I have examined the “e-QIP” form. The questions include all the standard questions one would expect on a job application (name, social security information, address and telephone numbers, education–all degrees earned, and work history), but that is just the beginning. Employees are required to go back seven years and list all residences, all education, and month, year and purpose of trip for each foreign country visited for any reason, within that time period. Not only must employees give their marital status (to the level of specificity of whether one is separated versus legally separated); they must also provide all of the following information: date and place of marriage, spouse’s social security number, spouse’s place and date of birth, and spouse’s citizenship. They must also provide name, birthdate, citizenship information, and address for each parent, step-parent, foster parent, and child. Separate references must be provided to confirm both residence information and education information, plus 3 other people’s names and contact information must be given as general references.Link (Thanks, Grant!)
While many of these questions seem overly intrusive (for example, Homeland Security knowing that I have visited Paris is irrelevant and useless information to my non-secret job of counting photons), my biggest concern is with the very end of the form. In order to complete the process–before the form can be submitted–the employee must print out 3 signature forms: “Certification That My Answers are true,” “Authorization for Release of Information,” and “Authorization for Release of Medical Information.” Instructions state that these three forms, plus a “Credit Check Release Form,” must be printed and taken with you to your “Badging Appointment.” While I have no problem with the “Certification That My Answers are true,” taken together the other two documents give the government a “blank check” to explore anything about me that it wishes. The documents fail to provide any explanation of why this information is needed, or to identify who will have access to it and for what purpose(s). I am extremely reluctant to sign these forms, but if I do not comply, I will lose access to my worksite and therefore will lose my job. Of course I see a need for security clearances to work for the FBI or the Secret Service, but to study the visible spectrum of light at Goddard? Give me a break.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.