Risks of Touring the White House

My daughter is getting ready for a Confirmation Class trip to Washington DC, which will include a trip to the White House. So I received an email request from the trip coordinator stating: “There is a security form that I must fill out and I need the following information for each student/participant ASAP! 1. Name as it appears on Drivers License or other legal document; 2. Social Security Number; 3. Exact Date of Birth; 4. Citizen of US? Yes or No?; 5. City of current residence.” She needed it ASAP, and I’m betting most parents will blindly email her the SSN. I’ve already informed her of the problem with doing that, but this is just the tip of the iceberg.

I wanted to see why the SSN was required, and so I did some searching. I found Rep Elton Gallegly’s site on tours, and it calls for the same information. So this seems to be a White House requirement (and SSNs seem to be a common identifier for searching security records, even though that isn’t their real use). However, what is scary is the following: ” Download Security Information Sheet (Excel) and email to CA24.Tours@mail.house.gov”. Yup. Email again. You would think in this era of the Privacy Act the White House webmaster would have set up an HTTPS: page to submit this information.

Yes, I have submitted this to the Risks Digest.