WASHINGTON - Sen. Richard C. Shelby, R-Ala., on Wednesday reintroduced legislation that would prohibit financial institutions from buying or selling Social Security numbers.

"I do not know anyone in this country who believes financial institutions should be making money by trafficking in our Social Security numbers," Sen. Shelby said in a statement.

Though the measure would ban the sale of Social Security numbers under many circumstances, it would exempt many businesses, including banks that wish to share the numbers with affiliates.

It does not contain a provision, which the financial services industry negotiated into a similar bill last year, that would give banks some leeway in using Social Security numbers for limited commercial purposes, such as identifying customers.

Separately, Reps. Asa Hutchinson, R-Ark., and Jim Moran, D-Va., introduced legislation in the House on Tuesday to create a bipartisan Privacy Protection Commission. The bill, which was narrowly defeated in the House last year, would establish a 17-member commission, appointed by the President and Congress, to examine how the financial services, high-tech, and medical industries, as well as the government itself, handle privacy.

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