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Risk of using SS#s (last 4 digits) for authentication
From: "Jim Lawton" <jblii () hotmail com>
Date: Sat, 02 Nov 2002 10:59:55 -0500

We are currently considerring the limited use of employee's Social Security numbers to authenticate them when they request a password reset from the Help Desk. We have chosen two items (in total) for authenticating them: their employee # and the last 4 digits of their SS#. Only the last 4 digits would be stored in the Help Desk app, and these would be viewable only by Help Desk technicians. They would only be able to see them by selecting a specific toolbar button (the SS# screen would not visible at all times).

We are concerned with the privacy issue potential if we use any part of a SS# but are unaware of any legal precedent, standard or guideline either supporting or against this use. Does anyone have knowledge they can share, or know of web resources that might be useful to research this issue?

We are a corporation of roughly 1200 specializig in healthcare, and HIPAA privacy/security regs, NCQA and URAC acredidations must be taken into consideration.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions or information.

JBL




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