Crafting Gentleness

Thursday, July 10, 2008

From Downing Street ...
10 July 2008

We received a petition asking:

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to stop the involvement of arms company Lockheed Martin in the 2011 Census for England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, because this company's history of working in American military intelligence will undermine public confidence in the Census process."

Details of Petition:

"With more sensitive information being collected in the next Census in 2011, do we really want data about everyone in the UK being collected by a foreign arms company? Lockheed Martin is one of the shortlisted contractors to provide data capture and storage services for the 2011 Census, but the majority of its business is with the American Department of Defense and other US government agencies. They produce missiles, naval systems and land mines, as well as providing intelligence, surveillance and reconnnaissance services. Most worrying is their claim to deliver 'integrated threat information' to the US military by combining and analysing a widde range of intelligence information from around the world. With Lockheed Martin involved, people in the UK will not believe that their Census submissions will be safe from being incorporated into these systems, and this is likely to harm the reliability of the 2011 Census. We at Census Alert urge you to sign the petition because we believe that this kind of company should not be gathering sensitive data on every member of our population."

Read the Government's response

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is responsible for conducting the census in England and Wales and owns all of the data collected. ONS is seeking the support of external suppliers because the 10-year cycle for the census, the short processing timetable and extensive data systems required mean that outsourcing offers efficiencies and value for money. Censuses in Scotland and Northern Ireland are devolved matters.

ONS is nearing the end of a procurement exercise for census processing and two companies, Lockheed Martin UK and T-Systems remain in contention for award of the printing, data capture and processing contract to support the 2011 Census. Under either proposal all processing will take place in the UK and strict controls will be in place to protect confidentiality.
The confidentiality of personal census information is a top priority and personal census data will not be shared with any other state or nation. The UK Statistics and Registration Services Act makes disclosure of such personal data a criminal offence. All staff working with census data, including all subcontractor staff, sign a confidentiality declaration to confirm their understanding of and obligations to data confidentiality and undertaking to comply with legislation.
ONS is carrying out a fully compliant procurement in accordance with the requirements of European law and the European Union Procurement Directives, which have been incorporated into English law. The foundations of the rules are fairness and transparency. Any organisation with the correct technical capability, financial stability and experience therefore has the opportunity to compete openly for Government business throughout the European Union without discrimination. Lockheed Martin has significant experience of managing contracts for censuses in the UK and internationally. It held the contract for data capture and processing for the 2001 UK census, the 2010 US census, and the 2006 Canadian census.


Post a Comment

<< Home