GROUPS: CENSUS PRIVACY TOOL COULD HURT VOTING RIGHTS GOALS
Techlife News|Techlife News #493
The findings reinforce concerns that differential privacy will lower the quality of the data used for redrawing congressional and legislative districts. They also suggest that the census figures won’t support efforts to protect the power of minority voters and comply with court rulings requiring districts to have equal population numbers.

“Our preliminary findings reveal serious concerns about the impact of differential privacy as currently envisioned by the Bureau on our communities’ ability to attain our fair share of political power,” said the report by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, also known as MALDEF, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice’ AAJC.

The report is the latest warning about the Census Bureau’s introduction of deliberate errors to protect privacy into the 2020 census data that will be used for redistricting later this year.

Differential privacy adds mathematical “noise,” or errors, to the data to obscure any given individual’s identity while still providing statistically valid information. Bureau officials said the change is needed to prevent data miners from matching individuals to confidential details that have been anonymized in the massive data release expected as early as August. It will be applied to race, age and other demographic information in geographic areas within each state.

Since it was first proposed three years ago, the methodology has been criticized by redistricting experts and demographers who fear it will create inaccurate data.

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