The company for which I work has started doing some contracting for the Department of Homeland Security. Specifically, a project called Student & Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS). It seems that everyone (with the exception of the sales person who got the contract and the project manager who is now jetting back and forth between SoCal and Washington DC) is up in arms. Everyone seems to have some kind of moral objection. When queried further about specifics, it seem that nobody really understands exactly what we are doing or what SEVIS is supposed to be. Someone at work managed to scrounge up some Frequently Asked Questions that seems to have answered a few.
Personally, I am a little torn. I am getting a steady paycheck, which is good in this tough economy. I am helping to build the help/training subsystem behind SEVIS and not the actualy project itself. I will have full knowledge of how the system works, and as we all know from SLC Punk, the best way to fuck with a system is from the inside. On the flip side of the coin, I would rather not have anything to do with it. I neither want to sell out nor buy in.
I guess we will see where this goes. I hope that electronically tracking students in a federal database–including tools to recognize, predict, and report on trends and anomalies–might be okay. Alternately, it might be the first step down a slippery slope.