Social Security's Death Master File is drawing more media attention, now with an article about the use of the Death Master File for fraudulent purposes titled Social Security Selling Dead Peoples' Identities For $10 A Pop.
If you are just encountering this issue for the first time, please note that Social Security would strongly prefer that no one outside the agency have access to the Death Master File but the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires them to allow this access. Amending the FOIA to keep the Death Master File secret would not be easy. There are plenty of legitimate uses of the Death Master File, some of them of significant importance in preventing fraud. There are no easy answers and the Social Security Administration is caught in the middle.