Friday, May 1, 2009

Is The Census Bureau 'Mapping' Your House?

Judging from my inbox, the blogosphere is buzzing about the use of GPS technology to 'map' every residence in the United States for the Census Bureau. I love a good conspiracy theory as much as the next girl, but this sounded like tin-foil hat territory to me, so I did some research.

Here's the big scoop, Crumb Crunchers: it's true. True, but not new; the plan was devised 2 1/2 years ago. From a report on National Public Radio's 'All Things Considered', July 31, 2006:
Two-and-a-half years from now, in early 2009, the Census Bureau plans to send an army of 100,000 temporary workers down every street and dusty, dirt road in America. They will be armed with handheld GPS devices.

"We will actually knock on doors and look for hidden housing units," he says. "We will find converted garages; from the outside, it may not look like anybody lives there."

But census workers will add each dwelling, legal or not, to the Census Bureau's Master Address File.

...the census will end up with the geographic coordinates — accurate to within 10 feet — for about 110 million residences.

Nothing to worry about, though...the government assures us that the information will never be made public or shared with scary people like, oh, law enforcement.
"People would not tell us about hidden housing units," LaMacchia says. "People would not respond to the questionnaire if they believed that that information would be turned over to law enforcement or code enforcement and become public information."
Just what we need, and another indictment of the Bush administration. That's right, Bush. This little gem was his administration's idea, after all. Of course, Obama will be adding Acorn to the mix, which only serves to make a bad situation worse. Oy.

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