I am not worry about the data getting stolen or abused. I am more worry about the data getting lost either intentionally or accidentally. It is easier to manipulate electronic information especially if there is no paper trail. If you look at it, the people that control the census control a lot of power. Not only is the census used to determine where resources go, but it shapes congressional districts and due to the Electoral College system, it can determine who becomes President.
TB, you are exactly right -- many countries have stopped doing traditional 5 or 10 year censuses and instead use national registries to achieve more or less the same goal. Real time information is certainly more desirable than data that is 10 years too old.
But there are already a lot of conspiracy theories out there about the census already, and many policymakers have found out the hard way that Americans are generally very resistant to anything remotely resembling a national database. This problem appears again and again and stops the U.S. from using technology wisely -- from the census to electronic health care records
Is the concern for doing it online versus via the mail a concern about the security of the actual data, or is it a concern about the security of the procees to prevent fraud.
Personally I find the entire idea and process of the census to be completely ridiculous. If the amount of information collected by cities and towns could easily be standardized through an electronic means, then there would be no need for a census like this to be done every 10 years.
The number of various registries in this country should allow for an easy method of tracking people close enough to the realistic numbers.
Births, Deaths, Drivers licenses, deeds, water bills, electricity bills, tax returns, and dozens of others should be able to take care of all this if the data is properly organized in the first place.
The waste in terms of information collection and storage is just plain ridiculous, and the lack of departments within the same government not sharing, or refusing to share information with other departments only makes matters worse.
While I don't entertain any conspiracy theories here, I share Paul's puzzlement with why the census was done by snail mail.
Perceptions of poor security were considered riskier than spending the money required for all this printing and mailing. I wonder, though, if the analysis even made it that far. Perhaps I'm giving too much credit where it ought to be due.
Well one does not need to be a rocket scientist to figure out why the 2010 census was not done online. With Wall street having received billions of bailout funds, one can understand if the Census Dept unilaterally deceides to come to the rescue of the post office as this person expressed it quite succintly:
Dep’t sent everyone mail telling them that they would be getting another piece of mail (the actual form) in a few weeks.
Assuming there’s at least 100 million households, two pieces of mail each. That is 200 million pieces of mail paid for by the government to another branch of government. Of course, many people are ranting about the ridiculous losses that the U.S. Postal Service is incurring but few people are talking about how much the Census costs (some are). So, why not just fund some mail from the Census “account”?
Seriously. Think about it. It’s 2010. Why isn’t this done online? I mean you can e-file your taxes for heaven’s sake to the IRS but you can’t tell the Census Dep’t how many people live in your house?
Yahoo's new CEO can't go back to what Yahoo was; that's how it got to what it is! Instead she has to look at something that Yahoo has always rejected, which is a relationship with the telcos and cablecos. They'd love a partner in creating service applications.
There's a lot of debate on whether ceding control of the Internet to the ITU/UN is bad for the Internet. Whether that's really true depends on just how much of the "control" we yield and what we do to balance the Internet as an innovation platform and as a service platform.
The plan for unmanned police drones to patrol traffic and other city conditions in Seattle has sparked a new set of legal concerns about privacy. Law traditionally lags technology, but we can expect now to see a new round of activity in the courts as legal definitions begin to emerge on what "next-gen privacy" will look like.
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