This week the New York Post published an excellent article titled Obama has been collecting personal data for a secret race database. Soon after becoming chancellor in 1933, Adolph Hitler initiated a German census, with the assistance of IBM’s German subsidiary. The census used IBM’s Hollerith punch card technology: one card per each person. On this card were fields that defined address, race, religion, and ancestors.
This database probably seemed benign in 1933. A few years later, it powered Krystalnacht and, soon after, the entire holocaust.
After invading Poland, the Nazis immediately began a census. Ditto Holland and France. Again, IBM technology powered these efforts. Tyrannical centralized regimes require detailed demographic data collection and tabulation so that they can select groups and individuals for “special treatment”.
I object to any central government collecting reams of data about its citizens. In particular, I don’t trust this administration. Aside from its dubious motives, it’s proven its inability to safeguard personal data, including fingerprints, of millions of security clearance applicants. It appears that China now has these data.
I wrote about government data collection two years ago in Government data collection then and now. Edwin Black’s book, IBM and the Holocaust, is an eye opener.
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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695