Thursday, June 23, 2005
Pentagon Wants To Know Your Children
The Defense Department began working yesterday with a private marketing firm to create a database of high school students ages 16 to 18 and all college students to help the military identify potential recruits in a time of dwindling enlistment in some branches.
The new database will include personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying.
"The purpose of the system . . . is to provide a single central facility within the Department of Defense to compile, process and distribute files of individuals who meet age and minimum school requirements for military service."
Under the new system, additional data will be collected from commercial data brokers, state drivers' license records and other sources, including information already held by the military.
"This program is important because it helps bolster the effectiveness of all the services' recruiting and retention efforts."
Oh yeah, no problems with private companies collecting and maintaining personal data. They never lose track of the data, it never gets stolen. Please do note
The Pentagon's statements added that anyone can "opt out" of the system by providing detailed personal information that will be kept in a separate "suppression file." That file will be matched with the full database regularly to ensure that those who do not wish to be contacted are not, according to the Pentagon.They are not saying they will not collect data on people that "opt-out", only that they will note the additional data you provide to "opt-out."
Of course, keep in mid, the Pentagon already is getting some information about high school students:
Some information on high school students already is given to military recruiters in a separate program under provisions of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act. Recruiters have been using the information to contact students at home, angering some parents and school districts around the country.
School systems that fail to provide that information risk losing federal funds, although individual parents or students can withhold information that would be transferred to the military by their districts.
I wonder if they will include the data they are starting to collect via Mandatory Mental Health Screening for Public Schools?