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Procedures to opt out of DoD database

"Leave My Child Alone" group, including Working Assets, Acorn and Mainstream Moms Operation Blue, has outlined steps parents can take to opt their children out of the Pentagon's recruitment database. Young people between 18 and 25 can take the same steps themselves.

Click here for the opt-out steps.

Here are some excerpts from "Leave My Child Alone's" website:

TO OPT OUT your child from the Pentagon's database (or to opt yourself out if you're 18 to 25), please print and fill out this form.

Then send your request to the following address:

Joint Advertising and Marketing Research & Studies Office (JAMRS)
Attention: Opt Out
4040 North Fairfax Drive, Ste. 200
Arlington, VA 22203

For more information, go to the JAMRS website:

NOTE: To Opt Out, the Department of Defense was initially requiring a social security number, but has backed off that requirement. They have also agreed to get the Opt Out information up on their site and establish an information-only 800# with prerecorded instructions re: opting out, pending approval. They have had a storm of inquiries over the past week, and say they are looking at other ways to improve the process. Consider adding some pressure in that direction to any Opt Out letters you send in. Attention: Captain Moe Brown.

According to the Pentagon Public Affairs office (at 703-428-0711), JAMRS is the organization formed by the Pentagon to oversee the development of a database of 30 million 16-25-year-olds, including name, address, email addresses, cell phone numbers, ethnicity, social security numbers and areas of study. This database is updated daily and distributed monthly to the Armed Services for recruitment purposes. You may "opt out" of this list in writing at the address above, and your child's information will be moved to a "suppression file." The Pentagon retains the information, but does not release it.

The Pentagon's Public Affairs Office read to us from a memo that the military branches had been collecting this data for years, and only contracted with the private marketing firm BeNow in 2002 to begin "consolidating the data for greater efficiency." Perhaps this is the rationale the Pentagon felt they could use to end-run the Privacy Act, which requires notification and public comment whenever new data is being compiled on individuals by any branch of government. The coalition believes that any database being "updated daily" is certainly collecting new data on our kids, and therefore falls under the notification requirements of the Privacy Act.

The coalition is urging the Pentagon to add 800# and online Opt Out options for parents and students. However, the fact that the data is maintained in a "suppression file" hardly grants parents piece of mind. With recent reports of massive security breaches at data firms, the fact that such detailed information about our sons and daughters has been in use for 3 years without parental consent or knowledge is troubling. That it is being managed by a firm (BeNow) that fails to even state a privacy or security policy on their web site is of even graver concern.

Posted by paul at June 24, 2005 08:28 PM
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