The Biden Administration is buying one billion COVID tests to give to Americans for free. Online Ordering of a half-billion tests began on January 19th and kits can now be mailed to every household in America upon request, according to a briefing issued by the White House. In addition, there are now more than 20,000 free testing sites across the nation including many pharmacies.
These are admirable efforts. However, there are several things you should know before you send your name, address, and other details via the ordering site, COVIDtests.gov
You must fill out a form to receive your kit by mail. At the bottom of the required form on the ordering site is a privacy statement that is worth reading.
The general privacy rules are posted there. But many people don’t bother reading privacy statements on websites, including those that could have far-reaching implications.
By ordering your kit, you are voluntarily giving the government the authority to share your information with congressional offices, agencies, and even with labor organizations in certain circumstances. Especially concerning is the policy statement that your information can be shared with government agencies “in connection with decisions as necessary.” What decisions, and who decides what is necessary?
One other thing must be considered. The cost of government-supplied COVID test kits isn’t “free.” Initially, while you don’t have to shell out a cent, the program will cost billions (with a b) of taxpayer dollars. We will all pay the piper at some point.
The privacy disclaimer is quoted below, directly from the government website in the hope that you will be fully informed.
Your information will be used to provide COVID-19 Testing Kits to the address you provided, and to provide company and product fulfillment information about that testing kit to a federal executive agency. Collection is authorized by 39 U.S.C. 401, 403, 404, and 411. Supplying your information is voluntary, but if not provided, we may not be able to fulfill your request for a COVID-19 Testing Kit. We do not disclose your information to third parties without your consent, except to act on your behalf or request, or as legally required. This includes the following limited circumstances: to a congressional office on your behalf; to agencies and entities to facilitate or resolve financial transactions; to a U.S. Postal Service auditor; for law enforcement purposes, to labor organizations, as required by applicable law; incident to legal proceedings involving the Postal Service; to government agencies in connection with decisions as necessary; to agents or contractors when necessary to fulfill a business function or provide products and services to customers; for customer service purposes; and to other federal executive agencies pursuant to 39 U.S.C § 411. For more information regarding our privacy policies visitwww.usps.com/