In high school required reading included George Orwell"s Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the society that Orwell describes, everyone is under surveillance by the authorities.
Since the publication of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the term "Big Brother" has become synonymous for government keeping an eye on you. Today, I happily allow my phone to have an active GPS so my apps operate quickly providing the information I need local to me. I love, love, love my GPS system in my car as if it is stolen, my system can alert police to the location and even shut down the engine.
However a GPS used to track my mileage for the purpose of taxation is just too reminscent of Big Brother. I agree that we need more money for roads and public transportation. So raise the tax on fuel. It just seems a slippery slope indeed.
Last week Members of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments approved going forward with further study of a possible Vehicle Miles Traveled tax for the nine county region. Drivers would be required to have GPS like devises to track for taxation.
Next I'll find out that all my Queen of Homemaking secrets are out because some disgruntled employee posted on the Internet exactly where I buy my particularly fresh produce. Or perhaps they will out me for being at the local yarn store too often. More likely, if anyone ever bothered to look, they would fall asleep from the sheer boredom of my travels.
But the probability that no one will pay attention to my meanderings isn't the point. The point is that they could if they so chose.
So please butt out. Find a viable alternative that doesn't invade our privacy so blatantly. If the tax is to be based on miles then perhaps a semi annual tax based on mileage could be assessed at the time a smog certificate is done for the car. That way a third party is taking a look and registration withheld for non payment. Or perhaps they really do want to know where I get that produce...