National: Advocates push Census Bureau to prepare for security breaches, disinformation ahead of 2020 count | Bill Lambrecht/San Antonio Express-News
As the first U.S. census to be conducted mainly online gets underway in the coming months, warnings from the Government Accountability Office about “substantial cybersecurity challenges” and disinformation campaigns raise concerns about how such a massive operation – collecting the names, addresses and birth dates of more than 300 million people – could be undermined by malicious actors on social media. Analysts monitoring the internet say they see no evidence of concerted efforts to sow bad information about the 2020 count. Yet in one instance, a post on a neo-Nazi website encouraged people to seek temporary Census Bureau employment in order to turn in immigrants who are living in the country illegally. Census workers are sworn to protect such information. Census experts note the potential lure of the census to people with ill intent. The decennial count is the basis for drawing congressional and legislative districts for a decade and determining where more than $800 billion gets distributed annually. In Texas, an undercount of the state’s fast-growing Latino population could threaten billions in tax dollars and the prospects of gaining three seats in the U.S. House from population shifts.