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It should be my choice

The government shouldn't be able to see and save every scrap of information about its citizens. Whether to disseminate any non-life-threatening information about me should be my choice.

In response to the July 3 Perspectives column by Kevin Hanrahan, "Rethinking privacy protection and Big Brother":

I believe Mr. Hanrahan is in error in his article. We as a nation do not need the government to look at and save every scrap of information about its citizens as has been proposed. My doctor does need information contained in medical records to make a sound medical decision. My insurance company does not need this information, as they are making a financial decision--not a life-threatening one. Whether to disseminate any non-life-threatening information about me should be my choice.

As for safeguarding this information gathered under the Total Information Awareness policy (the name has been changed to Terrorist Information Awareness due to outrage over the Big Brother perception but the concept has not changed), who decides who sees this information? Do I get to see all the information about me? Do I get to make corrections? What do state and local governments know? Can non-governmental agencies access this information? Am I notified whenever this information is accessed? Am I notified who accessed this information and for what reason? What about information I do not want shared?

Our founding fathers instituted the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution for a reason--they were involved in what was then considered criminal behavior (smuggling, tax evasion--and remember the Boston Tea Party?), and they did not want to permit the government to look over their shoulders without compelling reason. Why was this safeguard a good idea then and not now?

Jeff Boarman
Clarksville, Tenn.