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Acid Test

Leader application problem

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Ed,

 

I understand the issues of identity theft. They can be serious. I also think the option of going to the local Council Registrar gives folks a viable Plan B.

 

At the end of the day, it's Mr or Ms Acid Test's call, and his chance to enjoy the Adult Association Method with other Scouters.

 

Yes, I believe Adult Association is as much about the adults as it is about the kdis.

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I contacted our council registrar and she agreed to allow me to come in and provide my SS number. Then she told me that the information would be kept within their computer system where 5-6 people would have access. The computer system is connected to the outside world.

 

Here are the risks:

1) The information is available to more than the people who need the information

2) The system is susceptible to outside hackers

3) How are the servers and hard drives disposed of?

4) Does the information reside on laptops?

5) Is the information encripted? Password protected?

6) Is the information tied into a larger set of servers? All offer areas of compromise.

7) Is the information backed up systematically? How are the backups secured?

8) Could the information reside on USB flash or harddrives?

9) What antivirus, spyware, and firewalls are employed?

 

I understand that at the end of the day, I have to decide what is right for me.

 

I have decided to write a letter to the council requesting an appeal to the national council for an exception instead.

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It always makes me scratch my head when people are leery of divulging this kind of information.

 

Identity theft can be brutal. It can ruin lives and destroy families. It can take years to get straightened out, and in da interim can cause people to lose their houses and businesses.

 

Some folks work in jobs where retaliation is possible. A divorce attorney. A cop. A DA. A foreclosure specialist. A tax assessor. A teacher. All kinds of people work in positions where folks can get mad at 'em for one reason or another and want "revenge" or just want to mess with 'em.

 

Some folks hide their background for legitimate reasons. They might have a family member who was a notorious criminal or an official with a poor reputation. They might have been stalked by someone in the past. Or they just may be private people. And if they live in an area where political, religious, or racial prejudice is still a factor, hidin' their background, a former name, etc. can be a wise choice. Just look at how much vitriol and innuendo there's been over Obama's middle name, eh?

 

I don't think it's up to a person to explain why they don't want to spread their personal information around. I figure it's up to da person asking for it to justify the need and ensure the security. By any objective standard, BSA hasn't done either, eh? Most of us go along as an expression of solidarity, but that doesn't mean everyone should.

 

I personally think da BSA should abandon the SSN collection. Too much risk for too little reward, and I've seen it cost us some excellent volunteers.

 

Beavah

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Beavah,

 

Just an excellent post!!!

 

I spoke directly with the local council executive regarding my situation. He mentioned that there are several others taking a similar position as mine due to a recent change in the BSA's policy of grandfathering leaders prior to 2003 needing background checks. The change affected ~4000 volunteers locally with dozens refusing to provide their SS numbers. He has a large issue to get through. BTW, the executive was very polite and understanding. I very much appreciated his demeanor.

 

Regardless of the final decision, I will not lose focus of the prize - my son. He will continue to be a highly encouraged scout with plenty of parental interaction - you still have to play the ball game regardless of how the officials are calling it.

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Interesting topic, discussed before. I'm with Beavah on this, but Bob White is probably correct, there's little that can be done short of Gold Winger's open rebellion.

The 'grandfathering' thing is interesting though. I was grandfathered in and, by my recollection, I've never been asked for my SSN. Nor have I signed the DRP. I've made this point before...if BSA is as diligent with the application info as they are with the advancement info, it's possible that my file contains Beavah's address and Evmori's SSN. Thanks guys! ;)

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With the continual decline or stagnet enrollment in scouting since the 1970's, the BSA should be more open to alternative solutions that solve problems (in this case, performing a background check without a SSN) than flexing their "one size fits all" muscles.

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I'm still scratching my head. ;)(This message has been edited by evmori)

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evmori,

 

Go to this page and have a look at the numbers affected:

http://www.idtheftcenter.org/artman2/publish/lib_survey/ITRC_2008_Breach_List.shtml

 

Question: How many large breaches have there been and how many people have been potentially affected?

 

In 2007, ITRC documented 446 paper and electronic breaches, potentially affecting more than 127 million records. This is a significant increase from 2006 which listed in excess of 315 publicized breaches affecting nearly 20 million individuals. In 2005 there were 158 incidents affecting more than 64.8 million people.

 

Based on ITRCs categorization, the 2007 breaches break down as follows: 24.5% government/military agencies, 24.7% from educational institutions, 29.3% from general businesses, 14.5% from health care facilities / companies, and 7% from banking / credit / financial services entities.

 

I guess I don't understand what you don't understand. Even if these numbers are not entirely accurate, the magnitude of the problem or potential problem is staggering.

