Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Government Consumer Broadband Test Collects Your Personal Data

The Obama administration has never been shy about collecting information on citizens. The latest attempt is via the FCC and their handy "Consumer Broadband Test".

The test is simply one of two commercially available speed tests (you get to choose). . In my opinion, you'd have to be an utter moron to use this service, because they require registration and gather personal data, including your IP and street address.

What could they use this personal data for? Well, according to their privacy statement:

The information about individuals covered by this system of records notice may routinely be disclosed under the following conditions for:
  1. Where there is an indication of a violation or potential violation of a statute, regulation, rule, or order, records from this system may be referred to the appropriate Federal, state, or local agency responsible for investigating or prosecuting a violation or for implementing or enforcing the statute, rule, regulation, or order.
  2. A record on an individual in this system of records may be disclosed, where pertinent, in any legal proceeding to which the Commission is a party before a court or administrative body.
  3. A record from this system of records may be disclosed to the Department of Justice or in a proceeding before a court or adjudicative body when:
    1. the United States, the Commission, a component of the Commission, or, when represented by the government, an employee of the Commission is a party to litigation or anticipated litigation or has an interest in such litigation, and
    2. The Commission determines that the disclosure is relevant or necessary to the litigation.
  4. A record on an individual in this system of records may be disclosed to a Congressional office in response to an inquiry the individual has made to the Congressional office.
  5. A record from this system of records may be disclosed to GSA and NARA for the purpose of records management inspections conducted under authority of 44 U.S.C. 2904 and 2906. Such disclosure shall not be used to make a determination about individuals.
  6. A record from this system may be disclosed to appropriate agencies, entities, and persons when (1) the Commission suspects or has confirmed that the security or confidentiality of information in the system of records has been compromised; (2) the Commission has determined that as a result of the suspected or confirmed compromise there is a risk of harm to economic or property interests, identity theft or fraud, or harm to the security or integrity of this system or other systems or programs (whether maintained by the Commission or another agency or entity) that rely upon the compromised information; and (3) the disclosure made to such agencies, entities, and persons is reasonably necessary to assist in connection with the Commission’s efforts to respond to the suspected or confirmed compromise and prevent, minimize, or remedy such harm.
  7. The information collected through the voluntary Registry and speed tests, with the exception of any personally identifiable information, may be shared with public-private partnerships and with the Telecommunications Program of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Agency. This sharing regime is described in the Commission’s Broadband Data Order of 2008 (FCC 08-89)
In each of these cases, the FCC will determine whether disclosure of the records is compatible with the purpose(s) for which the records were collected.

So, the FCC will only give out your name, IP address and residence if there is an "indication" of a "potential violation" to any Federal, State or Local agency that asks. But I'm really blown away by #4. They will disclose your IP address if you had the hubris to contact your congressional representative and they want to know more about you.? WTF? This is America isn't it?

But don't worry, the FCC will be the final arbiter of whether your personal data is disclosed.

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