A smarter US social security card

Last updated: 19 March 2014

The United States social security card dates back to 1936 and it hasn’t changed much since then. A small piece of paper the size of a ticket stub holds one’s social security number that is an American’s life line for identity verification, employment eligibility, and citizenry. The paper card is not quite up to date with the advances in technology that play a part in today’s society. Maybe it is time for an update – a smarter social security card?

It would essentially be an updated and modernized version of the one we have today; a durable plastic card with a secure electronic chip which makes it possible to read information stored on the chip electronically and authentic both the card and it’s citizen. The idea is not so farfetched, and could resolve many issues that are plaguing the social security system.

SS-card-scanOne for example is identity theft. In the US, identity theft is increasing with an estimated nine million cases each year, many of which stem from stealing an individual’s social security number. You might be asking yourself how a social security smart card could reduce identity theft and the answer is simple- security which is proven and puts the citizen in control of their Social Security Number.

Last week, I had a similar discussion on Fox Business News explaining behind the scenes security of a social security smart card. I explained that the chip’s ability to store and secure information but authenticate it as well would detect any misuse or fraudulent activity. As Kelli Emerick, executive director of the SecureID coalition pointed out “you’re creating layered security into the system that prevents fraud from happening going forward.”

The social security smart card would not just help combat identity fraud; it would also offer a solution for businesses. We all know how painful the job application process can be, but it becomes much more complicated from an employer standpoint – paperwork on top of more paperwork. What if the employer could determine an applicant’s work status in one simple movement? The social security smart card along with a smart card reader would give employers the ability to electronically read the card, connect to the federal eVerify system  and, voilà instant electronic secure verification.

The benefits of the social security card modernization would have a much greater impact than just replacing a piece of paper. In a nutshell it would increase efficiency, enhance security, put the citizen in control of their Social Security Number and reduce costs plus the smart card and chip technology has proven to be vital in other identification scenarios, like the epassport where over 500M have been issued around the world for travel document authentication.

If you are interested in the social security smart card, I encourage you to share your comments with me on the blog. And don’t forget to take a look at the full video which aired on Fox Business.

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