On October 31, 2022, a political science professor at Columbia University represented by the Election Law Clinic at Harvard Law School filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Census Bureau seeking to compel a response to his Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which seeks records related to the impacts of the Bureau's new differential privacy system on 2020 Census data. Specifically, the plaintiff's FOIA request sought all files describing the 2020 Census data for all fifty states after the Bureau had injected "noise" but before post-processing had begun in order to assess how much distortion the post-processing phase introduced and whether it resulted in systematic errors for data quality and accuracy. The plaintiff asserts the Bureau violated FOIA by failing to provide a timely decision on his request and by failing to produce the requested records within the statutory time periods. He is seeking a judicial declaration that the Bureau is violating FOIA and a court order requiring the Bureau to respond and produce the requested records within a specified number of days.

The Census Bureau announced in January 2023 that it would recreate the 2010 noisy measurement file. The Census Bureau then announced on March 27, 2023, it would release the 2020 file.

The case was dismissed two weeks later.


U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York - No. 1:22-cv-9304