I recently switched to a Southwest Airlines credit card, in an effort to win some free flights to see my grandchildren in San Francisco. The man who signed me up in Midway Airport as I was passing through on my way home gave me a number to call to get credit for flights I have taken with Southwest in the past two years. I called today, expecting that I would be told that I had to have kept my boarding passes or at least know the flight numbers and dates.
Not a bit of it. The nice lady asked me for my email address [I always buy E-tickets] and proceeded to scan their computer while I waited, turning up half a dozen flights. She offered to scan my old credit card number to see whether she had missed any flights. It seems I already have more than enough points for a free round trip flight.
We all recall, after 9/11, the embarrassing testimony before Congress, to the effect that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is incapable of doing a computer search for a person unless they know his full name and address. As a consequence of this fact, they could not track the people who, they actually knew, were planning evil deeds.
Now, inasmuch as outsourcing to private corporations is the way in which the United States now handles prison management, national defense, and just about everything else, I would like to propose that the FBI be privatized, with the primary management contract going to Google, Amazon.com, NetFlix, and Southwest. Not only can they find anyone within seconds. They can also tell in that time the person's taste in books, music, home furnishings, and porn sites, and can suggest movies that he or she might enjoy. What is more, I would bet that they could set up a user-friendly interface among their data bases in a matter of days.
I mean, if we are going to consign ourselves to the tender mercies of capitalism, couldn't we at least get the cutting edge version?