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Woman says restriction on publishing SSNs is unconstitutional

A Hanover County woman who has made a crusade of targeting Internet publication of Social Security numbers filed suit today in federal court in Richmond to block a Virginia law that she says is aimed at her.

B.J. Ostergren has obtained from the Internet the Social Security numbers of state legislators and officials and such prominent people as Jeb Bush, Colin Powell and Joe Namath. She has published them on her own Web site and displayed them at public meetings.

This year, the General Assembly amended Virginia Code § 59.1-443.2, which generally restricted the use of Social Security numbers but contained an exception for “records required by law to be open to the public.” The amendment, which takes effect July 1, eliminates the exception.

The Virginia ACLU is representing Ostergren, who contends that the law violates her First Amendment rights. The suit names Attorney General Robert McDonnell as a defendant and asks for a declaration that the amendment is unconstitutional.

The Associated Press has the details.

By Alan Cooper

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