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Below are a few of the reasons why NASA Administrator Griffin's rebadging process at JPL is bad for employees, bad for JPL, bad for the U.S., and illegal under California and U.S. law.


This is just One of MANY articles citing privacy elimination.

While corporate giants tout the merits of RFID technology, civil liberties advocates point out that the ability to track people, products, vehicles, and even currency would create an Orwellian world where law enforcement officials and nosy retailers could read the contents of a handbag—perhaps without a person's knowledge—simply by installing RFID readers nearby. Such a fear is not unfounded. Currently, some RFID readers have the capacity to read data transmitted by many different RFID tag. This means that if a person enters a store carrying several RFID tags—for example, in articles of clothing or cards carried in a wallet—one RFID reader can read the data emitted by all of the tags, and not simply the signal relayed by in-store products. This capacity enables retailers with RFID readers to compile a more complete profile of shoppers than would be possible by simply scanning the bar codes of products a consumer purchases.

Even the RFID industry itself is aware of the threat to privacy posed by the development and installation of tags in commonplace items. Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering (CASPIAN) recently located internal public relations documents which detail how RFID developers plan to offset public opposition to the technology. The documents, prepared by Fleishman-Hillard, a communications consultancy, suggest that RFID industry leaders are planning a public relations campaign designed to counter opposition to the pervasive use of RFID technology. The documents detailing how such a campaign may unfold begin by outlining obstacles that hinder the widespread implementation of RFID technology. These obstacles include the facts that: "consumers are very concerned about invasions of their privacy," are "cynical about the government and private sector's commitment to protecting privacy," and are "inclined to believe that businesses have little incentive to protect consumers' personal information." In response, the documents cite the need for the development of a proactive plan that would "neutralize opposition" and "mitigate possible public backlash." One method of doing so suggested by the documents is through the creation of a Privacy Advisory Council made up of "well known, credible, and credentialed experts" who may be "potentially adversarial advocates." The documents cite EPIC as an example of such a potential council member. Although EPIC has been approached by others on this issue, EPIC will not serve on such a council or consult for other companies.

The proposed uses of RFID tags pose exponentially greater risks to personal privacy. Many technology experts predict the development of a seamless network of millions of RFID receivers strategically placed around the globe in airports, seaports, highways, distribution centers, warehouses, retail stores, and consumers' homes, all of which are constantly reading, processing, and evaluating consumers behaviors and purchases. In addition to undermining a consumer's ability to enjoy a lifestyle in relative anonymity, critics of the technology counter that the information gathered by RFID readers could be obtained by the government for surveillance or monitoring the activities of citizens, or even misused by hackers and criminals. Even more, the ever-expanding use of RFID chips would leave no aspect of life safe from the prying eyes of retail and corporate giants. Chips integrated into commonplace products such as floor tiles, shelf paper, cabinets, appliance, exercise equipment, and grocery and packaged products would allow even our most intimate activities to be monitored.

Opponents of RFID tags have proposed measures to side-step the chips' relentless information-gathering, ranging from disabling the tags by crushing or puncturing them, to simply boycotting the products of companies which use or plan to implement RFID technology. One way to destroy the tags is to microwave them for several seconds. Another method is to obstruct the information gathered by RFID readers by using blocker tags. When carried by a consumer, blocker tags impair readers by simulating many ordinary RFID tags simultaneously. Blocker tags can also block selectively by simulating only designated ID codes, such as those issued by a particular manufacturer.

In an attempt to soothe consumers' fears, companies have argued that most items tagged with RFID chips can't be tracked beyond an operating distance of about five feet. However, while this may be true today, industry experts say plans for building far more sensitive RFID signal receivers are in the works.

As RFID technology becomes more advanced, consumers may ultimately lose all ability to evade products implanted with chips. Corning researchers have developed tiny, barcoded beads that are invisible to the human eye. The microscopic beads can be embedded in inks to tag currency and other documents, and even attached to DNA molecules. They can also be added to substances like automobile paint, explosives, or other products that law enforcement officers or retailers have a strong interest in tracking. Researchers say the technology could be ready for commercial use in three to six years.

Violation of JPL Honor Code

Need description of "dignity and respect" provision here, and relationship to badging process.

