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February 17, 1974 - Image 4

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Michigan Daily, 1974-02-17

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Page Four

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Sunday, Februcry 17, 1974

Pae ou TE ICIANDALYSudaFerury17.17
i i i 1u1

GEO
GRADUATE EMPLOYEES ORGANIZATION

BOOKS

MASS

MEETING

CHEW REPORT
Privacy: Beware, with all these
computers, you hae't got much

AGENDA:

FEBRUARY 18-MONDAY
8 P.M.-UNION BALLROOM
1. REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS FROM
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
2. AMENDMENTS TO CONTRACT PACKAGE
3. BEGINNING OF STRIKE VOTE

Strike Vote Will Continue the Next Day
Tuesday, February 19 at the following locations:
Fishbowl (in Mason-Haven Hall) Medical Science Complex
Lobby MLB North Campus Commons
WHEN POSSIBLE, YELLOW ACADEMIC APPOINTMENT
CARD WILL BE USED FOR IDENTIFICATION
.-t
r .. 7 4'
"LET US ENTERTAIN YOU..."
SUNDAY MATINEE and SUNDAY NIGHT
2:00 p.m. 8:00 p.m.
Tickets on sale at Power Center Box Office Feb. 11-17 (763-3333) Information 763-1107
MUSKET '74

R E C O R D S, COMPUTERS,
AND THE RIGHTS OF CITI-
ZENS: REPORT OF THE SEC-
RETARY'S ADVISORY COM-
MITTEE ON AUTOMATED
PERSONAL DATA SYSTEMS,
U. S. DEPT. OF HEALTH,
EDUCATION AND WELFARE.
Cambridge: The MIT Press. 344
pages, $2.45.
By ERIC SCHOCH
IN A COMPUTERIZED society,
the right of individual pri-
vacy must be measured by the
ability of an individual to control
the circulation of information re-
lating to him/her.
Unfortunately, in the rush to
create and store personal infor-
mation on individual Americans
for nearly every conceivable
purpose, concern for the inevit'
able problems of privacy inva-
sion has been left far behind.
Files and dossiers containing
personal information on specific
individuals have existed for
thousands of years, but now the
vast storage and retrieval capa-
bilities of computers have chang-
ed the face of such record-keep-
ing.
As a result, automated per-
sonal data systems may well
pose the greatest threat to per-
sonal freedom yet encountered.
Records, Computers, and the
Rights of Citizens represents a
belated governmental attempt,
in the form of an advisory com-
mittee study for the Depart-
ment of Health, Education and
Welfare, to balance the rights of
private citizens against the
abilities of governmental and
private institutions to store and
disseminate vast amounts of
personal information.
THE REPORT recommends
the enactment of a federal
"Code of Fair Information
Practice" for all automated
personal data systems, based
on the following five basic prin-
ciples:
" There must be no personal
data record - keeping system
whose very existence is secret.
* There must be a way for
an individual to find out what
information about her or him is
in a record and how it is used.
" There must be a way for
an individual to prevent infor-
mation about him/her that was
obtained for one purpose from
603 E. Liberty
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being used or made available for
other purposes without his/her
consent.,
e There must be a way for an
individual to correct or amend a
record of identifiable informa-
tion about him/her.
Any organization creating,
maintaining, using or dissemi-
nating records of identifiable
personal data must assure the
reliability of the data for their
intended use and must take pre-
cautions to prevent misuse of the
data.
In addition, the advisory com-
mittee strongly opposed the cre-
ation of a Standard Utiiversial
Identifier, a system of assigning
a unique multipurpose number
for life to each citizen, and re-
commends that the continual
drift of the Social Security num-
ber to a status of a de-facto stan-
dard universial identifier be
halted and reversed.
QUCH RECOMMENDATIONS
for specific protective legisla-
tion come none too soon, for it
seems everyone is getting in on
the automated data systems act.
As former University law pro-
fessor Arthur Miller pointed out
in his excellent book, The As-
sault on Privacy, "in one short
time span the existence of the
Department of Housing and Ur-
ban development's Adverse In-
formation File, the National Sci-

