Sunday, June 25, 2006

An Alternative Solution

It’s hard to have confidence in Dubya’s pledges to keep illegally obtained data from being seen by unauthorized persons; the government can’t even keep the personal data it obtains legally from being seen by anyone who wants a peek.

I am one of a select group of 26.5 million veterans and their dependents, whose personal information was stolen out of some GS moron’s home. The government’s response was to tell us how sorry they were, provide the phone numbers of the three credit reporting agencies, pat us on the butt and send us on our way. They didn’t even tell us the name of the shitweasel who kept taking home computer files without authorization until someone finally stole them, allowing us the satisfaction of beating the snot out of him. The least they could do is publish his information, so he share in our enforced paranoia. (Veterans are the Rodney Dangerfield of interest groups in this country. Kids cook Mom breakfast in bed on Mothers Day; Fathers Day is for Dad to fall asleep watching the U.S. Open. When’s the last time you got a Veterans Day card? It should be a federal law that no veteran works on Veterans Day. It’s not like it would be a major sacrifice. You’d still have 98% of elected officials and corporate executives coming to work.)

This week the USDA had its systems hacked, jeopardizing the records of 26,000 DC area employees and contractors. Lucky me, I got nicked again. (I’m not complaining; my boss is a three-time loser.) At least the USDA will pay for a year’s worth of credit checks. The vets got bupkes.

I have a solution: publish the personal information of everyone who has ever dealt with the government in the Washington Post. Military, civilian, contractor, retired, active, elected, or appointed. Include anyone who ever got a student loan, FHA mortgage, farm subsidy, or small business loan. Then we’ll know for sure our confidences have been breached, and can avoid all this “we have no evidence anyone’s records have been used improperly” bullshit. The government then pays for the credit and identity protections they keep telling us we need every time someone steals our records. The cost would be zeroed out from all the money they’ll save by not having to pay for ineffective computer security any more.

It has to work better than what they’ve been doing.

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