The National Security Agency, which has been under intense scrutiny since Edward Snowden spilled the beans about the level of personal information they collect, has announced a new information sharing program they hope will ingratiate them with businesses across America. NSA public relations liaison Michael Phillips explained the program in a press release.
“The focus of this program is for the NSA to express our gratitude to the businesses whose tax dollars support our operation. While our primary focus remains the gathering of intelligence for national security purposes, we collect a lot of information that is of no use to us, but would be of great use to employers. For instance, we can provide detailed records of your employees’ or prospective employees’ internet browsing habits, phone records, and in some cases, much more. Background checks and references only go so far. If you really need to know who you’re hiring, you can find out, and the NSA can help. All you need to take advantage of the program is a government-issued business tax ID number.”
While some companies are more than happy to take advantage of the program, others are afraid of the message it will send to their employees. Frank Vargas, owner of a large automotive paint distributor in Austin, Texas, expressed some of his concerns.
“Everybody wants to know about the people they associate with on a daily basis, but this seems a little extreme. Do we really want people to have that kind of access to our personal lives? Our thoughts? What scares me is, some people are going to love this, take full advantage of it. Is it really fair to deny people employment based on an off-color joke sent in a text? There are things people do and say in their private lives that have no bearing on on their job performance. Hell, I’m sure I’ve said something that might bar me from employment, but that’s my business. Maybe it’s time for us to re-evaluate who we have running our country.”
Other business owners are jumping on the surveillance bandwagon and not looking back. Steve Clemons, of Clemons and Son machining, thinks the program is great.
“I’m a Christian, and I run my business based on Christian values. I expect my employees to operate on the same moral level as I do. Since I joined the program, I have replaced seven employees. There was adultery, racism, and all manner of of immorality eating at the moral fabric of my company like a cancer. Thanks to the NSA, I was able to nip it in the bud, and hire some wholesome family men to replace the jerks I let go.”
“The whole process was really easy, too,” said Christopher Lewis, a restaurant owner from Chicago. “I filled out a couple forms with the information I already had on the employees I wanted to check up on, sent it in along with a check, and they sent me packets of information. The whole thing took about 2 weeks. They sent me emails, Facebook private messages, even text messages. They had it all. It really helped in deciding who to keep, and who to replace. It also helps when looking to hire someone new.”
Regardless of individual public position on surveillance, the era of privacy seems to be in its twilight years, and the NSA is helping to usher in a new age – at least for those who can afford to pay for secrecy.