Dec 08 2010

Feinstein Legislation to Protect the Privacy of Social Security Numbers Heads to the President’s Desk

-Legislation stops prison work programs from granting prisoners access to Social Security Numbers-

Washington, DC – The House of Representatives today approved legislation that aims to reduce identity theft by protecting the privacy of Social Security numbers.  The bill, the Social Security Protection Act of 2010, was first introduced in the Senate by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.).  It will now head to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature.

“Social Security numbers are among Americans’ most valuable but vulnerable assets.  Identity theft is a serious concern for all consumers and we should make every effort to protect personal information,” said Senator Feinstein. “I thank Rep. Earl Pomeroy and Rep. Sam Johnson for working to pass this legislation through the House to establish strong restrictions on the access of Social Security numbers.”  

The Social Security Number Protection Act stops prison work programs from granting prisoners access to Social Security numbers. The Social Security Administration had warned that employing prisoners in jobs that require them to access Social Security numbers increases the chances of identity theft.

The Social Security Administration’s Inspector General found that as of March 2010, facilities in eight states continued to employ prisoners in these jobs.

The bill would require government entities to stop employing prisoners in jobs that require access to Social Security numbers within one year.  In addition, the bill it would prohibit any federal, state or local agency from printing Social Security numbers on government checks and impose civil penalties on those who misuse Social Security numbers. 

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