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RootsTech 2016

RT2779 - Closing Death Records: Silver Bullet or Dead End ?

Session Description

The threat of Identity Theft has prompted over a thousand legislative proposals at the Federal , state or local level in recent years impacting access to vital records, the vast majority of which had the effect of limiting that access for genealogical and other purposes. The rationale used to justify these measures suggests an almost reflexive belief that the best or only way to prevent the fraudulent use of such data by identity thieves is to close the records thieves might have used. This logic carries with it the unstated assumption that no harm or costs result from closing records. We will review an on-going case study of the most dramatic modern example of this approach at the Federal level where a statute has limited access to and the content of the SSA Death Master File. Preliminary results suggest more harm than good.


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Beginner
Beginner
Traditional Class Session
1 hour