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Coburn criticizes census for fax error

Updated:
TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- U.S. Rep. Tom Coburn plans to cite a facsimile mistakenly sent from the U.S. Census Bureau's Kansas City office to a Haskell resident as cause for census security concerns, the congressman's spokesman said Monday.

Coburn, who has criticized the 2000 Census long form as too intrusive, plans to raise the issue next week with census subcommittee chairman Rep. Dan Miller, R-Fla., said John Hart, spokesman for the Oklahoma Republican.

"Our concern is that they have a lax attitude about privacy over there," Hart said.

Hart said a Haskell home received a fax that contained information about potential census workers, including names, addresses and Social Security numbers.

Coburn is concerned that if the census can accidentally release such information, it also could possibly release protected information contained on the long form, Hart said.

The fax did not contain census information but the names of about 63 people who made up a list of possible census workers, the Muskogee Daily Phoenix reported Saturday.

Hank Palacios, a regional director in Kansas City, told the newspaper that the fax was intended for the bureau's Tahlequah office. A Kansas City worker apparently misdialed and made note of the error but didn't know where the information went.

The newspaper quoted Palacios as saying the fax contained confidential information but not "protected" information, which would not be faxed. An attempt by The Associated Press to reach Palacios by telephone for comment on Monday was not immediately successful.

Beth Rabedeaux told the newspaper she received the inadvertent fax and gave it to Coburn because of "all the flak he's been
taking."

"If they made a mistake there, they could make another mistake," she said.

Coburn has urged residents to respond to only the first six questions on the long form.


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