House passes bill to take Social Security numbers off drivers' licenses

Posted: Sunday, March 25, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- The state House unanimously approved a bill Friday that would keep Social Security numbers off drivers' licenses in Alaska.

Rep. John Coghill, R-North Pole, said he sponsored the bill to protect people's privacy and help prevent fraud.

Drivers' licenses are used as identification for boarding planes, cashing checks and similar activities, so many people have access to the information on them, Coghill said. That puts Alaskans at risk of identity theft.

He also objects to the widespread use of Social Security numbers for identification.

''It's not supposed to be a national identifier and it has become one,'' Coghill said.

Rep. John Davies, D-Fairbanks, pointed out that citizens have the option now of asking that the number be kept off their licenses.

But Coghill said many people don't know they have that option.

Rep. Norm Rokeberg, R-Anchorage, said when he renewed his license recently, the workers were so efficient they had it printed before he had a chance to ask they not include his Social Security number.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

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