Bachmann seeks to make Census questions optionalby Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann says she's standing by her opposition to parts of the U.S. Census, despite pleas by her Republican colleagues to support it.
The 6th District Republican says recent computer attacks show the danger of collecting large amounts of personal data. Some census questions gather information on things like income and lifestyle.
"Beginning last weekend, the Pentagon was broken into, its computers, as well as Homeland Security's computers, and North Korea may be the culprit," she said. "What we know is that the government's computer systems are not hacker proof. And so American's private information, including their home telephone numbers, and very private information about their personal lives could be subject to a hacker."
While the so-called denial of service attack shut down several government Web sites, no data was compromised.
Bachmann said she is sponsoring legislation to make detailed questions from the Census optional.
"My concerns are very real and they're shared by Democrats as well," she said. "The federal overreach of the questions that are being asked. Asking questions like 'how much do you weigh?' 'What time do you leave the house in the morning?' Very personal questions about people. And then to tell the American people that if you fail to answer these questions, the federal government will fine you $5,000. This is not for the federal government to do."