This article was originally published by the WND News Center.
(WND News Center) — A top-flight legal team is protesting schemes by the U.S. Census Bureau to demand, from millions of Americans, details about their fertility.
And about their bathing habits.
And about their work commute.
And their utility costs.
And cognitive disabilities.
And mental disabilities.
And their marital history.
“In an age when the government has significant technological resources at its disposal to not only carry out warrantless surveillance on American citizens but also to harvest and mine that data for its own dubious purposes, whether it be crime-mapping or profiling based on race or religion, the potential for abuse is grave,” explained constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute and author of Battlefield America: The War on the American People.
“Any attempt by the government to encroach upon the citizenry’s privacy rights or establish a system by which the populace can be targeted, tracked and singled out must be met with extreme caution. The American Community Survey qualifies as a government program whose purpose, while seemingly benign, raises significant constitutional concerns.”
The organization said it is “pushing back” against the campaign by the U.S. Census Bureau to collect “sensitive private information about individuals, using the mandatory American Community Survey.”
“In addition to the already extensive and invasive list of personal questions included on the ACS, the Census Bureau issued a notice of proposed information collection seeking to add questions about each household member’s level of certain disabilities, including mental disabilities, and whether they have psychosocial, cognitive, or speech disabilities,” the Rutherford report said.
“The bureau also seeks to ask about possession of electric vehicles, use of solar panels, type of sewage disposal, and other matters.”
Those federal bureaucrats already had sought permission to demand information about ‘each person’s sexual orientation and gender identity,” and institute attorneys submitted formal public comments in opposition.
It argued that the federal government’s “threats and intimidation tactics” is a form of illegal compelled speech in violation of the First Amendment. The moves also violate the right to privacy from government intrusion under the Fourth Amendment, the institute charged.
The institute already has guidelines on its site for responding to the intrusion, and has provided a form complaint letter for lodging objections.
The ACS is that “highly invasive, ongoing monthly survey issued by the U.S. Census Bureau to collect detailed housing and socioeconomic data from about 3.5 million households each year.”
Through it, the government demands that Americans “provide the government with extensive and sensitive information about each and every person in their household, including their work schedules, their physical disabilities and limitations, the number of automobiles kept at the residence, and their access to phone-service and the internet. The information collected by the ACS is not anonymous: the survey is to contain the name, age, sex, race, and home address of each person at the residence, along with their relationship to the person who fills out the form and that person’s phone number.”
The report said the Census Bureau “repeatedly sends field representatives to their homes at unannounced times to harass” people who don’t respond as the government demands.
Those reports document how government agents “remained outside … houses for hours while waiting for them to arrive home or come out, have walked around their homes, and have talked to minor children when parents were away.”
Reprinted with permission from the WND News Center.