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Old 04-23-2007   #1
Madre
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Stop the American Community Survey!!

I guess it's really true that we end up with the government that we deserve. This thing I'm about to tell you is factual....it's not a joke and it's serious. Most of you Americans have probably never heard of this before....it's called the American Community Survey. It's a very long, very invasive and intrusive survey sent out by the U.S. Census Bureau now. It is supposed to replace the long form that approximately 10% (I believe) of Americans received during the decennial (once every 10 years) census. The census years are actually 1990, 2000, 2010, 2020, etc., but this thing is sent out continuously to 1/4 million households in the U.S. each month. In other words, 3 million households a year. The first surveys were sent out at the beginning of 2003 (under Guess Who's Administration! GRRR!) Over a 10 year period of time, guesstimating that we may have about 100 million households in the U.S., approximately 1/3 of all households will receive this thing. It is required by law to answer, although from the extensive research I've done on this thing, you can get out of it by just refusing to answer. It's unlikely that the Census Bureau would actually take you to court on it as I don't think the government really wants a lot of media attention on it, as I'm sure that they realize that a huge outcry would accompany such an action on their part.

Anyway, I received one of these surveys recently. One thing I was extremely surprised to find out is that almost NO ONE that I had talked to....both liberals or conservatives that consider themselves well-informed, have even heard of this thing. I also called my representatives and THEIR staffers had never heard of it either. One of the staffers even went so far as to tell me that he was sure it must be a hi-tech identity theft scheme. No, I told him, I've checked this thing out and it's legitimate.

The thing that bugs me is that I don't have a problem with the regular census. It's actually a good thing to be counted as this is what determines our congressional representation. The U.S. Constitution in Article 1, Section 2, Clause 3, calls for a census once every 10 years for the purpose of "enumerating" us, that is to count us. That's it.

The survey is 24 pages long and here is a sampling of the questions. I've highlighted the questions that especially concern me:
How many bedrooms is in this house? (or apartment, mobile home, etc.)
Does this house have complete plumbing facilities?
Does this house have complete kitchen facilities?
Which fuel is used most for heating this house?
Last month what was the cost of electricity for this house?
Last month what was the cost of gas for this house?
In the past 12 months, what was the cost of water and sewer for this house?
What is the value of this property?
What are the annual real estate taxes on this property?
How much is the regular monthly mortgage payment on this property? (or rent)
Do you have a second mortgage on this property?


Concerning persons living in the home, these questions are asked of EACH person:
Where was this person born?
Is this person a U.S. citizen?
In the last 3 months, has this person attended regular school or college?
What is the highest degree or level of school this person has completed?
What is this person's ancestry? (Give exact ancestry such as Italian, Jamaican, African American, French Canadian, Mexican, Taiwanese, etc. and give all countries of known ancestry.)
Does this person speak a language other than English at home?
What is this language?

Does this person have any of the following long-lasting conditions: blindness, deafness, or severe vision or hearing impairment? Or a condition that limits walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting, or carrying?
Does this person have difficulty: learning, remembering, or concentrating? Or dressing, bathing, or getting around inside the house?
Because of a physical, mental, or emotional condition lasting 6 months or more, does this person have any difficulty in doing any of the following activities: going outside to shop or visit a doctor's office? Or working at a job or business?
Has this person given birth to any children in the last 12 months?
Has this person ever served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, military Reserves, or National Guard?
Last week, did this person do ANY work for either pay or profit?
At what location did this person work LAST WEEK? (Give exact address.)
How did this person usually get to work LAST WEEK?
What time did this person usually leave home to go to work LAST WEEK? (Give exact hour and minute and indicate a.m. or p.m.)
How many minutes did it usually take this person to get from home to work LAST WEEK?
What kind of work was this person doing?
For whom did this person work? (Give exact name of company.)
Income for the last 12 months: Wages, salary, commissions, bonuses, or tips from all jobs. (Give exact total for past 12 months.)
Self-employment income (Give exact total for past 12 months.)
Interest, dividends, net rental income, royalty income, or income from estates and trusts. (Give exact total for past 12 months.)
Social Security or Railroad Retirement (Give exact total for past 12 months.)
Supplemental Security Income (Give exact total for past 12 months.)
Any public assistance or welfare payments from the state or local welfare office (Give exact total for past 12 months.)
Retirement, survivor, or disability pensions (Give exact total for past 12 months.)
Any other sources of income such as Veterans' payments, unemployment compensation, child support, or alimony (Give exact total for past 12 months.)
What was this person's total income during the PAST 12 MONTHS? (Give exact total.)


