(US) Notice of Proposed Rule Making for Certification for Accessing the Death Master File

Posted by: Jan Meisels Allen

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The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) is publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice) describing a rule that would, if implemented, establish, pursuant to Section 203 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (Pub. L. 113-67), a certification program to replace the temporary certification program currently in place for access to the DMF.  The Notice will be published in the Federal Register before the end of December  (originally it stated it would be published on December 24 but as of the date of this posting it has not yet been published).  The Notice invites public comments on the proposed rule and certification program, and sets a 30 day comment period.  The Notice may be reviewed at http://www.ntis.gov/assets/pdf/interim12-19-2014.pdf   If there are any inconsistencies between this document and the version published in the Federal Register, the version published in the Federal Register governs.

Please note that the temporary certification program, established by NTIS under the Interim Final Rule (79 Fed. Reg. 16668, March 26, 2014), remains in effect.

Comments are due within 30 days of the notice of publication in the Federal Register.  The proposed rule has added a provision not in the interim the rules which requires an attestation from an accredited certification body (independent  third party)  that the person has security systems in place to protect the information. The proposed rule requires that  the accreditation body is accredited to the ISO/IEC Standard 27006-201 Information technology. There is nothing in the notice that states what the fees will be for accessing the actual data. IAJGS commented in the proposed interim rules that the fees were exorbitant for those solo and small businesses.

For those considering certification in order to access the restricted Death Master File I strongly encourage you to read the article by Dee Dee King (see below) , the first forensic genealogist to be certified.  Not only is the access to the information very costly, the restricted database no longer provides many of the data elements we were used to in the Social Security Death Index (SSDI)—the commercial version of the DMF, nor does it have a search engine that the genealogical firms used that facilitated the search.

Dee Dee’s article : http://tinyurl.com/kr9g48z

Original url:

When the NPRM is posted in the Federal Register and the final date of submitting comments is therefore available it will be posted to this blog. 

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

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