Almost every ex-pat here in Saigon knows that there is a government dossier with their name on it from the moment they went through immigration. When I first heard of it, I was a bit taken aback and remember being taught that some governments in the world do this sort of thing. I also remember that living in America meant privacy from unnecessary government intrusion.
But I guess I was wrong. I stumbled (Mozilla browser “stumble” feature”) upon the ACLU’s website and found an interesting story about the “Matrix” formerly known as the “Total Information Awareness” which was then changed to “Terrorism Information Awareness” to deflect criticism. This system accumulates information about ordinary citizens including who they live with, their purchases, friends telephone number etcetera etcetera.
The US government says it’s a tool to combat terrorism yet they are collecting unnecessary information on everyone. Many states have shut the program down, but my state Ohio is one that still actively uses it. It is going to seem strange going back to my home country knowing that I could be spied upon by my own government like the Communist countries do. It makes my skin crawl that my own government is collecting such information on me, and although I have nothing to hide, it’s the principal of the matter that really gets my blood boiling.
The Bush administration as well as previous ones are behaving just like North Korea but hiding behind the fallacy that it is used only for terrorists. North Korea is just as paranoid about it’s own citizens and it looks like the United States is following the same path. At least in the Communist countries it’s common knowledge but the USA by doing the exact same things the other governments do except try to lie about it to assuage peoples concerns.
I’m sure most Americans disapprove of this new system but it is sad that others will defend the practice of their own privacy being invaded. These are the people who will later on wonder how in the hell they gave away their own privacy by not speaking up and trying to do something about it. Thank God for the ACLU which seems to be one of only a few agencies that still cares about the rights of the people.