These are not the ONLY questions asked on this survey. I simply gave you a sampling.
Then you are to answer the EXACT same questions for each person in your household up to 5 people.

I've done a lot of research on this thing and made a lot of phone calls. From the blogs I've read, it appears that the main problem is that this thing is being done in a kind of underhanded, sneaky way by the government. One very conservative friend of mine, whom I consider the most well-informed person I know as she reads absolutely everything, had never heard of it. (She's also what I would consider a goody two-shoes, but even she said, no way would I fill that out!) Neither had my sister heard of it who claims to read 7 newspapers a day.

I've called my representatives' offices, both their Denver offices and their Washington offices. NONE of the staffers had even heard of it so I could not get a straight answer out of ANY of them concerning Congressman Tancredo's stance, Senators Salazar's or Allard's stance. One staffer in Allard's office suggested that this might possibly be a high-tech identity theft scheme. I told him I've researched this thing extensively and it is not. Finally, in desperation, wondering if the ACLU had ever heard of it, I called their Denver office. The person had never heard of it and seemed disinterested. I felt like saying, "What? If I had seen a posting of a 10 Commandments or a Nativity scene at a government building, your tires would have been screeching to hurry over there?"

I didn't know what else to do or who else to call. Frankly, my representatives are pretty useless. Tancredo is a one-issue guy (immigration), Salazar is a Democrat who is practically a Republican, and Allard was ranked by Time magazine to be one of the five worst do-nothing Senators in the Senate.

So finally I called Diana DeGette's Denver office. She's in the 1st congressional district for Colorado and I'm in the 6th, but they never asked if I was a constituent. Anyway, from now on, Diana DeGette is my heroine! The person who answered the phone in the Denver office had never heard of the American Community Survey either. (Many staffers would say, "Wha, What? What is this thing called? The American what?") Anyway, this person hadn't heard of it either but promised me that "Nathan" in Diana DeGette's Washington office would call me back. I thought, "Sure, sure he will." Well, two days later, he DID call me back. The first thing I said was, "Oh, my gosh, Nathan, I thought I would never hear from anybody!" He laughed and said, "We try not to do that as much as possible." Well, I knew all they had to do was a little bit of research on my phone number and they would know I wasn't living in her district but he never mentioned it. He asked a lot of questions including the exact address on the outside envelope, the exact address on the return envelope, the 1-800 phone number to call for the U.S. Census Bureau, and we discussed the kinds of questions that were asked. (Another interesting thing is that the return address on the outside envelope is this: U.S. Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau, and then the address. One person on a blog questioned why it was that our Dept. of Commerce and U.S. Census Bureau are now wedded! hmmm, interesting thought.) I told him that I didn't think that this was what the founding fathers intended when they said that, once every 10 years, the government should enumerate the people and, in any case, this is not a census year anyway. I also told him that I was concerned about the fines which could be levied against me if I chose not to participate. He promised me he would do some investigation and call me back but it might take two weeks

Oh, my gosh! He called back the very next morning. He had spoken to the U.S. Census Bureau and was informed from them that they have NO legal authority to leverage ANY fines. But he said, be forewarned as this will not be the end of it. I told him I already knew that. Many blogs I read in which people recounted their experiences after receiving this thing is that they were visited at night by the census workers, called repeatedly, visited on Sundays, including Mother's Day!, etc. One woman wrote that they even peeked in her windows! I told him that I was already well aware that I was in for a battle. He agreed that it seemed like the government was conducting this survey in a seemingly underhanded way since the public seemed to know very little about it. He promised me that he would investigate it further and speak to Diana DeGette as she would have many questions on the subject, but he didn't know if she would carry it any further than that. I told him that he had already done more than anybody else I had contacted.

