From Sen. Clinton’s official Senate site.
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (NY) today called on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to stop efforts to collect and to analyze personal information on high school students that go beyond data collection efforts permitted under current law. Senator Clinton also urged the Pentagon to reverse its decision to use a private marketing firm to gather and disseminate this sensitive data, given the potential for privacy violations, identity theft and other misuse.
"It is critical that we do everything we can to make sure that our most sensitive personal information stays out of the wrong hands. That’s why it is so troubling that the Pentagon is using a private firm to collect and analyze sensitive personal information about high school students. Given the serious privacy concerns at stake, I urge the Pentagon to reverse its decision to use a private firm to collect this information and urge them to adhere to the data collection standards under current law." [Source]
Are military recruiters the wrong hand? Is the Pentagon now the enemy? Other government agencies such as the IRS also maintain a lot of personal data on us. This attitude is not surprising. I know that when I was a Navy recruiter trying to just get a simple list of names with phone numbers and addresses of students from the various schools was like pulling teeth. We often went by lists that were severely out of date which was a nuisance to both us and for those we would call.
It would have been great to have a list with GPAs on it. Usually when we did get a hold of somebody that was interested we would give them a very simple test in the office. The multiple choice tests composed of extremely simple word math problems and vocabulary questions. Sometimes I was amazed at the test results for some high school seniors that they were able to breath and walk on their own and invariably if I asked them if they ever did any reading – the answer was no. My time as a recruiter was a wake up call to me about how bad our public schools had become. Though I also learned about prejudging people. I had one walk in who was currently working at a Pizza Hut and who by appearance I figured wouldn’t measure up. Many times walk ins don’t pan out because of academic or other problems. This one though just about maxed out the ASVAB, was a math wiz, and ended up going into the Navy’s nuclear field.
"We fail to see a legitimate need for the creation of a database containing such personal information and are concerned that it may be an inappropriate effort to profile students based on ethnicity and other personal factors,"
I am all for eliminating the requirement for ethnicity in such data gathering. I wonder what she has to say about forced government quotas that require this type of information. There is a push in recruitment for blacks, Hispanics, and Asians and Pacific Islanders to make sure that ethnicity goals are maintained. I remember that Navy recruiters received extra points depending on a persons ethnicity and these points go towards rewards such as automatic advancement or commendations. It is ironic for the usual supporters of race-based quotas to complain about the collection of racial data since they are the ones that drive it.