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It's nice to know that the U.S. Government is using the tax dollars of its citizens to finance their fascist agenda:

Pentagon creating student database

Recruiting tool for military raises privacy concerns

By Jonathan Krim

Updated: 2:03 a.m. ET June 23, 2005WASHINGTON

The Defense Department began working yesterday with a private marketing firm to create a database of high school students ages 16 to 18 and all college students to help the military identify potential recruits in a time of dwindling enlistment in some branches.

The program is provoking a furor among privacy advocates. The new database will include personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying.

The data will be managed by BeNow Inc. of Wakefield, Mass., one of many marketing firms that use computers to analyze large amounts of data to target potential customers based on their personal profiles and habits.

"The purpose of the system . . . is to provide a single central facility within the Department of Defense to compile, process and distribute files of individuals who meet age and minimum school requirements for military service," according to the official notice of the program.

Privacy advocates said the plan appeared to be an effort to circumvent laws that restrict the government's right to collect or hold citizen information by turning to private firms to do the work.

Some information on high school students already is given to military recruiters in a separate program under provisions of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act. Recruiters have been using the information to contact students at home, angering some parents and school districts around the country.

School systems that fail to provide that information risk losing federal funds, although individual parents or students can withhold information that would be transferred to the military by their districts. John Moriarty, president of the PTA at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, said the issue has "generated a great deal of angst" among many parents participating in an e-mail discussion group.

Under the new system, additional data will be collected from commercial data brokers, state drivers' license records and other sources, including information already held by the military.

"Using multiple sources allows the compilation of a more complete list of eligible candidates to join the military," according to written statements provided by Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke in response to questions. "This program is important because it helps bolster the effectiveness of all the services' recruiting and retention efforts."

The Pentagon's statements added that anyone can "opt out" of the system by providing detailed personal information that will be kept in a separate "suppression file." That file will be matched with the full database regularly to ensure that those who do not wish to be contacted are not, according to the Pentagon.

But privacy advocates said using database marketers for military recruitment is inappropriate.

"We support the U.S. armed forces, and understand that DoD faces serious challenges in recruiting for the military," a coalition of privacy groups wrote to the Pentagon after notice of the program was published in the Federal Register a month ago. "But . . . the collection of this information is not consistent with the Privacy Act, which was passed by Congress to reduce the government's collection of personal information on Americans."

Chris Jay Hoofnagle, West Coast director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, called the system "an audacious plan to target-market kids, as young as 16, for military solicitation."

He added that collecting Social Security numbers was not only unnecessary but posed a needless risk of identity fraud. Theft of Social Security numbers and other personal information from data brokers, government agencies, financial institutions and other companies is rampant.

"What's ironic is that the private sector has ways of uniquely identifying individuals without using Social Security numbers for marketing," he said.

The Pentagon statements said the military is "acutely aware of the substantial security required to protect personal data," and that Social Security numbers will be used only to "provide a higher degree of accuracy in matching duplicate data records."

The Pentagon said it routinely monitors its vendors to ensure compliance with its security standards.

Krenke said she did not know how much the contract with BeNow was worth, or whether it was bid competitively.

Officials at BeNow did not return several messages seeking comment. The company's Web site does not have a published privacy policy, nor does it list either a chief privacy officer or security officer on its executive team.

According to the Federal Register notice, the data will be open to "those who require the records in the performance of their official duties." It said the data would be protected by passwords.

The system also gives the Pentagon the right, without notifying citizens, to share the data for numerous uses outside the military, including with law enforcement, state tax authorities and Congress.

Some see the program as part of a growing encroachment of government into private lives, particularly since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"It's just typical of how voracious government is when it comes to personal information," said James W. Harper, a privacy expert with the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank. "Defense is an area where government has a legitimate responsibility . . . but there are a lot of data fields they don't need and shouldn't be keeping. Ethnicity strikes me as particularly inappropriate."

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the Social Security Administration relaxed its privacy policies and provided data on citizens to the FBI in connection with terrorism investigations.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company

Edited by Greg Wagner
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Interesting. Have you read Daniel Brandt's article on the power of Google:

http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=4080

Bush has clearly got serious problems with recruitment. The same thing is happening in the UK. Young men don’t like joining the armed forces when there is a good chance they might get shot at.

