from the both-sides-of-mouth-completely-operational dept
Mike Rogers, who once famously stated that no privacy violations occur if no one finds out their privacy has been violated, is now very concerned about Americans' privacy. Of course, this is because he's in an adversarial role, rather than playing defense.
As we're all aware, the much-anticipated and highly-touted national healthcare website made its very shaky debut recently. Immediately inundated by millions of Americans looking for a better deal on healthcare, the website performed with all the reliability of a dollar store electronic device, falling completely apart at the slightest touch.
Much has been made about the roll out and subsequent failure of a website that was supposed to be the crowning jewel of the Affordable Care Act. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was called before a Congressional hearing to field questions and complaints from legislators who wanted clarification on what went wrong and, more importantly, whom to direct their irritated constituents towards.
Mike Rogers was on hand and delivered a longish rant/question about the live roll out of untested code. While there are some good points in his query/beration (i.e., hot fixes are insecure, the site is a failure), Rogers suddenly felt compelled to defend something he's taken a laissez faire approach to in recent months: the privacy of Americans.
Rogers, who questioned Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during a hearing last week, has taken issue with concerns about the safety of Americans' healthcare information.Rogers is upset that all the personal information people willingly submitted to a barely functioning government website might be exposed or put at risk by the agency's continual code fixes, almost all of which goes untested for security flaws before being rolled out.
"What was really shocking to me is even by their own words, they admitted that there was a high degree of risk when they offered the website to go public, they never told anybody about that. They said that they think the risk was acceptable. But their information wasn't at risk, American people's information was at risk," he said.
So, now Rogers is worried about possible privacy issues. He doesn't want to protect Americans' data from government intelligence agencies, but he wants to make sure it doesn't fall into the hands of other Americans or foreigners who might exploit the personal or financial data. Kudos for that I guess, but its not as if his favored intelligence community has been extra careful with what it's collected.
Sure, it may be locked down tight in occasionally not-on-fire servers in Utah, but it's hardly secure. Any number of American analysts have access to that data, with little more than some forced-into-practice minimization procedures and its defenders' assurances that NSA employees are patriotic, virtuous Americans guarding it from abuse.
Not only that, but what the agency collects is far more inclusive than what Americans are volunteering to the government site. Let's not forget that the TSA is already probing into Americans' personal and financial data just to determine whether or not they can travel within the country with a minimum of security molestation. So, it's not as if this information isn't already in the hands of several government agencies already -- with all the risks that entails.
But to claim this is a problem but not the NSA's massive data collections is a bit rich. That information has been abused in the past and, worse, it's been freely shared with other countries in unminimized form. Protecting the privacy of Americans isn't something you get to do part time, Rep. Rogers, but I suppose if no one finds out their personal data has been leaked all over the net by a faulty .gov website, then it's not really a problem, is it?