May 16, 2005

How did those recruiters get your phone number? The Feds forced your child's school to provide it to them.

A company who also happens to be a great idea, Working Assets, is a company that provides wireless, long-distance, and local phone services as well as credit cards. The cool thing about them is that in addition to their offering a good product at reasonable rates, you can round up your bill as much as you desire and they donate that part to a variety of progressive causes and groups. (plus, I got a free pint of Ben & Jerry's every month for a year just for signing up for their long distance service.... sweet! (no pun intended) I highly recommend that anyone interested check into switching to their services. It's a great way to spread the word and support worthy causes.

They also provide "Action Alerts" from time to time by email to their customers who wish to receive them. Their latest urges people to support Rep. Mike Honda's bill to "fix" a part of the patriot act.

I'd heard about this issue months ago, though it got no wide-spread coverage. It is a little known provision smuggled into the odious Patriot Act and decrees that all High Schools in the entire country is required to hand over the private personal data for every student, including phone numbers and home addresses. If the school refuses to comply, they could stand to loose critical federal funding.

The only saving grace, if it could be called that, about this radical and intrusive measure is that parents can "opt-out" of the list, but they have to A. Be aware that this is an option, and B. Be able to figure out how to get it done.

Rep. Mike Honda, D-CA, has introduced H.R. 551, a bill which would amend this portion of the Patriot Act by providing that the Feds could only access private information about students if their parents "Opt-in" to the plan, rather then their having authority to gather the data unless they pro-actively "Opt-out", as it currently stands.

Act For Change, Working Assets political action component, is asking people to be "Citizen Co-Sponsors" by signing an online petition to send to Honda indicating support for his ammendment which can then be used to attract co-sponsors for the bill. Help out if you'd like Rumsfeld to keep his hands off our young people.


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