Agency Will Explore Benefits and Costs of Private Sector SSN Use
On December 10 and 11, 2007, the Federal Trade Commission will host a public workshop, “Security in Numbers: SSNs and ID Theft,” to explore the uses of Social Security numbers in the private sector and the role of SSNs in identity theft. The workshop will provide a forum for public-sector, private-sector, and consumer representatives to discuss the various uses of SSNs by the private sector, the necessity of those uses, alternatives available, the challenges faced by the private sector in moving away from using SSNs, and how SSNs are obtained and used by identity thieves. The workshop will be free and open to the public.
In April 2007, the President’s Identity Theft Task Force, co-chaired by FTC Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras, recommended that Task Force agencies develop a comprehensive record of SSN use by the private sector and evaluate the necessity of those uses. The Task Force report, www.idtheft.gov/reports/StrategicPlan.pdf, recognized that a thorough examination would help policymakers and the private sector find ways to limit the unnecessary use of SSNs, which frequently are used to commit identity theft. In response to the Task Force recommendation, the Commission already has invited interested parties to comment on the various issues surrounding private sector uses of SSNs. Over 300 comments were received from a broad array of stakeholders. Those comments can be found at http://www.ftc.gov/os/comments/ssnprivatesector/index.shtm.
The Workshop will be held at the FTC’s satellite building conference center, located at 601 New Jersey Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC. A government-issued photo ID is required for entry. Members of the public and press who wish to participate but who cannot attend can view a live Webcast of the summit on the FTC’s Web site. Although pre-registration is not required, interested parties may pre-register by contacting SSNpreregister@ftc.gov.
The Commission invites interested parties to submit requests to be workshop panelists. The requests should be submitted electronically to SSNworkshop@ftc.gov on or before October 19, 2007. Interested parties should include a statement detailing their expertise on the issues to be addressed at the workshop and provide complete contact information. The Commission will select panelists based on expertise and the need to represent a range of views about the issues. Panelists selected to participate will be notified by November 9, 2007.
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, click http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.shtm or call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/consumer.shtm.