***image1***Today I went to the Ramstein Library to see about checking out a book. I was told I had to fill out paperwork to do so. The paperwork requires me to provide my name, address and social security number. This information is not in a secured system and is a prime opportunity for identity thieves. In this day and age of constant warnings about the seriousness of allowing anyone
access to your social security number or any other critical personal information because of identity theft, why would anyone have to provide a social security number in an unsecured environment to check out a library book? 

This is exactly the opposite of all the direction we receive about guarding personal information. Social security numbers are no longer used on checks, drivers licenses, for account access by most firms, or on any unsecured documents – this is because the threat of identity theft is real, growing, and demands our strict attention. The library policy is outdated and compromises security of personal information (it also contradicts the message of our leadership to be extremely cautious about releasing such information). I left the United States in 2004 and the public library I used did not require social security numbers for this exact reason.

This is a very important issue and I was greatly surprised such a policy is still in place.  A simple fix would be to eliminate the social security number being required on the form. I am interested in using the library, but not with the clear risk of having my personal information available in an unsecured environment open to identity theft. I look forward to your reply.
Thank you for your help.

Thank you very much for raising a number of good points about security. As it stands, personal information is secured by the library Web site via Secure Socket Layer and the hard copy registration form is protected under lock and key.

The library has been officially cleared to collect social security numbers and other personal information, and they use it to circulate materials and to pursue reimbursement of government property.

In our large military system, social security numbers are the only way they can track down delinquent accounts.

While I understand your concern about identify theft, the library also shares your concerns and properly protects your privacy. You are still welcome to come in and use the printed library materials in our library; we do not require you to complete a registration form for that.