hope this passes

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Hope this passes. Texas is using state employee social security numbers to identify its staff in a "shared" system- funny thing, non-state contractors access state employee social security numbers but the reverse is not true.Social security numbers allow third parties to become privy to personal information on state workers since broad information privileges are in place throughout the system-and this is a hell of a network containing information on every citizen and business in the state. The real problem lies in the fact that the Agency in question is responsible for "oversight" of the "partners". So why give the people you're monitoring this sort of leverage over employees who are supposed to be observing their activities? Funny situation and a serious security issue. The opportunity for abuse is all too apparent.

July 14, 2000

William E. Gibson Sun-Sentinel, South Florida

WASHINGTON _ Social Security numbers could no longer be sold, displayed, distributed, stamped on drivers' licenses, or required for cashing a check or obtaining other services under a bill proposed in the House on Thursday.

If passed, the bill would end the use of Social Security numbers as an unofficial national identification system.

The nine-digit numbers would no longer be part of many everyday transactions that affect nearly all Americans. Even the armed services, under this bill, would have to quit using Social Security numbers as part of a soldier's "name, rank and serial number."

This sweeping change is urgently needed to prevent growing abuse of Social Security numbers by thieves and cons, Republican and Democratic sponsors of the bill said at a Capitol Hill press conference.

"Social Security numbers have become the gateway for crooked con-artists to raid your bank accounts, max out your credit cards and literally steal your identity," said Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr., R-Fla., and chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee.

Allegations of "identity theft" using the numbers increased from 26,531 in fiscal year 1998 to 62,000 in fiscal 1999, according to the House Ways and Means Committee. The bill's sponsors say misuse of the number has also raised privacy concerns as companies increasingly share and sell personal information without a customer's knowledge.

"I am a victim of identity theft," declared Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., who said someone obtained a credit card in his name using a Social Security number and charged $785 worth of goods.

The theft led to a constant round of calls from a collection agency, Foley said.

"I found myself overwhelmed with the number of calls I placed and the horrible treatment I received by the credit reporting bureau," Foley said. "This has to be frustrating, particularly for seniors or people who are less likely to pursue it as vigorously as I did."

The legislation, sponsored by members of both parties in the Ways and Means Committee, would ban all sales of Social Security numbers, prohibit government agencies from displaying the numbers, remove the numbers from government checks and prohibit their appearance on licenses, vehicle registration and other identification records.

The bill would also prohibit most businesses from denying service when individuals refuse to provide their Social Security numbers. An exception would be made for banks, which must report some transactions to the government.

And it would toughen penalties for misuse of Social Security numbers. Criminal violators would face up to $250,000 in fines and five years imprisonment. Civil fines for lesser offenses could be imposed up to $5,000.

Shaw's subcommittee plans to take action on the bill next week. He said it could come to the House floor, with backing from the Clinton administration, before the congressional recess in August.

-- state employee (state@employee.com), July 14, 2000


Disclosure of Social Security Number Section 7 of Pub.L. 93-579 provided that: "(a)(1) It shall be unlawful for any Federal,
State or local government agency to deny to
any individual any right, benefit, or privilege
provided by law because of such individual's
refusal to disclose his social security account
number. "(2) the provisions of paragraph (1) of
this subsection shall not apply with respect to--
"(A) any disclosure which is required by Federal
statute, or "(B) the disclosure of a social
security number to any Federal, State, or local
agency maintaining a system of records in
existence and operating before January 1, 1975, if
such disclosure was required under statute or
regulation adopted prior to such date to verify
the identity of an individual.

"(b) Any Federal, State, or local government
agency which requests an individual to disclose
his social security account number shall inform
that individual whether that disclosure is
mandatory or voluntary, by what statutory or
other authority such number is solicited, and
what uses will be made of it."

-- spider (spider0@usa.net), July 14, 2000.

Warms my heart to know the boys on The Hill are watching out for my welfare.Something about horses and barn doors comes to mind,but hey,better late than never, right?

-- Sam (wtrmkr52@aol.com), July 16, 2000.

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