Okay, folks, Ron W. sends this article that the Census Bureau is going to stop sharing information with the Dept. of Homeland Security UNLESS as high level official approves the request for info. Simply put, this is an over-reaction to the Political Correctness Police.
In turnaround, Census limits Arab data-sharing with Homeland SecurityJust to freak the PC Police out, I decided to take a look at the Arab population spread for Michigan (where Mr. Hamad works). This information is in the Public Domain!
1:25 p.m. August 30, 2004
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Census Bureau said Monday it is ending a practice of routinely turning over detailed information about Arabs or other minorities to anti-terrorism officials without high-level approval.
The Census Bureau revealed Aug. 13 that it had been reporting demographic data about Arab Americans to a Homeland Security agency. The bureau said it only was providing population numbers and not names, addresses or other private details.
Responding to requests over the past two years from the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection, the Census Bureau said it had provided files that included a count of U.S. residents of Arab descent in certain ZIP codes.
That drew criticism from some advocacy groups, which said it undermined the public's trust.
Now, data requests from law enforcement and intelligence agencies must be approved by one of eight associate directors, the second highest-ranking officials in the Census Bureau. The policy applies to any requests involving "sensitive populations," which the Census Bureau said include small minority groups, prisoners and non-English speakers.
"The bureau must be sensitive to public perceptions of any threat to confidentiality or privacy stemming from census data," Census Director Louis Kincannon said in a statement.
Data requests were previously only reviewed if the bureau was paid for the work, usually by non-governmental organizations, businesses or individuals. Most government and law enforcement requests did not require reimbursement and were not reviewed, the bureau said.
The policy will not keep police from getting similar numbers in the future, mainly because much of it is available on the bureau's Web site. But it will let officials keep tabs on who requests information and how it is used.
"This is an important step in the right direction to restore people's confidence," said Imad Hamad, Dearborn-based Midwest director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. "But in many people's minds, the damage is already done. I only hope we can overcome this."
Is this a victory for the PC Police or not?
Symbolic victory or not, it might be a huge win for the PC Polizei if this is just the beginning....