Forced to Choose

Today I began paperwork for a job that I will be at for less than two months. Because of the nature of the work, and the fact that it will be a significant help to a person I hold in high esteem I am glad to be starting, but I’m very unhappy with the process. Most specifically I am upset about the procedure for the criminal background check, and how law enforcement use something such as the need for employment to circumvent constitutional protections to create the criminal databases. My record is clear, other than a few minor misdemeanors in my teen years so I have no qualms submitting to a background check. My issue is that to complete the check fingerprints will have to be collected, and then stored indefinitely my both state police and the FBI. That’s right for the act of acquiring a job I have no choice but to put my fingerprints into the database of the freaking FBI.

Once again, my issue is not that I plan on after receiving my degree and having lived the last 30 years of my life without committing any major crimes to turn to a life of organized crime and need to stay out of the system. Rather because I will be strongly pursuing higher levels of accountability for law enforcement for much of my career, and that my research already has given me reason to be less than trusting of police honesty, I am giving them the means to fabricate a case against me in the future. Because of the 4th amendment we as citizen of the United States have every right to refuse having our DNA or Fingerprints, or any other identifying information stored by any law enforcement agency. However, these agencies have taken it upon themselves that instead of working within these rules to find new ways to circumvent them. Want to drive a car, well we have to take a picture of you, and include in in our database, along with your physical description. In this case with the background check for this job where I do not have an option to decline being placed into their database, but rather my right to refuse is regulated to if I wish to take part in the process at all.

This is another step in the slow process of removal of our basic constitutional protections. I am guilty of contributing to this, because as I stated before being able to assist this person through this job means more to me, and I wish to keep my word because I conveyed to them that I would be doing so. Moreover, others who also find themselves in situations where they do not know how they are going to continue existence without a job such as this have no room to make a moral decision as to the weight of giving up constitutional rights for the sake of a job. I also drive on an almost daily basis, I would not be able to work on the various projects I currently work on without access to a vehicle. I’m sure that many of you who find this and read it will realize that you have been put into a position where your “consent” is merely an illusion of choice.

Honestly at this point I don’t really know what we can do about this situation. I’d love to hear from someone who has some idea about a potential solution. I also plan over the next few days to spend some time working out some solid qualitative research on other similar situations where law abiding citizens are being coerced into giving up these rights in other ways, perhaps develop a definitive list. This is all the while not including things such as the NSA, stop and frisk, DUI checkpoints, police forces monitoring social media without a warrant or any other scenario where 4th amendment protections are clearly being ignored, but simply where they force use to consent due to the reality of not doing so. Any suggestions leave it in the comments below.

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