ALNAV releases publications to help safeguard personal information

24 Aug 2006 | Cpl. Rose A. Muth

From renting a tent at Marine Corps Community Services to publishing an office recall roster, personal details become community property. With an abundant amount of information on the Internet, personal information can be compromised by the click of a computer mouse or by simply misplacing sensitive identification information.

Recognizing that information security is a high priority for service members, All Navy message 059/06 ensures Department of the Navy military and civilian members know the basics of keeping personal information secure.

“The Privacy Act of 1974 helps regulate control of government documents and states a person must be given a written notice if their information has been compromised,” said Lt. Col. Michael W. Perry, head of Manpower Information Technology Branch, Headquarters Marine Corps. “The Marine Corps is trying to take precautionary measures to help secure one of the most valuable assets to an individual – their Social Security number. Marines should now put only their last four digits unless it is necessary to use the full nine numbers. We are finding different ways to try to obscure using the Social Security number all together.” 

With mountains of papers containing personal data processed throughout the military daily, Marines must take the proper precautions to help keep the flow of information safe.

“I deal with Social Security numbers every day and it’s my responsibility to make sure the person’s information is always secure,” said Lance Cpl. John M. Armendariz, awards clerk, Manpower, II Marine Expeditionary Force. “Our office shreds anything that has important information. Classified information we may need in the future goes inside the safe.”

To prevent becoming a victim of identity theft outside the workplace, service members should begin with simple things such as not carrying Social Security cards in wallets, said Perry. Instead, keep them in a secure lockbox or a safety deposit box. Avoid storing vital information, such as account numbers, passwords and other sensitive information on public or personal computers.

“Don’t throw away documents that have any identifying information on them,” Perry said. “A great idea is to invest in a shredder and shred anything that could be used to identify personal or family members’ information that makes it easier for a thief to steal an identity. Lastly, be cautious when giving out personal information over the phone or online, and beware of schemes to gain access to personal information.”

Individuals can help minimize the risk of compromising personal information by familiarizing themselves with the new publications released. With the constant change in technology, the DON is continually improving ways to protect all who serve under the flag of freedom.