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Protect Student & Citizen Data Privacy! Say NO on HR 4174 National Database Bill on Wednesday 11-15!

HR 4174 sponsored by Speaker Paul Ryan is due for a vote this
Wednesday. This bill creates a government-wide “evidence building plan” that will lead to a national citizen database. The U.S. Dept. of Education
will include lifelong student data tracking. Details are available here and here.  A one-page summary of the concerns with this bill is available
HERE and pasted below so that you may send this to your U.S. representative.
This bill is to implement the recommendations of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking (CEP) created by legislation authored by
Ryan and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA). Their big idea was to remove
the prohibition on lifelong tracking of students through college and the workforce. This generated more than two thirds of the comments they received and the majority of those comments were negative including testimony from Dr. Effrem and Emmett McGroarty of the American Principles Project. In their final report, CEP recommended:
“Congress and the President should consider repealing current 
bans and limiting future bans on the collection and use of data 
for evidence building.” 
This is obviously very concerning, especially given the government’s
terrible track record of protecting data and the government’s efforts to
expand social and emotional data collection on children beginning in preschool.
Please start calling Congress tomorrow morning at 202-224-3121. 
You may also use this directory  

for individual representatives.
Tell them:
 
1) To vote NO on HR 4174 and that you oppose a national database. 
Also tell them you object to the suspension of the rules and that you demand a recorded vote. A bill this dangerous to privacy and 
freedom should not be rammed through with no debate.
 
2) Say that you want to restore the FERPA regulations back to their 
pre-2012 state to restore parental consent before sharing student 
data with researchers and corporations in order to protect privacy.
 
Thank you for whatever you can do to protect the privacy of our children!
 
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HR 4174/S 2046, [1] the Foundations for Evidence-Based 
Policymaking Act (FEPA), introduced by House Speaker Paul 
Ryan and Senator Patty Murray, is another federal bill that will 
increase 1) the non-consensual surveillance of free- born
American citizens, and 2) the probability of a comprehensive 
national database on every American. This legislation responds
to the report [2] by the Commission on Evidence-Based
Policymaking (CEP), [3] an entity created by FEPA’s authors.
The justification is to monitor the effectiveness of federal 
programs, but deep problems with the bill outweigh any 
possible benefits:
FEPA mandates that every federal agency create an
 “evidence building” (data-mining) plan that must include
“a list of . . . questions for which the agency intends to
develop evidence to support policymaking” and “a list of
data the agency intends to collect, use, or acquire to facilitate 
the use of evidence in policymaking.” This would allow any
bureaucrats to propose to collect any data on any citizen on
any topic they want, to answer their desired policy questions.
Each agency is also directed to create “…a list of any
challenges” to this goal, including “any statutory or other 
restrictions to accessing relevant data.” This responds to 
CEP’s recommendation that “Congress and the President
should consider repealing current bans and limiting future
bans on the collection and use of data for evidence building.”
 This recommendation presumably covers the student
unit-record prohibition [4] and the prohibition [5] on creating a
national K-12 student database. [6]
The Director of the Office of Management and Budget must
then use all these evidence-building (data- mining) plans to
develop “a unified evidence-building plan” for the entire 
federal government. Although the public must be 
“consulted,” and lip service is paid to issues of privacy and 
confidentiality of data, these are only items to be considered.
 There are no actual prohibitions or even limitations on
proceeding with data collection, regardless of the sensitivity 
of the data.
The federal government is demonstrably incompetent at data
security; moreover, the government routinely ignores the
overwhelming data it already has that shows the
ineffectiveness of many (most) federal programs. [7] There
is no reason to believe an even more enormous trove of data
can be secured, or that it will actually change government
behavior in any meaningful way.
Most importantly, collecting and holding massive amounts
of data about an individual has an intimidating effect on the 
individual-even if the data is never used. This fundamentally
changes the relationship between the individual and 
government. Citizen direction of government cannot happen 
when government sits in a position of intimidation of the
individual. [8]
A bill like FEPA would be expected from a totalitarian
government. [9] Congress should solve the “program 
effectiveness” problem by returning to the Founders’ vision and
drastically reducing government’s bloated size and scope.
This solution would obviate the need for the Orwellian 
surveillance scheme initiated by FEPA.
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