Privacy-Minded Coalition Urges Pentagon to Quash Database

Privacy-Minded Coalition Urges Pentagon to Quash Database

The Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld

Secretary of Defense

The Pentagon

Washington, DC 20301

cc: Chair Thad Cochran and Ranking Member Robert C. Byrd

Senate Committee on Appropriations

Chair John Warner and Ranking Member Carl Levin

Senate Committee on Armed Services

Chair Jerry Lewis and Ranking Member David R. Obey

House Committee on Appropriations

Chair Duncan Hunter and Ranking Member Ike Skelton

House Committee on Armed Services

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld,

We are writing in opposition to the Department of Defense's (DOD) creation of the Joint Advertising and Market Research Studies (JAMRS) Recruiting Database. It creates a single central facility within the DOD to compile, process and distribute files on individuals that would contain the personal information of 30 million U.S. residents who are 16-25 years of age.

This database was established in violation of the Privacy Act. The Privacy Act requires that agencies publish in the federal register upon establishment or revision a notice of the existence and character of the system of records. Additionally, this must be done 30 days before the publication of information under paragraph (4)(D) of the law. The maintenance of a system of records without meeting the notice requirements is a criminal violation of the Privacy Act.

We are not in opposition to those who choose to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. We do, however, strongly object to the creation of the JAMRS database. The creation of the JAMRS database is in conflict with the Privacy Act, which was passed by Congress to reduce the government's collection of personal information on Americans. The goal of JAMRS is to increase recruitment and retention by the military services. However, JAMRS goes beyond military recruitment by proposing market research studies such as ad tracking, attitudes of mothers towards military service, and polls of young adults.

The DOD has reported that it plans to include in this database Social Security Numbers, race, and educational information; and entrust this information to a commercial direct marketing company. The direct marketing company chosen by the DOD, Benow, recently acquired by the credit reporting company Equifax, does not have a privacy policy, nor has it troubled itself to enlist in a privacy seal program regarding the handling of information collected for this purpose. DOD proposes a wide range of "Blanket Routine Uses." A "routine use" is a catchall loophole in the Privacy Act that allows an agency to disclose personal information to others without the individual's consent or knowledge. The list of fourteen DOD "Blanket Routine Uses" include: disclosures to law-enforcement; state and local tax authorities; employment queries from other agencies; and disclosure of records to foreign authorities. Although individuals can opt-out recruitment solicitations, they cannot opt-out of this enormous database.

For the foregoing reasons, and because of the potential for abuse and the threat to the personal privacy rights of a generation of American youth, we request that the JAMRS project be immediately ended. For more information, contact Lillie Coney, Associate Director, the Electronic Privacy Information Center,


5-C Students for Peace in Iraq

Addison County Citizens for Alternatives to Military Service (VT)

Alliance for Democracy (Seacoast, NH)

American Civil Liberties Union

American Friends Service Committee

American Policy Center

American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee

Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (MI)

Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Bill of Rights Supporters of Fort Collins

Boston Mobilization

Carolina Peace Resource Center

Catholic Peace Fellowship (NJ)

Center on Conscience & War

Center for Democracy & Technology

Center for Digital Democracy

Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights

Center for Justice, Peace, and Environment

Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors

Central New Jersey Coalition Against Endless War

Chicagoland Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights

Citizens for an Informed Community (Bridgewater, MA)

City of New Haven Peace Commission

Clark County Airport Issues Roundtable, Vancouver Washington.

Clatsop County Bill of Rights Defense Committee (OR)

Coalition Against Militarism in our Schools

Coalition for Peace Action, (NJ)

Coalition for Peace Action, Princeton, (NJ)

Common Cause

Commonweal Institute

Community Alliance of Lane County (OR)

Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility

Conscious Alternatives to Militarism

Constitution Party National Committee

Consumer Action

Consumer Task Force for Automotive Issues

Dan Hansen Freedom Memorial Foundation

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Fairfax County Privacy Council

First Amendment Foundation

First Universalist Church of Essex Social Justice Committee (MA)

Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quaker)

Government Accountability Project

Gray Panthers of Long Beach (CA)

Greater Lowell for Peace and Justice

Greater New Haven Peace Council (CT)

Independent American Party of Nevada

Interfaith Justice and Peace Center of Northwest, OH

Iowa Peace Task Force

Just Peace Committee

League of Pissed Off Voters (Toledo, OH)

Liberty Coalition

Longmont Citizens for Justice and Democracy (CO)

Maui Community College Peace Club (HI)

Maui Interfaith-Community Peace Coalition (HI)

Maui Peace Action (HI)

Michigan Peaceworks

Mothers Against the Draft

Mothers Against the Draft Education Foundation

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

National Youth Advocacy Coalition

National Youth and Student Peace Coalition

Neither Party

Nevada Families Education Foundation

New Hampshire Faithful Democracy

New Haven Peace Council

North Shore Coalition for Peace and Justice (MA)

Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition

Ohio Home Education Coalition

Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation

Pacific Green Party

Palm Beach County Green Party

Pax Christi Long Island

Peace Action

Peterborough Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Committee

Pittsburgh Bill of Rights Defense Campaign

Port Townsend Peace Movement

Privacy Activism

Privacy Journal

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

Privacy Times

Progressive Student Alliance of the College of New Jersey

Republican Liberty Caucus

Rock the Vote

Seacoast Peace Response

Sisters of Saint Francis (Sylvania, OH)

Sound Nonviolent Opponents of War

Student and Family Rights and Privacy Committee (Toledo, OH)

Student Peace Action Network

Student/Farmworker Alliance

The Multiracial Activist

The Organizing Collective

The Rutherford Institute

Title of Liberty Foundation

Unitarian Universalist Social Responsibility Department (NH)

US Bill of Rights Foundation

US Peace Council

Vancouver for Peace (WA)

Veterans for Common Sense

Veterans For Peace chapter 099 (Asheville, NC)

Washington Truth in Recruiting (WA)

West Virginia Patriots for Peace

Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation

Women Against War

Women For: Orange County (CA)

World Privacy Forum

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