Countless other governmental
agencies and private consumer
credit and investigatory corpor-
ence Foundation's data bank on
scientists, the Customs Bureau's
computerized data bank on "sus-
security files, the Secret Serv-
ice's dossiers on "undesirables,"
the National Migrant Workers
Children Data Bank, the Nation-
al Driver Registration Service,
and the surveillance activities of
the United States Army came to
light."

provide better services may de-
pend on their access to such in-
formation.
R ETAIL CREDIT companies,
which supposedly provide
financial data on individuals ap-
plying for credit, are notorious
for disseminating harmful, inac-
curate and irrelevant data glean-
ed from anonymous rel~tives,
neighbors and "friends" whose
reliability and motives are ques-
tionable. Yet such cryptic com-
ments as "drinks a lot" or
"scatterbrained" may contribute
heavily to a person's economic
standing.
Desnite the federal Fair Credit
Renorting Act of 1970, it is still
extremely difficult for individ-
u-Is to ascertain the contents of
files on them and effect correc-
tinns on misinformation contain-
ed therein.
An eTen greater threat arises
from the national 'criminal his-

ers and the Rights of Citizens
gives little thought to. the con-
sideration that such widespread
surveilince activities deny fun-
damentd rights while serving
little or no function except re-
pression.
As the advisory committee
seems to realize, it is impera-
tive that we avoid the possibility
of a "womnb to tomb" centraliz-
ed data system which would
provide a lifetime dossier for ev-
ery citizen.
Any such proposal will no
doubt be couched in terms of the
need for efficiency and other
noble aspirations. Such argu-
ments may well be sincere, but
the dangers of abuse far out-
weigh the benefits. In terms of
protection of privacy, there is
a considerable amount to be
said for inefficient decentraliza-
tion of automated data banks.
A 'CENTRALIZED automated
personal data system could
easily become a "record prison"
for countless Americans. The
basic American assumption that
a person can begin life anew,
leaving the past behind, is not
shared byhcomputer files.
T he recommendations s e t
down in Records, Computers and
the Rights of Citizens are the
standards. by which any protec-
tive legislation passed by Con-
gress should be measured, and
as such deservebthe attention
of the general public.
Automated personal data sys-
tems have become a permanent
part of. our society, and can be
put to uses that are functional
and perhaps even humanitarian.
The chances are great, though,
that they will lead us straight to
an Orwellian future of total citi-
zen maniuplation if we leave it
to chance and the "good inten-
tions" of information managers.

With the vast storage and retrieval Ca pa-
bilities of computers, automated personal
data systems may well pose the greatest
threat to personal freedom yet encountered.
ma~~~~ . ". rFs.is" 4 " rrmasaemniam a *1smsssam mm a

ations keep voluminous comput-
er files containing identifiable
personal information. The Retail
Credit Co. of Atlanta, for ex-
ample, holds dossiers on at least
45 million Americans.
There are, in some instances,
valid uses for such data. Com-
panies would seem to have the
right of reducing the risk of ex-
tending credit to applicants
through access to information
on their past financial activities.
In many cases the ability of var-
ious government agencies to

tory data bank incorporating the
files of the 50 states and the
FBI.
WHILE THE recommendations
in this book, if enacted into
strong legislation, may minimize
the threats posed above, the ad-
visory committee chose to play
down a problem of greater im-
port: Computerized dossiers on
"dissidents" and other supposed
"threats to national security".
The committee has made a
few minor suggestions regarding
such files, but Records, Comput-

