Zoom to pay $85M for privacy miscues at start of pandemic
Zoom has agreed to pay $85 million to settle a lawsuit alleging allegations its videoconferencing service’s weak privacy controls opened too many peepholes into its users’ personal information and made it too easy to disrupt their meetings during the early stages of the pandemic.
Census numbers-crunching documents at center of latest fight
Government attorneys had asked Koh over the weekend to reconsider her order to release the documents or put it on hold. Last week, Koh ordered the government attorneys to produce documents that show details of the Census Bureau ’s plans, procedures and schedules for the numbers-crunching phase of the 2020 census. Democratic U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, the committee's chair, has alleged that the Republican Trump administration is blocking the release of full, unredacted documents she requested about data anomalies. The Census Bureau has admitted discovering data irregularities in recent weeks that put the Dec. 31 deadline in jeopardy. Besides being used for apportionment and redistricting, the 2020 census numbers will help determine the distribution of $1.5 trillion in federal spending.
Census case that led to head count halt heads back to court
A month after the Supreme Court allowed the Trump administration to end the 2020 head count of every U.S. resident, the case that propelled the ruling was back in a district court Friday, with advocacy groups and the Trump administration heading towards a full trial early next year. Koh's preliminary injunction in September halted efforts by the Census Bureau to finish the head count at the end of September, allowing it at the time to continue until the end of October. However, Department of Justice attorneys appealed, and the Supreme Court sided with the Trump administration a month ago, allowing it to end field operations for the 2020 census. An appellate court for the time being suspended the part of Koh's injunction dealing with the Dec. 31 apportionment deadline. Department of Justice attorneys on behalf of the Trump administration said the court shouldn't get involved with day-to-day census operations that could interfere with the Census Bureau's efforts to meet the congressionally-mandated Dec. 31 deadline.
After high court ruling, DOJ wants census challenges stopped
All further court challenges to the Trump administration's numbers-crunching methods for the 2020 census should be suspended as the U.S. Census Bureau works toward turning in apportionment numbers by a congressionally-mandated Dec. 31 deadline, Trump administration attorneys said. The Trump administration filed the court papers in response to a request from U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in San Jose, California over how the case on the census's timetable should proceed following the Supreme Court ruling. A hearing on the matter had been set for Tuesday but it was postponed until next month. An appellate court suspended Koh's order as it relates to the numbers-crunching deadline at the end of the year, and the Supreme Court two weeks ago halted the entire preliminary injunction, allowing the field operations for the 2020 census to end. “This Court and the parties previously expended extraordinary efforts to litigate and adjudicate Plaintiffs’ challenges at a breakneck pace only to have the Supreme Court rightly undo that hard work," the Trump administration said in court papers.
For 3rd time, groups seek end to Trump order on House seats
Trump administration attorneys say the challenge to the order is premature and should be dismissed. The Trump administration has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Trump administration on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court to put Koh's order on hold. The Republicans’ inaction coincided with Trump's order. By sticking to the Dec. 31 deadline, the apportionment count would be under the control of the Trump administration no matter who wins the presidential election next month.
Appellate judges let 2020 census continue through October
Koh also struck down an Oct. 5 end date that the Commerce Department, which oversees the Census Bureau, had pushed after the injunction, saying it violated her order. Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall wrote in an application to the Supreme Court that the appellate court's ruling will still force the Census Bureau to violate the Dec. 31 deadline. The proposal to extend the apportionment deadline passed the Democratic-controlled House, but the Republican-controlled Senate didn’t take up the request. The appellate judges also noted that just because the Dec. 31 deadline can’t be met practically doesn’t mean the court should require the Census Bureau to miss it. As of Tuesday, 99.7% of households nationwide had been counted, a figure that surpassed the completion rate in 2010, according to the Census Bureau.
Census head says order is being obeyed, but gripes continue
The judge also required the Census Bureau to send out a text last Friday to all staff working on the 2020 census that said the head count of every U.S. resident was continuing through Oct. 31. By doing this, the deadlines reverted back to a previous Census Bureau plan that had field operations ending Oct. 31 and the reporting of apportionment figures at the end of April. With the injunction, the judge sided with civil rights groups and local governments that had sued the U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Commerce. Dillingham said in his statement that the Census Bureau would be letting go of some census workers whose responsibilities were done — such as those counting people living in transitory housing. “Well, it appears that your revised Order is being ignored, just as the original Order was ignored," Pruitt wrote.
