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29 April 1998
1998 Ron Paul 42:1
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.
The CHAIRMAN. The Clerk will designate the amendment.
The text of the amendment is as follows:
Amendment No. 3 offered by Mr. PAUL: Page 50, line 13, at the end of paragraph (1) add the following new sentence: The Secretary shall not use the social security account numbers issued under title II of the Social Security Act as the electronic personal identifier, and shall not use any identifier used in any other Federal program as the electronic personal identifier..
(Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
1998 Ron Paul 42:2
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, this amendment is not a complex amendment. It merely states that Social Security numbers cannot be used to identify the individuals who will be participating in this program.
1998 Ron Paul 42:3
This is a common practice, obviously, today. The Social Security number is used just for about everything. As a matter of fact, many Americans think way too often.
1998 Ron Paul 42:4
There are 40 Federal programs now where the Social Security number is required. Not only that, the Federal Government now has been mandating the uses of the Social Security number for similar purposes even on State programs such as obtaining our drivers license.
1998 Ron Paul 42:5
The concern that I have and that many Americans have is that government is too intrusive, wants too many records and knows too much about everybody. The government and nongovernment people can get our names and they can get our Social Security numbers and find out more about us than we know about ourselves, and that is not the intent of our Constitution. It certainly is not the intent of the Privacy Act.
1998 Ron Paul 42:6
The Privacy Act concerns were expressed through this legislation in 1974 stating that, yes, we have overstepped our bounds, there is too much intrusiveness, and we are moving in the direction of a national identification card, something that is unknown and should be unheard of in a free society.
1998 Ron Paul 42:7
We should not have an identity card to carry our papers to get jobs, open bank accounts, move about the country, but we are moving rapidly in that direction. This is a token effort to make this point and require the government to use some other identification method for this program. It can be done. There is nothing sacred about the Social Security number. The program can be run without the use of Social Security.
1998 Ron Paul 42:8
I would like to just read very briefly some passages from the Privacy Act of 1974 to make my colleagues stop and think about what we are doing.
1998 Ron Paul 42:9
It shall be unlawful for any Federal, State or local government agency to deny any individual any right, benefit or privilege provided by law because of such individuals refusal to disclose his Social Security number.
1998 Ron Paul 42:10
If one does not give his Social Security number, one is in big trouble in this country. One cannot even get out of the hospital if one is born without a Social Security number, and one cannot open up a savings account for a child if one does not have a Social Security number. One is not even allowed to die at this time without a Social Security number, because one needs a Social Security number on ones death certificate. Talk about cradle to grave.
1998 Ron Paul 42:11
Any Federal, State or local government agency which requests an individual disclose his Social Security number shall inform that individual whether that disclosure is mandatory or voluntary, by what statutory or other authority the number is listed and what uses will be made of it. We do not have that happening. Numbers are just demanded, and too many people have complied with it, and we go along with it, but more and more Americans are getting upset with this monitoring of everything that we do through the Social Security number.
1998 Ron Paul 42:12
Every single government program is now requiring it. Like I said, there are 40, 40 programs. Immigration, think about how the immigration programs are monitored through Social Security numbers. There have been attempts to use the Social Security number to monitor people in their voting. We do not need this. We do not need more government surveillance in promoting this kind of a program. The program can survive, can work.
1998 Ron Paul 42:13
Some would argue, well, possibly, just possibly, the efficiency of the program may be diminished. That will be the argument that I will probably hear. The efficiency of the program will be diminished. Well, if this is the argument, then we are saying that we are here to protect the efficiency of the State. I see an important role for us to be here is to protect the privacy and the civil liberties of the citizen. So we are in conflict. Which should our role be, to protect privacy and civil liberties, or is it to protect the efficiency of the State?
1998 Ron Paul 42:14
Well, it is not difficult for me to figure that out, and it is not like I am saying this program would not exist, it is just saying that we will put a small amount of surveillance on this where the government is not so casual in expanding its role for the Social Security number.
1998 Ron Paul 42:15
In the Privacy Act of 1974, in the findings, they made a comment which I think is very important, and this is in 1974 when it was not really bad. The Congress finds the opportunities for an individual to secure employment, insurance and credit and his right to due process and other legal protections are endangered by the misuse of certain information systems.
1998 Ron Paul 42:16
I ask my colleagues to support this amendment. This is a positive amendment; this is an amendment to protect civil liberties of every American.
Ron Paul mentioned in 1998 Ron Paul Chapter 41 that he planned to introduce this amendment.