One of the main reasons so many people may be financially harmed by the database theft at the University of Maryland ("UM technology chief says stolen database was not encrypted," Feb. 21) is because the university felt the need to acquire so much personal information from people.
I see no reason a college would need the Social Security number of anyone, besides an employee. It seems to me that only the Social Security Administration and organizations that deal directly with it need our Social Security information. But that isn't the case. Our numbers are used for identification purposes for everything from banking transactions to locating cable television accounts. And while some of these organizations only require the last four digits of our numbers for confirmation purposes, they surely have the entire number on file someplace. It is ridiculous.
If corporations and government entities are not forced to protect our private information better than the least they can do is stop collecting so much personal data from us.
Sean Tully, Baltimore
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