Open Forum: Master file

Posted: October 2, 2013

I’m sure we’re all pretty much fed up with all the hoopla over the current dysfunction of our government, but here’s another issue that few of you are probably aware of.

Monday’s Star reported on an inner page an article by the Associated Press regarding what I consider to be a rather sensitive issue. Virginia is rolling all the personal information it has on all of us gathered through all the various agencies into one central database allowing any agency to access everything there is on file anywhere on each of us. The claim is it’ll be more efficient for any agency to access any needed information on us.

Many interesting things are reported in the article. First, “Robby Demeris, executive director of Richmond’s technology council, said that anything that is made more accessible and efficient for the user is at risk of an attack.” And finally, “Demeris said there should be public discussion, debate, and consideration of the initiative. We want to make sure all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed before we execute,’ he said.”

Then in the next sentence, the final insult: “The state does not plan to hold public hearings on the system.” If that’s not enough to irk you, the second paragraph of the article tells us “the Department of Social Services will be the first agency to use the new Commonwealth Authentication System, which goes live Tuesday.” That was yesterday, folks.

What are the chances that all this is driven by ObamaCare, which also went “live” Tuesday. Just another one of those hidden consequences that we’ve never heard about. If this doesn’t bother you, consider the fact that once everything about us is rolled into one massive file, the government will have access to our lifelong health records, court records, mental health records, driving records, criminal records, school records, family records, and, last but not least, our gun records.

For years, the ATF has required us to fill out paperwork detailing our personal information and the type of firearm we’re buying to pass the instant check. I’m sure the ATF won’t pass up an opportunity to join those records in a master file to detail our gun ownership.

I’m not paranoid; I’m just being observant. I’m sure the AP article on Virginia’s creating a master file on all of us is occurring in every state in the union. How does that make you feel? Are your benefits really worth all you’re giving up?

John Mallery resides in Berryville.