Often when someone wants to indicate that a task doesn’t take a genius, they relate the task to one of two professions, and so two common phrases you will hear on a regular basis are “Hey, it’s not Rocket Science” and similarly “Hey, it’s not Brain Surgery.” This seems a strange way to start a blog post, but trust me, you’ll understand in a moment.
I received an email this morning and had to take action on it that just boggles the mind, or at least my mind. One of the websites I’ve worked on (I shall not mention any specifics so as to avoid embarassing the person, whom I don’t know, who features heavily in this true story) includes a database of professionals, and allows these professionals to upload their Resume to the site to help promote themselves. The company that runs this website received a phone call this morning from one of the professionals in it, asking that their resume be removed from the site immediately.
What is the reason this resume needed to be removed, a resume that this professional has uploaded to the site personally? The reason is that very early on in the Resume there is a line that reads “Social Security Number: ” and then a sequence of numbers easily recognizable as the individual’s social security number.
One does not need to be an internet professional, or a privacy professional to know that it is an insanely bad idea to publish your social security number on a website for the entire world to see, all it takes is a little common sense to know that private information like your social security number should remain private.
What makes the situation worse is when I read a little further into this resume, I found that this individual happens to be a surgeon, a surgeon who has experience in operating on cancerous tumors in the brain. This person quite litterally is a Brain Surgeon!
So to this individual and anyone else posting their resume as a PDF, or word document, or web page online for anyone to see, I have a simple word of caution. Do not post your Social Security Number publically online, do not post any information online so private that it can be used to easily steal your identity.
Take care of your Private Information and your Identity, after all, it’s not brain surgery.
On an aside note, I am now terrified of the concept of ever needing brain surgery, as I used to mentally put the surgeons who do these highly delicate operations on a pedestal of intelligence, now I’m not so sure.