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KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf
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Monday, September 19, 2005

Keeping Your Child Out of the
U.S. Military Recruiter Database

From MoveOn.org:

A little-known provision in the federal [No Child Left Behind Act] is forcing public high schools all across the country to disclose the personal information of 30 million teenagers and young adults to a private marketing firm and the military. The Pentagon announced just this summer it had been collecting and using the data—including such sensitive personal information as Social Security numbers, ethnicity, GPA [grade point average], personal e-mail addresses, height, weight, and even the cell phone numbers of our kids—without their parents' permission. They had been keeping this announcement secret for more than two years—a violation of federal privacy laws and the privacy of tens of millions of young Americans.

While the law compels schools to violate the privacy of ordinary Americans, it also creates a way for families to opt out, to stop the mega-database from being used on [their children]. If you know someone between the ages of 16 and 25, spread the word: you can opt out of the database by clicking on the link below:

http://www.moveon.org/r?r=919

While government intrusion on our privacy is bad enough, the use of a corporate marketing firm for this work is even worse. The government has hired private marketing firm BeNOW, Inc. to manage the data, known as the Joint Advertising and Marketing Research Services (or JAMRS) database. BeNOW, Inc. has no statements on their web site regarding their own security or privacy policies. With increasing reports of identity theft and security breaches at private data collection firms, compiling such a vast collection of sensitive data without consent, particularly on minors, is irresponsible—even dangerous.


The JAMRS database is updated daily and distributed monthly to the four branches of the military for military recruiting purposes. Information is collected from a variety of sources, including DMV [Department of Motor Vehicles] records, SATs, and ASVAB [Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery] test results. Use the "opt out" tool to stop JAMRS from using your data or the data of your child, or forward the tool to other parents or students you know.


See also this and this.

Updated at 6:50 a.m., September 21, 2005, with additional links.

4 comments:

mokawanis said...

Greetings,
Thanks so much for the info and the link. As a father of three I'm distressed to learn the military has this kind of database.

Katharine said...

You're welcome, Mokawanis. That federal act really should be named No Child Left Unrecruited.

Jackson said...

Hi, I'm a student at hackettstown high school, and I read this in the handbook when I started. I just stumbled across your blog, and I just want to thank you for telling me this :). I'm going to spread this around the school.

Katharine said...

Please do, Jackson! I'm sure your parents don't want you to end up as cannon fodder, and I don't either. Please write back and let me know when you've opted out. I care.

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