Anyway, I plan to take copies of select pages from the survey and write letters to all my representatives. I also plan to write a thank you letter to Diana DeGette's office praising Nathan for his hard work and professionalism and send her copies of select pages too. Anyway, I will keep you updated but as you already probably know, this government sent this thing to the WRONG AMERICAN! There's no way I'm filling it out.

Supposedly the purpose of this thing is for the government to determine if schools, hospitals, roads, etc. are needed in your area. It's also used for other purposes I'm sure. The people on some of the blogs I've read are concerned that if you write the wrong amounts down on the income portion (even unintentionally), then the information will be shared with the IRS and you'll be slapped with an audit. Also, why does the government need to know what time you leave for work in the morning in order to determine if a school should be built in your neighborhood? It's all very strange. Nobody should know when the house is empty. Also, if you were elderly, lived alone, and were infirm (had difficulty climbing stairs or hearing) would you want ANYBODY to know that?

I've also copied and pasted some other information that may be of interest to you on this thing.

The legal authority for the American Community Survey:
http://www.gao.gov/decisions/other/289852.htm

This responds to your letter regarding the legal authority of the U.S. Census Bureau (Bureau) to conduct the American Community Survey (ACS), a monthly survey of a sample of households that, beginning in 2003, is intended to replace the long form questionnaire for the decennial census in 2010. You asked us to provide (1) the legal authority under which the Bureau is conducting the ACS, including any legislative history concerning the development and implementation of ACS, (2) the Bureau's legal authority to require recipients to respond to the ACS, and (3) information on any other federal government questionnaires or surveys that require similar specific, detailed personal information be provided to the government.

In order to respond to your questions, we examined various legislative materials such as public laws, committee reports and hearings, and the Congressional Record for references to the ACS, requested and received comments from the Department of Commerce (Commerce), and met informally with Commerce and Bureau officials to discuss these issues. We also searched an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) database for surveys that require specific detailed personal information. As discussed in detail below, we find that the Bureau has the authority under 13 U.S.C. 141 and 193 to conduct the ACS. Although there is little legislative action tracking this Bureau initiative, the Bureau clearly has authority to require responses from the public to this survey. See 13 U.S.C. 221. The Bureau must still receive clearance for the ACS through the Paperwork Reduction Act process. Finally, we found no other government surveys that respondents are required to respond to that ask specific, detailed personal information similar to that required by the ACS.
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Old 04-23-2007   #2
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

An editorial on the American Community Survey (with select paragraphs):
http://www.rutherford.org/articles_d...?record_id=299

Unlike the traditional census, which collects data every ten years, the American Community Survey is taken every year at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. And at 24 pages, it contains some of the most detailed and intrusive questions ever put forth in a census questionnaire. These concern matters that the government simply has no business knowing, including a person’s job, income, physical and emotional health, family status, place of residence and intimate personal and private habits.

The questions, as Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has said, are “both ludicrous and insulting.” For example, the survey asks how many persons live in your home, along with their names and detailed information about them such as their relationship to you, marital status, race and their physical, mental and emotional problems, etc. The survey also asks how many bedrooms and bathrooms you have in your house, along with the fuel used to heat your home, the cost of electricity, what type of mortgage you have and monthly mortgage payments, property taxes and so on. This questionnaire also demands to know how many days you were sick last year, how many automobiles you own and the number of miles driven, whether you have trouble getting up the stairs and, amazingly, what time you leave for work every morning. With the power of government agents under the USA Patriot Act to secretly come into your home and rifle through your personal belongings without a search warrant, it is dangerous to let the government know when you will not be at home.

However, that’s not all. The survey combines asinine questions with highly detailed inquiries about your financial affairs. And the survey demands that you violate the privacy of others by supplying the names and addresses of your friends, relatives and employer. The questionnaire also demands that you give other information on the people in your home, such as their educational levels, how many years of school were completed, what languages they speak and when they last worked at a job, among other things.

