Wednesday, January 18, 2006


What Fourth Amendment?

The Vermont Guardian reports that children can't "opt out" of the Pentagon's recruitment database.

The Pentagon has spent more than $70.5 million on market research, national advertising, website development, and management of the Joint Advertising Market Research and Studies (JAMRS) database - a storehouse of questionable legality that includes the names and personal details of more than 30 million US children and young people between the ages of 16 and 23. [...] Parents must contact the Pentagon directly to ask that their children's information not be released to recruiters, but the data is not removed from the JAMRS database, according to Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a Pentagon spokeswoman. Instead, the information is moved to a suppression file, where it is continuously updated with new data from private and government sources and still made available to recruiters, Krenke said. It's necessary to keep the information in the suppression file so the Pentagon can make sure it's not being released, she said.
Got that? The Pentagon has to keep the data in its database to make sure they don't use it. Um, why not just delete it? Or keep only the name and unique identifier, to make sure the data miners don't put children back in the database after they're removed? Call me paranoid, but I sure would like to know what information the Pentagon is including in the database besides "names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and phone numbers, [and maybe] cell phone numbers, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity, and subjects of interest"; also with what government agencies this information will be shared (the Department of Homeland Security comes to mind). And how is it that the Pentagon can afford to spend "a total of $206 million on the JAMRS program to date, [and potentially] another $137 million over the next two years", but can't afford to provide adequate body armor for the troops it has already?
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