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Friday, June 19, 2009

Census Workers Marking GPS Coordinates of U.S. Homes

I have seen that headline - or one very similar - in several different places over the last few months, but I do not personally know it to be a fact. However, I do believe I may have actually seen a census worker with a hand-held GPS in front of my house a few weeks ago. I can find no other plausible explanation for his actions.

This 'older man' was afoot, holding an object which appeared to be an electronic device (approx 5"x7") in his hands. He paused in front of the house, looked down at the device in his hands and then approached the front door (I can observe the front yard from my computer room window). I was waiting for a knock at the door... which never came. A few seconds later I saw him walking away from the house back into the street, putting an end to this 'close encounter of the weird kind.' The government's excuse for conducting such a census is, "GPS technology allows us to reduce the amount of time spent by census workers in locating addresses while increasing productivity. Most importantly, by adding a GPS coordinate to each housing unit, the Census Bureau is able to ensure that residents are counted in the right location. This is important as the data are used to apportion congressional representation and used to draw redistricting lines.”

Here are a few of the problems I have with anybody GPS'ing my domicile:
1. First and foremost, it seems unnecesarily intrusive. Why does the government need to know the exact coordinates of any individual's living quarters? It smacks of the groundwork for the fabled "Black Ops" - black helicopters and SUV's showing up, and citizens being spirited off in the middle of the night, never to be seen again. But, there's no real proof of "Black Ops" against the citizens of the USA... yet. The U.S. Census Bureau is simply an excuse—a harmless-looking means of obtaining the front door coordinates. The creation of GPS coordinates for front doors has nothing to do with the Census, in all honesty, no matter how much the United States Government tries to convince you that it does.

2. Given that our national security is significantly less-than-bulletproof, at both our physical borders and the 'borders' of our ostensibly secure government computer systems, to what use could this GPS information be put by those who bear us ill will? I can envision a scenario wherein a foreign power hacks into the appropriate government database and retrieves every bit of data needed to pinpoint heavily populated areas as well as the locations of critical utilities. (The only reason I didn't include the locations of sateside military installations in that scenario is that the rest of the hostile/envious world already knows precisely where those bases are located.)

Our government has already overstepped the bounds of the charter of the U.S. Census Bureau, by using them to gather information beyond a simple headcount. Questions like "Do you have running water in your household?", "Do you have insurance?", questions about educational level, number and kinds of disabilities , etc., have no place in the "census". Census is defined thusly:
1: a count of the population and a property evaluation in early Rome
: a usually complete enumeration of a population ; specifically : a periodic governmental enumeration of population
3: count, tally

It was designed as a system of "how many"... not a system of "how much"!

Can we afford to forget the scenes of smart bombs and tomahawk missiles, guided by GPS coordinates, going through the windows and doors of buildings during the invasion of Iraq? "That could never happen here.", you say? Ask the Native Americans what they think about that. And do a little research on the "Bonus Army", Washington D.C., 1932 while you're at it - wherein a cavalry charge was led against WWI military veterans by our own 'heroes', General Douglas McArthur and Major George S. Patton.

As Government grows larger, I am reminded of the words of Thomas Paine, who said, ""Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one." and Daniel Webster's quote, "There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." And, although often attributed to Thomas Jefferson, the only verifiable attribution for "The best government is that which governs least." is to Henry David Thoreau. They all make sense to me!

I could be wrong about this... I suppose... perhaps... maybe... or maybe not!

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