U.S. Census Bureau Director Robert Santos has championed the statistical agency's use of a new differential privacy tool aimed at protecting the privacy of agency survey participants amid criticism of several academic researchers and state demographers, reports The Associated Press. Such a tool was "the best solution available" against potential attempts by third-parties to secure data from census and survey participants, said Santos in a letter. However, demographers and researchers noted that the privacy technique has hampered the timeliness and accuracy of 2020 census figures that were crucial in federal fund distribution. "The Census Bureau risks failing its responsibilities as a federal statistical agency to provide relevant, accurate, timely, and credible information for the public good. In fact, the experience of the last few years has undermined user trust in the Census Bureau," said the researchers and demographers. The development comes after the Census Bureau was reported by the Department of Commerces Office of Inspector General to have failed to avert simulated cyberattacks in a covert operation aimed at evaluating the cybersecurity issues of the agency.