I got busy last week and almost missed the startling news that one of the big, public Internet privacy cases relates to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claim fraud investigations. New York prosecutors sought 381 very broad subpoenas for 381 Facebook users. The goal was to see if police officers and firefighters who received mental health-related SSDI benefits after participating in the response to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on Manhattan were misusing the benefits.
Prosecutors say malingerers may have bilked $400 million out of the SSDI program.
On the one hand: If the SSDI beneficiaries filed fraudulent claims, investigating them is a noble, important work.
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Investigating people who bilk commercial disability insurance programs is equally important. If we don’t protect disability insurance programs against crooks, we won’t have disability insurance.
But, on the other hand: Part of my own mild, non-work-impeding response to the Sept. 11 attacks is paranoia about 9/11 paranoia. I work in what may well be the second most attractive target for terrorism in the United States.
When I come out of the subway in the morning, I often see armed soldiers, or paramilitary-style police officers. I’m so creeped out by them that I don’t dare look directly at them and am not even sure what kinds of weapons they hold.
So: Al Qaeda, other organized bad guys, or ordinary crazy people could blow me up as I’m heading to work to write LifeHealthPro articles. If the government has some way to use the Internet to keep that from happening: Great!