Mothers Against the Draft Joins “Dump The Database” Coalition Calling for End to Commercial Database

Department of Defense database places our children and grandchildren at risk.

(PRWEB) October 18, 2005 — Mothers Against the Draft joined over one hundred local, state and national organizations today in urging Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to end the "Joint Advertising and Market Research Studies" (JAMRS) Recruiting Database.

“We’re outraged by the Pentagon’s predatory and illegal actions and in full support of this effort to end the JAMRS recruitment database,” stated Janine Hansen, Chairman of Mothers Against the Draft (MAD). “Particularly troubling is the fact that the Pentagon compiled this massive, centralized database in secrecy, and has been using it for three years before giving public notice as required by the Privacy Act.”

The Joint Advertising and Market Research Recruiting Database (JAMRS), created with the aid of a private marketing firm, contains extensive information on 30 million young Americans between the ages of 16 to 25. Updated daily with new records, JAMRS includes such information as social security numbers, ethnicity, grade point averages, areas of study, height, weight, postal and email addresses, selective service registration and phone numbers. The proposed uses include disclosures to law-enforcement, state and local tax authorities, employment queries from other agencies and disclosure of records to foreign authorities.

“The Pentagon’s use of the secret database places our children at risk,” stated Hansen. “The broad exemptions to federal privacy laws would allow the Defense Department to disclose personal/private information about our children and grandchildren to countless others without parental consent or knowledge. How can parents protect their children from predators when the government provides such broad access to their personal information?”

The sources of information for the Department of Defense (DOD) database include the High School Master File and the College Students’ Files, which are compiled for purposes that are unrelated to an interest in military service or recruitment. The High School Master File is created from information provided by state motor vehicle departments and the commercial brokers American Student List and Student Marketing Group.

American Student List sells databases of children's names in grades K-12 overlaid with data on sex, age, whether they own a telephone, income, religion and the child’s race or ethnicity. This information is often obtained from surveys under the pretense of college admissions and other education-related purposes administered while children are at school.

“We support the men and women of the U.S. Armed Services, but we strongly object to the Department of Defense (DOD) decision to create the JAMRS database,” declared Debbie Hopper, MAD’s Vice Chairman. “The very existence of the database is an unlawful and unwarranted violation of the privacy rights of our children and provides a clear warning to every mother in America that the Department of Defense, desperate to fill boots on the ground, is more than willing to circumvent the law to ensure that no child is left un-recruited.”

“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,” Hansen said. “In joining this broad coalition we encourage all mothers and fathers to help protect the privacy rights of a generation of young people.”

Students of majority age or parents of minor children can elect to have a student’s information “suppressed” from the Pentagon’s new database by submitting and “opt-out” form in writing to JAMRS. Forms are available at www.mothersagainstthedraft.org

Contact:
Janine Hansen 775-397-6859
Debbie Hopper 636-861-7052
www.mothersagainstthedraft.org
186 Ryndon Unit 12
Elko, Nevada 89801
775-356-9009

Background information courtesy of the Electronic Privacy Information Center:

Coalition Letter Opposing Defense Dept. Database
http://privacycoalition.org/nododdatabase/letter.html

Background on DOD Recruiting Database
http://epic.org/privacy/student/doddatabase.html

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