Governor signs bills aimed at curbing identity theft

Posted: Thursday, June 28, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Rep. John Coghill's dual proposals to curb the use of Social Security numbers for identification are now law.

Gov. Tony Knowles signed the two Coghill bills into law this week in Juneau.

One requires that Social Security numbers no longer be placed on Alaska driver's licenses. The other law removes the requirement that applicants for state hunting and sport fishing licenses must provide a Social Security number.

''The Social Security number has unfortunately become a de facto national government ID number, which in the age of identity theft exposes Alaskans to unacceptable threats to their privacy,'' said Coghill, R-North Pole. ''I'm glad to see the governor demonstrate support for the Legislature's efforts to reduce that risk.''

Both bills sailed through the Legislature, which adjourned last month.

The Alaska Division of Motor Vehicles has been following a policy of automatically printing Social Security numbers on driver's licenses unless the applicant objects. Coghill said people were not aware they could object.

Social Security numbers are still required on commercial driver's licenses and on all driver's license applications.

The Social Security number for hunting and fishing licenses was tied to a federal requirement with the goal of tracking down deadbeat parents behind in child support payments. The state received a waiver exempting it from the hunting and fishing license part of that requirement.

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