MEMORANDUM #18, 2007

Commonwealth of Massachusetts | Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission
Five Middlesex Avenue, Third Floor, Somerville, MA 02145
Ph 617 666 4446 | Fax 617 628 4002 | TTY 617 591 8917 | www.mass.gov/perac
Domenic J. F. Russo, Chairman | A. Joseph DeNucci, Vice Chairman
Henry G. Brauer | Kenneth J. Donnelly | James M. Machado | Donald R. Marquis | Thomas Trimarco
Joseph E. Connarton, Executive Director



M E M O R A N D U M

TO:             All Retirement Boards

FROM:       Joseph E. Connarton, Executive Director

RE:             PERAC Disability and General Membership Forms

DATE:        February 28, 2007

 

On February 13, 2007, PERAC received an e-mail from the Commonwealth’s
Information Technology Division (ITD) wherein their Chief Technology Strategist for
ITD Portal and Customer Outreach notified state web server webmasters of security
problems with popular file formats. A copy of that e-mail is attached for your review.

Nearly all of PERAC’s general membership and disability forms are of the PDF fill-in
type described in the e-mail. In light of the vulnerability to breaches of privacy that can
exist when such forms are completed on shared computers in public places, we chose to
prevent any access to these forms on PERAC’s website on February 14, 2007.

In keeping with the Privacy Policy posted on PERAC’s website, “…we attempt to protect
the privacy of our website visitors to the maximum extent possible.” For the immediate
future, the general membership and forms will only be accessible from PERAC website
for the purpose of printing. The fill-in functionality will no longer be made available on-line.

In an effort to minimize, to the degree that it is possible, the inconvenience that this
change creates, copies of the forms with their fill-in functionality will be made available
on a CD. We will mail copies of the PDF fill-in forms CD to the retirement boards and
members of MAPPA at our earliest opportunity so that members and clients can be
assisted with the forms as efficiently as possible. The PDF fill-in forms CD will also be
made available to individuals or organizations that request a copy. Copies can be
requested by e-mailing Joan Arsenault at JMArsenault@per.state.ma.us or contacting Ms.
Arsenault at 617-666-4446, ext. 910.

Please note, in 2005, PERAC mailed a CD (The PERAC Publications Library 2004) to
the retirement boards that included fill-in PDFs of the general membership and disability
forms. Because the forms have not been updated since being included in the PERAC
Publications Library 2004 CD, you may wish to use this CD rather than waiting for the
CD that PERAC is in the midst of creating.

Individuals who use PERAC’s fill-in PDF forms should be aware that the Commission
prohibits e-mailing them to anyone. If you wish to allow another party to view or update
a PERAC fill-in PDF, the form must be saved to a disk or CD and mailed or hand-
delivered to that individual. Please understand that this constraint applies even before
any data has been entered– because such a form can be handled inappropriately once it is
out of the control that you exercise as a professional. You must use the utmost in care to
protect the privacy of the public employees and retirees that you serve.

Review your board’s website. If you have posted any forms of the PDF fill-in variety on
your site, you need to take the measures that are necessary to protect the privacy of your
website visitors to the maximum extent possible.

There is no area where there is a more rapid rate of change than in software development
and the Internet. A solution to this issue will undoubtedly develop. We will continue to
research the problem. When there is a better solution, we will implement it.  

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