For most of its history the United States has followed a policy of isolationism. This has been supported by both left and right. For example, the America First Committee included people such as Norman Thomas, Robert E. Wood, John T. Flynn, Charles A. Lindbergh, Robert M. Hutchins, Burton K. Wheeler, Hugh Johnson, Robert LaFollette Jr., Amos Pinchot, Hamilton Fish and Gerald Nye.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAfirstC.htm

This was based on a mixture of idealism (those on the left) and economics (those on the right). After the war Lyndon Johnson made a mistake to get himself too involved in Vietnam and it took a right-winger, Richard Nixon to get them out of the mess. This time it is a right-wing president who has got them involved in a war they cannot possibly win. It is also very expensive in both men and money. How long is the political classes in America willing to put up with this?

The New York Times has just published a classified CIA report on Islamic terrorists in Iraq. The report points out that the American occupation of Iraq is creating a new breed of Islamic terrorist that is likely to go on to destabilize other countries in the region. The CIA especially concerned about the impact it will have on Saudi Arabia. A large number of the terrorists come from this country and are getting valuable experience that they hope they will eventually be able to use in Saudi Arabia. The CIA is worried by the urban warfare skills they are developing in Iraq.

This comes as no surprise. The CIA and MI6 both warned that this would happened in reports given to the US and UK governments when the idea of invading Iraq was suggested during President Clinton time in office. Clinton understandably rejected calls by the New Cons to invade Iraq. Bush presumably was given the same advice in 2002 (Blair definitely was but he preferred to listen to Bush).

The latest polls show that an increasing number of Americans do not want to stay in Iraq (the policy is only supported by 39%). However, the truth is that there is no way out. Blair and Bush do not have an exit strategy. In many ways, the situation is even worse than the one faced by the Americans in Vietnam. At least the communists were guaranteed a quick victory when the Americans withdrew from Vietnam. If the occupation forces left Iraq it would be followed by a long-drawn out civil war that would probably spill over to neighbouring countries.

Bush went into Iraq to reduce the price of oil. This policy has been a complete failure with oil prices going up rather than down. I wonder what will happen to the price of oil when the trained terrorists return to Saudi Arabia.

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Greg,

Great article. I read that the US Military is now offering a 40K sign on fee. It's desperation time. You can't let them do this of course and the blame lies squarely with the US Govt. It seems like there's no civilian government in the US, it's more like a Pentagon/White House Government with the Pentagon the senior partner. Been that way since about 1963.

Iraq will bleed Washington dry. The US is already heavily in debt. Then there's oil. The US consumes 18 million barrels a day, while Japan is second, consuming about 4.8 million barrels. China and India are increasing their consumption rapidly, causing the price to rise with no realistic limit, since it's a rapidly dwindling non renewable resource. The economies of all countries are, to differing extents, built on oil. The US economy is by far the most exposed to oil price shocks. China, Japan, South Korea and India all have strong economies but are less exposed to oil price rises because of their much lower consumption. The EU also threatens the US economy. The only two alternatives which will prevent a US economic collapse are to rapidly find a way to decrease oil consumption or to move into the Middle East and secure oil for the next fifty years. All this and George Bush till 2008.

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Mark Stapleton wrote:

Greg,

Great article. I read that the US Military is now offering a 40K sign on fee. It's desperation time.

dgh01: I wouldn't go so far as 'desperation time.' In certain MOS's its critical, but that's the way it was during the Vietnam era, I know, it was offered to me as a "re-enlistment bonus", if you want/need good qualified folks, you gott'a pay them, and the US government WILL pay them.

You can't let them do this of course and the blame lies squarely with the US Govt. It seems like there's no civilian government in the US, it's more like a Pentagon/White House Government with the Pentagon the senior partner. Been that way since about 1963.

dgh01: how about 1865, without the term Pentagon. Was called something else in those day's. For that matter you can throw in as a full partner, the fledgeling US banking industry -- Nevada was not admitted to the union because of its desert enviorns, but its silver (the states nickname is the SILVER State) paid for a damn good piece of the civil war [the union side]

Iraq will bleed Washington dry. The US is already heavily in debt.

dgh01: nah, we'll follow Ronny Reagan's lead, we'll just print more

Then there's oil. The US consumes 18 million barrels a day, while Japan is second, consuming about 4.8 million barrels. China and India are increasing their consumption rapidly, causing the price to rise with no realistic limit, since it's a rapidly dwindling non renewable resource. The economies of all countries are, to differing extents, built on oil. The US economy is by far the most exposed to oil price shocks.

dgh01: want a simple indicator as to what US policy (10-15 year) will be toward the middle east (sans Israel). Watch Detroit

China, Japan, South Korea and India all have strong economies but are less exposed to oil price rises because of their much lower consumption. The EU also threatens the US economy.

dgh01: 10-15 years from now, If we're all still around - the OIL problem will be THEIR'S, the US economy will go merrily along - watch Detroit

The only two alternatives which will prevent a US economic collapse are to rapidly find a way to decrease oil consumption or to move into the Middle East and secure oil for the next fifty years. All this and George Bush till 2008.

