|September 3, 2013
It is called the Federal Data Hub. Massive amounts of information gathered on every American and shared between government agencies. Agencies ranging from the the IRS to the Department of Defense, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services. The best part there is no opting out.
So who all has access to this information and the bigger question does private information even exist anymore?
The step toward truth is to inform.
There is as we speak an army of new federal government employees being hired by the department of Health and Human Services. Why does HHS need all these new employees? The answer is simple, the massive new healthcare law, The Affordable Care Act is behind schedule and the Feds need to start signing Americans up for the health care exchanges as quickly as possible.
So what kind of information is going to be collected?
When individuals sign up for federal insurance exchanges, they are required to enter their personal information into a new Federal Data Hub. We are talking about information like medical records, Social Security numbers, tax information, and bank account information. This is done by allowing seven government agencies, including the IRS, Department of Justice, Social Security Administration and others, to share and verify information in order to determine eligibility for an insurance subsidy.
In short, basically everything about you will be shared among multiple agencies. Remember, no actually agency can see or access any information, people working in those agencies do. So who, specifically, will be able to access this information?
They are called Navigators. Men and women who are being hired to work for between $20 and $48 dollars an hour. Sounds like specialized work that will required highly trained individuals, but, not so much. The requirements to become one of these navigators do not even include a high school diploma. And even though these navigators will have access to just about every piece of personal information on Americans enrolled in this exchange, they are not even required to pass a background check.
That is what the house committee on oversight and government reform has been told by HHS.
Navigators will only have to take a 20 to 30 hour online course about how the 1,200 page ACA works.
Interestingly, there is another role of these navigators that deserves a mention. There is more to the role of the Navigators than just signing Americans up for the healthcare exchange.
These Navigators will also be responsible for registering Americans to vote. According to People’s World Magazine in California,
California’s Secretary of State Debra Bowen is designating the state’s new Health Benefit Exchange, Covered California, as a voter registration agency under the National Voter Registration Act. That means Covered California will be incorporating voter registration into every transaction – online, in-person and by phone – it has with consumers.”
So, to be clear these Navigators will have access to every bit of your personal and financial information, federal employees who haven’t even been given so much as a background check.
Of course, HHS says you have nothing to worry about. Marilyn Tavenner the head of HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services testified before Congress saying,
“I want to assure you and all Americans that, when they fill out their [health-insurance] marketplace applications, they can trust the information they’re providing is protected,”
But how would any American know that? Even with background checks how can Americans trust that a Federal Data Hub that involves the gathering and consolidation of so much information not be attacked by hackers or compromised by those inside the departments?
We don’t know what will happen but we do have evidence of how some other expansive government agencies with even less intrusion into your life are functioning. An audit by the Government Accountability Office of the Transportation Security Administration points out major problems in that agency. That includes TSA agents accused of taking bribes from drug traffickers in Los Angeles or 56 cases alleging theft since 2010 including a 2011 incident involving a screener at Orlando International Airport who pleaded guilty to stealing more than 80 laptops and other electronic devices valued at $80,000.
In all, there were 426 cases of neglect of duty and 384 cases of ethical violations like bribery or credit-card abuse. Then there are the agents who are caught sleeping on the job but the biggest problem here isn’t even the behavior of the agents. According to the GAO Half of workers accused of sleeping on the job received less than the lowest penalty called for by agency policies. In all, the GAO found over 9,600 cases of misconduct in an agency that only has the power to allow you to get on an airplane.
What you need to know is that when it comes to the National Data Hub, there is a bigger question here than just one of whether or not HHS navigators might be overstepping their role by registering voters with this personal information. A bigger question than whether or not the information compiled in this data hub is susceptible to fraud, or corrupt workers.
The most important question, does personal or private information exist anymore? Chances are the feds would say no. After all, we know the NSA believes they have the right to read your emails and listen to your phone calls. So why wouldn’t they have the right to any and all of your private information? Even your banking information. The federal apparatus that is nearly complete is telling you that you don’t have the right to withhold anything about yourself and your life from government.
But that is simply not true.
The rights to privacy are all but gone in America today. Consider this, you do not belong to the state. Your money, your business, your private correspondence and conversations, your identity belongs to you and you alone. Those in power know it but the population has forgotten it. It is time that we remember.