The biggest threat to your privacy is the government. We must drastically limit the ability of government to collect and store data regarding citizens’ personal matters.
We must stop the move toward a national ID card system. All states are preparing to issue new driver’s licenses embedded with “standard identifier” data – a national ID. A national ID with new tracking technologies means we’re heading into an Orwellian world of no privacy. I voted against the Real ID Act in March of 2005.
To date, the privacy focus has been on identity theft. It was Congress that created this danger by mandating use of the standard identifier (currently your SSN) in the private sector. For example, banks use SSNs as customer account identifiers because the government requires it.
We must also protect medical privacy. Right now, you’re vulnerable. Under so-called "medical privacy protection" rules, insurance companies and other entities have access to your personal medical information.
Financial privacy? Right now depositing $10,000 in your local bank will generate a “suspicious activity report” to the federal government.
And then there’s the so-called Patriot Act. As originally proposed,
- Expanded the federal government's ability to use wiretaps without judicial oversight;
- Allowed nationwide search warrants non-specific to any given location, nor subject to any local judicial oversight;
- Made it far easier for the government to monitor private internet usage;
- Authorized “sneak and peek” warrants enabling federal authorities to search a person’s home, office, or personal property without that person’s knowledge; and
- Required libraries and bookstores to turn over records of books read by their patrons.
I have fought this fight for many years. I sponsored a bill to overturn the Patriot Act and have won some victories, but today the threat to your liberty and privacy is very real. We need leadership at the top that will prevent Washington from centralizing power and private data about our lives.