Sunday, April 1, 2012

Breaking News: Release of 1940 Census Put on Hold

Court house for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Late yesterday afternoon the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted an emergency stay, blocking the Monday morning release of the 1940 United States Federal Census. Privacy advocates filed a motion with the court claiming that longer lifespans made 72 years ineffective in protecting individual privacy. Public release of the census amounted to an unjustified violation of constitutional privacy rights.

While not explicitly mentioned in the United States constitution, the constitutional right to privacy is embodied throughout the Bill of Rights. The Fourth Amendment guarantees “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,” according to the motion filed with the court.

Personally identifiable information in United States decennial censuses is protected by Federal Statute (92 Stat. 915; Public Law 95-416) which prevents release of such information until 72 years after the information is collected. Privacy advocates argued that the 100 year old law does not take into account the increase in lifespan that has occurred since the law’s passage and that to release the 1940 census now would violate both the legislation’s intent and constitutionally ensured rights. Such a release would be an unwarranted Federal intrusion into the privacy of the nation’s citizens.

Lawyers from the United States Attorney General’s Office representing the National Archives of the United States argued that the National Archives has no choice. They must follow the statute as written.

Saturday afternoon the court agreed with the privacy arguments and granted a temporary stay. The court ordered the National Archives not to release the census until the court could convene a full hearing on the issue.

Attorneys from both sides were instructed to have complete briefs prepared for presentation on the hearing date, April Fools.


  1. You had me there for a minute....nice :?)

  2. Fer cryin' out loud could we joke about something else??? I was so " got" I had already retweeted and DM'd and it will be hours before my heart rate returns to normal.
    The sad thing is that, like most good April Fools pranks this one has a grain of truth...... rumor has it that the 2010 census will never be released but will be destroyed after statistical analysis is completed and the law will be changed to allow that. Absurd in a world where all facets of personal privacy are legally assaulted by the same government that wants to destroy the census.

  3. Ha Ha, I love it!! You didn't fool me for one minute!!

  4. You do realize that 47 bluehaired ladies had heart attacks when they saw this- right?

    I'm waiting to see if it is picked up by one of the national news networks.


  5. You had me there for a moment... but just a moment ;-)

  6. Brilliantly Evil. You had me for a second before I realized the date

  7. I figured it out before the end, but I'll admit my heart skipped a beat or two at first!

  8. I didn't even smile!
    If I was near the writer I think they would get a hard smack on the back of the head!

  9. Ok, how long have you been planning this in the back of your mind? Admit it!

  10. I just hope some hair-brained dolt doesn't actually do that to future releases in the name of privacy.


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