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Legislative Memo

Ken Pokalsky
Vice President of Government Affairs
T 518.465.7511
www.bcnys.org

BILL:

S.1445 (Nozzolio)

Support

SUBJECT:

Prohibition on Use of SSNs

 

DATE:

April 7, 2008

 

The Business Council opposes the provision of this legislation which would prohibit any corporation, partnership or any other commercial entity from “sharing” a person's social security number without the person's written consent.

While its intent may be to help fight against identity theft, this bill would impose unworkable restrictions on the state's business community.

Social security numbers are commonly used by employers for internal employee identification with regard to payroll, retirement plans (including 401(k) plans) and insurance programs.  In these contexts, the SSNs may be “shared” with external organizations that have been contracted with to provide payroll or benefit services.  It is unclear whether this bill intended to ban such “sharing.”   However, the restrictions imposed in this bill would have a significant impact on the state's business community.

We believe that the real public policy issue here is not the use of social security numbers, but their potential disclosure.  While we could support legislation that specifically prohibits uses that place social security numbers at clear risk of disclosure and misuse, we cannot support a prohibition that would interfere with common business uses of SSNs, so long as a business has appropriate data security measures in place.

Therefore, we respectfully oppose approval of  S.1445.