A federal appeals court has overturned a ruling that said the government can’t ask people to provide their 3-letter numeric PINs when it issues a credit card.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said the Justice Department violated the Constitution when it asked people to give up their 3 digits.

“The government’s argument that it is not in the government’s interest to obtain information on how the individual uses their credit card to obtain the information that it requires them to provide is just plain wrong,” the court said in a decision released Thursday.

The court’s decision was the first time a federal appeals panel has ruled against the Justice Dept. on such a point.

“If you are going to be asked to provide your PIN, why not use it to help identify a potential criminal?

You are simply asking a person to give their identity,” said Steven Biskupski, a professor at Loyola Law School.”

You are forcing them to reveal their secret, that they’re going to share,” Biskupksi said.

“That is not a neutral procedure.

You’re forcing them.”

A federal judge in Massachusetts said the agency’s request violated the Fourth Amendment, but the judge’s ruling is still pending.

The federal government asked a judge in New York to block the request.

In a statement, the Justice department said the request “is a direct assault on the integrity of the credit card transaction system.”

“We respect the law and have a robust system in place to protect the rights of consumers,” the statement said.

“But we believe it is a step too far for the government to demand that the public provide its private data without a court order.”