Thursday, May 05, 2011

Big Brother wants you... to pay by the mile.

Obama trial balloon, pay-by-the-mile car tax.
News of the draft follows a March Congressional Budget Office report that supported the idea of taxing drivers based on miles driven.

Among other things, CBO suggested that a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax could be tracked by installing electronic equipment on each car to determine how many miles were driven; payment could take place electronically at filling stations.

The CBO report was requested by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who has proposed taxing cars by the mile as a way to increase federal highway revenues.

Obama's proposal seems to follow up on that idea in section 2218 of the draft bill. That section would create, within the Federal Highway Administration, a Surface Transportation Revenue Alternatives Office. It would be tasked with creating a "study framework that defines the functionality of a mileage-based user fee system and other systems."

No doubt this per-mile tax will be in-addition-to gas tax, vehicle tax, tolls and etc, rather than instead-of.  Lets not be silly, right?
And let's face it, there's going to be a humongous database of tracking info which will -never- be deleted.  These machines will be cell phones, they will transmit this data in real-time 24/7 to a server as the Apple and Google phones do. Most likely they will attach to the  car's engine management computer, giving Big Brother  your location to within 50ft AND the ability to turn on/off your car, lock/unlock your doors, blow the horn, whatever OnStar can do they will be doing too.
It will also be incredibly, astronomically, insanely expensive, because government run databases always are.  What Apple or GM/OnStar can cook up on a whim for a couple million bucks will cost the US/Canadian governments a trillion.  Remember the two billion for the gun registry?  It could run on a laptop.  Imagine this monstrosity.

Government regulators have a major woody for this tracking technology, as apparently do Apple and Google.  The tech exists right now, and it seems there's a whole lot of money in knowing where we all are every minute of the day.  We as a culture are going to have to decide if we will allow this kind of ubiquitous surveillance or not, and by the looks of things we will be deciding pretty freakin' soon.

Call your MP/Congress critter, tell him/her this is a very, very bad thing.

The Phantom

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