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Identity theft qua Wikipedia

23 September 2009 by Mike Gogulski
Posted in diary | 14 Comments »
595-12-5275: Former Social Security card of Michael J Gogulski

595-12-5275: Former Social Security card of Michael J Gogulski

A Wikipedia moderator contacted me recently, saying that a concerned reader had written in distress that my Social Security card image might have been posted there by an identity thief… or something.

The issue’s now cleared up, and the image of my former card is now tagged as having been authenticated with me. Groovy!

Meanwhile, a bit from what I sent back to the moderator, after the concernant was satisfied and the image tagged:

My bigger worry, philosophically, is that we don’t really have any “identity” to be stolen in today’s world. Whatever we might have had, has been crushed out of us from birth. And yet we walk, the pale shadows of what we might have been…

Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)

  1. 14 Responses to “Identity theft qua Wikipedia”

  2. By George Donnelly on 23 September 2009

    Nice comment there. Way to bend the conversation towards libertarian talking points. :)

  3. By Kyle Bennett on 23 September 2009

    Goerge, I read that as “libertarian thinking points”, and was gonna give you credit for a very nice turn of phrase….

    Mike, the image on Wikipedia is redacted. Did they refuse to keep it up otherwise, or did they do this after your conversation?

  4. By Mike Gogulski on 23 September 2009

    Kyle, I see no redaction from here, what’s the URL you’re hitting, please?

  5. By George Donnelly on 23 September 2009

    Haha “thinking points”, I like it.

  6. By b-psycho on 23 September 2009

    It’s redacted for me too, and I clicked on the link you provided.

    I’m thinking somebody panicked & edited the image, not realizing that you were serious about releasing it as is. Could try uploading it again maybe?

  7. By Mike Gogulski on 23 September 2009

    Agh… okay, folks, I need screenshots, URLs, HTTP headers, the works.

    Why *now*?

  8. By Tim on 23 September 2009

    Here ya go Mike. This is where I go and see a redacted SS card.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Security_card

  9. By b-psycho on 23 September 2009

    Here: screen caps of Wiki

  10. By Mike Gogulski on 23 September 2009

    Okay, this is now a 100% public matter:

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Mike Gogulski [mailto:mike@gogulski.com]
    Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 2:17 AM
    To: ‘Wikipedia information team’
    Subject: RE: [Ticket#2009091910027289] Social Security Card; Wikimedia Commons

    Hey, Maggie!

    I posted to my blog about this communication with you, and now it seems that just afterward, the photo I uploaded has been redacted.

    There are links to the redacted image and screencaps thereof at the top post on http://www.nostate.com/

    Any idea what gives?

    Peace,
    Mike

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Mike Gogulski [mailto:mike@gogulski.com]
    Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 7:53 PM
    To: ‘Wikipedia information team’
    Subject: RE: [Ticket#2009091910027289] Social Security Card; Wikimedia Commons

    Dear Maggie,

    Great, looks perfect from here, though the tag system is somewhat less than transparent to a casual Wikipedia user, though I suppose that’s for privacy reasons.

    And glad to know about the reassurance. If you’re in contact again, please feel free to thank him for his concern.

    My bigger worry, philosophically, is that we don’t really have any “identity” to be stolen in today’s world. Whatever we might have had, has been crushed out of us from birth. And yet we walk, the pale shadows of what we might have been…

    Peace,
    Mike

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Wikipedia information team [mailto:info-en@wikimedia.org]
    Sent: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 2:52 PM
    To: Mike Gogulski
    Subject: Re: [Ticket#2009091910027289] Social Security Card; Wikimedia Commons

    Dear Mike,

    Thank you very much for your response. I’ve placed a tag on the image to indicate that you have confirmed this, and I believe that should be sufficient. I will double check, however, so that if more is necessary it can be taken care of swiftly to avoid our having to contact you about this again.

    The gentleman is reassured to know that we have contacted you about this and are making sure that you aren’t a victim of identity theft.

    Sincerely,
    Maggie

    09/19/2009 23:03 – Mike Gogulski wrote:

    > Hello Maggie,
    >
    > Thanks for writing.
    >
    > I confirm that I posted the image myself, and that I am aware of the risks.
    >
    > Anything you would like to attach to the image metadata to assure
    > others of
    this, you are welcome to do so. Likewise, if there is additional proof or legal release that I can provide to Wikimedia/pedia, I’d be happy to do so.
    >
    > You are also welcome to put the gentleman into direct contact with me
    > via my
    website’s contact page at http://www.gogulski.com/contact/.
    >
    > Cheers, and best regards,
    > Mike
    >
    >
    >
    > —–Original Message—–
    > From: Wikipedia information team [mailto:info-en@wikimedia.org]
    > Sent: Sunday, September 20, 2009 1:01 AM
    > To: mike@gogulski.com
    > Subject: Re: [Ticket#2009091910027289] Social Security Card; Wikimedia
    > Commons
    >
    > Dear Mr. Gogulski:
    >
    > The Wikimedia Foundation, which oversees various projects including
    > Wikipedia
    and Wikimedia Commons, received a letter today from an individual highly concerned that your social security card may have been posted on Wikimedia Commons fraudulently in a way that could do damage to you. The card is posted at < http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Socseccardfront.png>.
    >
    > Having read the summary and the linked articles, I realize that you
    > very likely
    did upload this yourself. I’d be very grateful if you could confirm that, so that I can mark the image to avoid future issues and so that I can reassure this gentleman that you are not being victimized through our site.
    >
    > Of course, if you did not place the image on Wikimedia Commons and
    > wish it
    removed, it will be taken down immediately.
    >
    > I appreciate any clarification on the matter that you are able to provide.
    >
    > Yours sincerely,
    > Maggie Dennis
    >
    > Wikipedia –
    http://en.wikipedia.org
    > —
    > Disclaimer: all mail to this address is answered by volunteers, and
    > responses
    are not to be considered an official statement of the Wikimedia Foundation. For official correspondence, please contact the Wikimedia Foundation by certified mail at the address listed on http://www.wikimediafoundation.org
    > =
    >
    >
    >

    Yours sincerely,
    Maggie Dennis


    Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org

    Disclaimer: all mail to this address is answered by volunteers, and responses are not to be considered an official statement of the Wikimedia Foundation. For official correspondence, please contact the Wikimedia Foundation by certified mail at the address listed on http://www.wikimediafoundation.org

  11. By Kent McManigal on 23 September 2009

    Still all blacked out as of 8:35PM central time Tuesday.

  12. By P.M.Lawrence on 25 September 2009

    I have just posted asking about this on the relevant talk page.

  13. By tolstoyscat on 14 October 2009

    Great post, Mike!

    “thinking points” I may run with that as the name of my new blog. If I do, I will credit Kyle Bennett, who inadvertently invented something wonderful while misinterpreting reality.

  14. By Mike Gogulski on 15 October 2009

    Dear Kitty,

    Please do show, whatever that comes out to be!

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