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One Step Ahead
April 1, 2008, Volume 54, No. 27

One Step Ahead

Another tip in a series provided by the Offices of Information Systems & Computing and Audit, Compliance & Privacy.

Converting SSN to PennID

Do you currently use Social Security Number (SSN) to identify people in your IT systems or in day-to-day procedures? Did you know there is a tool available to help you switch from SSN to PennID? Using PennID as the identifier ensures that SSNs will not be stolen and used to commit identity theft.

The 8-digit PennID number is a unique identifier for individuals associated with the University or the Health System.  It can therefore replace the SSN as a key in databases, or to uniquely identify an individual in e-mails or phone conversations.  Using PennID can eliminate the need to encrypt data, ease report handling, and improve the security and privacy of communication between administrative offices.

The Penn ConvertID application converts SSNs to PennIDs.  There are two options: direct lookup of a single PennID using certain data, and a batch tool for converting entire files with SSNs to use PennID instead. Usage is strictly monitored to ensure the highest standards of security and privacy, and lockout safeguards are built in to prevent misuse of the application.  ISC Data Administration directly monitors results of batch conversion requests, forwards results to requesters, investigates lockouts, and is available for support and any questions.

For further information on the ConvertID application, contact Data Administration at penncommda@isc.upenn.edu

or the Office of Audit, Compliance, and Privacy at (215) 573-4492. The form to request access to the ConvertID application is available at www.upenn.edu/computing/group/penncommunity/authorization/documents/convert_id_ access form.doc.


To receive weekly OneStepAhead  tips via email, send email to listserv@lists.upenn.edu with the following text in the body of the message:  sub one-step-ahead <your name>.

For additional tips, see the One Step Ahead link on the Information Security website: www.upenn.edu/computing/security/.

Almanac - April 1, 2008, Volume 54, No. 27