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Information Security Office

U-Secure

Social Security Numbers & UTS 165

The University is working to minimize use of Social Security numbers in order to protect the privacy and legal rights of its faculty, staff, and students. This project cannot be successful without the active participation of all departments on campus.

Presently, most administrative computer systems rely on the Social Security number to uniquely identify members of the university community. Consequently, many administrative and educational staff require access to SSNs to perform their jobs.

As current electronic business systems are replaced, the need for SSNs will diminish. Until such a time, departments that need access to Social Security numbers should:

  • Question whether Social Security numbers are truly required for a given procedure or practice (can the UT EID be used instead?) Any practice or procedure that utilizes Social Security numbers should be discontinued if possible.
  • Ensure that printed documents containing Social Security numbers are destroyed in a secure manner (e.g., shredder, confidential recycling bins).
  • Ensure that Social Security numbers are not displayed on documents that can be widely seen by the general public (such as time cards, rosters, and bulletin board postings) unless required by law.
  • If requesting Social Security numbers, the individual must be informed as to whether the disclosure is mandetory or voluntary, by what statutory or other authority the number is solicited, and what uses will be made of it. For sample disclosure notices and further information, please see the SSN Disclosure page.
  • Review reports released to third parties. When possible, SSNs should not be included on reports given to third parties.
  • Social Security numbers should not be made available to individuals or organizations outside of the University unless expressly required by law.