have already been doing. The first round of voting ends December 31, 2008.
During the next few days, I plan to both vote on more proposed ideas and to submit some new ideas about identity theft, behavioral advertising, offshore outsourcing of consumers' sensitive credit report information, protections for consumers' IP addresses, Federal anti-skimming legislation, and corporate responsibility with post-data-breach helps help for breach victims. I hope that you will both submit ideas and vote on submitted ideas.