Daily archives: July 8th, 2009

John Harris Pleads Guilty; Circle Closes in on Blagojevich

From the Chicago Tribune:

John Harris, the last chief of staff to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, pleaded guilty today to a single count of wire fraud in federal court. He agreed to cooperate in the federal probe against his former boss in return for a recommended prison term of just under 3 years.

Harris was accused of aiding some of the former governor’s efforts to leverage the powers of his office in exchange for favors and campaign contributions. Among the accusations against Blagojevich is that he attempted to sell the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.

From the plea agreement:

From approximately October 2008 to on or about December 9, 2008, in the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Defendant, together with co-defendant Rod Blagojevich and others, participated in a scheme to deprive the people of the State of Illinois of their intangible right to the honest services of Defendant Rod Blagojevich, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1343 and 1346.

So the circle closes in on the former governor.

So It Turns Out Geeks Can Find Our Social Security Numbers

Who knew?  All you need to do is check out your friends on Facebook, and you have their Social Security numbers.

Y0u know, the one number you are supposed to guard for life.

From the Chicago Tribune:

For all the concern about identity theft, researchers say there’s a surprisingly easy way for the technology-savvy to figure out the precious nine digits of Americans’ Social Security numbers.

“It’s good that we found it before the bad guys,” Alessandro Acquisti of Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh said of the method for predicting the numbers.

Well, yeah.  Let’s hope you’re the first one on the planet to discover the algorithm.

The Social Security administration is trying to downplay this:

Social Security spokesman Mark Lassiter said the public should not be alarmed by the report “because there is no foolproof method for predicting a person’s Social Security number.”

“The suggestion that Mr. Acquisti has cracked a code for predicting an SSN is a dramatic exaggeration,” Lassiter said via e-mail.

However, he added: “For reasons unrelated to this report, the agency has been developing a system to randomly assign SSNs. This system will be in place next year.”

So, for some reason, the SSI is going to start randomizing the way social security numbers are generated.

What does that do for the rest of us?  And let’s hope that everyone at CMU who has this information is honest.

Got Facebook?

Be careful.