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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Privacy & The USDA Rural Development Program

When I moved to Texas, I was happy to find an apartment right across the street from where I work. I had to fill out a very long and intrusive application to get the apartment, but I was willing to put up with it once.

It turns out that I must fill out the same forms with same intrusive questions again. Why? Because I had the bad luck to choose an apartment controlled by the USDA Rural Development program. Here is where I would like to point out Plank 9 of the Communist Party Manifesto: "gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of population over the country."

I am told I must fill out this questionnaire to see if I am eligible for a rent subsidy. However, I know I am not eligible for it, I haven't been getting it, and even if I was eligible, I don't want it. You might be asking why I do not just fill out the forms. The minor reasons are: because I've filled them out before; because there are hundreds of questions, and because I will get nothing out of it. The main reason however, is because of all the intrusive questions it asks. The form demands my bank account numbers and balances, my license plate number, my Social Security number, my date of birth, and a list of all the valuables I own. In short, this form makes me vastly more vulnerable to identity theft. Seeing as the healthcare.gov website was recently hacked, I do not trust the government to protect my information.

And to top it all off, I am required to fill out the same form every year for as long as I live here.

But I am a reasonable man, so I offer this compromise to Theresa Jordison, who is the director of this program for Texas. If she sends me her bank account, car, and personal identity information, I will offer mine. The Texas USDA Rural Development program may be reached at 254 742 9770 and txgrhquestions@tx.usda.gov.

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