General Question

Garebo's avatar

What authority does the U.S. Census Bureau have for sending anyone to my front door to mark it with GPS coordinates?

Asked by Garebo (3173points) May 7th, 2009

Am I the only one suspicious with this action, the fact, by law you can not prevent the census reader from taking GPS readings at your door step – seems odd to me. What next when they take the nest census, sense our property for gunpowder and home-grown marijuana, etc. Why has the Obama Administration chosen to take over the oversight of the Commerce departments Census duties. Is it really as innocent as making sure Elmer can easily find the house ten years from know. What is one legitimate reason for having a GPS coordinates on every residense in this country.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

34 Answers

redsfan1324's avatar

This is just a classic case of government intrusion. People aren’t wary of the government impeding on their personal liberty and property right until it hits them personally.

FGS's avatar

Because as a resident of the US the government has the right to know who is in it and where they live. That’s the idea behind a census…to count noses.

arnbev959's avatar

You can count my nose without taking my coordinates.

The purpose of a census is to ascertain how many representatives you should get. I don’t see how taking GPS coordinates is necessary for that.

FGS's avatar

@petethepothead Because where exactly you live matters when it comes down to districts and the populations of those districts.

Likeradar's avatar

This might sound like an ignorant question, but what harm does it do? Is it any different than them knowing your address?

lefteh's avatar

Bah.
It’s the same information that they used to collect with pen and paper. It is now electronically collected. It ensures the accuracy of Congressional districts, and hence improves the fairness of your representation. The government isn’t out to get you, folks. You’re just not that special.

SeventhSense's avatar

They want every single body, piece of property and home that belongs to them to be fully accounted for. Slave and chattel are collateral.

YARNLADY's avatar

The information is not secret, so why would you even have a problem with it? They could just as well take the reading from the Public Street in front of your house, and add the length of your sidewalk, if you really object.

tinyfaery's avatar

I’m sure the GPS coordinates of you house are already known.

Darwin's avatar

Since anyone in the world can find your house on Google Earth if they want to, what difference does it make?

And if you are growing something you shouldn’t in your back yard be aware that many municipalities use satellite shots and flyovers to appraise property and so they may very well have spotted anything you thought was secret. In Arizona, for example, they use aerial technology to discover who is using too much water, and in other cases the DEA has used heat sensors to find folks growing marijuana indoors.

YARNLADY's avatar

@Darwin—that’s true, and anybody can drive down any public street and use sensors to find meth labs, and unsecured wireless computer access.

kevbo's avatar

I heard a guy call in to a local talk radio show and explain that the utility, satellite tv, & cable companies have used GPS data for a while now, so this isn’t earth shattering.

What is is the new $5,000 missile that uses GPS to target (terrorist) houses and launches from a UAV.

Darwin's avatar

And if someone gets a decimal wrong, they just say “Oops”?

SeventhSense's avatar

@kevbo
Sounds like a pretty cheap missile..

kevbo's avatar

It’s called the Spike. 5 lbs, 2 ft long. It’ll replace the 100 lb, $100,000 Hellfire missile.

edit:: I guess it’s intended to strike against Taliban Toyotas.

justwannaknow's avatar

If you have nothing to hide, then what is the problem. It is immpossible to stay invisible in this day of technolgy.

wundayatta's avatar

If you are going to count everyone in the United States (and by law, we have to do that every ten years), you need to know where the places they live are. You need to know if with a fair bit of accuracy, too, because you want to be able to go to every separate household in order to count them. Or rather, you want to send the questionnaire to every householder.

If they don’t answer, then you have to go to their door, so they need to know exactly where they are. It’s also easier to see how households have changed if you know what was exactly where.

Having things to hide is irrelevant. The census only wants to count people The information remains private for seventy or eighty years! Almost all householders will be dead by then, and even if they aren’t no one is going to seek them out at that point. No one gets individual level information until that time period has passed. You can only get summary information before then.