Violation of Federal Law

From Privacy Act 1974 ( Why JPL wants you to sign a waiver )

(b) Conditions of disclosure

No agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains, unless disclosure of the record would be--

(1) to those officers and employees of the agency which maintains the record who have a need for the record in the performance of their duties;

(2) required under section 552 of this title;

(3) for a routine use as defined in subsection (a)(7) of this section and described under subsection (e)(4)(D) of this section;

(4) to the Bureau of the Census for purposes of planning or carrying out a census or survey or related activity pursuant to the provisions of Title 13;

(5) to a recipient who has provided the agency with advance adequate written assurance that the record will be used solely as a statistical research or reporting record, and the record is to be transferred in a form that is not individually identifiable;

(6) to the National Archives and Records Administration as a record which has sufficient historical or other value to warrant its continued preservation by the United States Government, or for evaluation by the Archivist of the United States or the designee of the Archivist to determine whether the record has such value;

(7) to another agency or to an instrumentality of any governmental jurisdiction within or under the control of the United States for a civil or criminal law enforcement activity if the activity is authorized by law, and if the head of the agency or instrumentality has made a written request to the agency which maintains the record specifying the particular portion desired and the law enforcement activity for which the record is sought;

(8) to a person pursuant to a showing of compelling circumstances affecting the health or safety of an individual if upon such disclosure notification is transmitted to the last known address of such individual;

(9) to either House of Congress, or, to the extent of matter within its jurisdiction, any committee or subcommittee thereof, any joint committee of Congress or subcommittee of any such joint committee;

(10) to the Comptroller General, or any of his authorized representatives, in the course of the performance of the duties of the General Accounting Office;

(11) pursuant to the order of a court of competent jurisdiction; or

(12) to a consumer reporting agency in accordance with section 3711(e) of Title 31.

Violation of State of California Constitution


SECTION 1. All people are by nature free and independent and have inalienable rights. Among these are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety, happiness, and privacy.

Problems With the Waiver Form

The comments in this section are about the "Authorization For Release of Information" that subjects of OPM form SF85 are required to sign in order to facilitate background investigations. The Authorization is the last page of SF85. I will not comment on the similar but more complicated release that is part of form SF85P.

1. Problem: Recipients of copies of the release cannot easily determine whether it has been sent legitimately.

Discussion: Many copies of the release will be sent by investigators to persons believed to have information about the subject. Since "copies of this authorization ... are as valid as the original," nothing prevents the recipient from making additional copies and using them for his own purposes. Such illegitimate use is made especially easy because the form fails to identify who is allowed to send it out. It broadly authorizes "any ... duly accredited representative of the authorized Federal agency" without naming the agency nor describing who is a representative or what credentials the representative should provide. This problem could be mitigated by adding language to the effect of "This authorization is valid only when accompanied by a request for information from the [name of agency] on its letterhead and containing the name, title, and contact information of the person sending the request along with a telephone number at which the authenticity of the request can be verified."

2. Problem: The release language is too broad, allowing inquiries to be addressed to absolutely anyone on absolutely any matter. This is unnecessary and creates a major risk of abuse.

Discussion: While a few sources of information are listed, all "other sources of information" are also authorized. While a few matters of inquiry are listed, the release explicitly "is not limited to" those. It would be best to give an inclusive list of sources and issues, so that nothing not listed is authorized. If this is deemed too much of a restriction on investigators, then at least there should be a list of exclusions: particular sources and types of information that are not authorized. As a minimum, financial records and financial institutions, along with medical records and medical service providers, should be specifically excluded.

The form does state that "for some sources of information, a separate release will be needed," but it does not name those sources. To most recipients of the release, unless they are trained in the relevant statutes, an inquiry of any kind will appear to be authorized by the broad language, notwithstanding this disclaimer. The same is true of the subject who must sign it; it is implied that the authorization is somehow limited, but he/she has no way to know what those limitations are, and the explicit language is completely unlimited. The subject deserves prior notice of the scope of the investigation.

3. Problem: The Government cannot compel the custodians of information to turn over that information, yet the form creates the impression that it can.

Discussion: Even though the release of information is "authorized" by the subject, the custodian's compliance is voluntary unless the Government also has a court order to compel him. In fairness to custodians who are not lawyers, the fact that compliance is voluntary should be made explicit.

4. Problem: The two year duration of the authorization is unreasonably long.

Discussion: To be effective, the investigation should be completed in no more than a few months. The subject deserves to know when he/she is no longer under investigation, and to have that period be as short as possible. We have been advised that this process will be repeated every five years; if it lasts two years each time, then 40% of our careers are spent in a state of intense government scrutiny. This is unfair and harmful to morale.

In addition, as noted under item 1 above, many copies of the authorization will be distributed inside and outside the Government. Limiting the duration of their validity helps to protect against their misuse.

In almost all cases, allowing the authorization to expire in six months will be more than adequate to permit thorough investigation. If in rare cases it is neceesary to extend a particular individual's investigation beyond this, a new authorization can always be requested.

