This week I received a phone call from the Veterans Administration, to ask me to submit a copy of my most recent DD-214, the document that all veterans recognize as our Certificate of Release or Discharge from military service, which also provides the veteran with a validation for several federal and state benefits.
Since I am given to understand that the United States Government’s Executive Branch oversees the Veterans Administration and Department of Defense (DOD), and the DOD oversees the Department of the Navy, I am unsure how transmission of my Active Duty service record – and DD-214 for my second period of service (ending 17 years ago) – or at minimum, the DD-214, failed to be transmitted to the records the Veterans Administration maintains (veterans are its customers). Were it only a paper record, I could understand that millions of archival pages might be confusing for one file clerk with band aids on her thumbs and a dry sponge-pad (to moisten fingers) searching through file cabinets. But for thirty years, documents have been scanned into computer records.
In the most recent twenty years, and particularly in the last ten years, there have been lobbying groups protesting the illegal monitoring/ harvesting of data purportedly on American citizens – and our “undocumented guests” in the country. College students, particularly at Ivy League universities, college professors, Congressional investigations, anarchists camping out in the streets, and huge exposes by media – CNN, Politico, New York Times, and groups like the ACLU and so on, condemn BIG GOVERNMENT for purportedly nefarious purposes.
Given my experience with Government, including data losses, long delays between completing forms and receiving confirmation of receipt, and even longer delays when requesting information, specific to the very thing the Government agency is responsible, I have some reservation about how nefarious or how “omnipresent” Big Brother really is in our daily lives. I am much more concerned with BIG CORPORATION (##).
Google, Facebook, other social media, Microsoft, and so forth collect TRILLIONS of bytes of data daily on our finances, credit use, personal interests, sexual preferences, and other habits. Anyone who has looked at a website on your computer or phone at work or at home should notice how quickly all your other devices start to send you “tailored” advertising. And knowing that criminals, foreign governments, and non-state bad actors are often way more proficient with data mining than our own GOVERNMENT, I would not be surprised to hear my Progressive, aka Liberal, friends be embarrassed one day in the future to learn that buying the Birkenstock and Hillary Clinton’s autobiography from the web, will also come with a free sample of Russian borscht or Chinese travel vouchers.
(##) since I served and presently work where my privacy is understood to NOT be a sacred thing – the Government has maintained records on me since I was 18 years old – I am not willing, nor able to drop off “the Grid” anytime soon