I've copied the page below from Wikipedia.

Hyperlink is: Social Security Death Index - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Maybe it's ammunition for anybody who wants to get back to Carolyn Spiers.
Is the DVA information available under FOI?

Terry Fogarty
Sunday 19 December 2010

Social Security Death Index

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The Social Security Death Index (SSDI) is a database of death records created from the United States Social Security Administration's Death Master File Extract. Most persons who have died since 1962 who had a Social Security Number (SSN) and whose death has been reported to the Social Security Administration are listed in the SSDI. For most years since 1973, the SSDI includes 93 percent to 96 percent of deaths of individuals aged 65 or older.[1] It contains the records of over 84 million people, and was last updated on September 10, 2009.

Unlike the Death Master File, the SSDI is available free online from several genealogy websites. The SSDI is a popular tool for genealogists and biographers because it contains valuable genealogical data.

The data includes:

  • Given name and surname; and since the 1990s, middle initial
  • Date of birth
  • Month and year of death; or full date of death for accounts active in 2000 or later
  • Social Security number
  • State or territory where the Social Security number was issued
  • Last place of residence while the person was alive ZIP code

Once a deceased person is found in the database, the person's application for Social Security card (Form SS-5) can be ordered from the Social Security Administration. The SS-5 contains additional genealogical data, such as birth place, father's name, and mother's full maiden name.

Given the growing problem of identity theft and the importance of the Social Security number as a personal identifier in the United States, it might seem unusual that these identifiers are released publicly. However, because the documents held by the Social Security Administration are government records, it is required to make the information public under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In fact, the Death Master File is used to prevent fraud so that no one can steal the identity of a dead person, and take out a credit card or a bank loan in a dead person's name.

A recent government audit revealed that the Social Security Administration had incorrectly listed 23,000 people as dead in a two-year period. These people have sometimes faced difficulties in convincing government agencies that they are actually alive; a 2008 story in the Nashville area focused on a woman who was incorrectly flagged as dead in the Social Security computers in 2000 and has had difficulties, such as having health insurance canceled and electronically filed tax returns rejected. This story also noted that people in this situation can be highly vulnerable to identity theft because of the release of their Social Security numbers.[2]

 

From: John R Howard [mailto:john.howard6@bigpond.com]
Sent: Tuesday, 23 November 2010 11:56 AM
To: Allen Petersen
Cc: Terry Fogarty
Subject: RE: VIETNAM VETERANS MORTALITY WEBSITE

 

Thanks Allen & Clive,

 

One day some one will get through to  people like Carolyn Spiers, that they are not Gods who control the entire universe of life and death, but human beings that can  use some common sense when making their decisions .

I find  the following sentence "Although information about dead people is not technically considered to be personal information, Agencies are encouraged to respect the sensitivities of family members when using or disclosing it" (Guidelines to the Information Privacy Principles. Agencies are encouraged to respect the sensitivities of family members when using or disclosing it" (Guidelines to the Information Privacy Principles)." to be  "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD" and it's no wonder that the majority of people in this country of ours, have no trust in their Politicians and their lackeys in the Commonwealth Public Service

 

Regards,

 

John H

 

John R Howard

 

Malaysia, Borneo, Vietnam Veteran & and a "RIPPED OFF" DFRDB Superannuant. 

I am continually updating Terry Fogarty's Vietnam Veterans Mortality Website and it would be appreciated if you could notify me of the details of our departed Vietnam Veteran Mates [all past/present deaths included] I will continue to update the web site on the Ist of the Month basis.  john.howard6@bigpond.com

The MORTALITY SITE WAS LAST UPDATED ON THE 1st November 2010, YOU CAN VIEW IT BY USING THE LINK IN BLUE BELOW.

 The website is located at  http://amvif.com/mortality/ 

 

"OUR LIVES BEGIN TO END, THE DAY WE BECOME SILENT ABOUT THINGS  THAT MATTER"          MARTIN LUTHER KIN

 

From: Allen Petersen [mailto:petersaj@bigpond.net.au]
Sent: Tuesday, 23 November 2010 10:40 AM
To: Terry Fogarty
Cc: John R Howard; Gwen Collins
Subject: RE: VIETNAM VETERANS MORTALITY WEBSITE

  

From: Spiers, Carolyn

To: petersaj@bigpond.net.au ; cmt@cyberone.com.au

Sent: Tuesday, November 23, 2010 8:28 AM

Subject: FW: VIETNAM VETERANS MORTALITY WEBSITE [SEC=UNCLASSIFIED]

 

Dear  Mr Petersen and Mr Mitchell-Taylor,

 

You have indicated that you have some reservations about the advice I provided below.   As indicated in my initial email, you are correct in your  assessment that the Privacy Act 1988 (with the exception of Part VIA) does not apply to individuals after death.    However, the Federal Privacy Commissioner has stated that "Although information about dead people is not technically considered to be personal information, Agencies are encouraged to respect the sensitivities of family members when using or disclosing it" (Guidelines to the Information Privacy Principles). 

