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Federal Law

Federal Law Protects Your Information

The Census Bureau is bound by Title 13 of the United States Code. These laws not only provide authority for the work we do, but also provide strong protection for the information we collect from individuals and businesses.

In addition, other federal laws, including the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act and the Privacy Act, reinforce these protections.

Title 13 Protections

Private Information is Never Published

It is against the law to disclose or publish any private information that identifies an individual or business such as:

  • No names
  • No addresses including GPS Coordinates
  • No Social Security Numbers
  • No telephone numbers

We Collect Information to Produce Statistics

We use your information to produce statistics. Your personal information cannot be used against you by any government agency or court.

Sworn for Life to Protect Confidentiality

We take Title 13 protections seriously. People sworn to uphold Title 13 are legally required to maintain the confidentiality of your data. Every person with access to your data is sworn for life to protect your information and understands that the penalties for violating this law are applicable for a lifetime.

Violating the Law is a Serious Crime

If anyone violates this law, it is a federal crime; they will face severe penalties, including a federal prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of up to $250,000, or both.

Our Pledge To You

The U.S. Census Bureau is required by law to protect your information. The Census Bureau is not permitted to publicly release your responses in a way that could identify you. Per the Federal Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2015, your data are protected from cybersecurity risks through screening of the systems that transmit your data.

Learn more about this pledge.

The U.S. Census Bureau revised the confidentiality pledge it provides to respondents under Title 13, United States Code, Section 9 in 2017 in order to account for cybersecurity protection for Internet traffic to and from the Census Bureau.

Before making that change, the Census Bureau requested public comment on the proposed changes (select Confidentiality Pledge Revision Notice and Request for Comments) and responded to comments received (select Submission for OMB Review).

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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