By bnitz on Nov 05, 2007
After all of the trouble we went to thinking of a name for our new baby, we ended up picking a name that didn't make the top 1000 in the U.S. but is common enough in certain parts of the world. I'll have to admit I was disappointed today when the health service sent an immunization reminder regarding our son, Nina??! who had a completely different name and birthday than the one my wife and I remember. So now we have two children, the eldest had a misspelled name on her Irish birth certificate and an incorrect gender on her passport, U.S. birth record and social insecurity card. Our second child was given the wrong name and gender by the health service. That's hardly six-sigma is it? At least our children don't yet face as high of a risk of deportation as thousands of U.S. residents who must soon prove their social security records are valid. As many as 70 percent of discrepancies found in the "no match" letters the Social Security Administration sent out belong to U.S. citizens or legal residents. One of my best friends from university was a healthy artist in his 20s, whose surname was similar to that of two famous people. The Social Security administration listed my friend as being dead. It took some time for him to prove that he could fog a mirror.
I understand that database administrators and typists are human. Occasional mistakes can be forgiven, but why does it seem that identity thieves are more careful with entry of my data than those in government agencies who are supposed be trusted repositories of personal identity? When the first half dozen official documents referring to a new individual's identity are 100% incorrect, what chance do adults have when hundreds of companies have some aspects of our identity somewhere in a database? I also wonder how common identity problems are for those whose name is much more common in some parts of the world than our son's Scottish-German name is here in Ireland.