Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's None of Their Business

It's not as if the government doesn't already know a ridiculous amount of information about us anyway.  The information that they've got comes from our income taxes, our jobs, our credit cards.  I'm sure they have quite a dossier on all of us already.  Some people say they aren't worried about that because they don't have anything to hide, but that theory really only goes so far.

The State Department has announced a formal notification to allow 60 days for public comment about a proposed new form  DS-5513 , a Biographical Questionnaire that would be incorporated into the process for securing a US Passport. The applicant is asked for all addresses since birth; lifetime employment history including employers’ and supervisors names, addresses, and telephone numbers; personal details of all siblings; all schools attended both in the US and overseas; mother’s address one year prior to your birth; any “religious ceremony” around the time of birth; and other intrusive and personal information

According to the questionnaire, an estimated 74,000 applicants will complete the form.  In 2010, approximately 14 million US passports were issued, so that works out to 1 in 200 applicants who will be required to complete the form.  Neither the DS-5513 form or the announcement reveal where that number came from or who qualifies to be one of the special  74,000 applicants.

If you are one of those 74,000, please note that “failure to provide the information requested may result in … the denial of your U.S. passport application.”  and "Providing the information requested on this form, including your social security number, is voluntary, but failure to provide the information requested may result in processing delays or the denial of your U.S. passport application."  That doesn't give you many options if you want a US Passport.

It is rare that the average citizen is made aware of a public comment period relating to a government proposal, but this is your lucky day because there are about another 30 days to submit comments.  If you think that this is a ridiculous waste of time as well as a terrible intrusion of privacy, it's your turn to sound off to the State Department. I recommend you let the State Department know your feelings regardless if you would be directly affected.  You know that once the questionnaire is put in effect, we will ALL be affected.

You may submit comments by any of the following methods:
  • E-mail: Show citation box
  • Mail (paper, disk, or CD-ROM submissions): Alexys Garcia, U.S. Department of State, 2100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Room 3031, Washington, DC 20037.Show citation box
  • Fax: 202-736-9202.Show citation box
  • Hand Delivery or Courier: Alexys Garcia, U.S. Department of State, 2100 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Room 3031, Washington, DC 20037.Show citation box
You must include the DS form number (if applicable), information collection title, and OMB control number in any correspondence.

I'd love to hear your comments.