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Data are Encrypted at all Times

Our secure servers use "HTTPS", Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer, to ensure the encrypted transmission of data between your browser and the U.S. Census Bureau. This means that instead of sending readable text over the Internet, both your browser and our server encode (scramble) all text using a security key. That way, personal data sent to your browser or data you send back are extremely difficult to decode in the unlikely event it was intercepted by an unauthorized party.

All browsers connecting to our secure server must use a minimum encryption key size of 128 bits. If you cannot connect to our secure server and you are using an older browser, please upgrade to a newer browser capable of using the required encryption key size. In addition to data being encrypted while transmitted, all data are strongly encrypted when stored on our servers (even if stored temporarily).

Third Party Identity Proofing

Our secure server uses a digital certificate (digital ID) issued by a trusted, third party Certificate Authority (CA) as proof of identity. The only way to be sure of a web site's authenticity is to view their digital ID. In this way, you can be assured that you are not being "spoofed" or tricked by an imposter. The digital ID will contain information such as:

  • The name of the organization that owns the web site (e.g., "U.S. Census Bureau")
  • The site's registered Internet name/address (e.g., "")
  • The name of the Certification Authority under which the digital ID was issued (e.g., "VeriSign Trust Network")

The method for viewing a web site's Digital Certificate/ID varies depending on the web browser. (For example, Mozilla's Firefox will display a clickable locked padlock icon in the lower right corner of your screen when in secure mode, Microsoft Internet Explorer shows a clickable locked padlock icon in the menu bar.) Please see your browser's "help" information for instructions on how to verify a web site's identity.