Reporter Greg Palast has an insightful post on his website that takes a wider view of the NSA spying scandal. Here’s a taste:
Worried about Dick Cheney listening in Sunday on your call to Mom? That ain’t nothing. You should be more concerned that they are linking this info to your medical records, your bill purchases and your entire personal profile including, not incidentally, your voting registration. Five years ago, I discovered that ChoicePoint had already gathered 16 billion data files on Americans — and I know they’ve expanded their ops at an explosive rate.
They are paid to keep an eye on you — because the FBI can’t. For the government to collect this stuff is against the law unless you’re suspected of a crime. (The law in question is the Constitution.) But ChoicePoint can collect it for “commercial” purchases — and under the Bush Administration’s suspect reading of the Patriot Act — our domestic spying apparatchiks can then BUY the info from ChoicePoint.
He’s right. The government simply outsources or contracts out work that it doesn’t want to or (in this case) can’t do. I’m extremely concerned about the privacy of my medical and financial records, as I know most Americans are. But it’s worse than that. Much worse:
And now ChoicePoint and George Bush want your blood. Forget your phone bill. ChoicePoint, a sickened executive of the company told us in confidence, “hope[s] to build a database of DNA samples from every person in the United States …linked to all the other information held by CP [ChoicePoint]” from medical to voting records.
And ChoicePoint lied about that too. The company publicly denied they gave DNA to the Feds — but then told our investigator, pretending to seek work, that ChoicePoint was “the number one” provider of DNA info to the FBI.
This is just fucking evil. There’s no excuse for this. There’s no, “Oh we need it to fight the terrorists!” bullshit. Those excuses simply do not fly. This is evil. This is Orwellian. This is downright SATANIC!
It’s bad enough to try and get our DNA, but the fact that they want their databases to talk to each other is extremely frightening. If they succeed at this, the government will know everything about you from the day you’re born to the day you die. There won’t be any discussion of 4th amendment rights, because there won’t be a 4th amendment. What if there’s no more privacy left to defend?