The National Council of
Investigation and Security Services

The National Voice of the Private Investigation & Security Profession

NCISS

7501 Sparrows Point Blvd.
Baltimore, Maryland 21219
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Legislation Alerts

12/16/2013 - NCISS Legislative Alert - Death Master File Incorporated Into House Budget


Below is a short analysis of the Death Master File (DMF) language as it was incorporated into the budget agreement that just passed the House.

Outlook for the overall measure is unclear in the Senate, but smart money says, in whatever eventually comes out of the process, this provision will likely be included in some form.  That it made it into this agreement without prior notice, in addition to the fact that it's not totally germane to the bill,  indicates that senior Members consider this a priority.

The upshot of the measure is that the Secretary.of Commerce will not disclose any information on the DMF for a period of three years following an individual's death, EXCEPT to "persons" who are certified under a program, administered by Commerce, and who:

(A)  have --
     (i)  a legitimate fraud prevention interest, or
     (ii)  a legitimate business purpose pursuant to a law, governmental rule, regulation, or fiduciary duty, and,

(B) has systems, facilities, and procedures in place to safeguard such information, and experience in maintaining the confidentiality, security, and appropriate use of such information, pursuant to requirements similar to the requirements of section 6103(p)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and

(C) agrees to satisfy the requirements of such section 6103(p)(4) as if such section applied to such person.

Penalties not to exceed $250,000 will imposed for violations, except in cases of willful violations, where fines can go higher.
It would appear that NCISS members can, by and large, meet the conditions of subsection

(A) detailed above. 
Such entities are also subject to periodic audits.
How the Department of Commerce will interpret this language and structure the certification program is as yet unclear (i.e. how will they define "person"; will there be some sort of blanket criteria for certain industries vs. individualized determinations; and what the requirements for "systems" that maintain confidentiality, etc. will be. etc.)

Consequently, if this language (or any similar measure)is signed into law, NCISS will have to participate in the promulgation of the downstream regulations issued by Commerce to preserve NCISS Member abilities to access the DMF, including participating in Agency discussions, submitting comments from the organization and from individual members, etc.

The text of the legislative language is added below

Sincerely,

The Legislative Advocacy Team from  
 

Francie Koehler
NCISS Legislative Chair
francie@nciss.org
 
7501 Sparrows Point Boulevard
Baltimore, Maryland 21219-1927

T-(800) 445-8408  F-(410) 388-9746
www.nciss.org

 (Permission granted to repost this message) 

SEC. 203. RESTRICTION ON ACCESS TO THE DEATH MASTER FILE.Commerce shall not disclose to any person information contained on the Death Master File with respect to any deceased individual at any time during the 3-calendar-year period beginning on the date of the individual's death, unless such person is certified under the program established under sub-section (b).ION PROGRAM.-1) IN GENERAL.-The Secretary of Commerce shall establish a program-  (A) to certify persons who are eligible to access the information described in subsection (a) contained on the Death Master File, and  (B) to perform periodic and unscheduled audits of certified persons to determine the compliance by such certified persons with the requirements of the program.2) CERTIFICATION.-A person shall not be certified under the program established under paragraph (1) unless such person certifies that access to the information described in subsection (a) is appropriate because such person-) has-(i) a legitimate fraud prevention interest, ori) a legitimate business purpose pursuant to a law, governmental rule, regulation, or fiduciary duty, andB) has systems, facilities, and procedures in place to safeguard such information, and experience in maintaining the confidentiality, security, and appropriate use of such information, pursuant to requirements similar to the requirements of section 6103(p)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, andC) agrees to satisfy the requirements of such section 6103(p)(4) as if such section applied to such person.) FEES.-(A)  IN GENERAL.-The Secretary of Commerce shall establish under section 9701 of title 3, United States Code, a program for the charge of fees sufficient to cover (but not to exceed) all costs associated with evaluating applications for certification and auditing, inspecting, and monitoring certified persons under the program. Any fees so collected shall be deposited and credited as offsetting collections to the accounts from which such costs are paid.(B) REPORT.-The Secretary of Commerce shall report on an annual basis to the Committee on Finance of the Senate and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives on the total fees collected during the preceding year and the cost of administering the certification program under this subsection for such year.c) IMPOSITION OF PENALTY.-(1) IN GENERAL.-Any person who is certified under the program established under subsection (b), who receives information described in subsection (a), and who during the period of time described in subsection (a)- discloses such information to any person other than a person who meets the requirements of subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) of subsection (b)(2),discloses such information to any person who uses the information for any purpose not listed under subsection (b)(2)(A) or who further discloses the information to a person who does not meet such requirements, or (C) uses any such information for any purpose not listed under subsection (b)(2)(A), and any person to whom such information is disclosed who further discloses or uses such information as described in the preceding subparagraphs, shall pay a penalty of $1,000 for each such disclosure or use.2) LIMITATION ON PENALTY.-
(A) IN GENERAL.-The total amount of the penalty imposed under this subsection on any person for any calendar year shall not ex-ceed $250,000.(B) EXCEPTION FOR WILLFUL VIOLATIONS.-Subparagraph (A) shall not apply in the case of violations under paragraph (1) that the Secretary of Commerce determines to be willful or intentional violations.d) DEATH MASTER FILE.- For purposes of this section, the term ''Death Master File'' means information on the name, social security account number, date of birth, and date of death of deceased individuals maintained by the Commissioner of Social Security, other than information that was provided to such Commissioner under section 205(r) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405(r)).(e) EXEMPTION FROM FREEDOM OF INFORMATION  ACT REQUIREMENT WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN RECORDS OF DECEASED INDIVIDUALS.-SEC. 203. RESTRICTION ON ACCESS TO THE DEATH MASTER FILE.

