Today I received one of those letters the government is sending out telling vets that their personal information may be at risk. I was somewhat surprised as the U.S. military and I permanently parted company back in 1972. Evidently one federal employee is capable of carrying around information dating back as much as 35 years ago on (according to the letter) “up to 26.5 million veterans and some spouses”. This includes DOB (date of birth) and SSN (Social Security Number) — which can enable an identity thief to hijack your identity and wreak havoc with your financial life.
I am understandably upset by this information, but don’t think that just because you aren’t a vet that you are safe. We now know that the federal government, specifically the National Security Agency (NSA) is probably eavesdropping on every call you make. I heard today that a special Pentagon program is busily data mining the MySpace web site, sucking up every bit of data it can on the kids who frequent the site. Not only that, but they are using sophisticated programs that seek to make connections from the data they mine on that site to data found on other sites as well. Evidently our government is REAL interested in what the kids are doing. And if they’ve got your kids, you can bet they can get you too.
Now the feds would have you believe that they would never, never, never, never misuse the information they collect on you. They have safeguards on safeguards to insure that it never happens. They have severe penalties for those who do misuse the info. OK. But suppose you piss off one of those fine federal employees who safeguard your data? Suppose they have a grudge against you, what then? Or better yet, suppose some data entry clerk miskeys something and all of a sudden you become a member of an Al Quaeda sleeper cell? Or, they could just take some work home and have their laptop stolen.
Now, tell me again why I should trust the government with my personal data?