This week I planned to write a blog about my experience with voir dire in federal district court. I sat down at the computer and, as usual, checked my email. The first message was from my kids’ school saying that its liability insurance carrier now requires background checks on all parents volunteering for school activities and/or driving for school events.
Screeech! I skipped a grove on the old vinyl and ended up in Pissed-off Land.
Perhaps most people don’t give a damn about privacy. I’ve heard it’s a generational thing. People my age care. The under-50 crowd doesn’t.
Is this true?
I, like my husband, have nothing to hide. Nothing. That doesn’t stop me from hating the idea that total strangers will have copies of my driver’s license. I also don’t want every Tom, Dick and Harry to have my Social Security number. (Why is it even called “Social Security” anymore when it’s used for id’ing purposes anyway? It didn’t use to be.)
I’m not naïve. I know there must be files and records on me, cluttering cabinets and gigabytes all over the place. I’ve seen how some of that information is handled. Hell, I worked as a temp all over DC for more than a year. Confidentiality in most offices is a total myth.
Nowadays this is more worrisome. There’s the little issue of identity theft.
Just as vexing is the pervasive societal presumption of guilt. Are we really assuming that everyone and her brother are pedophiles with crappy driving records full of DWIs?
I find it difficult NOT to take this kind of request/requirement for background checks and other personal information, well, personally even though I know they’re not meant that way. They’re just so damn heavy-handed, on a par with the school principal punishing an entire class for one kid’s transgression.
Perhaps the military is okay with this approach for team-building. But we’re not doing that here. We’re talking systematic suspicion, automatic distrust. Lawyers might benefit from this attitude, but it’s chipping away at civility in our society in the process.
We’re all so angry.
I’m not proud of this, but my first response to the school’s email was to write a snotty one of my own. “Give me the names, social security numbers and drivers’ licenses of the people who’ll be handling my info. Oh, and BTW, what are their credentials? Q Level clearance?”
Of course I didn’t do it. Well, actually, I did write the letter. Then I deleted it and called the school for more info. But my first reaction was there. I could’ve hit the SEND key as easily as the DELETE.
Am I being unreasonable? All I know is that this trend, and the public’s tacit acceptance of it, disturbs me to my core.
- Do you care about privacy? Where are your limits on what’s acceptable to request and what isn’t?
- Am I’m being silly?
- Does the whole let’s-suspect-everyone-of-wrongdoing-until-he/she-proves-otherwise meme upset you or is it just par for the course?
- Do you know anyone who has suffered from identity theft? What was that person’s experience?
I’m looking forward to your replies.