I have a number of things that I need to post regarding eligibility, but when I received an email from a concerned citizen about what the federal government is doing via an end-user license agreement by virtue of accessing the Cars.gov site, and realized that FoxNews’ Glenn Beck was reporting on the story, I wanted to help pass on the word and devote an entire posting to the issue.
Many of you may have already been aware of the federal government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program — that little piece of the so-called stimulus bill that authorized $1 billion to be used for approximately $4,500 towards trade-ins that was supposed to have lasted until October — and the sheer bureaucratic nightmare it has become.
If you haven’t, here’s a quick cut-and-paste from Drudge’s site on relevant links to bring you up to speed (you’ll notice that a by-product of the program is that car dealerships absolutely must completely disable the engine of the traded-in car — no matter how well it might otherwise drive — and then must contact or otherwise provide for a salvage yard to come pick up the vehicle to be otherwise incerated before they can be reimbursed by the federal government):
But you haven’t seen anything yet. Check out the following YouTube video that explains the agreement to which you must consent before receiving full access to the site (I will admit to not having actually gone to cars.gov, but after seeing the following, I’m not sure what in the world would compell me or anyone else to do so, except for ignorance):
I’ll even spell it out for everyone:
“This applicationn provides access to the DoT CARS system. When logged on to the CARS system, your computer is considered a Federal government system and is the property of the U.S. Government. Any or all uses of this system and all files on this system may be intercepted, monitored, recorded, copied, audited, inspected, and disclosed to authorized CARS, DoT, and law enforcement personnel, as well as authorized officials of other agencies, both domestic and foreign.” [emphases added]
For those of us in IT (Information Technology), end user license agreements are certainly nothing new (simply take a look at the virtual novel that, say, Microsoft throws at you every time you install Microsoft Office on your system) and will usually restrict you in your use of the software. Not only this, but it’s also true that if you use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) at your workplace and you’re using your office computer, you know (or should have reason to know) that (1) transmissions on that network can be monitored and/or recorded and that (2) what’s on your work computer can be accessed by the company.
To me, it wouldn’t even be that big of a deal if the language were very specific that only the federal Department of Transportation had access to files and what not; after all, I’m using their site, so they would theoretically have the authority to access a user’s transactions on their site.
However, that’s not what concerns me about the above. What concerns me is that the language includes the underlined, emboldened and italicized part. The access isn’t just controlled and authorized by the DoT; it’s conceivably observed by any agency, both domestic and foreign.
I think Mr. Beck and Ms. Guilfoyle described exactly what this means about your computer system well enough for me to not have to belabor that most pernicious of a point.
Instead, I will conclude with the following:
Maybe next time our dear elected federal officials will actually read the bills that come before them. And, if the majority in power is putting up encumbrance after encumbrance to try to stymie the process of reading the bills, it is absolutely in the minority’s best interest to pull out every parliamentary tactic they can in order to make sure that all of the American people are better served. To me, this includes walking off the floor, en masse in order that a quorum is not present sufficient enough to hold a vote.
This has got to stop.
And they want to take over the health insurance industry?
Update: From the above HotAir.com reference, check out this perfectly usable (until the federal government got a hold of it) Volvo being purposefully destroyed because of this program (a warning to mechanics and other car lovers, especially Volvo lovers — this will make you cry). Imagine instead of a car purposefully being put to death its your grandmother or grandfather being put to death by the federal government:
Update: Pamela Gellar at AtlasShrugs has more.
Update: HotAir.com has a posting on this as well. While they insinuate somewhat that the above may not be as big of a deal as individuals like myself are framing the issue, my question is why would you go about taking the risk of government snooping in your computer if you don’t absolutely have to, or if more information has yet to be provided for this situation?
Photo courtesy Yahoo!