Glenn Beck sounded the wing-nut alarm after sharing disclaimer text from Cars.gov, the official Cash For Clunkers website, claiming the government's taking over computers. It's not true, but it does make us wonder what files are on Beck's laptop.
The whole segment is a four minute scare tactic about the Department of Transportation's CARS Act "Cash For Clunkers" dealer website. In order to process rebates, a dealer must sign on to the DoT system and then, according to "Prosecutor Kim," the government can "basically track you, basically forever." Yeah. not quite. Here is the, admittedly, scary sounding verbiage:
"This application provides access to the DoT CARS system. When logged on to the CARS system, your computer is considered a Federal computer system and is the property of the U.S. Government. Any or all uses of this system and all files on this system may be intercepted, monitored, recorded, copied, audited, inspected, and disclosed to authorized CARS, Dot, and law enforcement personnel, as well as authorized officials of other agencies, both domestic and foreign."
If you watch the Glenn Beck show, or read various websites, they're exclaiming this is the end of the world.
So does this mean dealer computers are being taken over? No. For starters, this is only seen on the dealer side of the CARS website, so it isn't for everyday consumers. Secondly, it's a carelessly written statement created by some bureaucrat to say any uses of the CARS system can and will be recorded and monitored. This is to help prevent against crime and abuse. Unfortunately, as written, it sounds like the dealer's computer is going to be taken over.
Beck called the people behind this system "evil, wicked, crazy, frightening people," but, according to Rae Tyson, spokesman for the National Highway Safety Transportation Agency, this was just a boiler plate statement regarding the secure portion of the site used on many other government websites. To avoid more confusion it's been removed.
"It's nothing sinister and it's not related to the general public," said Tyson. "People who log into Cars.gov don't need to worry, dealers who log into Cars.gov don't need to worry."
Of course, that's exactly what they would say. Mwwhhahahahahhah! (H/T to Richard!)