Consider also the willy-nilly growth of the Social Security number. When the numbers were created in 1935, they were supposed to be used for one thing only, to record individual workers’ payments into the Social Security system. Eight years later, Franklin Roosevelt decided all new federal record-keeping would be based on the numbers. In 1962, the IRS adopted them as taxpayer identification numbers. And after Congress permitted states to use the numbers for welfare payments and driver’s licenses in 1976, they mushroomed: food stamps, school lunches, federal loans, even blood donations required Social Security numbers. These days it’s almost impossible to open a bank account or hook up your telephone without one.