Thursday, April 19, 2007

Big Brother Is Watching

Regarding a strange reveal in the news reporting of the Virginia Tech massacre, John Avarosis asked yesterday, "Why does the government have a list of everyone who has ever used anti-depressants?"
Guess what? They do. From ABC News, regarding the VA Tech shooter:
Some news accounts have suggested that Cho had a history of antidepressant use, but senior federal officials tell ABC News that they can find no record of such medication in the government's files. This does not completely rule out prescription drug use, including samples from a physician, drugs obtained through illegal Internet sources, or a gap in the federal database, but the sources say theirs is a reasonably complete search.
We don't even have a list of gun owners, and we have a list of everyone who has been prescribed anti-depressants? And in fact, the article suggests that this isn't just a database of patients who use anti-depressants, it's a federal database of every prescription drug you've ever bought.

What exactly do the Bushies do with that list? And what other lists do they have of which medications you've ever taken?
Does this make anyone else uncomfortable?

Avarosis follows up today with more information. I'm excerpting the full text because it's important to get this message out:
We learned yesterday that the Bush administration has created a database of every single prescription drug user/patient in the country (that would pretty much be all of us). The database was created pursuant to a 2005 law that was intended to prevent the abuse of prescription drugs. Funny that this massive new database of your private medical information is now being (ab)used for a purpose that wasn't intended in or approved by the law.

The federal database of your private medical information is now being used by federal law enforcement to investigate crimes that have nothing to do with prescription drug abuse. We know this because yesterday ABC News disclosed that the feds checked the database to see what prescription meds the Virginia Tech shooter might have been on. How does the mass murder of students and faculty at Virginia Tech have anything to do with prescription drug abuse? It doesn't.

The Bush administration has created a massive database of your private medical records and they're now abusing it. Gee, what a surprise - the Bush administration secretly prying into our private lives in violation of the law. If they wanted this power, they could have sought it from Congress. They didn't. So they took it anyway, even though the law doesn't allow it.

Your privacy is gone, and it's not terribly clear that anyone in Washington cares.
In case it isn't already abundantly clear, the government (and it doesn't matter who sits in the oval office) cannot help itself when it comes to power. Whatever they have, it's guaranteed they will abuse it. Those of us who went ballistic about the giant databases that were proposed post 9-11 know this and the government seems to go out of its way to prove it every chance it gets. Whether it's your financial data, your medical data, your personal communications, your whereabouts, etc... the government won't think twice about using the data however it sees fit.

It's time for people to come out of their 9/11 trauma-induced coma and recognize that the government does not have the ability (or desire) to limit its own power. It is not going to restrict its collection and use of information solely for the purpose of "protecting" us. In the end it will use our data for whatever purpose it wants, and it'll do it just because it can.


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