Yesterday, I published an announcement from Fred Moss of the Records Preservation and Access Committee, a joint committee of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, the National Genealogical Society, and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies/ Today, Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee added some more details:
… the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice) describing a rule that would, if implemented, establish, pursuant to Section 203 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (Pub. L. 113-67), a certification program to replace the temporary certification program currently in place for access to the Death Master File (DMF). While the NTIS expected the Federal Register to publish the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on December 24, the Federal Register published it today, December 30. The deadline for comments to be submitted is January 29, 2015. To read the proposed rule see: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-12-30/pdf/2014-30199.pdf.
The purpose is to reduce opportunities for identity theft and restrict information sources used in filing fraudulent tax returns. The requirements spelled out in the proposed rule follow the requirements established last year in Congress’ s passage of Section 203 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (Pub. L. 113-67). The rule establishes those who can have immediate access to the Limited Access Death Master File for those users who demonstrate a legitimate fraud prevention interest of a legitimate business purpose for the information.
One of the “positive” changes is the provision if someone provides the data element(s) that are included in the DMF (name, social security number, date of birth, or date of death) whether that person is certified or not, and the information is obtained independent of the Limited DMF, the information is not considered part of the Limited Access DMF. However, if a certified person receives this information independent from the Limited Access DMF it is not considered part of the DMF if the NTIS source information is replaced with the newly provided information. This is one area the proposed rule is requesting the public to comment.
One of the more onerous provisions, especially for genealogists, is the required security audits by independent third party assessment bodies and requirements to meet those standards. These assessments are required to become certified. The person must submit a written attestation from an Accredited Certification Body that the applicant has information security systems, facilities, and procedures in place to protect the security of the DMF information.
There are penalties ranging from $1,000 to $250,000 for the certified person unauthorized disclosure of the information.
There is no specific mention of the charges that NTIS will impose for accessing the data once the person is certified. However, the current fees are substantial. These are fees in addition to the certification fee—which the proposed rule states NTIS will charge but not what they charge. Currently they are charging $200 for the certification fee only.
For those who are considering applying for certification I suggest you read Dee Dee King’s article on her experience of becoming certified. Not only is the access to the information very costly, the restricted database no longer provides many of the data elements we were used to in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI)—the commercial version of the DMF, nor does it have a search engine that the genealogical firms used that facilitated the search.
Dee Dee’s article : http://tinyurl.com/kr9g48z (Original url:
IAJGS along with other members of the Records Preservation and Access Committee will be submitting our comments by the designated January 29, 2015 deadline.
Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee