NEW EFFORTS TO GET YOUR DATA
A new federal panel has been created called the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking. Already hearings have been held (October 21, 2016, and up to March 13, 2017) documenting the push by private technocrats and governmental agencies at all levels for collecting unrestricted individually identified data on every American. Truth in Education recently published a lengthy article on what this means and compared it to the Chinese system, which is used to control every individual in China. Here is an eye-opening clip of that article:
Speaker [Paul Ryan] worked with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) on the legislation to create the Commission, which “is charged with reviewing the inventory, infrastructure, and protocols related to data from federal programs and tax expenditures while developing recommendations for increasing the availability and use of this data in support of rigorous program evaluation.”
The appeal of this Commission to “conservatives” is that it will recommend ways to evaluate federal programs and see which ones work and which are a waste of money. … [however] the federal government routinely ignores research, such as the massive evidence that Head Start is useless, that doesn’t support its preferred policies.
But “program evaluation” is the excuse. And the basis of the Commission’s work will be expanded sharing of personal data on American citizens. …
The authorizing statute makes it clear that the Commission must explore new and exciting ways of sharing personal citizen data. The Commission is directed to:
“determine the optimal arrangement for which administrative data on Federal programs … may be integrated and made available to facilitate program evaluation, continuous improvement, policy-relevant research, and cost-benefit analyses by qualified researchers and institutions …”;
“make recommendations on how data infrastructure, database security, and statistical protocols should be modified to best fulfill” these objectives;
“consider whether a clearinghouse for program and survey data should be established and how to create such a clearinghouse”;
determine “which survey data [this] administrative data may be linked to, in addition to linkages across administrative data series …”;
determine what incentives may facilitate interagency sharing of information to improve programmatic effectiveness …”
Although the statute mentions protecting privacy and data-security, its general thrust is to determine how the federal data troves can be shared among various agencies and with researchers.
The composition of the Commission is likewise designed to reach the desired goal of increasing disclosure of personal data. Of the fifteen commissioners (appointed by the President, the Speaker, and the House Minority Leader), only five are to be “expert[s] in protecting personally-identifiable (sic) information and data minimization.” The rest are to be researchers and program-administrators – people whose professional lifeblood is access to data, and who will reliably advocate for fewer restrictions on that access.
One of the Commission’s hot-button issues is whether to allow a federal student unit-record system. A unit-record system would enable the federal government to collect personally identifiable information (PII) on individual higher-education students and link that data to lifelong workforce data. Essentially, it would allow government to track individuals throughout their lives by linking their education to their employment outcomes.
… [A student unit-record system] would suck all post-secondary students into a massive federal database, without their consent or even their knowledge, merely because they enrolled in college. For another, it would inevitably burst all boundaries to include any data that might conceivably be connected to education – employment, health, military service, financial status, criminality – world without end, amen. And this ever-expanding dossier would be permanent. …
[S]ecurity aside, the compilation of enormous amounts of personal data on American citizens fundamentally changes the relationship between the individual and government. It has an intimidating effect on the individual – even if the data is never used. This is especially true when the collector wields the force of law. A citizen who is afraid of what the government has on him is a citizen who will be loath to challenge that government. … (Emphasis added.)
Parent activist Cheri Kiesecker has compiled a valuable compendium of the testimony and agendas of these witnesses. … According to this witness, federal bureaucrats are already giving their buddies access to restricted data. … Emmett McGroarty of American Principles Project … emphasized the intimidating effect that governmental compilation of citizen dossiers has on supposedly free individuals.
“ Our republic rests on the idea that the citizen will direct government. That cannot happen where government sits
in a position of intimidation over the individual.”
1 Robbins, Jane, “Skipping Down the Bipartisan Path Toward Big Data,” Truth in American Education, March 16, 2017, www.truthinamericaneducation.com. (Accessed 3-18-17)
2 Kiesecker, Cheri, “The proposed NSA-like national database for student data: Moneyball for kids,” Missouri Education Watchdog, October 30, 2016, www.missourieducationwatchdog.com. (Accessed 3-18-17)