SEC. 203. RESTRICTION ON ACCESS TO THE DEATH MASTER FILE.

(a) IN GENERAL.-The Secretary of Commerce shall not disclose to any person information contained on the Death Master File with respect to any deceased individual at any time during the 3-calendar-year period beginning on the date of the individual's death, unless such person is certified under the program established under sub-section (b).


(b) CERTIFICATION PROGRAM.-

(1) IN GENERAL.-The Secretary of Commerce shall establish a program-  (A) to certify persons who are eligible to access the information described in subsection (a) contained on the Death Master File, and  (B) to perform periodic and unscheduled audits of certified persons to determine the compliance by such certified persons with the requirements of the program.

(2) CERTIFICATION.-A person shall not be certified under the program established under paragraph (1) unless such person certifies that access to the information described in subsection (a) is appropriate because such person-


(A) has-

(i) a legitimate fraud prevention interest, or

(ii) a legitimate business purpose pursuant to a law, governmental rule, regulation, or fiduciary duty, and


(B) has systems, facilities, and procedures in place to safeguard such information, and experience in maintaining the confidentiality, security, and appropriate use of such information, pursuant to requirements similar to the requirements of section 6103(p)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, and


(C) agrees to satisfy the requirements of such section 6103(p)(4) as if such section applied to such person.


(3) FEES.-

(A)  IN GENERAL.-The Secretary of Commerce shall establish under section 9701 of title 3, United States Code, a program for the charge of fees sufficient to cover (but not to exceed) all costs associated with evaluating applications for certification and auditing, inspecting, and monitoring certified persons under the program. Any fees so collected shall be deposited and credited as offsetting collections to the accounts from which such costs are paid.

(B) REPORT.-The Secretary of Commerce shall report on an annual basis to the Committee on Finance of the Senate and the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives on the total fees collected during the preceding year and the cost of administering the certification program under this subsection for such year.

(c) IMPOSITION OF PENALTY.-

(1) IN GENERAL.-Any person who is certified under the program established under subsection (b), who receives information described in subsection (a), and who during the period of time described in subsection (a)-

(A) discloses such information to any person other than a person who meets the requirements of subparagraphs (A), (B), and (C) of subsection (b)(2),

(B) discloses such information to any person who uses the information for any purpose not listed under subsection (b)(2)(A) or who further discloses the information to a person who does not meet such requirements, or (C) uses any such information for any purpose not listed under subsection (b)(2)(A), and any person to whom such information is disclosed who further discloses or uses such information as described in the preceding subparagraphs, shall pay a penalty of $1,000 for each such disclosure or use.

(2) LIMITATION ON PENALTY.-


(A) IN GENERAL.-The total amount of the penalty imposed under this subsection on any person for any calendar year shall not ex-ceed $250,000.

(B) EXCEPTION FOR WILLFUL VIOLATIONS.-Subparagraph (A) shall not apply in the case of violations under paragraph (1) that the Secretary of Commerce determines to be willful or intentional violations.

(d) DEATH MASTER FILE.- For purposes of this section, the term ''Death Master File'' means information on the name, social security account number, date of birth, and date of death of deceased individuals maintained by the Commissioner of Social Security, other than information that was provided to such Commissioner under section 205(r) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 405(r)).(e) EXEMPTION FROM FREEDOM OF INFORMATION  ACT REQUIREMENT WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN RECORDS OF DECEASED INDIVIDUALS.-

(1) IN GENERAL.-No Federal agency shall be compelled to disclose the information described in subsection (a) to any person who is not certified under the program established under subsection (b).

(2) TREATMENT OF INFORMATION.-For purposes of section 552 of title 5, United States Code, this section shall be considered a statute described in subsection (b)(3) of such section 552.

(f) EFFECTIVE DATE.-

(1) IN GENERAL.-Except as provided in paragraph (2), this section shall take effect on the date that is 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.