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Article posted Sep 01 2006, 11:44 PM Category: Big Brother/Orwellian Source: Print

THE NEW CENSUS: An All-Out Assault On Your Privacy

The federal government has quietly begun using an incredibly intrusive new census form called "The American Community Survey." Up to 1 million households a year will receive this form.

This new "census" form is 24-pages long, and demands that you lay bare every detail of your life, including how much you earn, what your home is worth, details of your health, when you leave for work, previous addresses, pregnancies, monies received from government, and on and on.

I say demand because you can be fined up to $1,000 for each of the 72 questions you don�t answer or which you answer "incorrectly." However, so far no one has been fined for not answering, nor are they likely to be if public resistance is strong.

The ways the government could use this information to harm you are mind-boggling. For instance, any financial discrepancy with IRS or Social Security records could result in your criminal prosecution. Knowing when you leave for work could enable police, acting under the Patriot Act, to secretly enter your home.

The American Community Survey also demands that you to report on the activities of relatives, employers and roommates. Joseph Stalin could hardly ask for more surveillance powers. You can download the survey at

Article I of the Constitution allows the government to conduct a count of the American people once every ten years to determine voting districts. Nothing in the Constitution gives government the power to continuously spy on the people or probe every intimate detail of their lives.

As Congressman Ron Paul observes, questions on the American Community Survey are "both ludicrous and insulting," and this information is simply none of the government's business. I fervently hope that millions of Americans will burn their forms or accidentally lose them.

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Comments 21 - 39 of 39 Add Comment < Page of 2

Posted: Jan 07 2008, 2:08 PM

21626 You can simply not answer the questions in which you do not feel comfortable with, however to throw out your census into the trash is only going to make it harder to make strong statistics that are very important to social sciences. This article is strongly based on paranoia. There is a valid point but from a personal standpoint its better to fill out what you feel comfortable sharing and not fill out what you don't want to say. No one is forcing you to fill out the whole thing.

Posted: Jan 07 2008, 2:45 PM

7625 Is this just going to homeowners? I'm a renter and haven't received one.

I'll gladly pay the $100...after I send it back in with a note that says "None of your business!"

It's also interesting that they're calling people...I don't have a landline, and my cell # is unlisted...and the bill is sent to a different address than the one I live at. So to get the number, they'd theoretically need to subpeona the records of my phone co. If they DO call me, I'm going to ask them for a copy of the subpeona. :)
Youre kidding me

Posted: Jan 07 2008, 4:44 PM

38118 When filing an SF-86 form, aka Secret Clearance, they ask you less than this.

Posted: Jan 07 2008, 10:54 PM

69230 Dear NinjaMidget:
According to the Census Bureau:

"The American Community Survey is conducted under the authority of Title 13, United States Code, Sections 141 and 193, and response is mandatory. According to Section 221, persons who do not respond shall be fined not more than $100. Title 18 U.S.C. Section 3571 and Section 3559, in effect amends Title 13 U.S.C. Section 221 by changing the fine for anyone over 18 years old who refuses or willfully neglects to complete the questionnaire or answer questions posed by census takers from a fine of not more than $100 to not more than $5,000. The U.S. Census Bureau may use this information only for statistical purposes. We can assure you that your confidentiality is protected. Title 13 requires the Census Bureau to keep all information about you and all other respondents strictly confidential. Any Census Bureau employee who violates these provisions is subject to a fine of up to $250,000 or a prison sentence of up to five years, or both."

Posted: Jan 08 2008, 8:53 AM


Posted: Jan 08 2008, 9:35 AM


Posted: Jan 09 2008, 7:32 PM

12854 The fine is $5,000, not $100 (as mentioned in earlier links), nor $72,000 as implied by the original article.

It used to be $100, but that was the fine was increased (by a factor of 50!) recently. The link earlier in the comments was to a previous version of the law. The new law states:

"The American Community Survey is conducted under the authority of Title 13, United States Code, Sections 141 and 193, and response is mandatory. According to Section 221, persons who do not respond shall be fined not more than $100. Title 18 U.S.C. Section 3571 and Section 3559, in effect amends Title 13 U.S.C. Section 221 by changing the fine for anyone over 18 years old who refuses or willfully neglects to complete the questionnaire or answer questions posed by census takers from a fine of not more than $100 to not more than $5,000. The U.S. Census Bureau may use this information only for statistical purposes. We can assure you that your confidentiality is protected. Title 13 requires the Census Bureau to keep all information about you and all other respondents strictly confidential. Any Census Bureau employee who violates these provisions is subject to a fine of up to $250,000 or a prison sentence of up to five years, or both."

