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Do As I Say, Not As I Do: Feds Post SS Numbers

Posted Apr 20, 2007 4:10 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Plaintiffs lawyers, start your engines. Another release of Social Security numbers by a government agency has been reported, this one involving the Agriculture Department.

As many as 100,000 to 150,000 people who received loans or other federal assistance may have had their Social Security numbers posted in a public database, reports the New York Times. The database, which has been public for years, has also reportedly been widely used by other groups.

Making these Social Security numbers public raises obvious identity theft and privacy concerns, and may violate the Federal Privacy Act. “Federal agencies are under strict obligations to limit the use of Social Security numbers as an identifier. It doesn't look like that's what happened in this case,” says Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Laws concerning data privacy are still being fine-tuned, as this Fox News article discusses.


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