A copy of a letter to the U.S. Census Bureau that one person posted on this blog:
http://www.survivalarts.com/archives/001095.html

They will not leave you alone if you don't return the survey or respond to it.
I sent the following letter, and restated it during one of the multiple phone calls from them. Since I sent the letter, they never bothered me again, and I never received any fine. Feel free to copy and paste - Jim


Attention Heather Polo - ACS
US Census Bureau
Boston Regional Office
2 Copley Place, Suite 301
Boston, MA 02116

September 16, 2003

I received your “American Community Survey” some time ago, and shortly thereafter returned the survey, including only the information you are authorized to collect, and I am required to provide, per the requirements of Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution, that is, the number of persons in our household, for the purposes of proper apportionment of our US Congressional representation. I left all of the other personal and private questions in the survey unanswered.

I included a note with the returned survey stating that I would continue to refuse to answer these additional questions as a matter of principle, and I requested that no phone calls or visits to my home be made by your agency. Despite this request, my wife has subsequently been visited by an unannounced and uninvited representative of your Bureau, and I was later telephoned by him.

Thank you for your interest in the age, racial composition, daily habits, and private information regarding the private lives and private property of the members of my household. While we understand your assertion that this information is needed for some reason deemed important by somebody, and that the information requested will be kept strictly confidential, I respectfully decline to participate in this “American Community Survey”, and request that you do not misdirect further efforts to gather this private information about the members of my houshold from either myself or any other source.

I’ve requested that you respect my privacy once, in writing, in the note I returned with your survey. Although Mark Rolfsema, the field representative, was professional, thourough and pleasant enough, I’ve requested the Bureau cease these harrassing efforts a second time during the phone call after he visited my home. Let this letter be the third request that you respect my privacy and my requests.

Be advised that no matter how intensive your efforts become, nor what kind of fine, penalty, prosecution or imprisonment you may wish to threaten, I, as a free American citizen, will not allow any agency of this government to demand, under penalty of law, that I disclose private and personal information about the members of my household. If such a law exists, it should not exist, for it would be truly unconstitutional.

There are two adults and two children living at this residence. Beyond that, please cease and desist all further efforts to gather personal and private information about the members of my household, it will not be provided.

Respectfully,

There is also this blog (with select comments I chose):
http://www.petitiononline.com/STOPACS/petition.html

I've mention this survey to several people I know and none of them have heard of it. Once I tell them about some the questions asked on this survey, they are absolutely appalled. Somehow, more citizens need to be informed about this intrusive survey.

I love my country but hate (fear) my government.

I DID NOT AND WILL NOT FILL OUT SUCH TRASH!

Brings to mind why the founding fathers spoke so highly of civil disobedience.

The U.S. Constitution allows for the counting of people residing in an area for Congressional apportionment only. Not lifestyle information gathering.

2 people in hh. end of survey. MYOB

wtf..

I refuse to answer any of these instrusive questions.

Gather as much information as you can on this subject ,educate everyone you know, actually call your Reps and Congressman, bother them about this as much as these surveyers are bothering YOU, And you will be amazed with what happens. Making constitutional quotes isn't going to get any movement,actively opposing this will.GET OFF THE COUCH ! This is OUR problem . No one else is going to fix this! Do it now,you won't be sorry.

"Amendment IV - The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." These days, that should also mean private information!!

get off your knees (one of my personal favorites!)

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men. Abraham Lincoln

just got one in the mail... and now i'm gonna tell 'em where to stick it

This survey is a violation of my rights as a US Citizen. I find it to be highly intrusive. Also, the census workers are extremely aggressive, rude and very hostile while trying to obtain responses to the survey. They have opened my mailbox multiple times, made night visits and peeked in my windows. THIS NEEDS TO STOP NOW!!!!!

Anyway, I know this is extremely long, but it's very important. I hope you read this and get informed. This is what our government has come to. The thing I'm concerned about is that many people probably receive this thing but then don't know what to do to get out of it. They don't want to take the time to fight it so they just sigh and fill it out. I won't be one of them!