 

 

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Don't you think ChoicePoint already has a file on you already with your name, address, phone number, DOB, SSN, Vehicle history, Payment history, shoe size, what you bought last for lunch.

 

Everything is already out there on some computer already, so what the heck does it matter

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AcidTest wrote..."With the continual decline or stagnet enrollment in scouting since the 1970's,...

 

In 1970 the membership in the BSA was 6,287,284.

 

In 1982 it was 4,542,449.

 

In 1999 it was 6,247,743

 

What does this tell you?

 

Not much, except that the membership has been anything but stagnant. It certainly does not tell you that requesting the Soc. Sec. number was involved since it was not a requirement in 1982. Membership tends to go in waves.

 

Your statement that it has been decreasing since 1970 is incorrect. It has been declining since 2000 but the Soc Sec was not required until 2003. So again the actual history does not match your revision of it.

 

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Bob White wrote...

In 1970 the membership in the BSA was 6,287,284.

 

In 1982 it was 4,542,449.

 

In 1999 it was 6,247,743

 

What does this tell you?

 

 

It tells me that the enrollment from 1970-1999 is stagnant and the rate of enrollment (number enrolled divided by the number available) is declining. I don't think there is any disputing this based on the numbers you provided and the definitions of stagnant and declining.

 

Your point regarding social security numbers is right.

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I don't know that this is the entire reason for the present requirement for adults to provide their SSN to the BSA, but I'm personally convinced that a major factor in forming this policy probably had a lot to do with the increasing reports of child sexual abuse by youth leaders (and priests), and the BTK guy in Wichita KS. Dennis Rader was a married man with children of his own, a city employee in good standing, a church deacon, the pastor's assistant, a Boy Scout Leader, and a serial killer. My son and I were actually at a couple of council-wide campouts where Rader was in attendance, and just the idea that he was in the same camping area was enough to give me the willies, even five to ten years after the fact.

The Boy Scouts of America has an obligation to the parents and families of their membership. The organization simply cannot afford to have people making application to be members in their adult ranks whom they cannot run background checks on. There is just too much liability involved when it comes to the children of others, and leaders of the opposite gender who are working hand-in-hand with the scoutmaster & committee, within the troops. I'm actually a little surprised that they don't ask for proof of US citizenship or a green card, too, considering the crackdowns on illegals I've read about in the news.

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The issue at hand is not whether or not a background check should be run - I think we are all in agreement that these checks are essential. The issue is why the BSA is insisting on requiring a SSN to perform the checks when there are equally effective (or better) alternatives. Background checks are being performed everyday for those purchasing a firearm in the USA. A SSN is not required - see ATF Form 4473. It is and can be done.

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nldscout wrote..... Don't you think ChoicePoint already has a file on you already with your name, address, phone number, DOB, SSN, Vehicle history, Payment history, shoe size, what you bought last for lunch.

 

Everything is already out there on some computer already, so what the heck does it matter

 

 

The locations that Choicepoint searches definitely has my SSN. So does my employer and the IRS.

 

But my electric company doesn't, yet they "required" it. Neither does my gas company, cable company, doctor, denist, kid's doctors, kid's denist, and local municiples entities - each requested my number at some point.

 

Do you trust that my doctor's computer systems are entirely secure or of the others listed above? I personally do not and will continue to keep the number of systems that have my SSN to a bare minimum. I have already been burned 3 times in the last 5 years by breaches in other systems:

 

First was a large on-line music store who's system was hacked and everybody's credit card information was stolen. I can't remember the name of the store but they went out of business within 3 months of the breach.

 

Second was Wells Fargo who had some of their computer servers stolen upon trying to physically move them from the US to India. They supposedly never landed in India and one or more of the servers contained my personal data.

 

Third was Capital One, the company that issues my credit card. They have been very tight lipped on the situation but the letter from them said my information may have been stolen and the matter is under investigation.

 

 

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Folks, at least with regard to the potential theft from our investments and harm to our credit, there is a way to avoid these problems and simultaneously send an economic message up the line - freeze our credit.

Here's a link: http://www.consumersunion.org/campaigns/learn_more/003484indiv.html

 

Now I notice that several states (including GA - I can see AL but...GA? Wonder what's the problem) only offer this on a voluntary basis. However, for a mere $10 you can freeze your credit and anyone wanting to access it MUST have your security code (that only you will know) in order to unfreeze it (to buy a house, get a new credit card, etc.).

In these days of cybertheft, this probably is the most powerful prevention tool there is. It doesn't merely turn off the spigot - it disconnects the pipe altogether. Ed, you might want to elaborate if you know more about it.

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