Czech census

20-02-2001

This Thursday, officials will start visiting every household in the country, to deliver forms for the upcoming census, which aims to find out the exact number of people, apartments, houses, and household equipment that exist in the country. A similar census is held every ten years, and has been held for some 250 years in this part of the world. But never has it met with so much controversy. Senator Edvard Outrata headed the Czech Statistics Office when the census was being prepared three years ago:

While now we are very much aware of our rights, says the lawyer for the Czech Helsinki Committee Petr Smolik.
That's a point stressed by the Office for the Protection of Personal Data, as its spokesman Ladislav Hejlik told Radio Prague.

"We maintained that the census forms should not have people's names and addresses, and certainly not their identification numbers." The issue of including people's personal identification numbers is an especially sore point for the Czech Helsinki Committee, too.

Mr. Smolik of the Czech Helsinki Committee isn't so confident. He doesn't just object to the inclusion of people's identification numbers, more than anything else he is worried about the people who will be distributing and collecting the forms.