Monday, January 7, 2008

The New Census: All out Assault on Privacy

Unlike the traditional census, which collects data every ten years, the American Community Survey is taken every year at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. And at 24 pages, it contains some of the most detailed and intrusive questions ever put forth in a census questionnaire. These concern matters that the government simply has no business knowing, including a person’s job, income, physical and emotional health, family status, place of residence and intimate personal and private habits.

The questions, as Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has said, are “both ludicrous and insulting.” For example, the survey asks how many persons live in your home, along with their names and detailed information about them such as their relationship to you, marital status, race and their physical, mental and emotional problems, etc. The survey also asks how many bedrooms and bathrooms you have in your house, along with the fuel used to heat your home, the cost of electricity, what type of mortgage you have and monthly mortgage payments, property taxes and so on. This questionnaire also demands to know how many days you were sick last year, how many automobiles you own and the number of miles driven, whether you have trouble getting up the stairs and, amazingly, what time you leave for work every morning.

The census is mandatory and if you don't fill out the form you can be fined up to $5000.

This information is supposedly confidential, but knowing the government today and their disregard for the law, this information could easily be used to find out when to invade your home, under the authority of the Patriot Act.

There is also another concern with such an intrusive survey. It represents a form of corporate welfare as well as a dangerous wedding of government and business interests into the corporate state. This is true in light of the fact that personal data collected on hundreds of millions of Americans by the government is sold to private businesses. However, it is clearly not the duty of the government, and most taxpayers do not want to subsidize the cost of such market research.

Article I of the U. S. Constitution makes it clear that the census should be taken every ten years for the sole purpose of congressional redistricting. What the founders intended was a simple head count of the number of people living in a given area so that numerically equal congressional districts can be maintained. The founders never envisioned or authorized the federal government to continuously demand, under penalty of law, detailed information from the American people.

Check it out for yourself, page 10 asks the question when do you go to work?

note: I sourced some of this from

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