Thursday, March 18, 2010

Census forms will not seek personal information

Multiple media outlets this morning are reporting that 2010 Census forms are arriving by mail this week, but that individuals and families should be careful about fraudulent imitations. Census will not contact you by email; it may call you after you return the form to clarify an answer. After May 1, if you did not return the form, you may be visited door-to-door but the worker will have ID and will not come into your home.

Census does not use personal information at an individual level; it only aggregates information for statistical purposes. It will not ask for personal identifying information. Forms that ask for personal information are fake.

Census also has strict confidentially policies for its employees, who must sign a lifetime confidentiality oath, even for information that is aggregated. See my “information technology job market” blog Feb. 2, 2010, and my “some approaches to filtering and labeling…” blog Feb. 8, 2010.

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