Note the ambiguous wording, making it unclear if the new fine is $100 - $5,000, or if it's just $5,000. However, if you go to the laws cited, it seems the fine is $5,000 - the amount of $100 is never mentioned.

I find it rather strange that they would state the number "$100" twice, when is has nothing to do with the current amount. I mean, it's almost like they're trying to make it look more innocuous than it actually it. If they're so proud of it, why not just say "This survey is mandatory. Failure to complete it may result in a $5,000 fine."

For $100, I'd burn the thing, and I think many people would. For $5,000, it's a real question.

And by the way, the punishment for violating the confidentiality of the information applies only to the Census Bureau employees - not the CIA, NSA, FBI, or or any other Government organization. Read it, this is very clearly stated.

I'm not really worried about Census Bureau employees, but I think it's pretty naive to think that the CIA or NSA wouldn't have access to the the Census Bureau information. And it seems that they can legally use the information for whatever purpose (not that "illegal" has seemed to stop them before).

This is INSANE. The government has constitutional authority to ask these questions of you. By extension, they have no constitutional right to fine you for not answering. In fact, quite the opposite - the Bill of Rights is basically a document, explicitly stating that the Government cannot do this sort of thing.

Why are people accepting this?

Posted: Jan 29 2008, 11:41 AM

74233 The US government has lost all credibility ... utterly. It has proven time and again that it cannot be trusted with anything. Period. Whether we revolt or do nothing, eventually the need for change will become so obvious to even the most apathetic that change will come, then we can reconsider whether or not to provide information.
Furthermore, the government already knows more about us than we do. Why are they asking us? I say tell them to put their own stats together. Unless doomsday is tomorrow, I need to work if I'm going to eat.

Posted: Feb 09 2008, 10:10 PM

764 This sucks. I work 50+ hrs/wk and a great portion of that time goes towards paying taxes. So, rather than taking that tax money and securing the border and fighting crime, they pay millions/yr collecting information from the hapless citizens. I sure as hell don't want to spend precious time completing this survey, but I don't know if I can afford not to. Some free country we live in.
Frank H from Pennsyl

Posted: Feb 12 2008, 8:24 PM

7160 Please post the State you live in. In my country, the census is done every 10 years as specified in the US Constitution. This count is needed to determine how many US congressmen each state will be allocated. The last time they contacted me for a census count was 1999. They wanted to know my race, number of toilets... I told them I would only give them the names and ages of all the people who live in the household as the Constitution required - no more. They said, but, but, ... I said - that all, go away. No problem. If you have a problem with them asking you questions, just keep asking them questions till they leave. Start with - have you ever read the 5th amendment - no? let me cite it for you. .... I have never heard of a $1000 fine - this may be true if you don't tell them who is living in your house, but not for the nosey unconstitutional questions.

Posted: Mar 01 2008, 3:40 PM

205188 There's quite a groundswell of protest against the ACS, the "Survival Arts" web site has quite a discussion string on this. I received my American Community Interrogation form in January. I just received the second one last week.

I have no intention of answering this incredibly intrusive questionaire. I'll gladly put up with the next 30 day harassment cycle of phone calls and the 30 days after that of possibly have Census staff stop by my house. Then, they'll leave me alone and move on to another cycle of useful citizens.

The reference to fines and the command that "Your response is required by law" is a bunch of horse hockey. The CB hasn't referred anyone for prosecution since at least 1960. In fact, Census Bureau staff have issued numerous public statements that they have no intention of forwarding people who refuse to answer the ACS for prosecution. That's a big, empty threat.

When a nanny government run amock tries to browbeat citizens into
complying with an unreasonable request, I think it's fair for citizens to ask that government some questions, such as:

1. Census Bureau staff have lost hundreds of laptops with personnel respondent data on them since 2003. Has the CB improved in safeguarding personal data?

2. How did personal respondent data accidentally end up getting posted on the CB web site last last year? At least the Director of the Census, Charles Kincannon, was nice enough to issue an apology.
(The Census Bureau even said they MAY offer identity theft assistance to the victims of this fiasco.)

3. Mail theft is one of the principal sources of identity theft. I wonder if the Census Bureau thinks it's pretty cavalier of them to ask us to mail information about personnel finances, what time I leave for work, where I work, medical issues, etc.?

4. Historically, in this country when the government starts asking information about your race or ethnicity it's not a good thing. Just ask the thousands of law-abiding, Census-complying Japanese-Americans who were rounded up during WWII with the use of Census data.

Everyone must follow their conscience when they receive the ACS form and I'm troubled to refuse my government in this instance. However, Census data has been misused in the name of national security before and the CB has shown they do not do enough to safeguard the data they collect.

Posted: Jun 21 2008, 2:58 PM

6818 The fine for not answering "any of the questions" is $100 for a person and $500 for a business owner. If you are an individual, think of it as a protection of privacy tax.

