Here is an important article about the future of the Social Security Death Index, and a petition genealogists can sign to show their concern over privacy laws while balancing access to critical research tools. The following article comes from Tampa Bay Online:

Genealogists want to keep access to Death Index

By SHARON TATE MOODY | Special correspondent

Published: February 26, 2012

The call is out for genealogists to unite in a fight to stop identification theft.

The campaign, spearheaded by the Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC), is in reaction to hearings before a congressional Ways and Means subcommittee that could lead to closing public access to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI).

The Subcommittee on Social Security recently listed the death index as a possible source for identity thieves to acquire a deceased person’s Social Security number. The index is on several websites (including Ancestry.com and Genealogy Bank) and is widely used by individuals researching their family roots.

RPAC has called the Subcommittee on Social Security’s proposal to completely shut down use of the SSDI as a short-sighted attempt that runs counter to the original purpose of the index, which it says is “to actually combat fraud.”

RPAC has placed a petition on the We the People website and is urging genealogists and other interested individuals to sign it.

The website was created by the current administration to identify issues of interest to a significant number of Americans. The administration has pledged that issues getting substantial numbers of signatures will be sent to “decision-makers who can best implement solutions and improvements.”

Readers can access the Stop Identity Theft NOW! petition at http://wh.gov/khe. RPAC’s goal is to obtain 25,000 signatures by March 8.

Click here to read the full article.