Bill would let clerks black out first five digits of Social Security number on documents

Hoping to curb identity theft, a committee of the state legislature advanced a bill Wednesday that requires county clerks to redact the first five digits of a Social Security number on an electronic copy of a public document, if a person makes a request.

County clerk and recorders currently don’t have statutory authority to black out parts of Social Security numbers, said Rep. Steve Lebsock, the Thornton Democrat who introduced HB 14-1112.

Rep. Steve Lebsock

Rep. Steve Lebsock

He said the bill, which passed the House Local Government Committee on a 12-0 vote, generally affects “a minority” of older documents that were recorded before people became more aware of identity theft and the dangers of filing documents containing sensitive private information. Some real estate closing documents, for example, have full Social Security numbers on them.

Only county clerks who have software capable of automatically making electronic redactions would be required to fill requests, although all clerks would have the authority to do so.

“I’m not asking the clerk and recorder to go back and sift through hundreds of thousands of documents,” Lebsock said.

Follow the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition on Twitter @CoFOIC. Like CFOIC’s Facebook page. Visit CFOIC’s legislature page to track bills in the General Assembly that could affect the flow or availability of information in Colorado.

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