Kennedy: We’re in deep trouble when our elected officials give up our privacy for money - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

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Kennedy: We’re in deep trouble when our elected officials give up our privacy for money

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Don Kennedy

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Posted: Sunday, July 28, 2013 2:55 pm

What if you learned the United States government was keeping a record of your health history in a huge data base without your knowledge or consent? Such is the case with the Affordable Health Care for America Act (Obamacare.) 

Have you noticed your physician is now keeping all of your medical history as a computer file? When asking about the practice, I was informed it is a requirement of the Affordable Health Care for America Act (AHCAA). Imagine that! It’s a federal regulation now. Obama, Reid and Pelosi didn’t tell us about it, did they? If you had known of this aspect of the AHCAA, would you have supported the program? 

What if you learned the United States government is also keeping a record of your child’s lifetime academic records in a huge data base? Grades K-12. College, too. Without your knowledge or consent. The data base is a requirement of the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI). If you had known of that component of the program would you have supported it in 2010 when it was silently accepted by Gov. Brewer and Superintendent of Education Huppenthal with no public debate? Would you support it now?

What if such a plan for an academic data base about your children would impact the privacy of their lives and the lives of future generations? Would you support it?

What if you learned your state legislators were complicit in the project by doing nothing? 

What if you learned there is a stalwart group of citizens who are working diligently to stop this plan? A plan which is probably unconstitutional, as is the AHCAA. Would you support them?

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution reads as follows: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

Does this amendment give us a right to privacy regarding our academic and medical records? 

Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis wrote on the subject when referring to common law in the Harvard Law Review in 1890: “It could be done only on principles of private justice, moral fitness, and public convenience, which, when applied to a new subject, make common law without a precedent; much more when received and approved by usage.”

The question which looms large in the mind is why have our legislators abandoned We the People by doing nothing to stop these transgressions against our privacy? Where is the outrage? Where are the lawsuits? Could it be because of money, political power and apathy? Probably.

The CCSSI program has a $400 million incentive with it, and the AHCAA has an $800 million bounty in it. When our elected officials are willing to give up the privacy of the people for money, we’re in deep trouble. Are you comfortable with that? I’m not.

• Don Kennedy is a graduate of Dartmouth College with a degree in sociology. He has been a resident of Ahwatukee Foothills since 2002.

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