A new Oregon law allows the government to track drivers’ every move, and the United Nations and the federal government think that’s a great idea — for all of us.
So as to punish electric car drivers for not paying their fair share of transportation taxes associated with gas-powered vehicles, the state of Oregon is installing in every electric car a GPS device that will measure the number of miles traveled.
For now, however, the program is voluntary, but such invasions of privacy and surveillance schemes rarely stay that way.
Constitutionalists and those concerned with protecting individual liberty will recognize this “pilot program” for what it is: another chain binding Americans and expanding the range of vision of the all-seeing eye of government.
Not everybody sees it that way, however. In fact, some people are pleased to have the government in the car with them. As reported by American Spectator: “I’ve been free-loading on the highways for 20 years driving electric cars. So I haven’t been paying my fair share,” said Oregon resident David Hastings, in an interview with network television.
With so many of us thinking like Hastings, is it any wonder that we live in the most sophisticated and intrusive surveillance state in the history of the world?
Stop and think about the scope of this scheme.
Not only will the GPS device installed as part of the “vehicle miles traveled (VMT)” tax measure distance, but as is the nature of the technology, the driver’s location will be tracked as well.
This realization raises another question: What will the government (state or federal) do with the data gathered and collected by the VMT GPS device?
Promises of protection of privacy are illusory in the era in which we live. The courts routinely rule in favor of granting greater and greater leeway to the branches of the surveillance bureaucracy, and the Fourth and Fifth Amendments have become no more than “parchment barriers” separating government from their intended targets.
As evidence of the government’s wholesale disregard for the fundamental principles of liberty enshrined in the Bill of Rights, consider this story I wrote in 2012:
The federal government informed an appeals court that it has the right and the power to place GPS tracking devices on the privately owned vehicles of citizens without obtaining a warrant. This is in open rebellion to a Supreme Court decision from January  that held that such warrantless installation of tracking devices on cars was unconstitutional.
In a case being heard by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Obama administration argued that since the Supreme Court’s ruling didn’t specifically mandate the obtaining of a search warrant in all situations, then the justices intended to leave a loophole open — a loophole large enough to mount a tracking device.
According to the Justice Department’s spokesperson, “A warrant is not needed for a GPS search, as the [Supreme] Court … did not resolve that question.” As quoted in an article in the Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department has “advised agents and prosecutors going forward to take the most prudent steps and obtain a warrant for new or ongoing investigations,” just in case.
Readers may argue, at this point, that this tracking policy is confined to Oregon and applies only to those who willfully participate in the program. That is true.
Consider this angle of the story covered by WND: Most of these and other “green” initiatives are funded by the Federal Highway Administration.
Various studies and pilot programs for the VMT tax, funded mostly by the Federal Highway Administration, have been done over the past 12 years but it was just too expensive to convert every car to a GPS format.
That has changed.
Most newer cars now have built-in GPS systems that allow tracking through satellite systems and the older cars can be retrofitted with sensors that are relatively inexpensive and already in use on toll roads across the U.S.
As for the Beaver State, a government report entitled “Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century” reveals that the vehicle tracking program is not exactly voluntary on the part of the state government.
The report lists nearly $500 million in federal grants, including one not from the Federal Highway Administration, but from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). It’s this NHTSA plan that spurred the state to track their citizens’ travel. From the report:
In addition to the performance measures for the Highway Safety Improvement Program, MAP-21 includes a performance management system for the NHTSA programs focused on driver behavior. Under the NHTSA programs, states will measure and report on a variety of areas in both core outcomes and underlying behaviors and activities.
Safety Performance Measures
• Motor Vehicle-Related Traffic Fatalities: Metrics will include annual fatality total, the annual VMT-based fatality rate, annual totals by contributing factors, and annual totals by person category.
• Motor Vehicle-Related Serious Injuries: This will include only the annual total of serious injuries.
• Observed Seat Belt Use: This will include drivers and front seat outboard passengers.
• Traffic Law Enforcement: This set of measures will include impaired driving arrests, seat belt citations, and speeding citations.
Performance will be reported through each state’s annual Highway Safety Plan, which will include documentation of current safety.
There’s the rub: If states want to keep their place at the federal trough, they have to do exactly what the owner of the trough tells them to do, including, it seems, tracking the movements of drivers in their state.
As is clear from Oregon’s MAP-21 report, the justification for all the deprivations of liberty is the saving of the environment. The carbon footprint decreases in direct proportion to freedom of movement.
If you think this sounds eerily like the United Nation’s Agenda 21 scheme, you’re right.
Tom DeWeese of the American Policy Center points out the prints of the would-be global government that are all over the VMT and similar projects. WMD reports:
“This (VMT) is part of the sustainability program that has been kicking around the Obama Administration for years,” DeWeese said. “They use the excuse that, with falling gas prices (and more fuel-efficient cars), states need a more stable way to collect funds for highway infrastructure. That way they can pretend to be concerned with sound and responsible fiscal policy.”
But the real agenda behind the VMT has nothing to do with fiscal responsibility, DeWeese said.
“The fact is, sustainability advocates call for less driving of cars,” he said. “Smart growth in the cities is all about getting people out of their cars and into ‘walkable’ communities and public transportation. That is where highway funds are disappearing into — expensive high-speed trains, trolleys and creating mandatory bike paths.”
Sustainability. That’s the globocrats’ favorite word. It’s the word that could prove to be the lever long enough to move the world — move it into acceptance of an all-powerful global government with the people of the world living where they’re told and traveling when and where they are allowed.
Oregon is just the beginning, it seems. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) has sponsored a bill in Congress to fund similar projects nationwide. Additionally, 29 states are considering VMT-type programs.