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Just Do Your Job
2021-05-05

            Recent reporting by CNN brought troubling news.  They reported that the Biden administration may be considering contracting outside firms to track "extremist" chatter online in order to circumvent legal restrictions on the surveillance power of federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

            The government already has a vast surveillance power.  Hiring somebody not connected to the government will most likely bring on legal action and ramp-up criticism over monitoring Americans.

            I hope the report is wrong.

            According to the report, The DHS is limited in its ability to spy on the social media of Americans without strong justification.  They are also prohibited from using false identities to get access to private messaging apps.  The federal government is only allowed to browse through the public information on social media platforms.

            It appears some folks at the DHS think they can get around those restriction by hiring someone else, outside of the government, to gather information for them.

            That is a scary thought that should sound all sorts of warning bells and whistles to United States citizens.

            Can you say violation of First and Fourth Amendment rights?

            The DHS thinks that they would better able to analyze trends and provide more real-time information for its use and for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (also unable to surveil United States citizens without first getting a warrant or proving some overarching justification.)  The same restrictions apply the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency.

            Of course there's no problem with doing this.  Private contractors will only share the information with the government agencies they are contracted with.  Right Insight Global?

            Insight Global is the Atlanta, GA based company who was contracted and paid to do Covid-19 contact tracing for the Pennsylvania Department of Health. 

            Commonwealth officials were recently informed, as well as the public, that some Global Insight workers disregarded security protocols established in the contract and created unauthorized documents outside the state's secure data system.  The result is that private information of at least 72,000 Pennsylvanians, including their exposure status and their sexual orientation, has been compromised.

            It makes you wonder where your information is going or who it's being sold to every time you complete a government mandated form – out in the open.  Imagine what will happen when it's done without your knowledge.  Type one wrong word or phrase into social media and you could end up in the government's terrorist watch database – and who knows where else.

            Area-wide members of the U.S. House of Representatives would do well to distance themselves from another attempt to monitor our lives (remember when we told the government to get out of our bedrooms.)

            It is 2021.  If you can't figure out how to go after the bad guys without stepping on everybody's rights and privacy, then it's time to clean house and hire and appoint competent people who want to do the job; who can do the job; and who will do the job.


 

 

 

 

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