If you think the Patriot Act is a serious violation of privacy rights, consider this:
Tue Sep 13, 6:36 PM ET
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – The Dutch government plans to open an electronic file on every child at birth as a tool to spot and protect the troubled kids of the future.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, all citizens will be tracked from cradle to grave in a single database â€” including health, education, family and police records â€” the health ministry said Tuesday.
As a privacy safeguard, no single person or agency will be able to access all contents of a file. But organizations can raise “red flags” in the dossier to caution other agencies about problems, ministry spokesman Jan Brouwer said.
The intention is to protect troubled children, Brouwer said. Until now, schools and police have been unable to communicate with each other about truancy records and criminality, which are often linked.
“Child protection services will say, ‘Hey, there’s a warning flag from the police. There’s another one from school. There’s another one from the doctor,” Brouwer said. “Something must be going on and it’s time to call the parents in for a meeting.”
Every child will get a Citizens Service Number, making it easier to keep track of children with problems even when their families move, said Secretary of Health Clemence Ross.
“Safety, guidance, education and supervision are incredibly important for the development of children,” Ross said.
All Dutch births are currently registered with local authorities.
So in order to “protect troubled children,” the Dutch government is going to be spying on all children, troubled or not. And of course, the government is going to decide which children are “troubled.” The opinions of the child and his/her parents will not be relevant. And if enough bureaucratic “warning flags” go up, the government will “call the parents in for a meeting.” Which, no doubt, will be strictly for their own “protection.”
Big Sibling is watching you!
(Now, where did I leave my copy of 1984?)
In the comments, Gary noted that, “This is just a step away where they will install a microchip deep in the body somewhere so it canâ€™t be removed.”
It is worth nothing in this regard that the FDA recently approved an implantable microchip with RFID transmitting capabailities. The idea — for now — is that you could get your medical records stored on a chip, and have the chip implanted in your body, so that doctors would have access to your medical records whenever they had access to you. The device is implanted under the skin, rather than “deep in the body,” but I don’t know if it can be removed by an amateur. I kind of doubt it.
This is, of course, just a small step from requiring these devices to be impanted in everybody, and using them for storing information other than just medical records. Indeed, if medical records include your name and related information such a device could be used to track the whereabouts of people even if it weren’t used to store anything but “medical records.”
Note from the article that opponents of this device are already being characterized as “fundamentalist religious groups who contend that the tags may be the â€œmark of the beastâ€ referred to in the Book of Revelation.” By demonizing (pun intended!) the opposition this way, they seek to discredit opposition based merely on reasonable concerns for privacy and for the right to control one’s own body free of government complusion. (Something tells me that the folks who purport to be so enthusiastic about “the right to control one’s own body” when it comes to abortion aren’t going to be too upset about this.)