Census counts are summarized by various geographic unit, such as census tracts, zipcodes, congressional districts, etc. The smallest unit of aggregation is the census block, but they don’t summarize any of the identifying information at that level. In fact, where there are few enough people to make it possible to identify someone, they actually switch numbers around to protect identity. Believe me, ain’t no one gonna find out anything about you, individually, from the census. A million researchers would love that information, but it is not available. Not even to other government agencies. Not even the NSA.

The importance of the right count from the census, is that it determines whether you have appropriate representation in Congress, and probably more importantly, the funds available from the federal government to pay for services in your area.

Garebo's avatar

I think it also has something to do with redistricting of congressional seats to the advantage of on party, especially after the administration has taken oversight of the census.
These coordinates are also quite accurate, not like Google.
I just find it odd there was no real mention publicly, or main stream media on this; I am sure there were a lot of curious people on what the hell are they doing, or angry people that don’t want there doorstep e-stamped to centimeters. Heck, I know quite a few people quite disturbed by Google streets views.

wundayatta's avatar

I wonder about public notification. I only found out at a local GIS meeting, where she was telling us how it was going to go. A bunch of these people were responsible for commenting on the boundaries of the tracts and blocks.

I had a gps person on my street the other day, so when she told me she was with the census I knew what was going on. But most people don’t have access to this information, and I haven’t seen anything about it in public.

Of course, the Census may not have money for publicity now. They’ll need a lot when the actual census is being counted.

Garebo's avatar

They would be, if the government wasn’t so busy bailing out insolvent banks.
I really have nothing to hide, I just dont like the feel of the whole thing; especially, the fact the government just keeps eroding our privacy and rights-slowly and surely.

Likeradar's avatar

@Garebo I still don’t get how this is an erosion of privacy… can you explain?

Garebo's avatar

The question is when will you ever.

lefteh's avatar

No, the question is “can you explain how this is an erosion of privacy.”

Garebo's avatar

I’ve already explained myself it is self evident, one thing leads to another, always has and always will be for the pursuit of control and power. Information is power.

lefteh's avatar

“One thing leads to another” is not a valid premise for the conclusion that this is an erosion of privacy, nor is “it is self-evident.” Information is power, I agree with you. That is, however, entirely irrelevant to the question at hand. Can you provide, with some degree of validity and specificity, reasons supporting the supposition that the Census Bureau taking GPS readings marks an erosion of privacy?

augustlan's avatar

It’s not like they didn’t already have your address, Garebo. What’s the difference?

Likeradar's avatar

@Garebo You’ve written 4 posts on this thread, not including the original q. Not one of your posts explains WHY this is an evasion of your privacy. Maybe you don’t have a reason and just want to complain about the government?

Garebo's avatar

I just think it goes beyond the original purpose of a tally of the number of occupants at a residence. Like most things it starts small, and grows. If you were to do a thesis on the census which I wasn’t intending, you would probably find that over the years it has evolved to gathering more and more information. So, each time they take a census they keep gathering more and more information about you that goes beyond the original intended purpose.
I don’t want my doorstep to be instantly pulled up by homeland security, or any government agency with a complete human bio on me and my family. They probably have that capability, but to a limited extent.
This all came from an article and I thought was interesting, I have told you the way I feel, and I obviously am in the minority, or only one it bothers- so be it.
I am sure there are some people that wouldn’t care if they were micro-chipped.

tinyfaery's avatar

Your gps coordinates are already known. Google earth yourself.

Garebo's avatar

Not to centimeters, maybe 80 feet.

Darwin's avatar

Are you afraid someone is going to precision bomb you? I doubt that any one of us is that important that some government agency will fire up the bombers to take us out.

Where is the harm in folks knowing where your house is? Its location is already on file at the county seat anyway.

Garebo's avatar

@Darwin: No, that is the least of my worries, I just know the less information the government has about me the better. No, I have nothing to hide, not to say that will be the case in the future however.

jaybeewil's avatar

They(census) just left my house and asked my name and telephone number(did not give the phone number) and after I asked if he had any thing to do with acorn and told him I didn’t want the gov. to know any more about me, he left. I think just asking my name doesn’t sound as if he is earning the money we are paying him with our taxes. I think the democrates are being sneaky.

Answer this question

Login

or

Join

to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
or
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther