November 17th, 2008

Plumbing the Data

When Joe The Plumber stepped into the public eye, several government workers in Ohio promptly ran internal database searches on him.

One such worker explained that "her agency routinely checks on people who are thrust into the spotlight".

Some find this scary:
“It is appalling that state officials believe they may violate a person’s private information simply because they appeared in a newspaper story,” said Christine Link, executive director of ACLU of Ohio.
Step up and speak your mind!
But our agencies will find
the dirt you left behind.

Of course, the real hero here is modern databases - which keep track of who ran what query.

Audit trails
tell the tale,
ripping away the government's veil.


We who were children once, recall
the childish power
to squeal in joy, and then to bawl
sorrowful sobs in the space of an hour
over things that now seem small
but loomed much larger then,
when we were little women and men.