Keep you posted!
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Old 04-24-2007   #3
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

I'm sorry, but I don't have the time nor patience to sit and read all that right now, but maybe I shall on Wednesday just because I'm interested in what these massive posts are.
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Old 04-24-2007   #4
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

Basically, there's a survey that a lot of people think is intrusive because of questions like "What hours are you gone for work?". If you don't do it, you get harassed/fined by the Census Bureau yada yada.

Personally, I think it is a little intrusive. I'm not afraid that the government is gonna use it to come in my house while I'm away at work, but I can see where some people may be.

I've also never heard of it.
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Old 04-24-2007   #5
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

Eric found a news story that our local news channel did on the survey last year. Also, I would really like the Census Bureau to point out to me the exact questions that help them decide where police and fire stations need to go. Look at the sample questions above. None of them deal with fire, emergency, or police concerns.

http://cbs4denver.com/topstories/loc...075103302.html

Some Find Census Bureau Questions Too Personal
Poll: Do you have a problem with telling the Census Bureau when you leave for work?


(CBS4) DENVER Some people have complained that questions on a yearly survey by the United States Census Bureau are too personal. The federal government feels the questions it asks are vital information and can fine people who don't answer them.

One example of a question that some people don't want to answer is "what time did you leave home to go to work?"

"What's it anybody's business," one person said. "As long as I'm working I think that's the only thing that's important."

Some said giving out the information could lead to burglaries.

"That's very valuable to determine transportation requirements for metropolitan areas," Mark Hendrick of the census bureau said.

Hendrick said the data is also used for deciding where to locate police and fire stations.

"Our field representatives are trained to be very resilient and to not threaten respondents," Hendrick said.

People can be fined up to $2,000 for refusing to answer. Officials said the chances of that happening are unlikely.

The so-called "American Community" survey is done each year to supplement the primary census taken every 10 years.
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Old 04-24-2007   #6
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

Ok, so it supplements the census. What's the big hassle? Your helping the government by giving it more information about yourself so the government can better prepare things like fire stations and police acadamies in places that have a high population density. So the question is,

Why the fuck does it matter?

If you don't answer cause you are too busy, then you don't answer. If you do, then you do.
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Old 04-24-2007   #7
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

OMG OMG BIG BROTHERRRRRRRRRRRR
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Old 04-24-2007   #8
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

This is the letter I intend to send. Please let me know if you see any errors, etc.

April 24, 2007

Director
U.S. Census Bureau
P.O. Box 5240
Jeffersonville, Indiana 47199-5240


Dear Director of the U.S. Census Bureau:

Thank you so much for choosing our household to participate in the American Community Survey. I was surprised to learn that the federal government had such a thorough, comprehensive, and well-detailed questionnaire that is now being sent to 3 million households each year, even during non-census years. I know very well that Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the US Constitution, provides for the government to conduct a census once every ten years in order to enumerate the people for the purpose of proper apportionment of our US congressional representation. To that end, I intend to write my congressman, along with my Colorado senators, to express my opinion regarding the American Community Survey.

As such questionnaires are often impersonal; I have chosen to give you my responses in letter form. First of all, there are 3 adults and 1 small dog currently residing in this household. As to racial composition, all 3 adults are members of the human race. The dog is not. The ancestry of the adults is northern European; the ancestry of the dog is Chinese. English is the first language of the adults, but, unfortunately, we have yet been able to teach the dog to speak any language. However, he does understand English very well, along with some Spanish. As to your kind thoughts and concerns regarding our physical, emotional, and mental well-being, let me assure you that all of us are fine. Sadly, the dog does have some difficulty climbing stairs as he suffers somewhat from arthritis. However, I am happy to report that his hearing and eyesight are good.

I was happy to note that the American Community Survey is to be returned to Jeffersonville, Indiana. I assume that your charming hamlet is named for our great founding father, Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government” and also when the people see such a form of destructive government “it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government.” With that in mind, the residents of this household as free American citizens and a free American canine politely decline to answer any further questions regarding their employment, income, or personal habits. I also intend to use the two surveys that you have sent us as a teaching tool in order to inform all my family, friends, and acquaintances everything I have learned in the last few weeks regarding the American Community Survey.

