There are plenty of reasons to hate/fear/be disgusted by the Cash for Clunkers program (now called Car Allowance Rebate System – CARS)… but this isn’t one of them. So as much as I enjoy Glenn Beck’s anti-government ravings, I’m going to have to call him out on this one.
The jist of the above video is this: When you log on to CARS.gov, the government can gain control of all your files and everything in your house and your firstborn son, simply because of a loosely worded security statement. This is erroneous, on all counts. Read on:
The particular statement that Beck talks about was (not is, because the wording has since been changed) actually located in the Dealer section of the website, not the consumer section. The only people who would have legitimately had to click through that “security statement” would have been auto dealers who have been authorized and registered to participate in the CARS program.
And even if some regular folk happened to fumble their way onto that bit of silly governmentese… it’s not like just clicking “ok” would spontaneously cause consumers to lose all of their constitutional rights. Check out a relevant excerpt from the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s take on the Beck video:
“Clicking “continue” on a poorly worded Terms of Service on a government site will not give the government the ability to “tap into your system… any time they want.” The seizure of the personal and private information stored on your computer through a one-sided click-through terms of service is not “conscionable” as lawyers say, and would not be enforceable even if the cars.gov website was capable of doing it, which we seriously doubt. Moreover, the law has long forbidden the government from requiring you to give up unrelated constitutional rights (here the 4th Amendment right to be free from search and seizure) as a condition of receiving discretionary government benefits like participation in the Cars for Clunkers program.”
Word. So, as much as I hate the government and the CARS program… I have to admit that it’s not a front for a domestic spying network. It’s not going to give you AIDS. It doesn’t want your firstborn son. The government has many other websites devoted solely to those things.