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  Oracle Tips by Burleson

Web Stalkers
Chapter 1 -
The Illusion of Anonymity

Sources of Personal Information

Many people have been asked to sign a petition for one thing or another.  This is an area where one must be careful about what personal information is provided.  If a petition form includes a space for entering a social security number, choosing not to enter it may be the wisest course of action.  If the information is lost or stolen, it could be misused.  Including a social security number should be optional and should not affect whether the signature is counted in support of the petition.

A social security number is a vital piece of personal information.  It is used by the IRS, employers, banks and insurance companies.  Unauthorized access to a social security number can lead to numerous problems, some of which may be serious.

In Section 7 of the Overview of the Privacy Act of 1974, 2004 Edition, found at 5 U.S.C. § 552a Disclosure of Social Security Number, provides that:

"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."  Sec. 7(a)(1).

However, there are exceptions to this rule.  Most notably, any other federal statute requiring disclosure of the social security number supersedes this statute.  In spite of this, the act makes it clear that social security numbers are intended for specialized purposes related to government services and are not to be given out lightly.

The above text is an excerpt from:

Web Stalkers
Protect yourself from Internet Criminals & Psychopaths
ISBN 0-97-45993-9-5

by Donald K. Burleson, Stephen Andert

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