Trump lawyer: Census could be done if not for court meddling
But the 2020 census deadline remains in flux, making it uncertain if census takers will finish counting the vast, rural state. An attorney for the Trump administration urged the panel of three Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals judges in San Francisco to suspend U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh's injunction from last month. The Trump administration says the judge's decision ignores the congressionally-mandated deadline requiring the Census Bureau to turn in apportionment numbers by Dec. 31. The Census Bureau reported that, as of Sunday, 99.6% of households nationwide have been counted, although seven mostly southern states haven't crossed the 99% threshold yet. The Trump administration is appealing that case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Judge: Census violated order; demands mass text to workers
But the 2020 census deadline remains in flux, making it uncertain if census takers will finish counting the vast, rural state. Judge Koh wrote in Thursday's decision that the Census Bureau and Commerce Department, which oversees the agency, had violated her injunction “in several ways." “Defendants’ dissemination of erroneous information; lurching from one hasty, unexplained plan to the next; and unlawful sacrifices of completeness and accuracy of the 2020 Census are upending the status quo, violating the Injunction Order, and undermining the credibility of the Census Bureau and the 2020 Census," the judge wrote. The Census Bureau said it sent out the mandated message Friday afternoon. Contact your supervisor with any questions.”The Census Bureau reported that 99.1% of the nation's households had been counted, though several states in the South were trailing that figure.
Trump adds to election anxiety by pushing legal boundaries
His administration violated a judge's order on the 2020 census and could be held in contempt. And in the heat of a presidential campaign, that track record only adds to anxiety about whether Trump will abide by the results of the election. Beyond election law, government watchdog groups have been tracking a raft of other examples where they allege that Trump is flouting laws. Special counsel Henry Kerner, a Trump appointee, recommended that Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway be fired after repeated violations, but the White House ignored that. “If he is taking money from foreign governments without congressional consent, he is violating the Constitution,” said Potter, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission.
Census takers: We're being told to finish early, cut corners
A San Francisco census taker, whose name was redacted in the email, was instructed to turn in census equipment on Wednesday since field operations were ending. The census taker asked the judge to order the Census Bureau to stop laying off census takers, also called enumerators, so that the head count will continue through October as the judge had ordered. Another census taker, who only was identified as “Mr. Instead, they said they wanted full compliance with the judge's order, arguing the Trump administration had violated it “several times over." The complaints by the census takers echo concerns that other census takers have made to The Associated Press over the past week.
Judge says ending 2020 census on Oct. 5 may violate order
Last week, the San Jose, California, judge suspended the U.S. Census Bureau’s deadline for ending the head count on Wednesday, which automatically reverted the deadline back to an older Census Bureau plan in which the timeline for ending field operations was Oct. 31. Her order also suspended a Dec. 31 deadline for the Census Bureau to turn in numbers used for apportionment, the process of deciding how many congressional seats each state gets. The New York judges' order prohibits Ross from excluding people in the country illegally when handing in 2020 census figures used to calculate apportionment. The Trump administration has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and asked for the judges' order to be suspended during that process. Under questioning from the federal judges, federal government attorney Sopan Joshi said the Census Bureau had no intention of using statistical sampling.
US official: 2020 census to end Oct. 5 despite court order
ORLANDO, Fla. – U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross says the 2020 census will end Oct. 5, despite a federal judge's ruling last week that the head count of every U.S. resident should continue through the end of October, according to a tweet posted on the Census Bureau's website Monday. The tweet said the ability for people to self-respond to the census questionnaire and the door-knocking phase when census takers go to homes that haven't yet responded is ending Oct. 5. The announcement came as a virtual hearing was being held in San Jose, California, as a follow-up to U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh's preliminary injunction. The injunction ordered last week suspended the Census Bureau's deadline for ending the head count on Sept. 30, which automatically reverted the deadline back to an older Census Bureau plan in which the deadline for ending field operations was Oct. 31. Koh asked federal government attorneys during Monday's hearing to provide documents on how the new decision to end the head count on Oct. 5 was made.
Judge says 2020 census must continue for another month
ORLANDO, Fla. – A federal judge has stopped the 2020 census from finishing at the end of September and ordered the once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident to continue for another month through the end of October, saying a shortened schedule likely would produce inaccurate results. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh in California made her ruling late Thursday, two days after hearing arguments from attorneys for the Census Bureau, and attorneys for civil rights groups and local governments that had sued the Census Bureau in an effort to halt the 2020 census from stopping at the end of the month. Attorneys for the civil rights groups and local governments said the shortened schedule would undercount residents in minority and hard-to-count communities. The San Jose, California-based judge had previously issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the Census Bureau from winding down field operations until she made a ruling in the lawsuit. Attorneys for the Census Bureau and the Department of Commerce, which oversees the agency, had said during the hearing they would likely appeal.
Order forces Census to do more visits, rely less on records
That likely has increased the workload of the door-knocking census takers, causing slight decreases in completion rates for the moment. Asked for comment, a spokesman for the Census Bureau said he was researching the question. The temporary restraining order was requested by a coalition of cities, counties and civil rights groups whose lawsuit demanded the Census Bureau restore its previous plan for finishing the census at the end of October. Two states asked Wednesday to join the lawsuit in opposition of the temporary restraining order. The script says that among the questions census takers would ask shelter residents during visits was their citizenship status.