Respectfully,

Citizen I.M.A. Patriot
Citizen Weasel
Citizen Tinker Bell
Citizen Fatty McButterpants
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Old 04-24-2007   #9
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

Send back a copy of the form explaining that due to the recent rise in Identity Theft across the nation you are currently unwilling to participate in any such by-mail survey in which you may become a victim.

Or something like that.
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Old 05-13-2007   #10
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

It's been a long time since I've posted on this thread but I thought I would give you all an update on what's going on so far.

I sent my letters to my congressional representatives. Below is a sample of the letter I wrote to one of them. Feel free to copy and paste if any of you Americans ever get this wicked thing.

Also, I received my second questionnaire about 3 weeks ago and starting about 1 1/2 weeks ago, I received my first phone call. Since I have caller ID (natch), I don't pick up the phone when it says Census Bureau. Some of the callers leave a message and ask me to call back and refer to a certain case number and some do not. On some of the blogs I read, it seems it is best not to communicate with them in any way or even appear willing to give them a small amount of information as it seems it only incites them to believe that they can get even more information out of you. The first week of phone calls, I received about one phone call every other day. I am now up to at least one phone call each day, sometimes two a day.

I haven't started getting home visits, but that may soon follow. One guy on a blog wrote that they sometimes come even at night and on Sundays. He was caught on Mother's Day one year, holding his plate of food in his hand while trying to celebrate Mother's Day with his family. So I'm especially watching out today! These people are evil (and they're government workers!)

Here's something else of interest about the ACS you might want to read and then my letter to my Congressman is below.

http://www.wisegeek.com/do-i-have-to...to-the-acs.htm
The US Census Bureau makes it clear that the American Community Survey (ACS) is authorized under Sections 141 and 193 of Title 13 of the United States Code, and that compliance with the survey is legally mandatory. Still, some citizens do not answer it. The 24-page survey, which can be found on the Bureau's website, is sent out to about 2.5% of the American population to collect statistical information for city planning. The US Census Bureau says it's an essential tool in collecting relevent and timely data in order to understand and finance local needs for things like roads and schools.

Objections to the ACS include the personal nature of some of its questions and, despite government assurances to the contrary, associated confidentiality issues. Some doubt these assurances based on the survey collection process itself. The Census Bureau employs temporary workers as ACS census collectors. The census collectors or enumerators can ask for such sensitive information as social security number, full financial disclosure, and times the resident leaves and arrives home from work. Title 13 of the United States Code however, requires that the Census Bureau keep this information confidential and subjects employees who violate this confidentiality requirement to a fine of up to $250,000 USD, up to 5 years imprisonment, or both.

In addition, some point to the possibility of human error as a security concern over such personal and confidential information. On 22 September 2006, the American Broadcast Company (ABC) reported that, since 2003, the Census Bureau lost or reported stolen over 200 laptops and numerous handheld and portable data devices used by survey collectors. The Census Bureau insists that personal information contained in these devices was protected by passwords and other security measures.

Temporary employees and lost laptops aside, the highly sensitive personal information provided on the ACS form gets keyed into a master data bank. The data bank, like any data bank, runs the risk of being hacked or accessed by dishonest parties. With identity theft on the rise, many are concerned. Some citizens believe that city planning should be carried out through the collection of anonymous, aggregate information. For these reasons and likely more, the ACS has been said to be unanswered by about 45% of its recipients.

When a citizen does not answer the ACS within 30 days, a second ACS form is automatically mailed. Eventually, a temporary Census Bureau worker begins calling the home in an effort to elicit answers. These workers are said to receive bonuses based on their ability to get a response and are encouraged to get the recipient to answer as many ACS questions as possible. While the Census Bureau provides guidelines that prevent harassment or late night calls, some ACS recipients have complained of getting several calls a day, calls late at night, or calls every day for several weeks.

