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Court: Social Security Numbers Can Be Posted Online

PRIVACY LAW—U.S.

July 27, 2010

The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a Virginia privacy advocate can post public records containing Social Security numbers on her Web site, the Times-Dispatch reports. Last year, U.S. District Judge Robert E. Payne stopped Virginia from enforcing a 2008 law that would have barred Betty "BJ" Ostergren from publishing the Social Security numbers of public officials that can be accessed on government Web sites. In its ruling Monday, "the three-judge panel upheld Payne and went further," the report states, as the Social Security numbers in public records had not been redacted before they were posted online, holding that Ostergren "could publish the Social Security numbers of private individuals if those numbers also are made available on the Internet by the government."
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