It sounds conspiratorial, no doubt. But sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. As though the Freemasons weren’t creepy enough, they’re sponsoring a program to help collect the bio-data of children and store it away for future reference. Nothing to see here, Citizen. Move along.
The program is called MoChip, and it’s designed as a public outreach campaign of the Freemasons in Missouri to help with missing or exploited children. It has also become a nation-wide program, extending much further than Missouri.
According to MoChip’s website, it is “a comprehensive child identification program designed to give Missouri families a measure of protection against the ever increasing problem of missing and abducted children. MoCHIP stands for MissOuri CHild Identification and Protection Program. The program uses an Amber Alert compatible computer disc to provide their child’s critical information to the parents. Microchips are NOT used in the program.
So, no microchips. Whew. Close one.
What the program does do, however, is collect the digital photographs, digital fingerprints, DNA mouth-swabs and dental information from children and they store it on a mini-CD computer disk to be given to the police when a child goes missing or is abducted. The Freemasons claim that they do not keep the data, that their computers are not connected to the Internet and cannot be ‘hacked,’ and that they’re not retaining the data collected.
According to their website…
MoCHIP operates under the direct sponsorship of the Missouri Masonic Children’s Foundation, which is recognized as a 501(c)(3) not-for profit by the Internal Revenue Service. It is supported in a number of ways–Masonic member donations, Masonic Lodge donations, corporate partnerships, and individual donations–as well as many other private organization donations, Masonic and not Masonic related.
You can see the permission slip provided to parents here.
This program is not a new one. It has been going on for ten years and has taken the biodata from 237,115 children to date.
They claim their services are superior to what a parent could accomplish at home, by recording the children’s data personally and providing their own “health care professionals” to collect their DNA samples. These are either hired hands who answer to the Freemasons or members of the fraternity whose history and credentials are protected by the organization. There is no way to guarantee what happens behind closed doors and although they claim to delete sensitive information (the Canadian website states “No information is ever stored by the MasoniChIP program”), any computer savvy person knows that clicking an “x” isn’t permanent unless you format the entire system…Parents are asked to trust an intriguing, private fraternity; to ensure that quality standards are met and family privacy is legally respected without any kind of oversight. Because Freemasons fund 100 per cent of the initiative, there is no opportunity to discuss issues regarding data ownership or how they feel about those technicalities in the privacy of their meetings.
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