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BYU to keep using Social Security numbers as ID

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While many universities are switching from using Social Security numbers as identification, Brigham Young University considers the usage safe and efficient.

"We have no plans and are presently not considering a change in use of the Social Security number as an identifying number," said Lee Bartlett, BYU assistant vice president of university communications. "It's proved to be a very useful, consistent and reliable identifying number."A hacker was able to get the Social Security numbers of 23,000 student, faculty and staff Social Security numbers at the University of Utah in April after the date accidentally was left unencrypted following routine maintenance. The Salt Lake school has decided to stop using Social Security numbers for IDs but says the decision is not related to the data theft.

Utah Valley State College administrators are looking into changing the use of Social Security numbers in their identification system because it's a safety issue, said Ryan Thomas, vice president for student services and campus computing.

Social Security numbers can be used to access bank accounts, loans and credit cards.

UVSC officials began talking about the switch before the U. of U. theft.

"The main goal is to avoid any concerns about Social Security numbers being used," Thomas said. "As a direction that seems to be a wiser one, that is the direction we're moving in."

However, Thomas said that even with random student identification numbers, Social Security numbers still will be in a computer field somewhere. That's needed to keep track of loans and other important information, he said. But the random codes will have to be used to access the computer field where the Social Security numbers are, he said.