 

The Department has interpreted this statement to mean where possible and appropriate a deceased person's personal information is treated as if it were subject to the Information Privacy Principles. It is for this reason information on deceased Vietnam veterans will not be released directly to the operators of the Vietnam Veterans Mortality website.

 

The service records of deceased individuals are available for view under the Archives Act 1983 and not under either the Privacy Act 1988 or the Freedom of Information Act 1982.  In general the Archives Act 1983 provides access to records that are over 30 years old.  The National Archives provides a fact sheet on the relationship between the Freedom of Information, Archives and Privacy Acts.  I have included the link for  your reference.

 

http://www.naa.gov.au/about-us/publications/fact-sheets/fs110.aspx

 

I do not consider that there is two different interpretations of the Privacy Act 1988 being applied to the information you refer to.  Information has simply been considered for release under two different Acts which provide for different disclosure.    Whilst I appreciate your request for up to date information on deceased Vietnam veterans it is important (and consistent with the views of the Federal Privacy Commissioner) to be sensitive of the views of family members when disclosing this information.    It is for this reason the information will not be released directly to the operators of the Vietnam Veterans Mortality website.   In addition, I reiterate my previous advice that the Department does not hold information about all Vietnam veterans but only those in receipt of payments made by the Department.

 

I hope this advice clarifies the reasons the Department will not disclosure information about deceased Vietnam veterans.  Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require further information.

 

Regards

 

Carolyn Spiers

 

From: Allen Petersen [mailto:petersaj@bigpond.net.au]
Sent: Sunday, 21 November 2010 6:55 PM
To: Terry Fogarty
Cc: John R Howard
Subject: VIETNAM VETERANS MORTALITY WEBSITE

 

From: Clive Mitchell-Taylor OAM JP

To: 'Allen Petersen'

Cc: Spiers, Carolyn

Sent: Friday, November 19, 2010 3:33 PM

Subject: RE: VIETNAM VETERANS MORTALITY WEBSITE

 

Allen and Carolyn,

My apologies that it’s taken a little time for me to get to this but frankly, I have some reservations about the advice provided by DVA.

How can privacy laws be applied to someone who is dead?  Privacy laws apply to individuals who are defined within the act as “natural persons”.  A natural person has to be alive don’t they?    Researching the topic on the internet shows sites such as the Suicide Callback Service which specifically states that the Privacy Act does not apply to individuals after death.  Peter Timmins, a privacy and FOI lawyer confirms this, with the exception of Part VIA which applies specifically to the deceased.

To cut to the chase, why are the service records of deceased individuals available for view?  The same Act applies to DVA and the National Archives of  Australia doesn’t it?  Why then are there two different interpretations of the Act? 

Best regards,
Clive

For Allen Petersen's original email and Carolyn Spiers reply use hyperlink in cell below this.


Allen Petersen has generated some action on this matter.

Details on hyperlink below:

Future Of The Mortality Files
 

Web Site Statistics
For "amvif.com" not just "Mortality Files".
December figures only include up to Dec 4.


 

Future of the "Mortality Files"

 

DVA's New Online Nominal Roll of Vietnam Veterans has been telegraphed for over a year now. Whilst there is no method of accessing the dates of death of Vietnam Veterans since their Vietnam Service I believe DVA have the information (It's supplied by undertakers and others) and technically it could be readily made available.

 

There should be no objections because of the "Privacy Principles". The same "Privacy Principles" apply to a lot of the information already made public in the online nominal roll.

 

They could provide a vastly superior service to what I provide.

I've written to the new Minister - hyperlink to copy of letter below.

It's a fairly low cost option which has a number of potential applications.

 

John Howard is updating the Excel files so you can send him any information.

I'll upload John's files as he send them to me. The first update is on the web site.

John's email is: john.howard6@bigpond.com

 

 

Terry FOGARTY

Wednesday 5th March, 2008


Letter to Minister

20080512 Reply from Minister.pdf

 

Hyperlinks above should work - please let me know if they don't.

Letters are to and from Alan Griffin in 2008.


Terry FOGARTY
Wednesday 10th November, 2010