Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Outsourcing Pet Owner Privacy for Profit Lloyd Levine's mandatory castration proposal could lead to record corporate profits -- pet owners are in the crosshairs Has your personal information been databanked ? Read it and weep, California pet owners. Last week we did a little speculating on enforcement strategies for Lloyd Levine's radical proposal to surgically sterilize every single pet dog and cat in the entire state of California. But that was then, and this is now. The beat goes on. The Mother of All Databases is already a reality PetData Inc., a private corporation in Irving, Texas, already collects information on law-abiding citizens who happen to own pets. They say they have already databanked information on 2 million residents in more than 20 U. S. communities, and four entire counties. Matthews, North Carolina, just joined the ranks of municipalities contracts with PetData. Your personal privacy on the auction block If you live in a community that outsourced animal licensing functions to PetData, you may not even realize it yet. When you vaccinate your cats and dogs for rabies, your vet forwards the details to PetData Inc. Your name, your address, your contact information. And your dog's, or cat's, veterinary information--including reproductive status. It all goes into for-profit PetData Inc.'s privately-owned, privately-controlled database. PetData proudly advertises its membership in the Humane Society of the United States. It has no corporate privacy policy. From rabies vaccination to Animal Control at the door --two shakes of a lamb's tail! These California communities already contract with PetData--
  • Antioch
  • Dana Point
  • Fairfield
  • Oakland
  • Riverside
  • San Clemente
  • San Luis Obispo
  • Torrance
  • Vacaville
  • Vallejo
  • County of San Luis Obispo
  • County of Solano

If you live in one of these California municipalities or counties, your local elected officials struck a deal with PetData. For a modest fee, PetData is doing the animal licensing enforcement for your community. If you vaccinate an unlicensed pet, you're going to hear from PetData.

But it gets better.

PetData can kick back and watch the profits roll in

Matthews, North Carolina, is paying them $3.75 for each one year license they collect on.

That's just the beginning.

Its the aftermarket sales that are going to be most valuable to PetData.

Insurance companies, landlords, breed bigots, pet supply marketers. . .Gonad Nazis

PetData is building itself one hell of a marketable databank. Not just for California, either. Check out the website. Albuquerque signed a five year contract with PetData.

But in a world where greed is good. . . who cares? Its the American way. Plus, your dog or cat is already neutered. You're not breaking any laws. Life is good. Right?

Wrong.

The New York Times reports that its virtually impossible to find housing in Manhattan--where housing vacancy rates hover in the very low single digits-- if your household includes a dog that weighs over 20 lbs. If you've got more than one dog or cat? Fuhgeddaboutit.

Gawd knows insurance companies are itching to drop dog owners. They just have to find 'em.

But Gonad Nazis on a mission ? Oooh, baby! PetData is marketing the reports it can run from the data it collects. Need a list of households with intact dogs or cats in Riverside, California? Shazaam!

Not paranoia. Not a conspiracy theory. They are coming for you. And certain sensitive parts of your pets.

The Humane Society of the United States, the largest, wealthiest animal extremist organization in the country--one that is dedicated to eliminating pet ownership-- is already using PetData as a mouthpiece. Will municipalities increasingly outsource law enforcement responsibilities to profit-motivated private organizations? Ones with no public accountability? As a private corporation, PetData's employees are responsible to their own Board of Directors. We the People don't get to vote on what they do, or how they do it. Meanwhile, back at the Nanny-State nursery Poor, clueless Lloyd Levine. Levine -- the pro-choice Democrat, representing a pro-choice constituency in a pro-choice state -- who wants to deny pet owners any choices. Levine-the-liberal -- now turned animal extremist poop-boy-- intent on bringing fascism to the homes of California dog and cat owners. Maybe freedom of choice and the right to privacy really don't matter to Lloyd Levine. Or maybe he thinks its okay to deny these liberties to "certain people", like pet-owning Californians. But I'm thinking the 60+ percent of Californians that own cats and dogs would kick his butt from one end of the state to the other if they knew what AB 1634 really means to them, and to the pets they love.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

This entry is both interesting, and something animal owners should be aware of.

But there are a few chinks in PetData's sales pitch. The most obvious is that many, many dog owners who don't license their pets (as is required by law in most municipalities) also don't vaccinate, neuter, or even leash their dogs, for goodness sakes.

But I agree that getting at those customers who seek veterinary care for unlicensed pets should think twice about skipping that (typically $10-$50) annual license purchase. (My own pets have always been licensed, vaccinated, etc., etc. I obey all bylaws relating to them.)

PetData has no power where I live. I can't speak for any other region, but where I live, veterinarians are not required to ask licensing information, nor do they. Their own privacy policies preclude them from sharing client information with any outside party, save a court order to do so.

While the veterinarians may track the use of various lots of rabies vaccines, that information is not directly linked to a client file and, again, personal client information would not be shared, even if it were.

