Big Brother is spying on what we read & which DVD’s we watch


U.S. agencies collected and shared the personal information of thousands of Americans in an attempt to root out untrustworthy federal workers that ended up scrutinizing people who had no direct ties to the U.S. government and simply had purchased certain books.

Federal officials gathered the information from the customer records of two men who were under criminal investigation for purportedly teaching people how to pass lie detector tests.  The officials then distributed a list of 4,904 people – along with many of their Social Security numbers, addresses and professions – to nearly 30 federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, the CIA, the National Security Agency and the Food and Drug Administration. Although the polygraph-beating techniques are unproven, authorities hoped to find government employees or applicants who might have tried to use them to lie during the tests required for security clearances. Officials with multiple agencies confirmed that they’d checked the names in their databases and planned to retain the list in case any of those named take polygraphs for federal jobs or criminal investigations.

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It turned out, however, that many people on the list worked outside the federal government and lived across the country. Among the people whose personal details were collected were nurses, firefighters, police officers and private attorneys, McClatchy learned. Also included: a psychologist, a cancer researcher and employees of Rite Aid, Paramount Pictures, the American Red Cross and Georgetown University.

Moreover, many of them had only bought books or DVDs from one of the men being investigated and didn’t receive the one-on-one training that investigators had suspected. In one case, a Washington lawyer was listed even though he’d never contacted the instructors. Dozens of others had wanted to pass a polygraph not for a job, but for a personal reason: The test was demanded by spouses who suspected infidelity.

Customs officials recently confronted leaders of the agency’s union about their purchase of Williams’ book on beating lie detectors. Joseph Martin, the president of the Arizona chapter of the National Treasury Employees Union, said his vice president bought the book so the union could urge members not to voluntarily undergo a polygraph, because of its unreliability.

“What business is it of the government’s if we bought this book?” he said. “We have a right to read about lie detectors and tell our members not to take them.”

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The unprecedented creation of such a list and decision to disseminate it widely demonstrate the ease with which the federal government can collect and share Americans’ personal information, even when there’s no clear reason for doing so.

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“This is increasingly happening – data is being collected by the federal government for one use and then being entirely repurposed for other uses and shared,” said Fred Cate, an Indiana University-Bloomington law professor who specializes in information privacy and national security. “Yet there is no constitutional protection for sharing data within the government.”


“I’m concerned this may harm his career even though there’s no reason that it should,” said one Washington  lawyer, who added that they planned to ask the government to take the husband’s name off the list. “It’s very alarming and McCarthy-esque in its zeal. To put a person on a secret list because they bought the ‘wrong book’ or are associated with someone who did is overly paranoid.”


“You have access to all of this data – all of their financial records, all of their telephone records, all of their transactions . . . ,” Customs official John Schwartz said in a June speech to police polygraphers that McClatchy attended. “Then we can look at that list and determine for ourselves if we are good or not good at detecting these countermeasures. ”Schwartz didn’t return calls about the case. Customs spokesman Michael Friel said that “since the matter is under investigation it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.”
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2 thoughts on “Big Brother is spying on what we read & which DVD’s we watch

  1. Oooohhh…. now I’m scared. If I say anything King Obama doesn’t like they may put my name on a list, and I’ll be rounded-up when they come for the dissidents.

    I got your list right here, you lying, crack-head traitor, and the big secret you’re trying to keep is that the list is too goddamn long for anyone to do anything about it.

    I’d estimate that they’re up to about 200 million on this list already. The numbers are scaring the crap out of them, and their only defense is to keep trying to scare you.

    NEVER stop exercising your right to free speech. If you’re worried, it’s because you’re deceived.

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