'GIVE 'EM HELL'
Truman: Remember honesty?*

PLAIN SPEAKING: AN ORAL
BIOGRAPHY OF HARRY S.
TRUMAN. By Merle Miller. New
York: Berkley/G. P. Putnam's
Sons. $8.95. 432 pages.
HARRY S. TRUMAN. By Mar-
garet Truman. New York: Pock-
et Books (paper). $1.95. 634 pag-
es.
By ADAM SIMMS
"He not only doesn't give a
damn about the people; he
doesn't know how to tell the
truth. I don't think the son of
a bitch knows the difference
between telling the truth and
lying."
"GIVE 'EM Hell Harry" Tru-
man is the author of that
blunt judgment of Richard Nixon,
and thanks must be given to
Merle Miller, who resurrected it
in Plain Speaking: An Oral Bi-
ography of Harry S. Truman.
Certainly it is gratifying to see
a former President strip our Em-
peror of his pretensions. But it is
also sad and frightening to pon-
der the ways in which a fickle
public so easily embraces a
spurned lover after the latest ob-
ject of national affection proves
unfaithful.
Harry Truman, at the height of
his public career, was leader of a
party that has held the strongest
claim to liberal sympathy and
affections. His reward while in
office was to be reviled as a hack
politician and ridiculed as some
monstrous accident of Fate when
he succeeded FDR in 1945. He
was, liberals said, pointing to his
unadorned rhetoric and Miami
Beach sport shirts, a man with-
out style, without imagination. In
1948, liberals either bolted for

Henry Wallace's Stalinist-tainted
Progressive Party, or held their
noses and voted against Dewey.
In the 1950s, they opted for Adlai
Stevenson, a man of style and
sensitivity who lacked decisive-
ness. In the 1960s, they swooned
over John Kennedy's graceful
oratory, and ecstatically joined
Lyndon Johnson's Great Society
-a road right into the sink-hole
of Vietnam. And all the while
they beat Harry Truman over the
head: for dropping the Bomb; for
starting the Cold War; for bog-
ging down in Korea. Richard Nix-
on has changed all that: Distaste
for him makes Harry Truman
seem so mellow, so warm, so hu-
man. Contrast him with what af-
flicts us now-Ron Ziegler's ob-
fuscatory fog of "Misspoke", for
example - and instinctively one
pines for the flat, clipped voice
that spoke so plainly.
MERLE MILLER is to be cre-
dited for bringing Harry Tru-
man back into the limelight. If
venom and gall you desire, just
check the index of his book un-
d e r "Nixon", "Eisenhower",
"Dulles", "Stalin'", etc.; find the
appropriate pages, and read on.
Some comments will leave you
cackling aloud. It's all good,
clean, nasty fun. The problem
with Miller's book is that it is
unenlightening biography. Mil-
ler's original purpose in record-'
ing the interviews that make up
the book, was to lay the ground-
work for an aborted television
series. During the year and more
that he devoted to the project,
Miller seems to have interviewed
not only the former president, but
also his relatives and most of the
populace of Independence, Mis-
souri. No one, it seems, had an

unkind memory or comment
about the man or his work. It is
good to know that Truman was
so well loved, but a steady diet of
instinted acclaim makes for te-
dious reading. And, as Miller ac-
knowlelges in his introduction,
Plain Speaking was never meant
to appear in printed form. Only
after protracted badgering by
friends and publishers did he
consent to have his copious notes
and transcripts edited; even then,
the editing was done by others.
DEFORE LIBERALS begin a
mass pilgrimage to do pen-
nance at Truman's grave, let
them read Margaret Truman's
long andhrather'disappointing
gloss of her father's life, simply
titled Harry S. Truman. There is
little that is intimate in it, and
its critical stance is as thorough-
lv adoring as only a loving
daughter's life of a father can
be. But if one political judgment
can be extruded from Ms. Tru-
man's book, it is that Harry Tru-
man's distaste for Richard Nixon
was equalled only by his distaste
for liberal politicians and intel-
lectuals.
Truman was a man who saw
no use in agonizing over deci-
sions once they were made; a
man whose political values were
defined -simply as loyalty to
friends, country, and party. From
the perspective of one who rose
to the height of the American po-
litical system through the ranks
of border-state machine -politics,
liberals were nothing but indeci-
sive, scheming, deceitful fakers
who swaddled personal ambition
in webs of airy abstraction.
All this sounds like so much
midwestern anti-intellectualism,

