After being delayed several years due to budget shortfalls, one of the largest invasions of our privacy is now in full swing, compliments of the U.S. Census Bureau and a cadre of Department of Commerce corporate partners. In the past, the American people only had to put up with this unconstitutional nonsense once every ten years. A time frame frequent enough to be annoying but not frequent enough to evoke formal resistance. With the advent of the so-called American Community Survey however, circumstance have changed dramatically. U.S. Census bureaucrats have somehow misinterpreted clear constitutional guidance regarding a simple head count once every 10 years for representation purposes as a mandate to invade America's privacy on a recurring monthly basis.
Starting this year, 250,000 homes will be targeted every month by the Census Bureau and its corporate lackeys to comply, under threat of prosecution, with a survey demanding answers to over 70 personally invasive questions. Questions, that as Congressman Ron Paul and others have pointed out, are none of the government's business.
This new program will cost taxpayers well over $150,000,000 a year and is envisioned by census personnel as a permanent fixture to the new American police state. It was developed and implemented by unelected career bureaucrats at the Department of Commerce in close consultation with other government interests including but not limited to the Department of Justice, Health and Human Services and Homeland Security. In addition, the Census Bureau relies heavily on strong support from corporate interests to collect, scan, archive, and conduct follow-up work related to surveys unwittingly filled out by individuals under the false pretense that their responses will be kept strictly confidential.
Indeed, the Census Bureau and its contracted help will all tell you your responses are protected by statute and any unauthorized disclosure is punishable by severe fines and prison time. What they don't tell you is that the number of authorized disclosures is expansive and corporations and individuals working with the Census Bureau have unfettered access to your personal information while under contract with the Bureau. You also wont find a list of individuals or organizations that have been prosecuted or sanctioned for disclosing your personal information, assuming such prosecutions have even taken place. After all, when the chief executive officer of the country can thumb his nose at the Constitution and federal statutes with impunity in order to spy on American citizens, it's no great leap of logic to realize that so-called census privacy protections are in reality non-existent.
A close look at several corporations working closely with the Census Bureau through lucrative contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars shows a strong connection to other government agencies including Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and various intelligence agencies. One such corporation, Lockheed Martin, has been a major contractor for National Census efforts in other countries including Canada and England. In the case of Canada, Lockheed's participation resulted in an uproar from the public that is still being heard today.
The malfeasance isn't limited to corporate involvement however. A GAO report titled, "The American Community Survey: Accuracy and Timeliness Issues" from 2002 verifies that the majority of questions on the survey don't even originate in the Census Bureau but rather from other special interests within the federal government:
"The questions to be asked in the 2003 ACS reflect justifications - specific statutes, regulations, and court cases - provided to the Bureau by federal agencies." - GAO Report, p2
"The 20 questions justified by mandatory programs reflect the provisions of seven statutes: One statute justifies 13 questions for providing information to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) to enforce the Federal Affirmative Action Plan. Another statute justifies 6 questions for providing information to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to enforce the Voting Rights Act. A Department of Commerce (DOC) statute justifies 1 question for providing information for legislative redistricting. The other statutes relate to programs of the Department of Agriculture (USDA), DOC, and HHS." - GAO Report, p16
What this means is that federal agencies are using the Census Bureau as their front for mandating responses to questions that individual agencies or departments aren't authorized to mandate from the general public on their own.
What's even more surprising is a GAO finding that contrary to assurances given, the Census Bureau fully intends to provide federal agencies with DIRECT access to ACS data while working with these agencies to develop more targeted and specialized follow-up surveys based upon responses to the American Community Survey:
"In addition to providing federal agencies with DIRECT use of ACS data for program needs, the bureau has announced that it would conduct special surveys for them, based on ACS responses." - GAO Report, p16
The GAO found that the Census Bureau conveniently left these facts out of instructional materials provided to those actually conducting the survey:
"...we also did not find any mention of this notification in the information provided to the staff conducting the ACS testing." - GAO Report, p16
And if this wasn't enough, the Census Bureau has admitted to conducting experiments on the American people to test compliance and privacy attitudes with specially worded surveys to see how individuals respond to different types of information demands, including demands for social security numbers:
"About 21,000 American households received a census form asking respondents for that all-important nine-digit number, in addition to the typical inquiries on race, gender and age. It was a little-noticed experiment conducted by the Census Bureau to see how Americans would respond to being asked for the figure..." - Sun Sentinel
"Voluntary materials and methods will be used for all phases of data collection....The overall objective of the test is to identify the effect of changing the survey from a mandatory one to a voluntary one on response rates, quality, and cost. A small control panel will receive materials by mail that retain the mandatory wording." - ACS Operations Plan, p. 51
While researching this issue, I wanted to find out exactly what authority the Department of Commerce and the U.S. Census Bureau thought they had to force sovereign individuals to lay bare their private lives to any federal bureaucrat or their contracted help with a clipboard and a badge (they haven't been issued guns...yet). What I found was more disturbing in some ways than the invasive questions on the survey itself.
It turns out the federal government considers us to be defective, dependent or delinquent and Congress has authorized the Department of Commerce to classify us accordingly. Don't believe me? Check out 13 U.S.C. 101:
13 USC 101 - Defective, dependent, and delinquent classes; crime:
(a) The Secretary may collect decennially statistics relating—
(1) to the defective, dependent, and delinquent classes; and
(2) to crime, including judicial statistics pertaining thereto.
(b) The statistics authorized by subsection (a) of this section shall include information upon the following questions, namely: age, sex, color, nativity, parentage, literacy by race, color, nativity, and parentage, and such other questions relating to such subjects as the Secretary deems proper.
(c) In addition to the decennial collections authorized by subsections (a) and (b) of this section, the Secretary may compile and publish annually statistics relating to crime and to the defective, dependent, and delinquent classes.
In other words, all those invasive surveys having nothing to do with a decennial enumeration are authorized by federal statute in order to determine whether you are defective, dependent, or delinquent...
Not a big deal you say? The government would never abuse this database or the information it unconstitutionally collects from its servant population. You may want to ask the Arab-American community whether or not it's a big deal or the millions of Americans who had their personal information disclosed to NASA by the Census Bureau in order to assign terrorist threat levels to individuals traveling in the United States. If this isn't enough for you then perhaps the story of hundreds of thousands of American citizens rounded up during World War II and placed in concentration camps by the federal government will be more persuasive. Individuals identified in part from the 1940 Census they willingly filled out as part of their so-called 'civic duty'.
While all this sounds pretty daunting, there's a simple solution to this particular issue. We all know from Civics 101 that the federal government only has such lawful authority as is specifically granted to it by the people in the Constitution. A quick reference to the 4th, 9th and 10th amendments should be all that's needed to remind you that your right to privacy is still fully intact and nosy, snooping federal bureaucrats demanding access to the intimate details of your household and life are about as un-American and un-patriotic as it gets.
As such, the American people should heed the words of Congressman Ron Paul:
"The founders never authorized the federal government to continuously survey the American people. More importantly, they never envisioned a nation where the people would roll over and submit to every government demand. The American Community Survey is patently offensive to all Americans who still embody that fundamental American virtue, namely a healthy mistrust of government. The information demanded in the new survey is none of the government's business, and the American people should insist that Congress reject it now before it becomes entrenched."
Additional documentation related to this subject, including a list of corporate partners, news articles, commentaries, and government documentation can be found at: