Lawmakers want online census for 2010

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) promised to force the Census Bureau to at least test using the Internet for the decennial count.

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) can’t understand why the U.S. Census Bureau has decided not to use the Internet for at least some part of the 2010 census.

In fact, he is so disturbed by what he calls bureau managers’ lack of 21st-century vision that the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security Subcommittee said he will try to attach a provision to the Commerce, Justice and State appropriations bill for fiscal 2008 requiring the bureau to use a portion of its 2010 census funding for at least an Internet test.

“They could do a pilot so by the 2020 census they are online,” Coburn said after a hearing where he lambasted the bureau's director, Louis Kincannon, about this issue. “I can’t think of a reason not to do the census on the Internet. I don’t think anyone else would disagree with me.”

During the hearing, Coburn pointed to the Internal Revenue Service’s success with accepting tax returns online as an example for Census. He also said if other private-sector financial institutions can operate securely online, there is no reason the census cannot.

“I’m appalled that you are not at least trying to do this on the Internet,” he said. “We don’t have a vision to get this done. I will do everything I can to force the Internet down your throat with amendments. You are living in the past, not the future. I recommend you get on board for 2010.”

Kincannon told lawmakers that during their tests in 2003 and 2005, the response rates did not increase and the bureau didn’t save on processing costs. He also said he was concerned over cybersecurity issues.

“I’m not comfortable with the security and control of risk because of phishing and other things that can occur,” he said. “If one rumor starts that there was identity theft, we would be in trouble.”

Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the subcommittee's chairman, responded with disapproval, too.

“Now is the time to do the census online,” he said.

Coburn was even more direct. “To tell me you want to wait on technology to catch up, I don’t buy it,” he said. “It is impossibly inefficient not to do the census on the Internet. I’m offering you a challenge today. It is unconscionable not to do at least a portion on the Internet. It is not a technology or security issue, it is a lack of vision.”

After the hearing, Kincannon said the 2003 test offered paper and Internet options, while the 2005 test offered only an Internet option.

“Overall, our response rate in the 2005 test was 5.7 percentage points lower than with paper,” he said.

Coburn and Carper were not alone in their push for using the Internet. David Powner and Mathew Scire, Government Accountability Office officials, agreed that doing a portion of the census on the Internet should be an option.

Scire, GAO’s director of strategic issues, told lawmakers that Census’ tests and results may not have been as accurate as they could have been because the bureau did not promote the Internet as an option.

Powner, GAO’s director of information technology issues, added that the technology is there, but the question is whether Census has enough time to set up and test the Internet option.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.