EPIC FOIA: Census Bureau Gathers Noncitizens’ Data Without Required Privacy Impact Assessment
April 23, 2019
An EPIC Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that the Census Bureau obtains vast quantities of noncitizens' personal data from the Department of Homeland Security without having first conducted a required Privacy Impact Assessment. Under a written agreement disclosed to EPIC, the DHS transfers the "Legal Permanent Resident File" to the Bureau each year, which includes citizenship, immigration status, marital status, and other sensitive personal information. Yet the Census Bureau conducted no analysis of the privacy risks and failed to describe the personal data gathered. In EPIC v. Commerce, EPIC has charged that the Census Bureau failed to complete required Privacy Impact Assessments prior to adding the citizenship question to the 2020 Census. The Bureau concedes that it must complete the impact assessments but has so far failed to do so. EPIC's motion to halt the citizenship question will be argued before the D.C. Circuit on May 8.