President Signs DeFacto National Database Bill
by Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. January 18, 2019
Despite months of protests by many Americans, a dangerous data mining bill, Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (H.R. 4174, “FEPA”), became law this week.
The bill was sponsored by former House Speaker Paul Ryan who ignored the protests and rammed the legislation through the House committee two days after introduction. It was passed with a voice vote and no real debate about the privacy implications. Next it was sent to the Senate where, because of citizen outrage, was held in committee for 13 months until after the November elections. On December 19th, a slightly amended version of H.R. 4174 was passed by the Senate with no hearing, no debate, and no recorded vote. The House then passed the amended version of the Senate bill with no debate by a recorded vote of 356-17, with 17 courageous Republicans voting against it. Finally it was sent to the president for signature. Although many concerned citizens contacted President Trump to veto the bill, the dangerous data mining bill was passed into law.
Lawmakers have tried to justify their actions by claiming a need to monitor the effectiveness of federal programs. Yet Congress already has volumes of information about the ineffectiveness of many federal programs, including the decades long failure of Head Start, that they ignore and continue to fund.
The bill does not overturn the ban on national databases at this point but its extensive data linking/sharing has the same result.The data will remain housed at the collecting agency but will be shared widely with others. This poses a major security threat to student data held at the U.S. Department of Education and at the states’ longitudinal data systems. There is abundant proof that the federal government cannot keep personal data safe which is subject to hacking by outsiders, such as China and Russia, or criminals or those who have a political agenda.
Lifelong tracking of individuals by the federal government using education, employment, wage, and workforce data is being set up by this legislation. The ultimate goal is to create a socialist state with citizen tracking, surveillance, and control.
Although the passage of FEPA is a major blow to freedom loving Americans, the issue of privacy has now gained more public awareness. Privacy is a concern for the upcoming reauthorization of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), which was gutted during the Obama administration, and the Higher Education Act. We must maintain high vigilance over the actions of this Congress toward our Fourth Amendment rights. We must stop “reaching across the aisle” to those who want to destroy the Constitutional rights of Americans. Instead we must force Congress to begin the long march toward restoring our those freedoms.