Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Arthur R. Miller had it right --- in 1967

Recently I wrote here about PCI, RFID and data compliance and security. Back in 1967 Arther R. Miller wrote in the Atlantic Monthly in an article title "The National Data Center and Personal Privacy" about a similar thing. 41 Years ago! The article was recently re-discovered and posted on Modern Mechanix Blog and can be found here.

An excerpt that is particularly telling:

Finally, the risks to privacy created by a National Data Center lie not only in the misuse of the system by those who desire to injure others or who can obtain some personal advantage by doing so. There also is a legitimate concern that government employees in routine clerical positions will have the capacity to inflict damage through negligence, sloppiness, thoughtlessness, or sheer stupidity, by unintentionally rendering a record inaccurate, or losing it, or disseminating its contents to people not authorized to see it.

To ensure freedom from governmental intrusion, Congress must legislate reasonably precise standards regarding the information that can be recorded in the National Data Center. Certain types of information should not be recorded even if it is technically feasible to do so and a legitimate administrative objective exists. For example, it has long been “feasible,” and from some vantage points “desirable,” to require citizens to carry and display passports when traveling in this country, or to require universal fingerprinting. But we have not done so because these encroachments on our liberties are deemed inconsistent with the philosophical fiber of our society. Likewise, highly personal information, especially medical and psychiatric information, should not be permitted in the center unless human life depends upon recording it.

Go check it out. It's worth the time and the read. Interesting how things that are foretold in the past come to fruition and how we continue to fail to learn.

-End of Ramble

No comments: