7/25/2008 Mass. Proposes Redaction of Identifiers: Bad News for Employment Screening

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The state of Massachusetts is proposing some pretty significant regulations in order to protect privacy and limit the opportunity for identity theft. These measures include the following guidelines for court records:

  1. in the case of a social security number, taxpayer identification number, credit card or other financial account number, driver’s license number, or passport number, only the last four digits;
  2. in the case of a birth date, only the year of birth, rather than the exact day or month; and
  3. in the case of a name identified as the mother’s maiden name of a person, only the first initial of that name If accepted, this proposal would eliminate the ability of Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRA’s) and employers to confirm that a criminal record belongs to an applicant; thereby rendering employment background screening useless.

I have no doubt the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) will be all over this in the next several days and will actively lobby on behalf of the industry. They’ve been pretty effective when issues like these arise. Check out what happened in Oklahoma earlier this year. We’ll stay on top of this and let you know how you can get involved.

See the full proposed guidelines below:

Interim Guidelines for the Protection of Personal Identifying Data in Publicly Accessible Court Documents

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