State Senator Thomas P. Morahan announced that Governor Pataki today signed into law legislation he sponsored to protect the privacy of New Yorkers. To guard against the potential misuse of Social Security account numbers (SSN), Morahan's legislation places limits on the use and dissemination of this information.
"Identity theft is a growing problem with severe consequences. Victims face significant financial losses and complicated credit problems that could take years to correct. This measure continues the state's on-going efforts to protect individuals from ID Theft," said Morahan, whose Rockland County district has one of the highest levels of reported incidents of identity theft in New York State.
Specifically, the new law:
· prohibits the intentional communication of an individual’s SSN to the general public;
· restricts businesses’ ability to print an individual’s SSN on mailings or on any card or tag required to access products, services, or benefits;
· prohibits businesses' from requiring an individual to transmit his or her encrypted SSN over the Internet; and
· Require businesses that possess SSNs to implement appropriate safeguards and limit unnecessary employee access to SSNs.
"An individual's Social Security number is the key to enormous access to their personal and financial information and this new law will put in place new limits and protections to ensure that number does not fall into the wrong hands," said Morahan.