Suit claims illegal use of Defense Department recruitment database |

Suit claims illegal use of Defense Department recruitment database

NEW YORK – The Defense Department is violating the privacy of millions of high school students’ nationwide with a detailed database it uses for military recruitment, a federal lawsuit filed Monday claims.The New York Civil Liberties Union sued on behalf of six high schoolers, saying the department is ignoring privacy rules set by Congress regarding the collection and distribution of students’ personal information.Military officials have said they have about 30 million names in the database. The Pentagon said last year the list includes high school students ages 16-18 and college students, and includes such information as the students’ Social Security numbers, gender and race.Hope Reichbach, a 17-year-old senior at Hunter College High School in Manhattan and a plaintiff, said she contacted the NYCLU after she had tried unsuccessfully to get her name removed from lists and databases that she said subjected her to repeated phone calls from military recruiters.”I want them to leave me and other students alone,” Reichbach said.The department is flouting a 1982 military recruitment law that specifies that it refrain from collecting information on students under 17, that it store the information for no more than three years and that the information be kept private, the lawsuit said.The current database includes information on 16-year-olds, is storing the information for five years and is being shared with law enforcement and other agencies, the lawsuit said.Megan Gaffney, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office, declined to comment on the lawsuit Monday.The plaintiffs are six 16- and 17-year-old students who don’t know if they are included in the database, but who object to it, lawyers said.”Our clients don’t wish to join the military,” said Corey Stoughton, NYCLU attorney. “And they don’t want their genders, ethnicities and social security numbers collected and distributed.”

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