Census Bureau shall always include the word “other” if it asks any race questions.

Prewitt believes that the government must have a proper reason for asking questions of its population. Consequently, he saw the need for a connection between some kind of policy issue or possibilities and the concepts that the government is trying to measure. He further observed that the science of social measurement in the United States is most protected in statistical agencies. He argued that they care more than program agencies about data quality, continuity across time, standardization, and privacy and confidentiality. He then addressed the issues surrounding the ownership and management of digital data. While some Research Data Centers have already started thinking about the relationship between administrative and survey data, they have not yet addressed digital data. Prewitt raised concerns about the quality control of digital data being used by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, since without public access there is no way to know how it is being maintained. He asserted that discussion is still needed about how to make sure society’s information system is going to be housed in a place that is concerned with quality protection.

In the future, the way administrative records and surveys are linked will become increasingly important. Snipp cautioned that the scientific community will face a number of ethical issues, such as confidentiality and privacy concerns with respect to transactional data, survey data, and its linkages to administrative data. He mentioned that Stanford University, like a number of other institutions, has created a secure data center, but this kind of precaution is not being undertaken in the scientific community at large.



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