Thanks to George Buddy, who perhaps has even more eclectic interests than I do, for alerting me to this release from USDA on the possible compromise of personal data at USDA.
Release No. 0214.06: "The personal identity information potentially accessed includes individual's names, social security numbers, and photos. Worksite information that is readily available to the public is also contained within the database. Approximately 26,000 current and former Washington, D.C. area USDA employees and contractors are potentially affected."
I've the feeling of being a target for a knive thrower--the compromise of data at VA seems to have missed me (only veterans in the 70's and later--I got out in the 60's). And the word "former" employees could include me, but I've been gone long enough to hope I've been missed again.
Of course this feeling doesn't make sense--my SSN and other personal data are floating around in many places these days so having data on a hard disk somewheres shouldn't add to my worries. The consensus seems to be that a robber getting laptops is likely after the hardware, and not the data. (But in the case of USDA, USDA computers were hacked, which is likely to indicate a taste for mischief, but possibly data.)
Maybe I'll revive my idea of doing away permanently with Social Security numbers. Or maybe not.