It is imperative that those interested in open records support the RPAC Stop ID Theft NOW! initiative by signing the petition to notify the White House of your concerns. Secondly, I recommend notifying your elected officials of your understanding that closing the SSDI and other records won't stop identify theft.
HOW CAN I SIGN THE PETITION?
Instructions for signing up at WhiteHouse.gov and signing the petition can be found at http://fgs.org/pdf/rpac_petition.pdf. See also the FGS-SSDI FAQs and follow the guidelines for submitting your virtual signature of the petition. This involves registering, responding to an email verification, and clicking to sign the petition. It took less than a minute when Ol' Myrt did it, and I am #1770 as shown in this screen shot below.
Point A - Send this link to your friends and family via email, FB email, or to your G+ circles.
Point B - Tweet about the petition, with a link back to the registration page.
Point C - Facebook about the petition, with a link back to the registration page.
It is the Records Preservation Access Committee, a join effort of The National Genealogical Society (NGS), the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) as voting members. The Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG), the American Society of Genealogists (ASG), ProQuest and Ancestry.com serve as participating members. See more info here.
WHAT ARE THE FACTS?
RPAC made an official announcement Tuesday, 7 February 2011. Quoting in part "The Records Preservation & Access Committee (RPAC) [...] announces the launch of its Stop ID Theft NOW! campaign with its We The People petition posted at WhiteHouse.gov.
Call To Action For IRS To Do Its Job
Each year, fraudulent tax refund claims based upon identity theft from recently deceased infants and adults are filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The current target is the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) or Death Master File since this file, as found on numerous genealogy-oriented websites, could possibly be the source of identity thieves acquiring a deceased person’s Social Security number.
The IRS could close the door to this form of identity theft if, in fact, it were to use the Death Master File for the purpose for which it was created: to reduce fraud. If returns claiming a tax refund were screened against the Master Death File and matching cases identified for special processing, the thief should receive a rejection notice for the filing."
The Stop ID Theft NOW! announcement explains its more than genealogists who use the SSDI. "The SSDI is accessed by many different companies, non-profits and other entities besides individuals researching their family history. Forensic specialists utilize the SSDI when reuniting remains of military veterans with their next-of-kin and descendants. Law offices, banks and insurance companies utilize the SSDI to resolve probate cases and to locate heirs.
All of these entities would be required to spend more money and more time leveraging other resources of information when the SSDI has served this purpose, uninterrupted, for over a decade.
PLEASE help spread the word! It was only last month we successfully worked through issues with SOPA. It is amazing the power "we the people" truly have over our elected officials. Don't give up! Every signature counts!
We have until 8 March 2012 to sign the petition and we need 25,000 signatures minimum.
Get everyone in your society to sign this ~ all your family members and friends as well.
Happy family tree climbing!
DearMYRTLE,Your friend in genealogy.