click here to read more articles: American Culture - What to do if pulled over by police - Immigration Test - Presidential Candidates - US Military Deaths - Privacy Issues - Starting a Business in the US
Change.gov - Database Danger or Digital Delight
“Idealism is the noble toga that political gentlemen drape over their will to power.” – Aldous Huxley
Depending on your personal level of concern with online privacy, the Obama/Biden website change.gov is either a refreshing, innovative way to feel like you have a say in government or a potential threat to your privacy.
Long before FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) was fist enacted in October of 1978 or amended; our founding fathers understood the importance of protecting individual privacy. The fourth amendment of the United States of Americas Constitution guarantees citizens “the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects”. Since then, the US Constitution, for better or worse has been amended many times in order to accommodate advances in medicine, technology and other aspects of a changing world.
Technology has intensified privacy issues and the concern for protecting an individual’s personal information and data. It can be argued that while FISA has both pros and cons its cornerstone is its sweeping right to determine domestic terrorists.
So riddle me this; Why are so many of the people concerned with FISA and privacy issues so willing to hand over their personal information on the change.gov website?
Possible explanations include peoples need to belong to a larger group, vanity and blind faith.
In and of itself, a database is an amoral collection of information that can be categorized according to the parameters established by its owner. Collecting an individual’s personal data is only dangerous when the human element is introduced. What was once raw data can now be used to extrapolate a persons anticipated habits, thoughts, values, opinions, ideals and behaviors.
Things to consider before providing personal information to change.gov:
President elect Barack Obama has over 3 million supporters on Facebook and an email database of over 10 million.
This email list was offered as collateral for a loan during a cash flow crunch during the presidential campaign.
Change.gov is classified as a 501c4 organization. This classification is for organizations that will be involved in any campaigning and doing substantial lobbying.
Individual donations to a 501c4 organization do not have to be reported or disclosed.
** This classification notice and other information have been removed from the change.gov website. See a Google cache prior to changes.**
If you choose to apply for a job through the change.gov website remember this:
Online applications are only for non-career positions in any Federal Department, Agency or Commission (whatever that means). The website suggests that if you are looking for a career (civil service position with pay) you need to visit a different government website.
You are required to supply personal information that includes your phone number, address, education level, full name, email address and more.
After submitting this information, you will receive an email linked to a more complete online application.
“If and when you are considered for a specific position, you will be asked to fill out additional forms, including financial disclosures, and be subject to other reviews which may include FBI background checks”.
Would be presidential appointees must fill out a 63 item questionnaire that asks everything from who your enemies are to the names of your past live in lovers.
If you want to “share your vision of what America can be”, you are required to provide your first and last name, zip code and email address.
“To ensure we are able to communicate effectively with visitors to our web site, we collect some information that can be directly associated with a specific person. We call this "Personal Information," and it includes, by way of illustration, names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.”
“It is our general policy not to make Personal Information available to anyone other than our employees, staff, and agents.”
“We configure our list server software to refuse to divulge the email addresses of our list subscribers to anyone other than those whom we authorize.”
We are living in a “Brave New World” and only time will tell where the bridge our government is trying to build will go.
In the near future the unelected position of Chief Technology Officer (CTO) will be created. There is a perk for the individual who accepts this position:
“Government appointees can apply for a "certificate of divestiture" that allows them to defer paying capital gains taxes for an unspecified time, putting the money instead into "permitted properties." This means a technology executive could effectively sell his or her stock portfolio and buy up government Treasury bonds, avoiding a big tax bill until those bonds are cashed out. (For details on the ruling, see the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, regulation 5, part 2634)”
Please log in to the jobs section at change.gov and submit your personal information. Someone, somewhere, will read it and then sort you into the correct pile.
“Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.” - taken from the final paragraph of the novel “1984” by George Orwell.
Share your opinion about this article.