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Inspector General: School Collection of SSN Unsafe

STUDENT PRIVACY—U.S.

July 27, 2010

The Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General has concluded that schools put children at risk of identity theft when collecting Social Security numbers (SSNs) in instances not required by law, The Washington Times reports. Seven states require schools to collect SSNs as identifiers, and school systems in 26 states use such identifiers for class registration from kindergarten through high school, though not required to by law. "We believe such practices increase the risk of SSN misuse and unnecessarily subject students to the possibility of identity theft," said the inspector general's report, which also noted a 2009 Fordham Law School study that found SSN databases often lack appropriate privacy protections.
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