One would think the Constitution and Bill of Rights spell out in plain language our freedom to donate to whomever we like politically, to move freely about privately without worry. Unfortunately, several recent reports note that this is not the case. Congress must, therefore act, in an effort to preserve these basic and essential elements of liberty.
Congress should not interfere with business, but it must protect its citizens. Companies tracking people without their knowledge falls into this category and must be addressed. Apple and Google are doing so via smart phones.
Tracking software deployed without user knowledge is at very least unethical. As such Congress should require at the very least a notification to the user – if not also – provide the user with an option to turn off the tracking.
The need for personal data protection does not stop with corporations, it extends into law enforcement and government as well. The Michigan State police apparently are using a device which extracts personal data such as text messages, photos, video, and GPS. The ACLU recently made an inquiry into use of these “data extraction” devices.
Laws must be passed regulating such devices in an effort to prevent abuse. Otherwise an individuals most personal information could be misused.
Not to be out done, the White House is pushing two iniatives through executive orders which must be stopped.
The first, and most wide ranging, is a move by the Obama administration to assign internet users with a federal internet ID. This is not some tin-foil made up idea, it is an actual proposal, and a direct threat to presonal privacy.
The Commerce Department claims there is no central database tracking user movement. This may be true, but such an ID lays the foundation for abuse of all types and flies in the face of privacy needs. The idea must be defeated in Congress and policy drafted to counter such a proposal. Users must be protected and federal government intrusion limited.
The second, and far more nefarious move, is an executive order requiring companies who do business with the federal government to report in detail the poilitical activities of its officers and directors. Simply put, the Obama administration is trying to implement a form of political litmus test.
Although the act would take the form of an executive order, Congress must act to prevent such policy from being deployed. All people should be free to support or oppose whomever they want politically, without fear or repercussion.
Likewise, business contracts with the government – federal or state – should be on the basis of merrit, not politics. In the end what troubles me most about each of these situations is the underlying attitude motivating such bad policies.
Congress can and should restrict government and private industry from doing harm to the citizens of this great nation. It must do so and take action quickly before irrepudible harm is done.
I would note, however, Congress cannot address the core issue with each of these actions – corruption of a basic moral compass. Before this nation can move forward again successfully, that compass must be repaired.