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07/30/2004 Archived Entry: "That "confidential" census data again"


WASHINGTON, DC - The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a public interest organization in Washington DC, has obtained documents revealing that the Census Bureau provided the Department of Homeland Security statistical data on people who identified themselves on the 2000 census as being of Arab ancestry. The special tabulations were prepared specifically for the law enforcement agency. There is no indication that the Department of Homeland Security requested similar information about any other ethnic groups.

This appears to be statistical data, not individually identifiable. But the reasons the DHS wanted it -- so Customs would know what languages to use in airport signage -- smell bogus. Most folk of Arab descent in the U.S. have been here all their lives -- or since their grandparents lives. They no more need special signage than do German-Americans, Italian-Americans, Japanese-Americans, or Irish-Americans.

Worth noting that most Arab-Americans are also Christians, not Muslims. And most Muslim-Americans are black, not Arab. But I'll bet the DHS-crats don't know that when they embarked on this fishing expedition. Why anybody would give personal info to some snoopy stranger from the Census Bureau ... well, it boggles the mind.

Posted by Claire @ 09:24 AM CST

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