[Some of the problems described here are fixed in an unofficial, improved version of the release form (see Reference Documents elsewhere in this Wiki).]


Need a discussion of fingerprinting, storage by FBI, intermingling with criminal database, etc.

Drug Prosecution

Need a description of the dangers of answering the drug question. Investigations to independently confirm information first given here, and then prosecute it.

Identity Theft

The U.S. government has a history of mishandling sensitive information. As but one example, the Transportation Security Administration, a subdivision of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), has lost a computer disk with personal information on 100000 employees of TSA. DHS is one of the agencies that will have your personal information after you are re-badged.

Abuse of Information

Some excerpts from the NAC check handbook that you may find usefull.

Clean Criminal Record Does Not Mean Absence of Criminal Behavior Checks of criminal records identify only the tip of the iceberg of criminal activity. A clean record indicates only that there are no records of criminal conduct in the places checked. The absence of information in criminal record files should not be viewed as positive evidence of reliability or trustworthiness.

Most crimes are not reported to the police. Most reported crimes do not lead to arrest, and many arrested persons are not prosecuted and convicted. Even for those who are prosecuted and convicted, the criminal records are often incomplete or missing. As a result, the chances are very small that an individual who has committed a single crime, even a serious crime, will have a criminal record. The more crimes a person has committed, the greater the odds of that person having a record. See Prevalence of Crime for a discussion of the percentage of the population that has a criminal record.

Much past criminal behavior is likely to be discovered only by self-admission, interviews with references or developed sources, or polygraph examination. This behavior should be evaluated under the adjudication guidelines even though there may be no criminal record.

Many Arrested Persons Are Not Prosecuted or Convicted For each 100 persons arrested by the police on felony charges, about 45 are typically released due to insufficient evidence or legal technicalities unrelated to guilt or innocence. About 55 are prosecuted, with one acquitted and 54 convicted.

To avoid the cost and uncertainties of a trial, more than half the prosecuted cases are plea-bargained down to conviction for a misdemeanor rather than a felony, which generally involves far less serious consequences for the defendant. Only about 32 of every 100 persons arrested on felony charges actually spend any time in a correctional institution. Ref 13

Records of cases that are dismissed without prosecution or that are plea-bargained may be incomplete or misleading. When evaluating criminal conduct, the individual's behavior is the primary consideration, not whether the individual was prosecuted or convicted. If there is good reason to believe the person committed a felony but plea-bargained down to a misdemeanor, it counts as a felony.

Conditions that call into question a persons reliability, trustworthiness or judgment include:

A single serious crime, regardless of whether the person was arrested or convicted for that crime. A "serious" crime is often defined as a felony, as distinct from a misdemeanor or ordinance violation. Conviction, admission, or strong evidence of a felony will usually support a recommendation for disapproval unless there are unusual mitigating circumstances. If there is good reason to believe the person committed a felony, but the crime was plea-bargained down to a misdemeanor, it counts as a felony. Which crimes are considered felonies varies from one state to another and changes over time. The following actions may be considered a serious crime or breach of trust even if they are not categorized as a felony: (1) Any crime punishable by confinement for one year or more.

(2) Any crime involving the use of force, coercion or intimidation; violence against persons; or the use of firearms or explosives;

(3) A violation of parole or probation.

(4) Any criminal or civil offense involving breach of trust or fiduciary duty, including embezzlement, bribery, insurance fraud, or falsification of documents or statements for personal gain of more than $500.

(5) Obstruction or corruption of government functions or deprivation of civil rights.

Two or more lesser crimes or civil offenses that indicate a pattern of illegal or irresponsible behavior, regardless of whether the person was arrested or convicted for any of these offenses. A violation of parole or probation suggests a possible pattern of criminal behavior. Multiple offenses indicate intentional, continuing behavior that raises serious questions about the person’s trustworthiness, reliability, and judgment. A pattern of disregard for the law is more significant than the monetary value or penalty ascribed to a given crime. See Pattern of Dishonest, Unreliable, or Rule-Breaking Behavior under the Personal Conduct guideline. A close and continuing voluntary association with persons known to be involved in criminal activities. Association with family members is generally considered non-voluntary in this context.

Sources of Additional Information The Department of Justice maintains the Bureau of Justice Statistics Clearinghouse, which is a central location for ordering a wide variety of studies and reports dealing with the criminal justice system. Reports are sent free of charge. The address is P.O. Box 179, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701-0179. Phone: 800-732-3277. Fax: 410-792-4358. The Internet address, which has lists of publications, is

For data on drugs and crime, information is available from the Drugs & Crime Data Center & Clearinghouse, 1600 Research Blvd., Rockville, MD 20850. Phone: 800-666-3332. Most reports are free.