it

-..I
Tr-T
i i

but it is not. One surprising and
delightful facet of Truman's per-
son'ality, which both of these
books illuminate, is his life-long
penchant for reading, especially
about history and politics. His
formal education ended when he
finished high school, and he was
never particularly at home in
matters of abstruse ideas and
speculation. But wide reading
and intimate experience in local
and national politics provided
him with both a secure percep-
tion of American national char-
acter and institutions, and an aps
preciation for his own limitations.
Truman was thus able to ap-
point such men as Atcheson, and
Marshall to posts of responsibil-
ity in foreign policy-an area in
which he was not an expert-and
to resist and defy the dangers
posed by MacArthur7s hubris and
McCarthy's witch-hunting in do-
mestic politics-the realm which
he knew best.
PLAIN-SPEAKING, widely read,
intellectually humble, person-
ally assured: in these days of
Watergate and Nixon we need a
Chief Executilve like Harry Tru-
man-now, more than ever.

MARGARET MEAD
A warm remembrance by a 'grande dame'

BLACKBERRY WINTER by
Margaret Mead. Simon a n d
Schuster; 296 pages, $2.95.
By MARNIE HEYN
T READ Margaret Mead's
Blackberry Winter: My Ear-
liest Years is to be part of a
trusting relationship. Her open-
ness and insight in examining her
life and her values, prompt the
reader to make a similar eval-
ua tion.
Mead's long study of the com-
plex interaction of person, val-
ues, and culture have given her
uncommon insight into the na-
ture of ethics and personality.
Her well-honed skills of observa-
tion make her autobiography a
revealing examination of the so-
ciety to which she belongs, and'
on which she has made an enor-
mous and therapeutic impact.
In light of the common Amer-
ican malaise of feeling without
a culture, of feeling apart from
history, Margaret Mead's Under-

coming into its own. But, in
truth, I have to answer, 'No, I
belong to my own generation.
Because we are now seeing many
of the same things, this does not
mean that I belong to your gen-
eration, as you can never be-
long to mine. But I can try to
explain, I can try to lay my life
on the line, as you speak of lay-
ing your bodies on the line.' This
is what this book is about and
why I have written it."
TN PART one she recalls her
formative years, from t h ,e
earliest memories of people and
places through her first m a r-
riage and graduate school. Her
family moved frequently when
she was a child, according to the
dictates of her parents' academ-
ic lives, and so she learned to
make her home wherever she
was. "For me," she writes,
moving and staying at aiome,
traveling and arriving, are all of
a piece."

unfailing and ungrudging gener-
osity. In my life I realized every
one of her unrealized ambitions,
and she was unambivalently de-
lighted. The other was that she
was absolutely trustworthy.
Mead writes with great sen-
sitivity about her relationship
with her father - that relation-
ship which is especially difficult
when both father and daughter
are independent, willful, and tal-
ented. She acknowledges his de-
votion to his family, his work
and his colleagues, and grans
him his rights as a person, but
recognizes her own need not to
be dominated by his whims.
Mead credits her paternal
grandmother, Martha Ramsey,
with being the most decisive in-
fluence in her life. A college-
trained teacher whi was widow-
ed early, Ramsev was loirg.
feisty, active, and above all er'i
cal: "And if the question, 'Wno
then is neighbo- i'nto him?" had
not been part of my grand-
mother's r1iious exerienc it

old friends. Although I am not
familiar with antirpology or its
vernfacular, she communicates
her concern for the people she
x was studying and her passinn
with understanding and apprecia-
ting tpeople; the thing which
makes her continue her work in
the face of ministerial disapp-,v-
al and scholarly sneers.
And in part three, Mead dis-
cusses her own family - h e r
daughter and granddaughter. She
describes her part in raising
these children, irnluding a con-
versation with Benjamin S'vk.
The section conluaes with an
eloquent analysis of loviig a
grandchild, and art explanauon
of the human unit of time.
At a time when many young
women are grapplir g with t h e
questions involved in trying to be-
cam.ect ie naininant in sn-

i
+
":f
1 i.

Dial 668-6416
1214 S. University,
Double Feature
"DELIVERANCE"
with JON VOIGHT,
BURT REYNOLDS &
THE DUELING BANJOS

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