The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Wisdom Of Barnyard Bruke: "Privacy and Spy'n"

Greetings to everone in western Illinois and all readers of The Quill. I hope this column finds your week going well and the winter has not been to harsh on ya thus far.

Last week's column touched on a proposal ta change our rural addresses and global position (GPS) where we live, where our grain bins are located, where our machine sheds with all its valuable contents of machinery and tools are exactly located, and on and on. That a way if'n someone wants ta find a specific location, fer what ever reason, they simply plug the exact GPS address into their "Garmin" and it will take ya right to where ya wants ta go.

That might be a good thing fer emergency situations, however many of those emergency fellers are local folk and have a good idea where ever thing is at in the county already. Henderson County is not a large metropolitan area with strangers mostly provid'n those services.

The boys brought up an important point which took the discussion on the subject ta a new level of concern.

A few years back a rural farm home was broken into east of our area that had installed GPS addresses. All of their guns were stolen along with ammunition. The criminals were caught some time later, but the stolen items were never recovered. They had long since been converted ta cash and utilized ta buy drugs.

The criminals were not local, in fact they were from an area in the next state. How was it they knew that home had guns versus any other home. Eventually it was discovered the criminals obtained records of the National Rifle Association membership. I suppose they could have just as easily obtained membership records of hunting clubs, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited etc, etc.

Have'n that list they figured there would be guns in the home. They simply obtained the individuals GPS address which took them exactly where they needed to be ta commit the crime. The home even had a sign out front verify'in the criminal had the right address.

In that criminal case guns were sought after. It could of easily been some other valuable asset associated with membership in some other organization somewhere.

One of the boys brought in an article from the Monday, February 2, 2015 issue of Farm Week, a Farm Bureau affiliated weekly paper. In the article it was stated the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) was engage'n in a lawsuit seek'in ta block the U.S. Environmental Agency (EPA) from release'n personal information about livestock farmers.

Bob Stallman stated, "farmers, ranchers, and citizens in general should be concerned about the courts disregard for individual privacy. This court seems to believe the internet age has eliminated the individual's interest in controlling the distribution of his or her personal information. We strongly disagree".

The reason Stallman made these remarks was because the federal district court in Minnesota dismissed the lawsuit. The court concluded that so long as the farmer's personal information can be found on the internet, EPA's distribution of that same information does not result in any injury to the farmer. The court allowed release'n and distribute'n of names, addresses, telephone numbers, and "GPS" locations. EPA had released personal information of farmers and ranchers from 29 states.

That article about government agencies be'n allowed to distribute "GPS" locations of private individuals along with telephone numbers and other information really "stirred the pot" concern'n the possibility of Henderson County go'n to considerable expense to provide that "GPS" address ta anyone, include'n those bent on do'n mischief to a particular category of home owners, livestock production, or farmer owned grain storage facility.

A quick call from out of state and when no one is home, a visit ta borrow (steal), destroy, or vandalize could be in order ta the exact location off their Garmin.

As if that weren't enough ta step on a lot of cats tails ta stir things up, another feller brought in an article from the January 27, 2015 issue of the Wall Street Journal.

The article stated the U.S. Justice Department has been building a national database to track, in real time, the movement of vehicles around the U.S. The data base raises real questions about privacy and the scope of government surveillance.

The data base collects information on time, direction, and location of vehicles. They also collect visual images of drivers and passengers. One email written in 2010 said the primary purpose of the program was asset forfeiture. The document said, "DEA has designed this program to assist with locating, identifying, and seizing guns".

A "Quill" reader brought in information about an article in the January issue of "Americas 1st Freedom" magazine about the chief of police in Buffalo, N.Y. cross check'n obituaries with pistol permits. When a permit holder dies, the police show up to confiscate the pistols.

That job would be made much easier fer them buggers with a good "GPS" address in the country. Gun confiscation and gutt'n the second amendment would be a topic fer another column. Governor Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg and the ilk of their like have plans fer your guns and strict prohibition of ownership of the same.

In November it was reported the U.S. Marshals Service flies planes carrying devices that mimic cell phone towers allowing them to scan the identifying information of America's phones.

Your phone is tapped, your car tracked, and your privacy is lost, and your location of assets identified. Not all states go along with this new order of spying. Utah lawmakers have balked at the new drive fer everyone ta loose their privacy.

The boys all agreed that Henderson County board members should balk as well. Stop this "Rural Addressing" and "GPS" locate'n before it ever gets started. Your privacy and freedoms could be whittled away one step at a time, albeit the original intent might appear to look good. However, it is hard to GPS a cornfield fire or grassfire, or farm accident when it is out in an isolated field. Somehow they always are able to figure it out. Don't allow yourself ta be fooled by good intent camouflage'n the drive ta spy on ya, at least that's what finally come out of the discussion.

As fer me, I will continue ta dwell on the subject fer a spell yet. In the meantime I guess I'll go watch the movie the "Sniper".

They say its a tear jerk'n good one, demonstrate'n the good and sacrifices that a "real patriot" can do. Those Navy Seals sure have got a lot done fer this country.

Have a good week, be safe, and hope ta see youn's in church this weekend.

Where ever ya is, what ever ya be a do'n, BE A GOOD ONE!

Keep on Smile'n

Catch ya later

Barnyard Bruke