The Federal Government Now Locking Down Your Location

The US Census Bureau: Now Big Brother?

The US Census Bureau: Now Big Brother?

Today, a fellow Nebraskan, located in the rural, northeast part of the state reported to me that Census workers are using a hand held device that looks like the signing device carried by UPS workers to log citizens’ GPS coordinates.

Keep in mind the official Census doesn’t begin until 2010.

As the census worker approached the front door of the home, he was logging the information into the device. Apparently, the census information being taken is being tied to the GPS coordinates. Obviously, the information is going to be uploaded to a central database.

What on earth would the government need to log your GPS location for?

My friend questioned the Census Bureau worker closely. He asked the worker directly what he was doing with the hand held device and the worker stated he was logging the GPS coordinates of the residence. He stated that he was doing this everywhere he went and that Census Bureau workers across the country were doing the same.

He noted that workers had been instructed to log the GPS coordinates of anything that look like a dwelling, including park benches and cardboard boxes.

He particularly questioned the worker about why it was being done. The reply, not helpful or comforting. The worker said he had signed a binding agreement that he could not discuss the project with anyone, including his wife.

Clearly, this kind of intricate system with the hand held devices could not have been devised overnight, and certainly not since the Stimulus Bill was passed on February 17.

We have to ask ourselves what the Federal Government would be doing logging all our locations when the Census isn’t even supposed to begin for almost a year and why would they need to pinpoint your location so specifically?

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4 Responses to The Federal Government Now Locking Down Your Location

  1. Avi says:

    Speaking for myself only:

    1. The Bureau is conducting an address canvassing operation now in order to know where to send or deliver questionnaires and what kind of questionnaire to deliver to each location (college dorms and nursing homes aren’t done the same way as houses and apartments).

    2. There are some parts of the country where locations don’t correspond to mailing addresses (PO Box or Rural Route areas). The Bureau sends enumerators to hand-deliver questionnaires unless a mailing address can be obtained. Likewise, enumerators come out to residences to follow up on unclear or missing information. A GPS fix gives them an accurate means of locating the residence.

    3. The map spots help place people in the right census tracts (statistical areas) so that state legislatures can complete the 2011 redistricting properly.

    4. Census data associated with a particular person or address, including map spots, are covered by 13 U.S.C. § 9. They are made available only to sworn Census employees on a need-to-know basis. Sharing these data with ANYONE, including other government agencies, carries a $250,000 fine and a prison sentence.

  2. lisa says:

    It has nothing to do with Big Brother. I’m one of those Census workers you are worried about. All we’re doing–and it’s not a secret–is updating and correcting the bureau’s address database, to ensure that surveys are sent out to existing addresses. We’re not recording any personal info about the people living at the addresses. The gps coordinates are tied to addresses, not people. One of the uses will be, eventually, to help Census takers–sent to follow up at households that don’t mail back their surveys–find the addresses they are sent to visit. That’s it. Honestly.

  3. Patriot44 says:


    We did not have extensive GPS abilities the last time we took the census. Let us not make CONSPIRACY out of nothing….PLEASE!!

    Your cell-phone company has your GPS coordinates at all times, If you go to “google” you can get the coordinates to your home and a picture of it from the street. If you are on your home computer, your ISP has your e-mail address and your location. Direct Mail companies, the US post office, and anyone who you have mailed something to or e-mailed something to can find out where you live.

    The census is used to allocate federal funding, set congressional districts, and register population growth. The government is not coming to spy on you or take you away.

    Let us get on to REAL political issues and stay away from those conspiracy theories that make our movement look…well…crazy.

    • Stubborn_Facts says:

      Thank you for stopping by the site. Sorry we missed your comment here – as noted on the front page, we had moved to a new site in June 2009.

      The post regarding the census was motivated by concerns being put forward to me by a number of people in Nebraska – it’s an insult to call people raising concerns about the government invading their privacy or tracking them electronically “crazy”. The US Constitution speaks to an enumeration of the American people. While it does empower Congress to legislate on the manner in which this enumeration is conducted, is it necessary for the government to specifically detail via GPS where we are located or to ask the many intrusive questions on the long form sent to some people?

      This post was not about one’s cell phone company, computer, ISP, direct mail, or mail delivery, all of which are private business relationships, not government. (Yes, even the post office.)

      While you may be comfortable with the amount of information the census collects and the manner in which it is collected, others are not. Please, again, don’t insult others because it isn’t a particular concern of yours.

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