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Will Your Answers to the Census Stay Private?

pickens (49171) writes | more than 4 years ago

Privacy 1

Hugh Pickens writes "James Bovard writes in the Christian Science Monitor that Americans are told that information gathered in the census will never be used against them and the House of Representatives, in a Census Awareness Month resolution passed March 3, proclaimed that “the data obtained from the census are protected under United States privacy laws.” Unfortunately, thousands of Americans who trusted the Census Bureau in the past lost their freedom as a result. In the 1940 Census, the Census Bureau loudly assured people that their responses would be kept confidential. Within four days of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Census Bureau had produced a report listing the Japanese-American population in each county on the West Coast. The Census Bureau’s report helped the US Army round up more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans for concentration camps (later renamed “internment centers”). In 2003-04, the Census Bureau provided the Department of Homeland Security with a massive cache of information on how many Arab Americans lived in each ZIP Code around the nation, and which country they originated from — information that could have made it far easier to carry out the type of mass roundup that some conservatives advocated. "Instead of viewing census critics as conspiracy theorists, the nation’s political leaders should recognize how their policies have undermined public faith in government," writes Bovard. "All the census really needs to know is how many people live at each address. Citizens should refuse to answer any census question except for the number of residents.""

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Census Bureau Gave Up Names of Japanese-Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31604024)

The U.S. Census Bureau Gave Up Names of Japanese-Americans in WW II [scientificamerican.com]

Despite decades of denials, government records confirm that the U.S. Census Bureau provided the U.S. Secret Service with names and addresses of Japanese-Americans during World War II. "The [new] evidence is convincing," says Kenneth Prewitt, Census Bureau director from 1998 to 2000 and now a professor of public policy at Columbia University, who issued a public apology in 2000 for the Bureau's release of neighborhood data during the war. "At the time, available evidence (and Bureau lore) held that there had been no ... release of microdata," he says. "That can no longer be said."

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