Senator Dianne Feinstein of California has introduced a bill that aims to protect people’s privacy and prevent ID theft by protecting Social Security numbers.
The Protecting the Privacy of Social Security Numbers Act, which is co-sponsored by Senators Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Olympia Snowe of Maine, would amend Title 18 of the U.S. Code to address the misuse of these numbers.
The bill would prohibit governments at all levels from displaying Social Security numbers on public records on the internet, as well as from printing them on government checks.
Secondly, businesses would face limits in regard to the situations in which they can ask customers for this data.
It would also bar prison inmates from taking up jobs which would provide them access to Social Security numbers.
Feinstein’s bill could result in stricter punishment for people who abuse Social Security numbers, similar to the way previous legislation made hacking a federal crime, InternetNews.com reports.
Introducing the bill, Feinstein said that "we must also ensure that government agencies and businesses do their utmost to protect Americans’ Social Security numbers."
The legislation was introduced alongside a separate bill dealing with notification of data breaches.