Here’s a somewhat muddled article by writer Jonathan Krim, at the Washington Post, about PI access to social security numbers. The space of a few sentences is offered to Brian P. McGuinness, president of NCISS, who points out the need for private investigators to have continuing access to SSNs in order to distinguish one person from another. Unfortunately, the rest of the article goes on to bounce around a few of the various proposals to curb identity theft, a vexing problem that has nothing to do with PI use of SSNs.
Jonathan Krim mentions one of the complaints we have with limiting the personal information available to PIs but not another, S116, A bill to require the consent of an individual prior to the sale and marketing of such individual’s personally identifiable information, and for other purposes, which would allow the consumer to determine when and to whom her information is released.
But private investigators contend that the rush to protect privacy goes too far and would damage their ability to deliver valuable services, such as locating people who skip out on debts, commit fraud or want to avoid testifying in court.
NCISS has posted a short information sheet, Vital Investigations Require Information Access, of interest to journalists reporting on this issue. The digest lists 12 essential uses of personal identifiers by private investigators.