SSDI — Another Bill Restricting Access — SB 676

With thanks to Jan Meisels Allan.

While the press release by Senator Nelson did not include mention of the DMF/SSDI- although his opening hearing comments did, the actual bill language is now published and it is much more extensive than what was included in the press release.

 

On April 9 Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) introduced SB 676 along with Senators Feinstein (D-CA) and Schumer (D-NY). The bill restricts access to the Death Master File–of which the Social Security Death Index is the commercial version. Title III of the bill restricts access for the year of death or two succeeding calendar years unless the person is certified under the program by the Secretary of Commerce. Persons who may be certified include legitimate interest in preventing fraud or unauthorized financial transactions, applicable law, regulation, court order, or fiduciary duty, facilitate administration of an insurance policy and credit reporting. There are no provisions for genealogists to be certified. The bill also permits the Social Security Administration not to be compelled to provide information on Social Security information to those who are not certified. The bill also calls for cessation of Social Security numbers on Medicare cards and Medicare correspondence and contains provisions on penalties for those who fraudulently use another’s  identity expedited refunds for fraud and abuse victims and more.

 

To read the bill go to: http://tinyurl.com/btf35vh

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113s676is/pdf/BILLS-113s676is.pdf

 

 

Jan Meisels Allen

IAJGS Vice President

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

 

 

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Texas — Update Pending

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Oregon — Update Pending

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Washington State — Update Pending

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Oklahoma Surprises — Update pending

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Georgia Archives — Update Pending

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RootsTech Aftershocks — Update Pending

1. GenealogicalPrivacy.org

2. Review of Guidelines and Best Practices

3. What can 501(c)(3)’s Do?

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RPAC at RootsTech

With over 6700 attendees pre-registered for the event  held in Salt Lake City this past week,  the Third Annual version of the RootsTech Conference has become the largest genealogical conference held in the United States.

On each of the three days of the conference there was held at least one session addressing records access issues of interest to genealogists.

On Thursday, David Rencher, Chief Genealogical Officer at Family Search and David Lifferth, Utah State Legislator discussed “Legal and Legislative Issues Facing Genealogists.”  A copy of their syllabus materials will be found here:  Legal_and_Legislative_Issues_Facing_Genealogists

Friday afternoon featured a well-attended  “Unconferencing “ session entitled  “Genealogists, Technologists, Privacy Advocates:  We REALLY need to talk!” which was moderated by prominent blogger Dick Eastman.  A spirited discussion followed introductory material presented by (1) Fred Moss, FGS Legal Advisor & RPAC  member, (2) J . Bradley Jansen, Director, Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights , and  (3) Jim Dempsey, Vice President for Public Policy, Center for Democracy & Technology.  One focus was the role that RPAC is playing since joining the Digital Due Process Coalition last November.   http://www.digitaldueprocess.org   Jansen announced the launch that day of a new blog site addressing genealogical privacy issues found at: http://www.genealogicalprivacy.org/   This site was added that evening to http://www.cyndislist.com/genealogy-website/privacy/articles/  by Cyndi Howells who also participated in this session.

The National Genealogical Society-sponsored luncheon on Saturday featured NGS President Jordan Jones addressing “Internet Privacy and Security: Follies and Foibles.”  The slides from his presentation are available at:  http://www.slideshare.net/genealogymedia

Much more to come. Stay tuned.

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RPAC Alert — 2011 Revision of Model State Vital Statistics Act

Background: Many state vital records registrars have been operating since 1992 under state legislation based on the last approved Model State Vital Statistics Act which includes restrictions on access to birth records for 100 years and death, marriage, and divorce records for 50 years. The Model State Vital Statistics Act was developed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a US government agency under the Department of Health and Human Services. The 1992 Model Act currently in effect, may be read at: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/misc/mvsact92b.pdf

A Working Group, consisting primarily of state and local vital statistics executives, was formed in 2009 to update the Model Act and after distributing a draft to vital records officers for comments in 2011, reported out their work as the 2011 Revision in May 2011. The draft was not distributed to the genealogical community for comments. In June 2011 the National Association for Public Health Statistics and Information Systems (NAPHSIS) endorsed the 2011 Revision of the Model State Vital Statistics Act and Regulations and encouraged state vital registration executives to introduce legislation which supported the 2011 Draft Revision. The proposed Model Act extends the closure periods to 125 years after the date of a live birth, 75 years after the date of death, or 100 years after the date of marriage or divorce.  RPAC has responded to each state initiative when we were notified of pending legislation. You can read the proposed 2011 Model Act http://www.naphsis.org/about/Documents/FinalMODELLAWSeptember72011.pdf

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) put the 2011 Revision “on hold” in April 2012. RPAC has contacted the Department of Health and Human Services and requested that prior to adoption, the proposed 2011 Revised Model Act should be made available for public review and comment.

Action Steps: Recently we have seen bills introduced in several states in which the language used may have been suggested by the 2011 Revision and we fear more restrictive vital records legislation may be introduced in additional states during the current legislative sessions.  Bills may be introduced under the guise of “privacy” legislation. If you learn of any pending “vital records” legislation in your state, please notify RPAC immediately at access@fgs.org. Also visit the RPAC website at www.FGS.org/RPAC and review the “State Tool Kit for State Liaisons” developed by Jan Meisels Allen on how to contact your state legislators. It is important for genealogists to write their legislators and request that their leaders be asked to testify at hearings. The states do not have to follow the 2011 Revised Model Act, so based upon the existing closure periods, you have an opportunity to influence the outcome.

RPAC is a joint committee of FGS, NGS, and IAJGS as voting members. The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), International Commission for the Accreditation of Professional Genealogists (ICAPGen), and the American Society of Genealogists (ASG) also serve as participating members. By invitation, RPAC also includes participation from a few commercial providers of genealogical information. RPAC meets monthly to inform and advise the genealogical community on ensuring proper access to vital records and on supporting strong records preservation policies and practices at the federal, state, and occasionally the local level.

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Another Bill Introduced Regarding Identity Theft HR 926

With thanks to Jan Meisels Allen and Ken Ryesky, the IAJGS representatives to RPAC:

HR 926,  introduced by Rep. Thomas Petri (R-WI), co-sponsored by John Duncan Jr. (R-TN), Walter Jones (R-NC) and Michael Grimm (R-NY) is the fourth bill so far addressing identity theft but does NOT address the commercial version of the Death Master File known as the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).

HR 926 is entitled, “Social Security Identity Defense Act of 2013”.  This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code relative to information regarding disclosure that would affect identity theft such as a fraudulent use of a social security number, including that used in employment. It provides: requirements to notify the person whose Social Security number is being fraudulently used;  sanctions against employers who knowingly use the fraudulent Social Security Numbers;  and establishes a process for reporting misuse of Social Security numbers to the FBI and other government agencies.  To read the bill see: http://tinyurl.com/bhr88ze

Original url:

http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr926ih/pdf/BILLS-113hr926ih.pdf

Thank you to Ken Ryesky, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee member for alerting us to this bill.  It is worth monitoring as bills do get amended in committee.

Jan Meisels Allen

IAJGS Vice President

Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

 

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