posted on May, 17 2009 @ 03:49 PM
Thanks to everybody on this thread
and my own research, i've revised my opinion about the census to want it discontinued completely or if it must
go on, return to simply counting heads. I've been reading some stuff about the census from the Electronic Privacy Information Center. There is
NOTHING about the census that benefits individual citizens.
The counting of citizens can be traced back to the Biblical recordings of Moses. In the Book of Numbers, Moses counted people in areas surrounding
his kingdom in order to strengthen the count of the population under his control. Scholars discuss that the list of names was used as an original
census, creating a legal identity of and control over a group of people.
The history of the United States census dates back to pre-Revolutionary times. It is thought that the census was developed to establish an equitable
way to distribute the burden of the Revolutionary War, both economically and in manpower. The expense of the war was proposed to be distributed based
upon population, among the 13 colonies, as the new United States government was created. In order to make this uniform, the concept of payment by
distribution was included in the Articles of Confederation. The original Congress finally voted that the first distribution method would be by the
cumulative value of property within each State. Enumeration of population became the chosen method directly after the Revolutionary War.
It was started as a way to get money and control over people!
General Sherman used census data to plan where to target attacks during the civil war. Hitler used census data to target who to exterminate. This is
interesting about japanese americans:
A specific example of the privacy risks of the US census can also be found in the 1940s. During World War II, Japanese-American citizens were
rounded up and sent to internment camps. The Census Bureau might not have necessarily given out individual Japanese-American names or numbers, but the
Bureau did work with US War Department to offer aggregated data about certain localities. Although there is still a lack of consensus concerning
specific conclusions, the Census Bureau has issued a formal apology and now reports that the Bureau did not protect Japanese-Americans.
It has been recorded that even before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ordered the Census Bureau to collect
information on "American-born and foreign-born Japanese" from the Census data lists. Information was gathered from the 1930 and 1940 censuses on all
Japanese-Americans and then given to the FBI and top military officials. These sources point directly to the census information as one of the reasons
that led to the internment of almost 110,000 Japanese-Americans on the West Coast, two-thirds of whom were U.S. citizens.
It is now used a great deal for marketing purposes, as we all know, expecially when combined with other data widely available to companies. As for the
laws that guarantee our privacy, this is how easy it is to re-identify people:
Re-identification is the process of linking anonymous data to the actual identity of an individual. Carnegie Mellon Professor Latanya Sweeney has
demonstrated that anonymous data sets can often be readily re-identified. In one experiment, Sweeney, using 1990 Census data, demonstrated that
individuals often have demographic values that occur infrequently. Since these values occur infrequently, they allow the re-identification of
individuals in putatively anonymous datasets. Sweeney found in her report Uniqueness of Simple Demographics in the U.S. Population:
...87% (216 million of 248 million) of the population in the United States had reported characteristics that likely made them unique based only on
[5-digit ZIP, gender, date of birth]. About half of the U.S. population (132 million of 248 million or 53%) are likely to be uniquely identified by
only [place, gender, date of birth], where place is basically the city, town, or municipality in which the person resides. And even at the county
level, [county, gender, date of birth] are likely to uniquely identify 18% of the U.S. population. In general, few characteristics are needed to
uniquely identify a person.
adding the gps data to this conglomeration of data that is the huge legal invasion of privacy is just adding insult to injury. We have nothing to
gain by answering these questions. The fact that participation is mandatory is no excuse. Why should we be forced by law to give away all this info? I
think the census should be discontinued. We could cut many billions of dollars from the budget.
I realize this might seem an extreme solution but that is only because we have become accustomed to being bullied by our government. I speak for all
people in all countries when i say that. no government can be justified in demanding information to use against its citizens in my opinion.
Take a look at this article for much more information and lots more sources to look up.
EPIC Census Privacy Page