Defense Department data security tightened after settlement with veterans group

In response to charges that online information sites exposed countless veterans’ personal information to identity thieves and scammers, the Department of Defense (DOD) officials announced last week that they will revamp their Servicemembers Civil Relief Act databases.

According to an article published by the Military Times, “Leaders from Vietnam Veterans of America, which filed a lawsuit against the department to force the changes, called the move an important step in ensuring that military members’ information is monitored and protected…At issue are online databases the military has been operating since 1985 which allow private businesses to verify troops’ military status for eligibility in Servicemembers Civil Relief Act protections. That law provides financial relief from certain bills and obligations while troops are deployed or mobilized to active duty.”

The terms of settlement highlighted in the charges require the department to request registration from all users before they are allowed to gain access to any information. In addition, the DOD has been asked to more clearly outline the potential criminal repercussions for anyone misusing the information.

Officials have also committed to monitoring the use of the databases more closely in an attempt to identify patterns of possible misuse or abuse which includes a quarterly report that outlines all database users and any suspended or terminated accounts.

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