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FederalPrivacyBreache 05-22

Order targets ID theft

Plagued by regular breaches in the security of personal data, federal agencies were ordered Tuesday to eliminate the unnecessary collection and use of Social Security numbers by early 2009. That order and several other new security measures against identity theft were outlined in a memo to all department and agency heads from Clay Johnson III, deputy director for management of the Office of Management and Budget.

Johnson gave the agencies 120 days to review all their files for instances in which the use of Social Security numbers is superfluous and "establish a plan in which the agency will eliminate the unnecessary collection and use of Social Security numbers within 18 months."

Beyond that, agencies were directed to review all information they have that could be used to identify an individual citizen or employee, to ensure such records are accurate and "to reduce them to the minimum necessary for the proper performance" of their duties.

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