Big Brother’s Betrayal: Data Mining Continues Undeterred

crying-babyIn the past weeks, we have heard admissions the IRS has targeted political and religious groups the current administration might consider adversarial.  We have read articles that evidence spying on the Associate Press by the FBI, and a planned, if not already implemented, policy for domestic spying within goggle and facebook accounts.
We are already aware of the fact that there is a push for more invasiveness in the form a national firearms registry.  Add to the pile the fact that just this week light was shed on a pending lawsuit that claims that the IRS has stolen the medical records of ten million citizens.
Couple this with individual governmental offenses and invasions of privacy that are occurring at more regional and local levels under the guise of local information collection, that is unknowingly being forwarded onto a federal agency, and it becomes clear that these so called “conspiracy theories” of evil government that the current administration is so quick to dismiss are not so theoretical after all.
While I pay attention to any intrusion upon private and personal information, the local invasion of privacy I have been watching has been the Missouri Department of Revenue (DOR) affair.  In fact, a month ago I wrote an article about it called Data Mining for Big Brother.
In my article, I discussed the compromise of personal information within the Missouri Department of Revenue for those registering for a Concealed Carry Weapons endorsement (CCW).  In the weeks since it’s publication, the Missouri DOR has admitted to directing local licensing agencies to scan and retain identification documents of each individual applying for the CCW endorsement, including the photographs of those qualifying applicants.
Under Missouri law, signed, but apparently not followed, by Missouri governor Jay Nixon, any information collected by the DOR is for its exclusive use only.  However, this was determined not to be the case.  Not only were DOR offices scanning the documents of CCW recipients when they went to receive their official CCW license, but these scanned versions were being forwarded to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as well.
After several weeks of denial, trials, hearings and injunctions, there was finally an admission of guilt on the part of the State of Missouri and an order for the licensing bureaus to discontinue the illegal forwarding of documents to DHS.  State legislators moved quickly forward to remove the Missouri DOR from the equation, as it relates to the collection and forwarding to federal sources of personal data, by introducing legislation to eliminate the ability of the DOR to issue CCW licenses.
Legislation, in the form of the Missouri Omnibus Firearms Bill will place the issuance of CCW’s, along with the collection of the holder’s personal data, squarely in the hands of the local sheriff’s office, effective January 2014.  While this is certainly a step in the right direction, and one that I applaud and look forward to seeing the Missouri Senate and Governor support and ratify, it does not address the issue of records already in the hands of the DHS.
In that instance, the damage has been done.  As someone who received their CCW endorsement last year, I am almost certain there is a record at DHS with my name on it – a fact I cannot undo.
Our government has made it illegal to protest within earshot of our president, or anyone who has a secret service detail – so we are effectively disbarred from exercising our first amendment rights.  It is evident that what we need to say, the administration doesn’t want to hear.
Governmental agencies are stealing medical records and private data, trolling through internet emails and posts, picking and choosing what groups to include and which to bully, and bribing states into providing sensitive personal data of its residents – for what purpose?  At this point, we can only guess and surmise it’s ultimate use and purpose.  One thing IS absolutely crystal clear however; this is not the transparency we were promised – nope, not even close.

About the author: Dawn Shockley

As a political science student Dawn Shockley wrote for a number of local and college newspapers and, after college, designed and wrote newsletters and press releases for a variety of jobs and volunteer projects. In addition, she had a few small poetry pieces published, but freely admits to having kept the better stuff to herself in hopes of one day putting together a collection of her poems and short stories. After marriage, when life became busy and messy, writing, a lifetime love and confidant, was often the last on a long list of things be addressed - a devoted, albeit neglected, friend. With a political science background, she is passionate about civil liberties and the preservation of our national ideals, rights and history, for herself and for the generations to come; and has found her writing to be a great tool in forwarding that passion. She is a mother of three children and lives in Missouri with her husband, her children and their five dogs.

View all articles by Dawn Shockley
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