Friday, November 6, 2009

What database?

This morning I was reading one of my favorite Internet authors. There I found posted one of his all too familiar rants pertaining to something our government was talking about doing to improve certain aspects of Homeland Security. During the course of this particular rant he asked the question “What Database?” That question got me to thinking about the potential of and for such and endeavor should it be undertaken and implemented by our government.

I wonder if the average person living in this country gives any thought to how much is known about them and who has access to such knowledge. If you have a computer in your home and are connected to the Internet, if you participate in any of the activities available there, I think you would be amazed at how much personal information is being recorded, filed and made accessible as a result. If you doubt it and would like to find out, simply do “A Google search” for your own name and then look at the results displayed on your monitor.

Google is an Internet Search Engine. It is not the local, state or federal government. If Google’s software can search out, sort and display in a few seconds all that they have pertaining to your name (and said information may not be accurately associated with you specifically because someone else COULD have the same name as you) then try to imagine what any government could know about you.

If you are the kind of person who is easily upset when it comes to privacy and tend to be a little paranoid should it be revealed that some agency knows a lot more about you than you suspected; DO NOT SIT THERE AND PONDER ABOUT IT. I’m afraid you will end up being VERY upset if your ponderings are anything like realistic.

Computers ARE amazing technology and they grow more capable with every passing day. Imagine if you can, the various organizations, businesses and bureaus that collect and store information about you, the individual. Just to name a few, there is The Credit Bureau, The Better Business Bureau, The Department of Motor Vehicles, The FBI, The CIA, The Department of Vital Statistics, Radio Shack and your local supermarket, etc. These few are nothing if one was fully aware of the scope of information gathering pertaining to them. Of course there is the IRS and The SSS and there is the County Land Assessment Office in the county you live in, no matter what state of the union you reside in. There are Banks and Loan organizations, automobile dealerships and Doctors or Hospitals and there is the CDC and Board of Health.

Just get out your yellow pages and start thumbing through the pages and consider the businesses and organizations you find there that just may have some minute bit of information about you personally. I’m warning you; if you really don’t want to know about all this, then don’t start thinking about it and investigating it. It will result in your becoming just a little edgy and insecure.

Do you have a credit card or two? I’d guess that you do. Do you purchase your gasoline using an Oil Company’s Credit Card? Do you belong to AARP or AAA or the NRA? Do you hunt, fish or trap or do you travel a lot and use a travel bureau to help you get there? Do you have a phone or cable TV in your home or perhaps you have a cellphone? Do you have the oil changed in your car by one of those Quick-Stop oil change companies? I just pull into Jiffy Lube, hand them my special little plastic card and it tells them everything they need to know about me and the car I happen to be driving that day.

Honestly, it IS a little scary when one stops to think about it. NOW, imagine if you can that our federal government could find a way to legally or illegally tap into every information resource that is in existence. Their software could sort and cross-reference each bit of information and file it under your name, address, social security number, driver’s license or some other aspect of your identity that would keep the information accurate, at least as accurate as technologically possible.

This is not Science Fiction folk. This technology DOES exist and could be, if it isn’t already, used to file EVERYTHING that is known about YOU in one place.

Now, try to imagine this if you can. One day our government could require all citizens to have a “chip” inserted somewhere in their physical body. That chip would be linked to a universal database. Utilizing surface mounted sensors and satellites that orbit our planet, it would be possible to locate and track one specific person regardless of where they go around the globe.

All I can say is, if such a scenario should ever come into being, I hope and pray that there is a way to link that chip to a person’s DNA so that a person’s identify CANNOT be stolen by anyone including governments. If it cannot then I can see the potential for some nightmarish results.

To my friend which asked in his post "What Database?' Do not ask WHAT DATABASE as if it was impossible for it to exist. It’s not that far-fetched a possibility. In fact, I would go so far as to state that IT IS possible and not to discount its existence.

Do you think I am just being PARANOID?

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