In March 1997, the Social Security Administration set up a web site to allow individuals to obtain their own Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement (PEBES) over the Internet. To receive a PEBES by email or on a display screen, users were asked to provide their name, social security number, date and place of birth, and mother's maiden name.
The SSA program came under criticism from those who said that it would be too easy for others to obtain illegally the PEBES records over the Internet.
On April 9, 1997 the SSA announced that it would suspend the online PEBES service and conduct more research on potential security problems. Individuals can still request their PEBES online. The report will be sent back by paper mail.
HR 1330. American Family Privacy Act of 1997. Prohibits Federal officers and employees from providing access to social security account statement information, personal earnings and benefits estimate statement information, or tax return information of an individual through the Internet or without the written consent of the individual, and to establish a commission to investigate the protection and privacy afforded to certain Government records. Introduced by Kanjorski (D-PA) on 4/15/97. Referred to the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight. Congressman Kanjorski's statement.
HR 1331. Social Security Information Safeguards Act of 1997. Requires the Commissioner of Social Security to assemble a panel of experts to assist the Commissioner in developing appropriate mechanisms and safeguards to ensure confidentiality and integrity of personal Social Security records made accessible to the public. Introduced by Kennelly (D-CT) on 4/15/97. Referred to the Committee on Ways and Means.
HR 1367. Federal Internet Privacy Protection Act of 1997. Prohibits Federal agencies from making available through the Internet certain confidential records with respect to individuals, and to provide for remedies in cases in which such records are made available through the Internet. Introduced by Barrett (D-WI) on 4/17/97. Referred to the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight.