Census Confidentiality Statute Law and Legal Definition

The Census Confidentiality Statute is a U.S. federal law that prohibits the use of census data

for any purposes other than the original demographic statistical purpose. The Act aims to protect people’s privacy by prohibiting the disclosure of census data in a manner that identifies a person to the public. However, the data may be disclosed to sworn officers and employees of the Census Bureau. It is to be noted that other federal agencies do not have access to the any identifying information.

This privacy guarantee is incorporated into the statute to enable everyone in participating in the census.

Pursuant to 13 USCS § 9, the census information should be kept confidential. The section reads as below:

13 USCS § 9. Information as confidential; exception

(a) Neither the Secretary, nor any other officer or employee of the Department of Commerce or bureau or agency thereof, or local government census liaison, may, except as provided in section 8 or 16 or chapter 10 of this title [13 USCS § 8 or 16 or §§ 401 et seq.] or section 210 of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 1998 [13 USCS § 141 note] or section 2(f) of the Census of Agriculture Act of 1997 [7 USCS § 2204g(f)]--

(1) use the information furnished under the provisions of this title for any purpose other than the statistical purposes for which it is supplied; or

(2) make any publication whereby the data furnished by any particular establishment or individual under this title can be identified; or

(3) permit anyone other than the sworn officers and employees of the Department or bureau or agency thereof to examine the individual reports.

No department, bureau, agency, officer, or employee of the Government, except the Secretary in carrying out the purposes of this title, shall require, for any reason, copies of census reports which have been retained by any such establishment or individual. Copies of census reports which have been so retained shall be immune from legal process, and shall not, without the consent of the individual or establishment concerned, be admitted as evidence or used for any purpose in any action, suit, or other judicial or administrative proceeding.

(b) The provisions of subsection (a) of this section relating to the confidential treatment of data for particular individuals and establishments, shall not apply to the census of governments provided for by subchapter III of chapter 5 of this title [13 USCS §§ 161, 163], nor to interim current data provided for by subchapter IV of chapter 5 of this title [13 USCS § 181] as to the subjects covered by censuses of governments, with respect to any information obtained therefor that is compiled from, or customarily provided in, public records.