HERE’S THE POINT (AND THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND):
Congress enacted the Privacy Act to prevent the government (not private individuals or corporations, such as a bank) from abusing the collection and use of your private information.
The Privacy Act does not apply to private, non-governmental transactions. Recall that the law applies to and limits “any Federal, State or local government agency.”
James B. Lockhart, the Deputy Commissioner For Social Security, testified in Congress and stated:
“Currently, there are no restrictions in Federal law on the use of the SSN by the private sector. Businesses may ask for a customer’s SSN for such things as renting a video, applying for credit cards, obtaining medical services, and applying for public utilities. Customers may refuse to provide the number, however, the business may, in turn, decline to furnish the product or service.”