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Defense Privacy Board Advisory Opinions
DISCLOSURE OF THE ORIGINAL, PRE–1968, SERIAL NUMBER (SERVICE NUMBER) ASSIGNED TO MILITARY PERSONNEL
The original serial number, later called the service number, which military services assigned to military personnel until 1968 when it was replaced by the Social Security number (SSN), does not constitute information which cannot be disclosed to third parties. The old serial/service number did not have the same significance or importance as the SSN. The serial/service number, in and of itself, is no longer a personal identifier. Unlike the SSN, it cannot be used to facilitate linkage, consolidation, or exchange of information about an individual through multiple data banks, even within the Department of Defense (DoD). Therefore, disclosure may be made of orders and similar documents which comprise listings of names and serial/service numbers without expunging such numbers, with no invasion of personal privacy. The old serial/service number should not be confused with the SSN which can unlock innumerable data bases and provide access to much information about the individual, both inside and outside DoD.