ACLU of New Jersey Opposes Release of Tenants' SSN to Government Officials

Affiliate: ACLU of New Jersey
June 21, 2007 12:00 am

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of New Jersey
Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States


NEWARK – The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey today announced that it has joined a lawsuit in the role of “friend-of-the-court” in a case concerning the privacy rights of tenants.

The lawsuit, Powder Mill Heights, et al., v. Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills, challenges a township ordinance requiring landlords to turn over the names and Social Security numbers of all tenants. The ordinance also requires that landlords provide the town with the driver’s license numbers, places of employment and phone numbers of all tenants.

“One of the core principles of our democracy, enshrined in our federal and state constitutions, is the right to privacy in your own home and control over your personal information,” said Grayson Barber, a Princeton attorney who submitted the legal brief on behalf of the ACLU-NJ. “This ordinance subjects anyone who rents a home in Parsippany-Troy Hills to a profound invasion of privacy.”

In its brief, the ACLU-NJ argued that the forced disclosure of Social Security numbers violates both federal and state statutes protecting the confidentiality of those numbers. In response to the town’s stated need to adopt the ordinance to address overcrowding, the ACLU-NJ asserted that government should only be allowed to obtain the number of tenants in each apartment, not the names or Social Security numbers of those tenants.

“Every person in New Jersey has a right to refuse the unnecessary, forced disclosure of private information to the government,” added Barber. “This is especially true given significant concerns in recent years over identity theft.”

The ACLU-NJ, in its brief, noted an Appellate Division decision that struck down a similar measure in Belmar, N.J. In that decision, the court held that the town “does not need to know the names of tenants or their addresses or other personal information to enforce an occupancy limit.”

Morris County Superior Court Judge B. Theodore Bozonelis accepted the ACLU-NJ as a friend-of-the-court on June 20, allowing the organization to participate in the lawsuit.

The brief is available online at:

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

The latest in National Security

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About National Security

National Security issue image

The ACLU’s National Security Project is dedicated to ensuring that U.S. national security policies and practices are consistent with the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights.