Last week I had to finalize my paperwork for my research assistantship. The documents I had to submit and forms I was required to fill out were, in no particular order:
- I-9 Form: Employment Eligibility Verification
- Social Security Card
- Worker’s Compensation Policy Form
- Drug-Free Workplace Policy Form
- EEO Gender & Ethnicity Voluntary Self-Disclosure Form
- EEO Individuals with Disabilities & Veterans Voluntary Self-Disclosure Form
- Emergency Contact Form
- Social Security Form SSA-1945
- Faculty Oath
- W-4 Form: Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate
- Electronic Deposit Form & Voided Check
That's right, I was required to submit all of the above documents. Including the two that have 'voluntary' in the name. Also, without a checking account I literally would not be able to get paid. Plus, when was the last time that someone demanded to see your social security card? I had my passport, which I needed my card to get, but apparently that's just not good enough?
One of my classes is focused on data - where it comes from and what you can do with it. It's called Data Mining, and many of the readings we do involve statistics culled from semi-public data. My teacher is of the opinion that our privacy has been dramatically compromised by the promulgation of online societies and social media, and he doesn't like it. He also acknowledges that it may be too late to do anything about it.
Crockett has been known to get up in arms when someone requires that he show ID for something like a credit card purchase. He doesn't have 'see ID' on the card (although as far as I know that is in no way more than a suggestion) and he's told me that as far as he knows, credit card companies actually do NOT allow a business to turn you away because you don't have ID. He finds these and other baby steps into what he considers 'his business' to be an area in which we need to take a stand.
I haven't traditionally been concerned with this kind of thing* - and now? Now I'm wondering if my teacher and Crockett are right. Maybe we should do something about it... and maybe it's already too late.
*I blog and tweet and facebook, all under my real name. Clearly privacy isn't one of my top ten worries in life.