Posted: Sep 16 2008, 9:33 PM

97113 When they came to my door I told them not to come back or they will be sprayed with the hose.

Posted: Oct 04 2008, 6:29 PM

99165 I received a post card informing me that I would be receiving the census about one month ago. A few days later I received it, looked it over and thought "this is a scam!". A section for each person that lives in my household wanting name, age, dob, where we work, what time we leave, how long it takes to get there, exact amount of income.
REALLY!!! I thought these jokers want to know when my home is unoccupied so they can rob us! I ignored it, then got a postcard wanting to know if I received it. I did some research an sure enough it was legit! Last week I received another one and today (Saturday) I received a phone call from them. OOPs somehow got disconnected as soon as I heard the words census bureau. I've read some other comments on other sites one said they continued to ignore it and keep getting phone calls etc. Another said that they filled out only names(?) and or # of people in household, maybe ages. They have not heard another thing from them. The web page that they refer you to does state up to a $100.00 fine for anyone over 18 for not filling it out and up to a $500.00 fine, for false information, I believe the $5000. fine referred to businesses and the date I believe was 2006. Maybe the conflicting info on these comments has something to do with outdated web pages. I will use the site they gave me as the reference, ie up to $100.00 or $500.00. At first I was going to just say fine ~~~ fine me, however if it will keep them off my back I think I will just give some very limited info. It should hold them off for a while because they will just scan the envelope as received when they get it back and keep me off the radar until they actually look at it and see the limited info. Guess I will deal with that then, if it comes to it. I will not give them all of my private info. I did not mind the old one that only asked for # of people and ranges of info, however this is over the line and well worth the $100.00 to keep my info as private as possible if it comes to it. So what if there is a "law" about the way the info is used. I'm sure that they have humans working there and humans break laws every day, even when huge risk is involved. Besides what info is REALLY safe if it is filed somewhere and if it is in a computer data-base somewhere - you might as well forget about it---all bets are off.

Posted: Nov 21 2008, 3:58 AM

7513 I will not fill out this Bull Shit, nor plan too. I am never home, so they can knock all they want to. If I do not know them I don't answer, period. I am going to write on it stating Fuck the Patriot Act, Bush, and the New World Order. I wonder I they will label me a terrorist?

Posted: Feb 04 2009, 6:46 PM

76188 Government big enough to give you all you want, is big enough to take all you
have (I plagiarized this) and the American Census Form is just the start of it.
The Jews saw it under Hitler, The Italians under Fascism with Mussolini and Millions more killed by Stalin in the guise of Communism and so on through out history
It always starts the same way, just fill out the form, or we will start knocking on your door and fining you. Yes, you can even go to jail, what a kind and pleasant society America is becoming, rather quickly I might add.

What is your race, your health conditions, are you able to take care of yourself, how many bathrooms, how many people living there, what do you and they earn, how far to do have to travel to work, etc, etc? This is how it started in Germany, Italy and The USSR and still goes on today in North Korean, China and many other countries.

Who were the Morons that thought that these type of questions could be put to free thinking Americans that still value our liberty, or are there enough "Quislings" among us that will put up with this type of governmental invasion of privacy.

I for one will fight the asinine KGB (sorry-ACB) census questionnaire
Name, Rank, and Serial Number only should be enough for anyone,
or possibly, Name and Soc. # (is all they will get).

Come knocking on my door and hopefully my dog will take a piece out of their ass, I certainly will have a firearm at the ready, because it looks like that is the direction this country is heading and fast.

Posted: Feb 07 2009, 6:25 PM

6760 we got this selected "Census" booklet in mid-2008. It asks information that is not only private but asks what you know of the habots of others i.e., where they work, what route do they take to work, how long does it take them, when do they get back after work, their ages, & other information that one would not normally be privy to & if you were, it isn't our business to "report" about others unless in Nazi Germany.

Posted: Nov 22 2009, 10:12 AM

24159 I just got the second one in the mail. Its nuts.

$100 is a no brainer. Just get off my doorstep.

$5000 is something I'd consider, except my address would get put on the annual list to increase revenues. That I can't afford.

If I send this monstrocity in, what ACORN type temp is going to be keypunching?

I think I'll just send in the names/ages type questions and black out all the rest with a heavy marker, just like they pull whenever someone requests information from them.

Posted: Sep 08 2011, 2:28 PM

7242 This is just another way that the government can keep tabs on all of us. I believe with our social security numbers that is already and enough ways for them to know who and where we are! say no to the survey and keep SSN enough information as they need. It says that we will all carry the mark of the beast well the social security number I believe is the mark of the beast and the beast is the US GOVERNMENT
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