Anyone who logs online to create a free email account or download a free smartphone app is helping construct a virtual information watchtower.
Privacy and data collection were the core of a discussion Monday during a meeting of the Oklahoma 2nd District Liberty Movement at the Tahlequah Municipal Armory Center.
The featured speaker was Kaye Beach, a full-time freedom activist and board member of the Constitutional Alliance. Shetalked about personal privacy and data collection systems used in law enforcement, health care and public education.
Privacy is essential for everyone, said Beach.
“I have a passion for stopping surveillance and preserving privacy and personal autonomy, and biometrics, in my mind, is the linchpin to all of this whether you’re talking about data surveillance or whether you’re talking about drones or CCTV cameras or any of these surveillance devices or gadgets,” she said. “The thing that makes all of that data personal and stuck to you forever is the fact that they have the measurements of your body to connect it to, and so that makes all of this surveillance inescapable. It makes attention from the government inescapable.”
Biometrics is the science and technology of measuring and analyzing a person’s biological data and in information technology, biometrics refers to technologies that measure and analyze human body characteristics for the purpose of identification and access control, according to TechTarget.com.
Biometrics is also used to monitor and track individuals in groups that are under surveillance. For example, large theme parks like Walt Disney World take biometric measurements from the fingers of their guests to monitor ticket use to ensure the same person is using the ticket from day to day.
“I have a lawsuit against the state of Oklahoma and the Department of Public Safety for the unwarranted collection of my biometric data and to stop mandatory biometric enrollment,” said Beach. “I don’t think it’s necessary to collect this information on the vast majority of law-abiding citizens. It’s a terrible privacy and security issue, and there’s also some religious issues in there. The lawsuit should be moving forward in February, and what I’m asking for is religious exemption for the unwarranted collection of my biometric data.”
Beach, who hosts a radio show every Friday evening called “AxXiom for Liberty” with co-host Howard Houchen on the Logos Radio Network, works free of charge at the state capitol to monitor legislators and help eliminate intrusive bills.
She said surveillance is not all bad, but there is a level of close observation that becomes intrusive and destructive – especially when personal information is automatically shared among public agencies without individual consent.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act provides parents certain rights to inspect, review and correct their student’s record, but in situations like free Internet-based applications that require personal information, the option of privacy is given away.
“So when we’re signing up for Google or these free apps and all these free emails, none of that is free. You’re putting off all of these fabulous crumbs of data and somebody’s making money on that. Google’s making money on that. They’re not giving you anything for free,” said Beach. “There are biometrics for schools. Even though biometrics or swiping a driver’s license before you go into a school [for identification and background checks is possible], none of this stuff would have stopped [the Sandy Hook shooter]. They don’t care. The corporations want to make money, and corporations are running the show.”
Beach suggested parents opt out of the school’s directory at the beginning of a school year to help control dispersal of personal information, and to inform their students to not participate in school-conducted tests that include answers about how the students feel. No psychological testing should be performed on a student without a parent’s consent, she said.
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