II. Congress Must Act Now to Limit the
Abuse of Privacy Inherently Resulting from Institution of
the Social Security System
III. H.R. 220 Contains Several
Legislative Steps to Reverse Privacy Abuse
professor Charlotte Twight, in her article “Watching You:
Systematic Federal Surveillance of Ordinary Americans,”
warns that George Orwell's 1984 is "no longer
to Professor Twight, our nation's central government
"is recording each citizen's employment, income,
childhood and subsequent educational experiences, medical
history (including doctor's subjective impressions),
financial transactions, ancestry, living conditions, rent or
mortgage payment, household expenses, roommates and their
characteristics, in-home telephone service, automobile
ownership, household heating and sewage systems, number of
stillbirths, language….” This information that is linked
with a person's Social Security number, provides the federal
government an amazingly detailed portrait of a person.
U.S. Congress, when creating the Social Security system, did
not intend to create a national identifier or tracking
Social Security number, however, did become a national
identifier by an executive order issued by President
Franklin Roosevelt. In
the 1960s, the federal government increased the use of the
Social Security number as a uniform identifier when it
replaced the traditional military serial number with the
Social Security number.
response to concerns about the misuse of the Social Security
number, Congress passed the Privacy Act of 1974.
However, the language
the act allowed Congress to require the use of the Social
Security number at will. In fact, just two years after the
passage of the Privacy Act of 1974, Congress explicitly
allowed state governments to use the Social Security number
as an identifier for tax collection, motor vehicle
registration and drivers' license identification.
misuse of the Social Security number increased with the
passage of the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970.
The act required banking institutions to collect
Social Security numbers from their customers.
Financial institutions quickly adopted the Social
Security number as their means to identify their customers.
The federal government continued the misuse of the
Social Security number by compelling the disclosure and use
of the Social Security number in labor, medical, and
education databases. Of
course, each of these compulsory misuses of the Social
Security number mandated by the federal government are
justified as a means to prevent crime (even though the
Constitution of the United States of America reserves this
role to state governments) and as a means to lower
transaction costs of government agencies, even though the
result is a loss of liberty and privacy.
Must Act Now to Limit the Abuse of Privacy Inherently
Resulting from Institution of the Social Security System
Freedom and Privacy Restoration Act, H.R. 220, introduced by
Representative Ron Paul, would limit the use of the Social
Security number to the Social Security Administration’s
purposes only. Certain
in barring all other government agencies from using the
Social Security number. However, the framers of the
Constitution of the United States of America
regarded government's primary role to be the preservation of
liberty; not the efficient workings of government.
has not only facilitated, but has also compelled the
creation of this effective tool for privacy invasion (the
Social Security number). Posed with the question as to
whether to correct what government has done or use the
culmination of negative effects of all the prior
interventions to, yet again, intervene further to deprive
individuals of liberty and private dealings, the answer is
quite clear -- two wrongs don't make a right.
H.R. 220 greatly limits
governmental use of the Social Security number by precluding
agencies from using the social security number for any
purpose other than administration of the Social Security
220 Contains Several Legislative Steps to Reverse
Bill Section 1 – Title Section
section simply titles the bill the "Freedom and Privacy
Restoration Act of 1999."
Bill Section 2 – Governmental Use Restrictions
section amends title II (Old Age, Survivors and Disability
Insurance) of the Social Security Act and the Internal
Revenue Code to prohibit any federal, state, or local
government agency or instrumentality from using a social
security account number or any derivative as the means of
identifying any individual,
for specified social security and tax purposes.
Bill Section 3 – Privacy Act Conformation
section amends the Privacy Act of 1974 to prohibit any
federal, state, or local government agency or
instrumentality from requesting an individual to
his social security account number on either a mandatory or
a voluntary basis.
Bill Section 4 – Governmental Cross-Referencing
4 prohibits any two federal agencies or instrumentalities
from implementing the same identifying number with respect
to any individual,
as authorized under this act.
Bill Section 5 – Governmental Identifier Prohibitions
section prohibits a federal agency from: (1) establishing or
mandating a uniform standard for identification of an
individual that is required to be
by any other federal agency, a state agency, or a private
person for any purpose other than the purpose of conducting
the authorized activities of the federal agency establishing
or mandating the standard; or (2) conditioning receipt of
any federal grant or contract or other federal funding on
the adoption, by a state, a state agency, or a political
subdivision of a state, of a uniform standard for
identification of an individual.
it prohibits a federal agency from establishing or mandating
a uniform standard for identification of an individual that
is required to be used within the agency, or by any other
federal agency, a state agency, or a private person, for the
purpose of: (1) investigating, monitoring, overseeing, or
otherwise regulating a transaction to which the federal
government is not a party; or (2) administrative
Bill Section 6 – Effective Date
section makes the provisions of the bill effective on
January 1, 2001.
we hope to sustain a system protective of liberty, certain
constitutional protections limiting the federal government's
ability to engage in programs
"for efficiency's sake" demand a careful
governmental tracking of individuals must not be tolerated.
In the first instance, governmental
programs whose sole purpose is to take property from one
person and give it to another person were neither
contemplated by the framers nor deemed constitutional by the
early U.S. Supreme Court. Subsequent interventions into private matters for the purpose
of the making efficient these illegitimate redistributive
programs move us further down the road to tyranny.
Even former U.S. president Harry S. Truman, no
champion of liberty himself, said, "When you have
efficient government, you have a dictatorship."