In Amicus Brief, EPIC Urges Supreme Court to Remove Census Citizenship Question

April 1, 2019

EPIC filed an amicus brief in Department of Commerce v. New York, urging the Supreme Court to uphold a New York federal judge’s decision to remove the citizenship question from the 2020 Census. EPIC warned that “collecting citizenship status information from hundreds of millions of U.S. residents presents enormous privacy and security concerns.” EPIC described the history of census privacy, including EPIC’s 2004 FOIA lawsuit which revealed that the Census Bureau transferred data on Arab-Americans to the DHS after 9/11. EPIC also explained that, “in failing to assess the risks that would result from the collection of personal data regarding citizenship status, the Census Bureau has violated its obligations under the E-Government Act." In a related matter, EPIC’s lawsuit to block the citizenship question, EPIC v. Commerce, is currently before the D.C. Circuit with an argument scheduled for May 8. EPIC has charged that the Census Bureau failed to complete required Privacy Impact Assessments prior to the decisions to collect personal data about citizenship. The Bureau concedes that it must complete the impact assessments but has so far failed to do so.

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