The US Census is Harmless
Should we be worried
that the US Government is collecting data from all residents for the latest
census? Questions that simply require answers to the number of people, their ethnicity,
gender and status of their abode appear to raise the hackles of many. Is this a
knee jerk reaction or the incisive ability of some to recognize a hidden hand
that appears to intrude into our homes and invade our privacy under a pretext?
As a comparison there
are more intrusive laws that have been approved by Congress under the Patriot
Act. The TSA for e.g. uses a system that collects passenger data such as
frequent flyer mileage, special meal request, address, email and telephone number
and a host of other information. With data mining and profiling, virtual personae
are constructed providing an image that equates to a virtual x-ray screening of
the person. What a lot of people seem to oversee is that it is an easy task
for any governmental agency to simply join all the independent data that is
available today to have a complete insight of the person in question, something
that many intelligence agencies practice today.
The mammoth Indian
Census that is now in progress is far more detailed and even collects fingerprints
and takes photos of all residents. Understandably, the exercise in India has a
different history, needs and purpose – The fingerprints and photos will presumably
serve as a data pool to uniquely identify people for the issue of UIDs (Unique
Identity Number) to all.
The fact that the Census Bureau is using an open, public and unconnected method to independently collect data should put us at ease. The time to really worry is when we no longer have censuses, because then it would mean that data is pooled from various sources both private and commercial for profiling. From that point onward, it would be a small step to George Orwell’s 1984, albeit a few decades later.
Tags: US Census , TSA , Privacy , Indian Census , UID , George Orwell 1984 ,
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.