Saturday, November 10, 2007

Los Angeles Police to Map Muslims

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) has announced plans to map Los Angeles' Muslim community. In this age of fear and terrorism, the police want to spatially keep track of the second largest Muslim concentration in the United States.

The move is highly controversial. Some fear the map would serve as a database and could be quickly transformed into a tool for isolating areas or even population relocation (ala President Franklin Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 which interned over 100,000 Americans of Japanese descent as well as thousands of Americans of German and Italian descent into concentration camps).

Geographical mapping of groups is a very touchy issue. While doing college reports on ethnic groups of Europe, I discovered countries like France and Germany explicitly forbid the government from classifying and mapping people by race or religion. Though racial geospatial data has been available for a while in the United States, it has been used mostly in economic studies. Expect the judicial system to become involved with warfare becoming a domestic demographic geospatial matter.

1 comment:

Adrian said...

Interesting. Any news on how they intend to do the measuring - door-to-door surveys, or telephone polls, or what?