In Sweden the authorities have run out of social security numbers because so many immigrants are "born" on 1st of january or 1st of july because those are important dates (so they are booked as being born those days even though they were not).

So social security numbers for example 1991-01-01-xxxx have run out.

Now I wonder if it would be an idea to switch to hexadecimal digits at the end? Then there can be more combinations.

I wonder if this question can fit somewhere in a programming / science context?

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    related: Why is research important?
    – gnat
    May 20, 2016 at 20:45
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    The real question is why do their social security numbers depend so much on people's birthdays. Just start assigning all digits randomly and the problem evaporates.
    – Ixrec
    May 20, 2016 at 20:47
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    @Ixrec: Well, assigning all digits randomly requires either synchronization (lock(EntireCountry.SSN) { /* add new SSN */ }, with corresponding performance pathologies), or a much larger keyspace to reduce the risk of collisions. Dividing things into a bunch of small buckets makes this a lot more digit-efficient, which is good because then the SSNs are easier for humans to remember, fill in, and so forth. May 21, 2016 at 3:58
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    Unfortunately, I don't think this is on-topic here; it's almost entirely about the human interface effects of hex numbers for the general populace (since it should be fairly obvious that using hex works in a technical sense). UX might take this. I'm not really sure. Try asking on their meta or in their chat. May 21, 2016 at 3:59
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    Is your question really if "it would be an idea?" May 23, 2016 at 14:02

1 Answer 1


This wouldn't be on topic here. As Nathan pointed out in his comment it might be on topic on the UX site, but to honest I'd probably vote to close there too.

In the first instance have you verified that the claim is true. To me this sounds like something an anti-immigration group would put out to stir up trouble.


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