Edited by David G. Healy
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As far as military recruiters not reaching goals...a recent article blamed "influencers" as having a negative effect on potential recruits. These "influencers" cited were parents, teachers, and clergy advising students not to join the military services. So now it's a BAD thing when teenagers and college students listen to parents, teachers, and clergy...whodathunkit?

Looking into my crystal ball for an overview of American life, over the next several years the US will be sufferring from many wounds...far too many of them self-inflicted. Detroit will become a NON-factor in the "Car Wars," as the Japanese [and other Asian] auto manufacturers will continue to capture an increasing market share. In the 1960's there was some talk in GM circles that they were worried that the US government would break up GM, because they controlled about 55-56% of the US auto market. On the OTHER hand, the folks at Ford were privately worried that, if GM was to have to divest itself of Chevrolet, Ford would then have TWO competitors that might control 30% of the domestic market EACH.

No such worries anymore, at least from domestic competitors. Walter P. Chrysler's namesake company is now just another underperforming subsidiary owned by the Germans, and all the other domestic makes have been swallowed up by mergers or died on the vine. Look for Asian makes to move from around 26-28% of the US market today to a figure near 40% in a very short time period...and if China enters the US market with a quality vehicle, marketed well, with a rock-bottom price, slide that figure on up the scale to around 55%.

As far as the Bush administration's oil policy, consider this: If you buy oil at $26 a barrel, and your markup is, say, 18% after refining [just pulling a percentage out of the air], you make considerably less profit than if you buy oil at $60 a barrel, and your markup is the same 18% after refining...and at $60 a barrel, your processing expenses haven't appreciably increased! THAT is why the Bush administration hasn't addressed the oil price situation in more than an offhand manner. If J. Paul Crudeoil sees a president taking actions to cut his profits, J. Paul just might cut his campaign contributions to that president and his friends...don't bite the hand, you know the rest.

As far as the private accounts for Social Security...just a lame attempt [which will be unsuccessful] to stave off the coming crash of the US stock market, when the Baby Boomers start cashing in their IRA's and 401(k)'s for funding their retirements. Run the numbers...the Baby Boomer demographic is the one selling, and the MUCH-smaller post-Boomer group will be buying...simple [over]supply and [under]demand of stocks, leading to a plunge in prices. Couple this with overly-aggressive selling of credit in America, and the impending [in the next 15-20 years] increase in foreclosures in real estate and defaults by borrowers--resulting in rising interest rates to compensate lenders for their losses, and Americans are almost assured of a lower standard of living despite the deflationary period that will follow, as few will have the cash to redeem these assets...in other words, a run-up comparable to the 1918-1929 period, followed by a similar 1930's-style depression.

As David said, the sign-on [and re-up] bonuses are primarily oriented toward some very specific MOS's [Military Occupational Specialties]...but a lot of Army Reserve units are being split up and retrained in order to be able to fill rotations in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan, even with current unit activations of 18 months at a time. So it won't be too far into the future that the politically unpopular military draft will be reinstituted--"reluctantly," of course--out of necessity, as the Iraqi quagmire continues.

China and its growing economy--and its rising demand for consumer goods--means that China can wreak havoc at a moment's notice upon oil markets, much as they did not so long ago in steel. While the Chinese can claim that they are merely trying to supply their growing economy, here in America the net result can be ECONOMIC terrorism...because we really can't predict when they'll strike next, or which commodity they'll target...and we're powerless to stop them.

I believe that the EU--if and/or when it gets its act together--MIGHT be able to withstand the Chinese economic engine; but the die has been cast for the US economy, and the outlook is particularly dismal.

With the Bush tax cuts raising the government's deficits daily, and with the war in Iraq continuing to drain the coffers, it's only a matter of time before the US will have to admit that the government is [financially] bankrupt...and we know that, despite the revelations of Guantanamo and Abu Ghrahib [sp?], the moral bankruptcy will never be admitted.

The Middle East will continue to be a political hotspot, and it won't be long until the US finds that, in that part of the world, it has no friends. Look for uprisings in places such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and don't let a chilling of relations between Egypt and Washington be a surprise to you. And look for the emphasis to shift from "regime change" and "oil" and "democracy" and "freedom" to "jihad" on BOTH sides of the conflict...as religion will become an ever-increasing source of friction [not that it hasn't been incendiary already].

Save this away for a few years...while I hope I'm absolutely wrong, I'm afraid that my predictions will be pretty close to reality in my lifetime.

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