Friday, March 14, 2008

Tent City for One City

The latest on Ontario's Tent City.

Yesterday, Mayor Paul Leon said that people with ties to Ontario may stay in the tent city, but others must leave by Monday (although it appears that there will be a grace period). Wristbands will be distributed to distinguish those who are "known" to be from Ontario, those who claim to be from Ontario, and those who don't claim to be from Ontario.

While there are valid concerns about the strategy, at least one of the reactions was pretty bizarre. Monroe Emmanuel Lee III (a parolee) didn't care for the wristband idea.

That's Hitler tactics. I'm a citizen of the United States. You're not going to put a wristband on me and confine me to a concentration camp.

Um, Mr. Lee, I'm sure that the city of Ontario has no interest in confining you, and would be more than happy to have you leave the camp entirely.


Anonymous said...

You're naive to support a government tagging you. Lets see how long before there is a suggestion of an RFID chip.

Ontario Emperor said...


Semi-full disclosure - I am employed in the biometrics industry.

While I acknowledge that there are some potential privacy concerns with tagging people, I am not that worried about it for several reasons.

(1) Despite wild desires to do so, government agencies are not going to share information and bombard us. If there's anything that we've learned over the years (especially from the Watergate coverup and 9/11), government agencies have no interest in cooperating with each other, because this would be perceived as a loss of their power. I've been in meetings in which two people, one from the FBI and another also from the FBI, couldn't help but snip at each other.

(2) Even if there's a single agency - for example, the Ontario Illuminati - who has a mad desire to track the homeless, are they truly going to be able to do so? Leon isn't going to foot the bill for it, since he has his own pet projects that he wants to fund.

Getting to the specific issue here. The city has an understandable desire to refrain from paying for homeless people from other cities, and therefore needs some way to distinguish Ontario residents from those who are not Ontario residents. Absent some type of biometric or semi-biometric identification (wristband, fingerprint, 666 implant, what have you), how can the government achieve its objective?

My concern with Lee's statement was his statement about being confined. No one is confining him anywhere. He's free to leave as he pleases.