|Posted by Mother Goose on March 4, 2010 at 7:45 PM|
Gov't offers new assurance census data is private
By HOPE YEN(AP)
WASHINGTON — With the 2010 population count looming, the government provided new assurances Thursday that information Americans fill out on their census forms will be kept confidential and not be used for law enforcement.
In a letter to Congress, the Obama administration provided its legal position that census data cannot be disclosed under the Patriot Act, the nation's main counterterrorism law. The government has previously given legal assurances the information will not be usedf or immigration enforcement.
"If Congress intended to override these protections it would say so clearly and explicitly," wrote Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich.
The legal assurance had been a sticking point for some minority groups, particularly South Asian and Muslim Americans, who argued that an ambiguity in federal laws could leave their census data open for use in prosecutions involving national security. Some said they could not feel confident infilling out the forms based on solely the verbal promises of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and other census officials who said the data will not be shared with other federal agencies.
"All United States residents should be fully confident that the individual information they provide on census forms is protected from disclosure by law," said Commerce spokesman Nick Kimball.
The Census Bureau this week began delivering letters to homes in rural areas and is mailing the10-question forms to 120 million U.S. households on March 15. Officials have estimated the government survey will take just 10 minutes to complete, a change from previous censuses in which many people receiveda more detailed questionnaire.
read more here
Categories: Constitutional Concerns