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I've recently been IP blacklisted from Census.gov. To dispel any possible doubt, I'm a developer using PostGIS. And a contributor to the project. When I try to access Census.gov, I'm getting

Access Denied

You don't have permission to access "http://www2.census.gov/geo/tiger/TIGER2016/ROADS/tl_2016_72069_roads.zip" on this server.
Reference #18.23a40517.1485370813.e70dcbc

www2.census.gov resolves to deploy.static.akamaitechnologies.com which is currently hosted at 23.195.82.227. I am also getting error when I try to reach the contact us page which is even more comical, http://www.census.gov/about/contact-us.html

Is there any method to get Census.gov to remove the IP ban? Thus far, I've tried posting a question to

  • The Twitter account of @usdatagov, @uscensusbureau
  • The email address at geo.geography@census.gov
  • The phone number 301-763-9099

That raises a few questions

  • Has anyone ever got un-blacklisted?
  • What is the criteria to get blacklisted?
  • Is there a private vendor of the census data that I can pay to get access to?

Other PostGIS developers are also reporting this problem.

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    More contact info – Jan Doggen Jan 26 '17 at 7:51
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    I tried that, in fairness I will wait to give them more time to get back to me. I only wrote the website a couple of days ago. I'll also be sure to update with anything they get back to me with. I did talk to one rep who asked for me to email them the info and said she would get it to the right department. I did email them at the above address but I'm not holding my breath. – Evan Carroll Jan 26 '17 at 7:53
  • torproject.org might work. My experience with akamaitechnologies.com is that they'll make you solve a captcha, but then you can access with no problems. – Barry Carter Jan 26 '17 at 19:49
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    Was there ever a solution to this other than the workarounds mentioned above? Any clue why certain IPs are receiving this error? I'm receiving the same access denied error. – Patrick Martin Mar 13 '17 at 2:50
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    I've run into this as well. As near as I can tell only the PostGIS TIGER geocoder database population scripts are triggering this; I haven't found anyone who's run into it with another use case. IMHO the answer is for the right management levels of the Census Bureau and the PostGIS community to meet and work out a win-win solution. That might involve PostGIS funding mirrors for the geocoder shapefile download. – znmeb Apr 11 '17 at 4:34
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This may be an innocuous software error with thresholds being reached, but nonetheless it's still a serious issue of your rights as a citizen to use government services. Did you ever receive a response? If not, I would file a FOIA directly with the U.S. Census Dept

  • my thoughts exactly. i can see .gov having legit reasons but only in ultra extreme circumstances. and they would need to be completely transparent about it (probably will never happen). but yeah, they shouldn't be blocking or denying any services to its citizens. possibly even a civil rights issue. – albert Jul 9 '17 at 16:17
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The standard way to circumvent these kinds of block is to use a VPN. There are plenty around, paid and free.

Not all VPNs do a good job of actually hiding your IP, and some may look a bit flaky/shady, so I suggest you search for things like vpn comparison or vpn test, so that others have already applied a first filter.

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