Thursday, March 22, 2012

What's with The American Community Survey by the U.S. Department of Commerce?

Civil libertarians are in an uproar over the government's "The American Community Survey" that is being delivered to Americans in a big fat packet with big print on the front of the envelop that says "YOUR RESPONSE IS REQUIRED BY LAW". The initial packet is following up with a another letter demanding compliance which is followed up with a postcard. What precisely is The American Community Survey? The website says:
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 misnomered 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.
Below you will find a discussion of this unconstitutional program along with links to commentaries, news articles, corporate involvement, and government documentation that highlight this newest invasion of our homes and privacy along with general information regarding the decennial census.
250,000 homes are now being 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 privacy invading 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 Bureau 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 that 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 by the federal government for disclosing your personal information. 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 so-called census privacy protections are in reality non-existent. Some of the commercial interests associated with this new attack on our privacy are highlighted below but the list is by no means exhaustive. A close look at several corporations such a Lockheed Martin and Evolver, Inc., shows a strong connection to other government agencies such as Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and various Intelligence agencies. Additionally, Lockheed Martin has not only been a major player in previous decennial census efforts in the United States but has also been a major contractor for National Census efforts in other countries such as 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 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...
Read the rest here

The Rutherford Institute, a public interest law firm, is considering filing a lawsuit and states:
WASHINGTON, DC — John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, has issued a stern warning to the Census Bureau that Institute attorneys are prepared to challenge the American Community Survey (ACS) as an unconstitutional overreach by the agency on behalf of a large number of clients who object to being forced under penalty of law to complete the highly intrusive and expansive questionnaire. Whitehead’s warning comes in response to a letter by Census Bureau Director Robert Groves, in which the agency head justified the ACS as providing information “that can be useful to private industry, and private entities”—a justification, noted Whitehead, that will not pacify the countless individuals who have voiced their objections to the intrusive questionnaire, as well as the harassing tactics of Census Bureau workers.  Read the rest here.
The ACS is 28 pages and the document states "this form will take 38 minutes to complete". The 70 questions are intrusive and constitute a government invasion of privacy. The envelop states in big bold letters that completing it is required by law but no law is cited. Will Americans be arrested and prosecuted for violating a law that doesn't even exist?

1 comment:

  1. Mail it back with a page from the Constitution with that section in RED. Article 1 Sec 2


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