An Express Article from the California Land Title Association
Bulletin 07/08-48 - October 29, 2007
Governor Schwarzenegger signed legislation to create a Social Security Number Truncation Program. The law requires a dual recording system in order to truncate pre-existing records containing social security numbers. The legislation, Chapter 627 (Assembly Bill 1168 – Jones), also prohibits any person from presenting for recording any document that displays more than the last 4 digits of a social security number.
The act essentially requires county recorders to begin to create a dual set of records, (“official records” and “public records”), so that recorded documents available to the public in “public records” no longer display entire social security numbers. The intended result is that documents recorded from 1980-2008 be in electronic format as public records with the social security numbers truncated down to the last 4 digits. The law does provide that its provisions shall not restrict access to any official record prior to the creation and availability of a public record version of the official record.
A county recorder is authorized to charge an additional recording fee of $1 to implement the program once the fee is approved by the Board of Supervisors. However, a recorder isn’t required to create a public record version of the official record if the recorder determines the fee is insufficient. Nevertheless, if the extra fee is sufficient to create a public record version of a fraction of the official record the recorder is required to create a public record version only of that fraction.
Filings with local agencies, other that the county recorder, cannot display any digit of a social security number. The new law also requires the Franchise Tax Board to truncate social security numbers on liens before disclosing them to the public.
CLTA was the only organization that originally opposed the legislation, and was able to add a number of amendments which were intended to ensure continued access by title companies to county recorder records without incurring additional costs.
To view the bill text in its entirety, please click on this link: Chapter 627 (PDF)