With 95% homes hit, feds say no need for census extension
Census Bureau officials say they are on target to meet their goal of reaching at least 99% of U.S. households by the end of the month. In an internal email sent to other top Census Bureau officials in late July, Tim Olson, associate director for field operations, said the bureau was having trouble deploying census takers because “people are afraid to work for us." Blaming the presidential memorandum for the shortened census schedule was “improper," said government attorney Alexander Sverdlov. Before the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, the bureau had planned to complete the 2020 census by the end of July. As a result, government attorneys say the Census Bureau has no choice but to finish the count by Sept. 30.
Wildfires and hurricanes disrupt final weeks of 2020 census
The Census Bureau is contending with several natural disasters as wildfires and hurricanes disrupt the final weeks of the nations once-a-decade headcount. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)ORLANDO, Fla. – Already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic and a tightened deadline, the Census Bureau must now contend with several natural disasters as wildfires and hurricanes disrupt the final weeks of the nation's once-a-decade headcount. A coalition of cities and civil rights groups are suing in federal court in San Jose, seeking an extra month. “This is not usually the time of the year that the Census Bureau is doing the counting." In some places where census takers cannot go out, they are trying to reach households by phone, according to Census Bureau officials.
Manager ordered census layoffs despite judge's ruling
The census manager also suggested that supervisors should unofficially plan on wrapping up their work by Saturday, 11 days short of the Sept. 30 deadline for ending the 2020 census. Census Bureau spokesman Michael Cook said in a statement Friday that the agency was investigating. “In the meantime, the U.S. Census Bureau continues to focus on conducting a complete 2020 Census count while instructing field personnel of their continuing obligation to comply with court orders,” Cook said. Meanwhile, the state of Louisiana on Friday said it was being harmed by the judge's order preventing the Census Bureau from winding down operations. ___This story has been edited to clarify that it was the census manager, not census taker, who suggested supervisors should wrap up by Saturday.
Senators push for extra census time, as court prods deadline
If an extra month were added, it would reduce the amount of time for data processing before the end-of-the-year deadline, said Brad Rosenberg, a government attorney. “It's not enough to say, ‘Statutory deadline,' and drop the mic and walk out." She also said she planned to extend by a week a temporary restraining order prohibiting the Census Bureau from winding down the 2020 census. The legislation also would extend the deadline for turning in the figures used for redrawing congressional districts from Dec. 31 to the end of next April. The inaction in the Senate coincided with a directive from President Donald Trump that tried to exclude people in the country illegally from the numbers used in redrawing congressional districts.
Judge chastises government for not producing census records
Earlier this month, Koh issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the Census Bureau from winding down 2020 census filed operations until a hearing is held Thursday on a request for a preliminary injunction. The temporary restraining order was requested by a coalition of cities, counties and civil rights groups that had sued the Census Bureau. The coalition had argued the earlier deadline would cause the Census Bureau to overlook minority communities in the census, leading to an inaccurate count. During Monday's virtual hearing, Koh also expressed concern for residents displaced by wildfires in the West and hurricanes along the Gulf Coast. “What is the Census Bureau planning to do?"
Despite judge's order, plans being made for census layoffs
Census Bureau spokesman Michael Cook said no directive to make such ratings has been made from headquarters or the six regional offices across the county. In response to the judge's temporary restraining order, the Census Bureau said Tuesday it would refrain from laying off census takers who were in phases two or three of the three-phase door knocking operation. The census takers are sent out to homes that have not yet responded to the census on their own online by phone or by mail. As originally planned, before the judge's order, once that 60% threshold is met, less productive census takers are laid off and their caseloads are transferred to higher performers so the most experienced census takers can work on the hardest-to-reach households. The coalition had argued the earlier deadline would cause the Census Bureau to overlook minority communities in the census, leading to an inaccurate count.
Census Bureau stops layoffs for door knockers after order
FILE - This Sunday, April 5, 2020, photo shows an envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident in Detroit. The U.S. Census Bureau has spent much of the past year defending itself against allegations that its duties have been overtaken by politics. The Census Bureau said it's refraining from laying off census takers who were in the late phases of the head count of every U.S. resident and those door-knockers still are being assigned homes to visit in an effort to get answers for the 2020 census questionnaire. The temporary restraining order issued late Saturday by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh stops the Census Bureau from winding down operations until a court hearing for a preliminary injunction is held Sept. 17. The coalition had argued the earlier deadline would cause the Census Bureau to overlook minority communities in the census, leading to an inaccurate count.