Sunday, August 01, 2004

The Census Bureau

first off, I have extreme biases against the Census Bureau. While in school during the last census I was handed a thing to fill out. Which I thought this is great, because I love screwing with statistics. As I was flipping though the pamphlet, I was imagining what answers I would give to the questioned asked.

Was I going to be the world's only multi-millionaire Eskimo that lives in subway or was I going to be a Muslim immigrant with 10 wives and 30 kids?

As I was reading though I noticed that there was no way for them to track the census back to me easily. There was not a place for my SSN or some similar number. I was appalled, you don't even have to be a person to fill out this thing. The data can be made completely useless and has no built in mechanism for validating the data.

I don't understand what the point of this census is, it seems like that they could have the postman fingerprint and photograph everyone ....Eh...hand out simple pamphlets with information that positivity identifies you. This biographical information could be tied directly to you like taxes, and could be updated at the same time as your taxes. That information will be updated yearly, and also you could combine the staffs of the Census bureau and the IRS to track people down and audit them.

The Census Bureau has provided specially tabulated population statistics on Arab-Americans to the Department of Homeland Security, including detailed information on how many people of Arab backgrounds live in certain ZIP codes.

Though the census bureau does not have the best track record, I don't see how this data can be much use because of the age of the data. I would more scared (if I was a terrorist) if America started finger printing everyone who comes into the country (we are already doing that), tracking people down when they don't leave (we are not doing that), rounding up people who don't leave (we tried that but it was considered racial profiling...oh really), and lock down the borders a bit better (we really need to do that). The Homeland security department getting census data would not scare a terrorist at all.

The only advantage I can see is that birds of a feather flock together, so I data could give some areas to look for terrorists. Good detective work will do the same thing, so it seems like they are searching for a needle in a haystack.


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