The Social Security Administration has a tool for looking up deaths in the USA that took place within the past three years, but older deaths are in the Social Security Death Master File (aka Death Index); you can buy a limited version of that from the SSA for $2.3k + $3.4k/yr; the SSA has quoted access to the full version at $5.2k.
Sai is crowdfunding to buy the full Death Index, which they will then publish online, for free, for all. As they say, "It is extremely useful for genealogical and medical research, preventing fraud, etc."
They're also suing the SSA to just publish this themselves: Congress already ordered them to do so.
The database includes "Name (first, middle, last, & suffix); date of birth & death; SSN; validation (Verified: Report verified with a family member or someone acting on behalf of the family / Proof: Death certificate etc observed by SSA); record update date; and record update code (add/change/delete)."
Think this is a rather un-“open” approach to providing something that Congress required to be publicly available. We would like to start litigation — but also to also pre-pay the requested $5.2k as a surety, so that they cough up the database now and we have a non-hypothetical fee charging to litigate. It would be very interesting to see, for instance, how exactly they spend 150 hours “searching” for a single database file.
We will make all received information publicly available, for free, both as flat files and through a Google BigQuery database. If we win the litigation, and get a ruling that it has to be made available for free, we will also make our hosted version continuously updated by simply having a regular re-FOIA of the deltas. Otherwise, we’ll do so if we can get the cost of obtaining it funded.
Social Security Death Master File [Sai/Muckrock]
Gunnvor Bakke, CC-BY-SA)
Property of the People (previously) used Freedom of Information Act requests to force the Department of Homeland Security to reveal that it tracks members of the Valve Turners -- a nonviolent environmental group that practices civil disobedience against oil pipelines -- alongside of white nationalist mass-murderers and killers like Dylan Roof (the mass murderer behind […]
Special Services Group makes surveillance crapgadgets for cops and spies: cameras and mics hidden in tombstones, vacuum cleaners, children's car-seats, and other everyday items. Muckrock's Beryl Lipton used a Freedom of Information Act request to get a copy of "Black Book," SSG's massive sales brochure out of the Irvine police department, with minimal redactions.
In last week’s Superman #18, the eponymous hero held a press conference to reveal his identity to the public. Comic book continuity is ever-shifting, of course, and the connection between Superman and Clark Kent has been known or exposed by other people before, just as the genie will someday be placed back in the bottle once […]
Maybe you had a piano teacher as a kid that drove you off the instrument forever. Or maybe you always wished for some serious training, but never found the time. Whether you have dreams of tossing off a Beethoven or Chopin piece at the drop of a hat or you have visions of being the […]
When you see that curved arrow on the side of a cardboard box, you instantly know that box came from Amazon. The unfurled rainbow feathers of a peacock immediately scream NBC. And a partially eaten piece of fruit in the profile is a world-recognized symbol of tech titan Apple. Icons are powerful symbols, condensing volumes […]
Call it retro. Call it a throwback. Even call it kitsch. But the 80s are still a singular time in pop culture history. From Ghostbusters and Back to the Future to your neighborhood arcade and the Atari 2600, artifacts of that seminal decade still resonate, evoking audible excitement and sighs of pleasant yesteryear remembrance. But […]