During such calls the survey taker reminds the resident that compliance with the ACS is mandatory. This warning is clearly stated on the ACS envelope, and the form itself threatens a 100 US Dollar (USD) fine for every question skipped, and a 500 USD fine for each untruthful answer. The US Census Bureau website itself notes that, under Title 18 of the United States Code Sections 3571 and 3559, it is legally authorized to impose a fine up to 5,000 USD to those over 18 years who refuse or willfully neglect to complete the survey. Some residents report being threatened with these fines or imprisonment by survey takers who call. While this may make some citizens angry enough to refuse to respond to the survey, others answer the survey to avoid any possible legal or financial repercussions.

If a citizen doesn’t comply with the ACS after a period of weeks, Census Bureau guidelines instruct enumerators to stop calling the resident. At this point, according to the Census Bureau, a non-respondent has a 21% chance of being personally visited by a survey taker. The survey taker shows up at the residence unannounced to request that the resident comply with the survey or otherwise face potential legal repercussions. Continued refusal may lead to additional visits by a supervisor.

As a result of widespread concern and perhaps out of frustration with the survey, several websites have been set up to provide public forums for recipients of the ACS. According to some accounts, those recipients who chose not to return the form and did not respond to phone calls or private visits appeared to be hassled the least. Alternatively, those who returned the survey partially completed and communicated with the Census Bureau agents generally received more contacts and pressure.

In the end, the Census Bureau has the legal authority to conduct the survey and legally has the option of imposing fines for non-compliance. Some hypothesize that the Census Bureau will not take legal action against, or pursue fines for, noncompliance with the ACS because doing so would likely attract much negative media attention. Moreover, since there are no reported instances of the Census Bureau taking legal or financial action, some speculate that the Census Bureau's threats carry no weight. Nevertheless, fines and legal action are technically possible, until the laws are changed. At least one petition to stop the ACS has been created.

My letter:

April 26, 2007


Congressman Tom Tancredo
1131 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515-0606

Dear Congressman Tancredo:

Recently I received in the mail the American Community Survey from the U.S. Census Bureau. I was quite surprised to find out that such an intrusive survey was being sent out by the government to 3 million households per year. Frankly, I find the questions in the survey both invasive and unproductive and a waste of both the government’s time and money and the valuable time of the residents of the households to which it is sent.

In the survey, some of the questions are simply not relevant any more in the vast majority of 21st century American households. These would include questions regarding the presence of complete plumbing and kitchen facilities in the house. Some are unnecessary such as the questions regarding house value, real estate taxes, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms in the house. The answers to those questions can be found in other sources. Other questions are extremely intrusive and would include the questions on income, what time you leave for work, and any questions regarding physical, emotional, and mental health. The U.S. Census Bureau maintains that such questions are necessary in order to determine the need for more fire stations, police stations, hospitals, schools, and so forth. It would seem, however, that their ulterior motive is to sell the information to corporations. The fact that the information is sold is noted on the U.S. Census Bureau’s own website. In any case, the need for more fire or police stations, hospitals, and schools should remain in the hands of local government and community leaders, not the federal government.

I strongly believe that many of the questions asked in the survey go far beyond what the founding fathers called for in Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution which allows for the enumeration of the population in a decennial census for the proper apportionment of U.S. congressional representation. I have no problem answering such questions during census years. Last week, I called both your Denver and DC offices and none of your staffers had even heard of the survey nor could they tell me your stance regarding the American Community Survey. The Census Bureau is certainly doing a good job keeping the existence of this questionnaire out of general knowledge when even government employees are unaware of it. Since it is my opinion that this survey is truly unconstitutional, I strongly urge you to consider opposing any funding for the survey in the next budget or spending bill to which it is attached. I would also ask that you urge other congressional representatives to do the same.

Respectfully,
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Old 06-08-2007   #11
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

Here is my update:

Shortly after I sent my letters to Congressman Tancredo and Senators Salazar, Allard, as well as Congresswoman DeGette, we started receiving our phone calls. Usually at least one a day starting in the beginning of May, sometimes two a day. The only day they didn't call me was Mother's Day. Otherwise they called every day. When we saw U.S. Census Bureau on the Caller ID, we simply didn't answer.

