“Trust us. We’re from the government. Everything you tell us will be held in the utmost confidence.” Believe that and you’ll believe anything.
The current $350 million ad campaign for the 2010 Census, including the much-maligned $2.5 million Super Bowl spots, urges individuals to “Tell your story.” The Census Bureau is particularly eager for minorities and illegal immigrants to do so, as they are traditionally believed to be the most undercounted.
Yet widespread non-compliance, especially among those most likely to be discriminated against by a majority, may not be rooted strictly in the “ignorance” the ads are designed to overcome. History–including very recent history–shows that the information provided to the Census can be used against you.
The most recent examples occurred in 2002 and 2003, when the Census Bureau turned over information it had collected about Arab-Americans to Homeland Security.
Read more at The Independent Institute.