Office of General Counsel

Social Security Numbers

Arizona and federal laws and university policies protect the privacy of individual social security numbers (SSNs) by limiting the conditions under which they are collected, used, and disclosed. Protection of SSNs helps to protect personal privacy and to avoid fraud and identity theft.

 

Arizona Laws

Federal Law

ABOR and ASU Policies

Additional Information

 

Arizona Laws

Arizona has two laws that affect the use of social security numbers in higher education:

  • A.R.S. § 15-1823. Arizona law prohibits universities and community colleges from assigning a faculty, staff, or student identification number that is identical to the personís SSN. The law also prohibits the display of the SSN, or any four or more numbers of the SSN on any official university or community college Internet site or any publicly accessible document.
  • A.R.S. § 44-1373. It is illegal in Arizona to do any of the following:
    1. Communicate an individual’s social security number and make it available to the general public,
    2. Print an individual’s social security number or any sequence of more than five numbers that are reasonably identifiable as being part of an individual’s social security number on any card required for the individual to receive products or services,
    3. Require the transmission of an individual’s social security number over the Internet unless the connection is secure or the social security number is encrypted,
    4. Require the use of an individual’s social security number to access an Internet web site, unless a password or unique identification is also required to access the Internet site, or
    5. Print an individual’s social security number or any sequence of more than five numbers that are reasonably identifiable as being part of an individual’s social security number on any materials that are mailed to the individual, unless state or federal law requires the social security number to be on the document.

With the exception of sections 2 and 5 above, this statute does not apply to the department of revenue or any law enforcement agency of the state, county, city, town or political subdivision. This statute does not prevent the collection or release of an SSN if that collection or release is required by law or if it is necessary for internal verification or administrative purposes.

Federal Law

The Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. § 552a) is the federal law that regulates the use of SSNs. This law makes it illegal for federal, state, and local government agencies to deny any rights, privileges or benefits to individuals who refuse to provide their SSNs unless the disclosure is required by federal statute, or the disclosure is to an agency for use in a record system which required the SSN before 1975.

The law also requires that any federal agency that requests your Social Security Number provide a disclosure statement stating:

  • the authority that authorizes the solicitation of the information and whether disclosure of such information is mandatory or voluntary;
  • the principal purposes for which the information is intended to be used;
  • the routine uses which may be made of the information, and
  • the effects on you, if any, of not providing all or any part of the requested information.

ABOR and ASU Policies

The following ABOR and ASU policies also address the privacy of student and employee information:

Student Records:

Employee Records:

Personnel Records (view policy)

Additional Information

Anyone who is concerned about a possible fraudulent use of a SSN may contact the Registrar's Office at 480.965.7302 or Office of Human Resources at 480.965.2394 or the Social Security Administration fraud telephone number 800.269.0271

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) maintains the U. S. government’s central Web site for information about identify theft.

 


Some of the legal material found at this site has been abridged from laws, regulations, court decisions, administrative rulings, ABOR and ASU policies and other sources. Further details may be necessary for complete analysis and understanding in particular matters. The information contained at this site, and related links, is not a substitute for professional legal counsel. Any discrepancy between the information at this site and ASU policy is not intended to alter or amend official ASU policy or procedure.

Any links to non-Arizona State University information are provided as a courtesy. They are not intended to nor do they constitute an endorsement by the Arizona Board of Regents or Arizona State University of the linked materials.