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Hackers post politicians' ID numbers online

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09:52 CEST+02:00
Hackers have published online the social insurance numbers of all Norwegian parliamentarians in a bid to start “talks” on digital privacy issues.

Government ministers could read their names and identifying numbers on the website Pastebin courtesy of the name Anonymous. The website lets people anonymously paste in text, as the hackers themselves did with a “press release” declaring their motives.

“We wish to draw attention to the use of birth dates (in the social insurance number) as so-called identification,” the message said.

The “hacktivists”, as theye are known by their peers, say they want Norway to stop using the one birthdate-based social insurance number, or personal number, as blanket ID required for a variety of official electronic exchanges, from purchases to contact with tax authorities and banks. The hackers fear identity theft and excessive tracking of citizens.

The hackers say it’s all too easy to create programmes that retrieve the personal numbers.

“(Politicians) who make decisions should have first-hand experience with … and experience the feeling of how uncomfortable it is to know that this information is available for whomever.”

Norwegian privacy overseer the Datatilsynet told newspaper Dagbladet that uploading the personal numbers — including those of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and former finance minister Kristin Halvorsen — was illegal.

A number of Norwegian banks have been hacked online via programmes that mimic net-banking forms. Customers accustomed to entering their social security, or personal numbers, in online bank forms have unwittingly typed the critical information into the malware forms of criminals using the same online session to track passwords.

Norway’s tax offices recently started issuing one-use personal passwords akin to those the hackers say are issued in Germany.

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