|Sent: Saturday, February 26, 2000
I am concerned about my personal privacy when using the Internet and have a specific example to share.
I am trying to set up all my personal bill paying on the Internet since I am on the computer all day anyway - I work in the telecommunications industry.
I tried to set up monthly online check payments that Pacific Bell provides for both residential and business customers.
The company providing this service (CheckFree Corporation) REQUIRES my social security number. So, I declined to sign up and sent them an email telling them I chose to not sign up because they did NOT need my social security number for me to send a check electronically.
I considered their answer to be rather flippant. They agreed that they have absolutely no specific need for the social security number and "only" used it as a method of organizing their accounts in their billing system. Their seemingly callous disregard was rather annoying. They could instead use the billing number or some randomly generated number, or chose from hundreds of other options, rather than using the social security number. They did not respond in any sympathetic way indicating that they had respect or care for my concern. Their attitude was more like - tough luck to you. If you don't like it, too bad. Don't use it. I disagree with this mind set.
The Pac Bell web site is:
The provider of the check payment service is at URL:
I urge you to consider this type of scenario, where the individual is asked to provide their social security number to online payment services as the social security number is a highly sensitive piece of information. I would like to see legislation established prohibiting collecting the social security number in these types of scenarios.