The FBI's annual Uniform Crime Reports may be purchased from the Government Printing Office.


Describe loss of job in relation to "voluntary" procedure.

We will need to let JPL help to understand the meaning of the word "voluntary"

vol·un·tar·y /ˈvɒlənˌtɛri/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[vol-uhn-ter-ee] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation adjective, noun, plural -tar·ies. –adjective 1. done, made, brought about, undertaken, etc., of one's own accord or by free choice: a voluntary contribution. 2. of, pertaining to, or acting in accord with the will: voluntary cooperation. 3. of, pertaining to, or depending on voluntary action: voluntary hospitals. 4. Law. a. acting or done without compulsion or obligation. b. done by intention, and not by accident: voluntary manslaughter. c. made without valuable consideration: a voluntary settlement.

5. Physiology. subject to or controlled by the will. 6. having the power of willing or choosing: a voluntary agent. 7. proceeding from a natural impulse; spontaneous: voluntary laughter. –noun 8. something done voluntarily. 9. a piece of music, frequently spontaneous and improvised, performed as a prelude to a larger work, esp. a piece of organ music performed before, during, or after an office of the church.

[Origin: 1350–1400; ME < L voluntārius, equiv. to volunt(ās) willingness, inclination (ult. repr. a formation with -tās -ty2 on the prp. of velle to want, wish; see will1, -ent) + -ārius -ary]

You might be surprised of the Newspeak JPL is using-- there is a "mandatory" rideshare survey that has no consequence for the employee that fails to fill it out, while "voluntary" (according to the official forms) rebadging form result in job loss if you don't fill them out.

Relationship to California Law

This the current law

1050. Any person, or agent or officer thereof, who, after having discharged an employee from the service of such person or after an employee has voluntarily left such service, by any misrepresentation prevents or attempts to prevent the former employee from obtaining employment, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

1051. Except as provided in Section 1057, any person or agent or officer thereof, who requires, as a condition precedent to securing or retaining employment, that an employee or applicant for employment be photographed or fingerprinted by any person who desires his or her photograph or fingerprints for the purpose of furnishing the same or information concerning the same or concerning the employee or applicant for employment to any other employer or third person, and these photographs and fingerprints could be used to the detriment of the employee or applicant for employment is guilty of a misdemeanor.

1052. Any person who knowingly causes, suffers, or permits an agent, superintendent, manager, or employee in his employ to commit a violation of sections 1050 and 1051, or who fails to take all reasonable steps within his power to prevent such violation is guilty of a misdemeanor.

1053. Nothing in this chapter shall prevent an employer or an agent, employee, superintendent or manager thereof from furnishing, upon special request therefor, a truthful statement concerning the reason for the discharge of an employee or why an employee voluntarily left the service of the employer. If such statement furnishes any mark, sign, or other means conveying information different from that expressed by words therein, such fact, or the fact that such statement or other means of furnishing information was given without a special request therefor is prima facie evidence of a violation of sections 1050 to 1053.

Loss of Talent

Under the new rules, retiree badges will not be allowed. The open and collegial atmosphere that JPL has always maintained is at risk of being killed off completely if even long-term former employees, to whom the lab and the nation owe a debt of grattitude, are summarily barred from the lab.


The JPL rebadging process is an unfunded mandate by NASA. The cost to JPL is expected to be $6 million. This covers the ~20 contractor personnel hired to train people on the process, request employee participation, cross-check the completed forms, acquire fingerprints, and assemble rebadging packages to send to the OPM. The $6 million does not cover the cost of the background investigation, which is an additional expense borne by NASA.

The JPL funding for this program is coming from burden (i.e., "our hide"). These funds could otherwise go to fund new research and technology development, infrastructure improvement (such as buildings and parking), and employee awards.

Required Verbiage

Shana Dale, the lawyer appointed by President Bush to the position of Deputy Director of NASA, has issued a directive from NASA HQ to JPL regarding the specfic verbiage to use and not use regarding the JPL rebadging program:

  1. Refer to the new badge only as a "new ID card";
  2. Do not use these references: PIV, PIV-I, PIV-II, smart card, badge or credential;
  3. Do not refer to any area of this program as "rigorous";
  4. Refer to the program as "in response to HSPD-12"; and
  5. The badging process may be referred as "badging process".

This brings Newspeak to a whole new level. Only a lawyer could devise a "badging process" (5) that results in no "badges" being issued (2).

Last updated: September 23, 2007
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