APG-L Archives

Archiver > APG > 2009-07 > 1247073588

Subject: Re: [APG] Social Security Numbers
Date: Wed, 8 Jul 2009 10:19:48 -0700 (PDT)

What is most frustrating about this thread is the implications this has for genealogy directly - which everyone seems to be overlooking.
Any computer scientist will tell you there is no such thing as a random number generated by _any_ human means. So-called random numbers generated by computer are, technically, "pseudo-random" (and if you, say, roll dice, even if they aren't weighted, the balance will not be so perfect that there is not some pattern a computer could extract, given enough data). So I won't even try to guess what patterns pattern-matching software might be able to find - patterns you or I might never guess was there. Ditto on how the SSDI data yielded an algorithm which could be used on later numbers.
On the other hand, if I am wrong, the researchers somehow used a database containing data _only_ on individuals who were already dead to infer numbers for _living_ individuals. I have yet to see anyone suggest even a _rough_ theoretical basis for how this was accomplished.
Ray Beere Johnson II

--- On Wed, 7/8/09, <> wrote:
> Any pattern they could figure out from the SSDI wouldn't be applicable
> to the more recently issued SS numbers. Most people listed in the SSDI
> were born before the automatic issuing of SS numbers at birth. So that
> argument doesn't stand up to scrutiny. There is no secret about how the
> first three and middle two numbers are generated--but there'd be no
> pattern to the individual final four numbers -- you don't need the SSDI
> to learn how the first and middle sets of numbers are generated.

This thread: