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I could retell the story but instead, I cut-and-pasted my e-mail to cub master. Any suggestions?




I was informed today that my application for cub scout leader would not be processed unless I provided my social security number. According to the council, this also includes my participation in the upcoming camp. Eventhough there are numerous worthy alternatives to performing background checks (full name with date of birth, fingerprints, drivers license) and the system BSA subscribes to (Checkpoint National Criminal Files Plus) does not require a social security number, the council is standing firm with this unnecessary requirement.


As somebody who has had confidential identity information breached twice in the past 3 years by large organizations (XXXXX, XXXXX), I simply will not be able to provide my social security number.


This has been an especially frustrating situation since my previous pack and council in New York were receptive to equally effective solutions rather than being entrenched in a single position.


Unless there is a change in the council's position, I regrettably will not be able to serve as a leader in your pack.




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Without a social security number you will not be able to register with the BSA. While I am sure the BSA understands your concerns they have the welfare of millions of other peoples' children to consider. I am told there will be no exceptions.


This rule has been in effect for several years, and at first they allowed some veteram scouters to remain registered without the additional information. That is no longer the case and any scouter whose Soc.Sec. is not on the BSA data base must supply it or their membership will end. All new applications must carry this information or the membership will not be accepted.


It is a personal choice and each person must do what they believe is best for themselves.



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Hi Acid,


Sorry to hear of your struggles, eh?


Yeh should know that your current council is followin' da official BSA policy on the matter. Yep, some individual councils are doin' their own work-arounds and such. BSA is squeezin' 'em, though.


This is one of those places where you're right in many ways. You're right that makin' you divulge your SSN is inappropriate borderin' on illicit. You're right that a Criminal Background check does not require an SSN, which is really used primarily for credit checks that da BSA should not be doing. You'd be right if you argued that the BSA's method of doin' Criminal History checks is easily spoofed and offers very little real safety/protection of kids. And you'd be right in sayin' that the policy has been costin' us some good volunteers, and because of that has lost us some units and some kids.


But yeh aren't gonna win, eh? Sometimes being right is less important than supportin' rules and process. You might be right about the call and the ref might be wrong, but often it's best for everybody if yeh support the ref.


If it would make you feel better, I'd ask your council if there's a way you can use the online secure SSN entry system that they set up for us old-time volunteers.


Otherwise, I'm afraid you're stuck.




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I believe that this can be appealed by the local council and I have asked for such an appeal.


I also contacted Choicepoint, the company BSA contracts to perform the background checks. According to Choicepoint, a SS number is not required perform the search - you only need the person's full name and date of birth.

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When in New York, my council successfully appealed my position and I became a leader.


Here is the irony- a week later, my wife visited the local council scouting store to pick up a Tigers advancement chart for our den. While there they had a box by the register for applications, one for adult, one for scouts. For a couple of minutes, there was nobody behind the counter and my wife had full access to about a dozen applications, most or all with social security numbers.


This occurred after the council tried to convince me that they are very secure with confidential information. That the information is kept locked up in files with limited access and never put on-line. That they are very serious about the forms. BTW, they do enter the information on-line.

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Yah, well, yeh can always hold out and hope for identity theft that can be traced back to da BSA, then become lead plaintiff on da class action lawsuit. ;) Bet yeh always wanted to own a chunk of Philmont!




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In my Council, leaders who do not want to divulge SSN to others may go to the Council office and divulge it directly to the Registrar.


Here are the questions only you can answer: If you are part of your units baseline for 2-deep leadership at Scout Camp, who is able to take your place? OR!!! Is your unit in a position where if you do not go, the youth do not go to Scout Camp? If so, who tells them?


I wish you well.

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It is a large event with several hundred kids and 150-250 volunteer adults. No kid will be told no because of the situation.


The council here is very much entrenched in their position that the ss number needs to be on the application in order to process them eventhough I spoke with the company the scouts use to do the background checks and a ss number is not needed. In fact the company said organizations and companies are getting away from ss numbers due to the exact issue I am raising.


In the age of identity theft, it makes no sense whatsoever to put people in a position where a single system failure (lost paperwork, hackers, bad employees, relocated computer servers, unscrubbed hard drives) could cost their own volunteers when there are perfectly acceptable options.

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This is a BSA NATIONAL program, not something the individual Councils have any control over. It is not that your Council is simply "entrenched" in an unreasonable position.


You say that you spoke to the company BSA uses and they told you a SSN is not needed and they do not require it. Yet when I looked at the website for ChoicePoint Volunteer Select, the company used by BSA, They include a Social Security Screen as an integral part of their screening program for each state.


So it seems that ChoicePoint Volunteer Select DOES require a SSN for a complete screening.



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SS number verification is one of their services they provide but this isn't what BSA is verifying. According to Choicepoint, the candidate only needs to provide their full name and their birthdate in order to run a criminal background report . SS number is not needed to search but would be listed as one of the fields on the report.


See: http://www.volunteerselectplus.com/hdocs/National_Criminal_File.html


The person on the phone today was very certain on this point that only the complete name and birthdate needs to be entered to perform a search with their system.

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This is who the BSA uses to perform thier background checks.




