Defense Dept. Settles Suit On Database For Recruiting

Defense Dept. Settles Suit On Database For Recruiting
January 10th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Defense Dept. Settles Suit On Database For Recruiting

Defense Dept. Settles Suit On Database For Recruiting
New York Times
January 10, 2007
Pg. 19

By Adam Liptak
The Defense Department yesterday announced changes in how it will treat information in an enormous military recruiting database.
The changes are part of the settlement of a lawsuit brought by the New York Civil Liberties Union on behalf of six New York City high school students that challenged the legality of the way information in the database was collected and used.
The database, the Joint Advertising, Market Research and Studies Program, is, according to court papers, probably the largest repository of information concerning 16-to-25-year-olds. It includes names, ages, sex, races, addresses, phone and Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, schools attended, fields of study and grades. The information is collected or bought from high schools, motor vehicle departments and commercial vendors, and is used to identify and contact military recruiting prospects.
The Defense Department agreed to use the database only for recruiting, giving up the possibility of sharing it with law enforcement and intelligence agencies. It agreed to destroy information on individuals after three years rather than five years or longer.
The department also agreed to collect Social Security numbers only from the Selective Service System.
Perhaps most significantly, it established a way for people to opt out of the database. The civil liberties group has posted a form letter on its Web site to that end, along with form letters meant to be sent to newspapers applauding the settlement and chastising the Defense Department.
Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the civil liberties group, said that the settlement was a positive step, but that more remained to be done.
“Is it going to stop overaggressive recruiting?” Ms. Lieberman asked. “Of course not. Is it going to stop recruiting that specifically targets people of color? No.”
In a statement, the group said it was frustrated that the department refused to stop collecting information about students’ race and ethnicity. It said the military was engaged in efforts “to target racial and ethnic minorities, especially from African-American and Latino communities, for aggressive recruitment campaigns.”
Maj. Stewart Upton, a Defense Department spokesman, defended the recruiting efforts. “In continuing to ensure that the military is representative of the American populace,” Major Upton said, “we must communicate with all audiences to ensure that they are aware of the opportunity to serve in today’s military.”
Eleni Angelos Healey, a senior at Trinity School in Manhattan and one of the plaintiffs in the suit, said she had been harassed by letters and e-mail from military recruiters. Her repeated efforts to stop them had failed, she said.
“I’m really glad,” Ms. Healey said, “that there’s going to be a much easier way for kids to get their names off these lists as soon as possible.”

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