One of the best places to start, in preventing overreaching privacy invasions, is to push the AVMA to dictate a policy against sharing client information outside each clinic, except where the client gives permission (such as when his/her pet needs to see an outside specialist), or when a court orders it. Have them make this a code of ethics issue for licensed veterinarians, if it isn't already.

I suspect most veterinarians would feel "tattling" on their clientele is a conflict of interest and completely outside their duties as medical care providers. I do know of other regions that have tried to enlist veterinarians in reporting unlicensed pets, to no avial. As a profession, veterinarians balked at the proposals and the plans were abandoned.

If nothing else, pet owners should have a chat with their veterinary clinics, and ask about their privacy policies. Get it in writing. That way, if your personal information is found to have been shared with PetData, or any other party, without your consent, you can - and should - sue.

Anonymous said...

One of the best places to start, in preventing overreaching privacy invasions, is to push the AVMA to dictate a policy against sharing client information outside each clinic, except where the client gives permission (such as when his/her pet needs to see an outside specialist), or when a court orders it. Have them make this a code of ethics issue for licensed veterinarians, if it isn't already.


YUP it is ALREADY in there.. but obviously ignored...

more and more people will NOT have shots.. who ants to be tracked more than we already are..

Caveat said...

Scary post.

I don't understand why a jurisdiction would outsource licensing enforcement. It doesn't make sense.

Licensing generates revenue, which allows for the establishment of an efficient, effective animal-owner control program. It doesn't cost taxpayers a cent, license fees and fines cover everything - if the local officials put the money into animal-owner control, not general revenue. Not only that, it creates local jobs and a local culture of responsibility.

This usage of a faceless corporation seems counterintuitive.

I wonder whose bright idea this was? Was it an organization with a four-letter name?

Definitely creepy stuff. Thanks for the heads-up.

Kerrin Winter-Churchill said...

This is an excellent Blog - animal rights activists have absolutely no clue - sure, AB1634 could one day end the sheltering problem - it will elimante dogs from society - period. No dogs - no shelters. "What is Levine really working towards?" indeed.

Roberta Pliner said...

I don't know where you found that New York Times story claiming it was impossible to find housing in Manhattan with anything larger than a 20-lb. dog. I live in Manhattan with a 100-lb. dog who has numerous friends as big or bigger than she. Several of those very big friends recently moved with their owners to good rental housing, which is even harder to find than co-ops or condos.

The NY Times doesn't always get it right or even read their own paper,
whose real estate section includes lots of ads and announcements for
"pet-friendly" housing. What is
really scarce here is low- and
middle-income housing, but the tightness of that part of the market has nothing to do with pets
of any size.

Also, though New York City is basically very pet-friendly, the
NY Times tends to be animal rightist in its reporting.

Roberta Pliner

Anonymous said...

Read the bill. You've overstated what the legislation does.

http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/asm/ab_1601-1650/ab_1634_bill_20070509_amended_asm_v95.html

It allows breeders to apply for an intact permit.

This whole site is a bit extremist. Dog ownership a civil right? What frivolity. You sound like the right-wing gun nuts, except they actually have the Second Amendment.

Anonymous said...

Absoutley Dog Ownership is a Civil Right. You don't have to be a right wing "nut" to believe in our civil right to own a dog - it is a freedom we enjoy as Americans. How can you be an American citizen and not understand this? As far as this person being a "right wing nut" - I think you are confused - the site is called "Blue Dog State" - clearly, this is not a right winger's site - but maybe some on the left have teetered so far to the left that they are falling off the map and into the netherlands of Socialism. Extinction is forever - AB1634 is a terrible idea.

Anonymous said...

The previous contributor is right. Breeders can apply for a permit. However, that doesn't mean you will get one or even what the criteria will be. What I really don't understand is how I can be responsible enough to choose how I will handle my own reproduction but I can't when it comes to my animals!?!?

Caveat said...

The civil rights I'm concerned with do not include the right to own a dog.

They include presumption of innocence, the right to be free from illegal search and seizure, the right to a fair and impartial hearing, the right to be free from discrimination, the right to mobility, among others.

As a rather intelligent person said recently, can't attribute because I can't remember who it was, "We keep adding more and more things to our list of felonies. If we keep going, eventually everyone will be a felon". Too true. Guess what? Felons can't vote, so pretty soon nobody will be able to vote. Cool, eh?

What really kills me is how naive, knee-jerk and uneducated most supporters of these kinds of laws are. They just parrot from the prayer book of the extremists who are running the show.

If any of these flying monkeys every gave the matter serious thought they'd realize what dupes they've been. Of course by then it would be too late.

At least that's the plan.

Anonymous said...

If you're concerned about the freedom from search and seizure then you'd better re-read AB1634. It includes language that allows a member of an extremist animal rights group like PETA or HSUS to search your home and seize your pets without a search warrant and without being a member of any govermental agency just because your neighbor (with whom you may have had a disagreement) said you mistreat your pets.

Anonymous said...

This Levine guy is crazy. We need to get rid of him at the next election before he destroys our state.