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While it makes a nice story, if you think that lacking this information would have seriously slowed down the Holocaust you are sadly mistaken.

That is actually not correct. You should read "IBM and the Holocaust" to get a good account on exact that - there are good comparisons of countries that had very detailed census (typically "more organized" northern European) like Holland, where the majority of jewish population got killed, while in other countries like France it was as "low" as 25%.

In France in particular there is the example of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ren%C3%A9_Carmille René Carmille, who was in charge of census and actively sabotaged the collection and use of data.

See also http://theinstitute.ieee.org/technology-focus/technology-his... which calls Carmille one of the first hackers:

"After the invasion, the pro-Nazi Vichy government ordered a nationwide census. Carmille requested the assignment of compiling data from the census forms onto tabulator cards for analysis. His group transferred the data, including information from Column 11—where citizens were asked to indicate their religion—onto tabulator cards. They were instructed by the Nazis to sort the cards and print a list of all Jews living in France so that they could be located and sent to concentration camps.

Over the course of two years, Carmille and his group purposely delayed the process by mishandling the punch cards. He also hacked his own machines, reprogramming them so that they’d never punch information from Column 11 onto any census card. Instead, Carmille’s groups spent most of their time using the information on the cards to find and recruit former French soldiers for the French Resistance."

If that's not hacking and data protection, then I don't know what is.

Why would citizens accurately report a prohibited (or highly disfavored) religion? I can understand using existing census data, but a new census, after it's obvious what the government wants, seems not-so-useful?

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