The Privacy Coalition

About the Privacy Coalition

The Privacy Coalition is a nonpartisan coalition of consumer, civil liberties, educational, family, library, labor, and technology organizations that have agreed to the Privacy Pledge. The organization formed in February 2001.

Contact Information

If you are interested in joining the Privacy Coalition or signing the Privacy Pledge, please send an e-mail to for more information.

DOD Database Campaign Coalition Letter

The Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld
Secretary of Defense
The Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld,

We are writing in opposition to the Department of Defense's (DOD) creation of the Joint Advertising and Market Research Studies (JAMRS) Recruiting Database. It creates a single central facility within the DOD to compile, process and distribute files on individuals that would contain the personal information of 30 million U.S. residents who are 16-25 years of age.

This database was established in violation of the Privacy Act. The Privacy Act requires that agencies publish in the federal register upon establishment or revision a notice of the existence and character of the system of records. Additionally, this must be done 30 days before the publication of information under paragraph (4)(D) of the law. The maintenance of a system of records without meeting the notice requirements is a criminal violation of the Privacy Act.

We are not in opposition to those who choose to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces. We do, however, strongly object to the creation of the JAMRS database. The creation of the JAMRS database is in conflict with the Privacy Act, which was passed by Congress to reduce the government's collection of personal information on Americans. The goal of JAMRS is to increase recruitment and retention by the military services. However, JAMRS goes beyond military recruitment by proposing market research studies such as ad tracking, attitudes of mothers towards military service, and polls of young adults.

The DOD has reported that it plans to include in this database Social Security Numbers, race, and educational information; and entrust this information to a commercial direct marketing company. The direct marketing company chosen by the DOD, Benow, recently acquired by the credit reporting company Equifax, does not have a privacy policy, nor has it troubled itself to enlist in a privacy seal program regarding the handling of information collected for this purpose. DOD proposes a wide range of "Blanket Routine Uses." A "routine use" is a catchall loophole in the Privacy Act that allows an agency to disclose personal information to others without the individual's consent or knowledge. The list of fourteen DOD "Blanket Routine Uses" include: disclosures to law-enforcement; state and local tax authorities; employment queries from other agencies; and disclosure of records to foreign authorities. Although individuals can opt-out recruitment solicitations, they cannot opt-out of this enormous database.

For the foregoing reasons, and because of the potential for abuse and the threat to the personal privacy rights of a generation of American youth, we request that the JAMRS project be immediately ended. For more information, contact Lillie Coney, Associate Director, the Electronic Privacy Information Center,


5-C Students for Peace in Iraq
Addison County Citizens for Alternatives to Military Service (VT)
Alliance for Democracy (Seacoast, NH)
American Civil Liberties Union
American Friends Service Committee
American Policy Center
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (MI)
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Bill of Rights Supporters of Fort Collins
Boston Mobilization
Carolina Peace Resource Center
Catholic Peace Fellowship (NJ)
Center on Conscience & War
Center for Democracy & Technology
Center for Digital Democracy
Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights
Center for Justice, Peace, and Environment
Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors
Central New Jersey Coalition Against Endless War
Chicagoland Coalition for Civil Liberties and Rights
Citizens for an Informed Community (Bridgewater, MA)
City of New Haven Peace Commission
Clark County Airport Issues Roundtable, Vancouver Washington.
Clatsop County Bill of Rights Defense Committee (OR)
Coalition Against Militarism in our Schools
Coalition for Peace Action, (NJ)
Coalition for Peace Action, Princeton, (NJ)
Common Cause
Commonweal Institute
Community Alliance of Lane County (OR)
Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility
Conscious Alternatives to Militarism
Constitution Party National Committee
Consumer Action
Consumer Task Force for Automotive Issues
Dan Hansen Freedom Memorial Foundation
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Fairfax County Privacy Council
First Amendment Foundation
First Universalist Church of Essex Social Justice Committee (MA)
Friends Committee on National Legislation (Quaker)
Government Accountability Project
Gray Panthers of Long Beach (CA)
Greater Lowell for Peace and Justice
Greater New Haven Peace Council (CT)
Independent American Party of Nevada
Interfaith Justice and Peace Center of Northwest, OH
Iowa Peace Task Force
Just Peace Committee
League of Pissed Off Voters (Toledo, OH)
Liberty Coalition
Longmont Citizens for Justice and Democracy (CO)
Maui Community College Peace Club (HI)
Maui Interfaith-Community Peace Coalition (HI)
Maui Peace Action (HI)
Michigan Peaceworks
Mothers Against the Draft
Mothers Against the Draft Education Foundation
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Youth Advocacy Coalition
National Youth and Student Peace Coalition
Neither Party
Nevada Families Education Foundation
New Hampshire Faithful Democracy
New Haven Peace Council
North Shore Coalition for Peace and Justice (MA)
Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition
Ohio Home Education Coalition
Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation
Pacific Green Party
Palm Beach County Green Party
Pax Christi Long Island
Peace Action
Peterborough Unitarian Universalist Social Justice Committee
Pittsburgh Bill of Rights Defense Campaign
Port Townsend Peace Movement
Privacy Activism
Privacy Journal
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Privacy Times
Progressive Student Alliance of the College of New Jersey
Republican Liberty Caucus
Rock the Vote
Seacoast Peace Response
Sisters of Saint Francis (Sylvania, OH)
Sound Nonviolent Opponents of War
Student and Family Rights and Privacy Committee (Toledo, OH)
Student Peace Action Network
Student/Farmworker Alliance
The Multiracial Activist
The Organizing Collective
The Rutherford Institute
Title of Liberty Foundation
Unitarian Universalist Social Responsibility Department (NH)
US Bill of Rights Foundation
US Peace Council
Vancouver for Peace (WA)
Veterans for Common Sense
Veterans For Peace chapter 099 (Asheville, NC)
Washington Truth in Recruiting (WA)
West Virginia Patriots for Peace
Western Washington Fellowship of Reconciliation
Women Against War
Women For: Orange County (CA)
World Privacy Forum

cc: Chair Thad Cochran and Ranking Member Robert C. Byrd
Senate Committee on Appropriations

Chair John Warner and Ranking Member Carl Levin
Senate Committee on Armed Services

Chair Jerry Lewis and Ranking Member David R. Obey
House Committee on Appropriations

Chair Duncan Hunter and Ranking Member Ike Skelton
House Committee on Armed Services