Well, last Saturday, I got my "home visit". I was visited by Richard Davis, field representative. Laura and I (Eric was at work) pretty much grilled him as to the need for the survey. The thing that REALLY floored me is that this isn't the only survey that the Census Bureau sends out. They have MANY surveys. There's the Current Population Survey which asks if you worked last week, how many hours you worked, if it was in excess of or less than the normal number of hours you usually work, how many hours in excess or less than the normal number of hours you work, etc. This is how they determine the unemployment rate. There's also one that asks people if they smoke, there's one for college graduates to determine how they used their college degree, you name it.

The guy was really nice. I think we got more information out of him than he got out of us. He was a retired older guy and had decided to do this part-time just for something to do. He said he had to go through extensive training and his references were even checked out by the FBI before he got the job. Laura kept asking him why the survey asks for our names if the name and address aren't supposed to be tied to the answers that we submit. He said we could give aliases. So we decided to give him VERY limited information using aliases. We told him our birth dates, birth places, level of education, and marital status and that was it. It was probably more information than we should have given him. But no way would I tell him our race, family ancestry, what our income was, or the value of the house. None of their business!

Oh, when I somewhat sarcastically asked him if they wanted to know about the dog too, he said, "Oh, you have to get the Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife Survey to be asked questions about the household pets!." Oh, my god!

So anyway, hopefully this will be the end of it for us. We'll see. Oh, of course, the guy said that he was under obligation to tell us that we could be referred to the Justice Department for not complying, but I told him that from the extensive research I've done, nobody's ever been prosecuted. So if you get this thing or any of the other surveys I mentioned, I hope all this information was helpful.
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Old 06-26-2007   #12
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

Almost entirely unrelated, but speaking of irritating governmental things you never hear about (or at least I had never heard about until recently): did you know that the government still maintains a very large helium reserve, in case we ever need the blimp fleet again? I work in a lab, and helium is expensive to keep around, as it always leaks away. I imagine enough to supply a whole fleet of blimps would be...very expensive. If we ever get attacked by world-war-2 era planes, though, boy we'll be happy we have all those blimps! Keep up the good work boys!
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Old 06-26-2007   #13
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

lol, our government is so messed up!
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Old 06-26-2007   #14
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

makes you wonder what other surplus items are just laying about and at the taxpayers expense no less.....things that make you go mmmmmm..
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Old 01-31-2012   #15
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

Okay, I don't know how I manage to get so lucky but guess what? I got ANOTHER one of these surveys just the other day. Most people have never heard of it. It only goes to 1/4 million households per month. At that rate, it should take about 20 years to get to everybody, but I have now received my second one. To get them off my back, I'm putting down the number of people living in the house (for congressional representation purposes) and THAT'S IT.
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Old 01-31-2012   #16
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

I didn't see this thread the first time around, and had no idea the survey existed...the survey is absolutely ridiculous. I get the idea of sending it out, but I don't get why it's not optional...and threatining a fine? Our government is idiotic and intrusive....but the thing is, it's idiotic and intrusive because the people have allowed it to be and have not paid enough attention.
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Old 04-09-2012   #17
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

I dare a census person to knock on my door on a sunday night-

theyll see the end of a shotgun in their face

we need to stand up for our rights, and know them so we can assert ourselves more against big govt. people are too lazy me included
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Old 04-11-2012   #18
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

yeah sure they will, internet hardman. woo go america U-S-A! U-S-A! shotgun in the face!

You're a moron.
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Old 05-16-2012   #19
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

Madre, you will be happy to know that congressional republicans have defunded the American Community Survey!

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/0...mmunity-Survey
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Old 05-16-2012   #20
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Re: Stop the American Community Survey!!

The Daily Kos' perspective is...interesting. They put the issue of privacy as a sidebar and want to paint the republicans as racist for wanting to get rid of it. Haha.
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