If you're 16 to 25 years old, chances are you'll soon be receiving such a sales pitch from the Army. How will recruiters find you? Easy -- thanks to a new database secretly built by the Pentagon, they know where you live. They also know your phone number. And your Social Security number, your e-mail address, your height and weight, your grades in school, your ethnicity ... and so much more.
The Pentagon's "Joint Advertising Market Research Studies Division" (did you know they had one of those?) brags that this super-dandy database is "arguably the largest repository of 16-to-25-year-old youth data in the country, containing roughly 30 million records." It includes the names and personal info on 3.1 million graduating high school seniors and 4.7 million college students -- possibly including you or someone you know. All this is to be used to target, reach and recruit young folks to fill the troop quotas for George W's war in Iraq.
There are, however, two little glitches with the Pentagon's sweeping new database. First, it was illegally compiled. Officials began building it three years ago without giving public notice and allowing public comment -- a flagrant violation of the Federal Privacy Act. Second, (and more alarming to mothers and fathers), the private data allows recruiters to intrude into people's homes and put a sales job on their kids. As one mom says: "It's a direct shot to someone's child without consent from a parent."
To help shut down this illegal, intrusive database, call the Electronic Privacy Information Center at (202) 483-1140.
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