From page 508:


But the industrys comprehensive inltration of our lives is not costless;

as evidenced by the widespread impact of the recent database breaches,

weaknesses in industries that constitute society-wide systems can have

profound consequences.25 Database giant ChoicePoint exemplied these

dangers in February 2005 when it mistakenly disclosed the personal information

of 145,000 Americans to scam artists and failed to inform the

public for three months.26 Revelations soon surfaced that other database

businesses, as well as nancial institutions and merchants, had also disclosed

sensitive data.27 By the end of 2005, over 50 million individuals personal

information had been compromised.28

The nancial implications of such breaches are signicant. The Federal

Trade Commission (FTC) estimates that the wrongful use of data,

some of which can be traced to poor data security practices,29 costs businesses

and consumers $55 billion annually.30 Data insecurity also imposes

non-pecuniary losses by impairing citizens ability to participate meaningfully

in society:31 inaccurate or misused data can restrict an individuals

ability to secure employment, obtain a mortgage, or purchase a car.32





ChoicePoint Settles Data Breach Lawsuit

Will pay $10 million to settle class action





By Martin H. Bosworth



January 27, 2008


Lexis-Nexis Parent To Buy ChoicePoint

ChoicePoint Settles Data Breach Lawsuit

More ChoicePoint Identity Theft Victims Identified

ChoicePoint Settles With Attorneys General Over Data Breach

FTC Finally Sets Up Redress For ChoicePoint Victims

ChoicePoint Names a "Consumer Advocate"

FTC Fails To Pay Victims Of ChoicePoint Data Breach

ChoicePoint Gets a Makeover

Data Blunders Cost ChoicePoint $15 Million

Guilty Plea in ChoicePoint Data Theft

ChoicePoint Finds More Cases Of Illegal Data Access

ChoicePoint Responds

PATRIOT Act Further Empowers ChoicePoint

Previous Data Thefts Went Unreported

Consumers Will Be Able to See Their ChoicePoint Records, Company Says

Nigerian Sentenced to Prison in ChoicePoint Theft

State Tally of ChoicePoint Victims

ChoicePoint Breach Worse Than First Reported

Is National Security Compromised by ID Theft?

States Demand ChoicePoint Notify ID Theft Victims

Private Information Stolen from Nationwide Consumer Database



Data broker ChoicePoint has agreed to pay $10 million to settle a class-action lawsuit brought against it over the 2004 theft of 163,000 personal information records by a ring of Nigerian identity thieves.


The company also said the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) has concluded its investigation into the sale of ChoicePoint stock by Chief Executive Officer Derek Smith, and Chief Operations Officer Doug Curling, after the discovery of the data breach in 2004, but prior to the breach being made public in 2005.


Smith and Curling made over $16 million in profit over the stock sale, but the SEC declined to recommend any enforcement action against them.


ChoicePoint said the settlement would have no impact on its financial results, as the money was to be paid from a reserve insurance fund already set aside to cover expenses and costs relating to the breach. However, the company's quarterly earnings statement registered losses for the fourth quarter of 2007, losing $32.32 million, or 47 cents a share, compared with a profit of $23.67 million, or 30 cents a share, for the previous year.


The ChoicePoint theft vaulted the mysterious world of data brokers and information selling to the forefront of the public consciousness, and made the Alpharetta, Georgia company synonymous with the phrases "data breach" and "identity theft."


While not the first or the largest of breaches of personal information, the ChoicePoint incident prompted new scrutiny and calls for greater oversight of the data sales trade.


ChoicePoint itself went on a makeover P.R. blitz in the wake of the breach, evangelizing its new transparency and openness to privacy advocates. It hired former Transportation Security Administration head Carole DiBattiste as its privacy officer, and legal counsel Katherine Bryan as its "consumer advocate."


The company earlier paid $15 million in civil and consumer penalties to the Federal Trade Commission and agreed to tighten its security procedures and submit to random audits to ensure it was properly protecting personal information.


It coughed up another $500,000 to settle lawsuits brought by the Attorneys General of 44 states for its lax handling of personal data that led to the breach.





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I find it interesting that you can get an FBI background check to buy a gun without a SSN but to join the Boy Scouts, you need to provide the number.


Maybe what folks ought to do is just have a grass roots revolt. If every new volunteer refused to give his/her SSN, BSA would change their policy in short order.

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At the level you are currently in Cub Scouting, this isn't quite a non-issue. You can be an active parent, but do not have to be an adult member of BSA.


Your tough choices will come when it's time for your son to be in a Webelos Den, or go to Scout Camp. If you want anything other than the visitor's evening, you will have to make a choice.


I made my choice, years ago. I've been through more than 1 identity check. I've not looked back.

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Thanks for the links and articles Acid Test but you have probably gone to a lot of work to tell us things we already are aware of.


Any registered scouter knows that we needed to supply our Soc. Sec. number and we all knew the potential risks invollved. We all had free will to make our choice...and we chose to register.


You have the same choice. No one is forcing you to be a scout leader. But if you chose to be one then you must to meet the same applicant requirements that everyone else has.


Each person needs to make their own decision.


By the way, statisticall speaking, more identities are stolen each year from people by relatives or "friends" then by any other method.


Your greatest risk is not by registering with the BSA.

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Maybe I'm too naive but I don't see the problem with giving my SSN# to register for the BSA. I've got nothing to hide. Your SSN# is required on lots of applications. One reason is to help determine the correct person is being checked out. It always makes me scratch my head when people are leery of divulging this kind of information.


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10(This message has been edited by evmori)

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