The Christian Science Monitor takes note of Bob Barr's relentless work on protecting privacy issues with this editorial. Barr has proposed a bill that requires a "Privacy Impact Statement" that will assess the impact of any bill. It notes a few new bills currently making their way through congress, and points out how privacy may be trumped by a bureaucracy that wants unrestricted access to information, whether or not it is needed. The problem with centralized databases is that they can be hacked, and such a large target would be irresistable for those who want information for any purpose, nefarious or benign.
It's a shame that Bob Barr is such a wing-nut. He is the biggest advocate of privacy issues of the 535 senators and congressmen, but his bombastic, overbearing style (and his views on social issues) make him an easy target. He makes Newt Gingrich look like the Tooth Fairy. If he were to dial down the rhetoric just a tad, he'd be a far more effective legislator, but the damage is done, and his image is set in stone. If we're lucky, someone else will take up his drive for privacy, someone who is a little less over-the-top.