NEWS21 May 2019

US Census Bureau concerned about foreign meddling

Data analytics News North America Privacy Public Sector

US – The 2020 decennial census could be affected by foreign interference, a Census Bureau official has said.

Map of the US

The bureau is concerned that data collected in the census could be hacked, similar to how the Russian government interfered with the 2016 presidential election.  

“Most of the agencies of the federal government that ingest data are very concerned about interference in the process of taking the 2020 Census,’’ John Abowd, chief scientist at the Census Bureau, told a Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta conference, Bloomberg reported. “We are very concerned about this and very concerned about developing appropriate defences,” he said.

In April, the Washington Post reported that the bureau is working with the Department of Homeland Security to defend against attempts from people or foreign states to manipulate the census, and has bought over 100 domain names to prevent them being used to create fake census websites.

The 2020 census will largely be conducted online for the first time. A controversial decision on whether to include a question on citizenship is currently being reviewed by the Supreme Court, with a ruling expected in June. Last month, Nielsen chief executive David Kenny said the question would result in inaccurate data and 'flawed business decisions'.