Toledo -- More than seventy-five local, state, and national organizations sent a letter today to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and the Congressional oversight and appropriations committees for the Department of Defense (DOD), seeking an end to a data collecting project called the Joint Advertising and Market Research Studies (JAMRS) Recruiting Database.

Toledo's Student and Family Rights and Privacy Committee, the group now pressuring Toledo Public Schools to restrict military recruiters, is in full support of this effort to end the JAMRS recruitment database because it violates the Privacy Act while collecting data on 30 million people ages 16 to 25 from a vast array of sources such as drivers license or selective service registrations. Other organizations from the Toledo area that have joined this nationwide effort include the Northwest Ohio Peace Coalition, Sylvania Franciscan Sisters, the Interfaith Justice and Peace Center, and the Toledo League of Pissed Off Voters.

Nationally, coalition members include the American Civil Liberties Union, Mothers Against the Draft, Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, Republican Liberty Caucus, Rock the Vote, and the Student Peace Action Network.

Sue Carter, President of the Ohio ACLU and a member of the Student and Family Rights and Privacy Committee, said “The U.S. has become a surveillance society.  The government, according to privacy laws, should be protecting our citizens especially children.  Instead, the Department of Defense has been collecting data on 16 to 25 year-olds and turning it over to the military and private companies that target students.  The JAMRS Recruiting Database must be dismantled to protect the privacy rights and civil liberties of this generation of young people.”

The Coalition claims the DoD violated the Privacy Act because it failed to provide notice 30 days before beginning its work on the JAMRS Recruiting Database in 2002.  The Pentagon did not give public notice of the project until May 23, 2005 in the Federal Register.

The sources of information for JAMRS include the High School Master File and the College Students Files, which are compiled for purposes that are unrelated to an interest in military service or recruitment. The High School Master File is created from information provided by state motor vehicle departments, and two private companies that target students, American Student List, L.L.C., and Student Marketing Group Corp.

American Student List Company sells databases of children's names in grades K-12 overlaid with data on sex, age, whether they own a telephone, income, religion, and their race or ethnicity. This information is often obtained from surveys that are administered while children are at school under the pretense of college admissions and other education-related purposes.