There are only 69 days left before the mandatory United Kingdom Census on Sunday 27th March 2011
The Office for National Statistics has issued a misleading Press Release which seeks to allay the understandable public fears about what the risks are to their Sensitive Personal Data in regard to the involvement of he massive United States defence contractor Lockheed Martin.
The management executives of Lockheed Martin are obviously in no position to refuse any requests for demands for confidential UK census data data by US Government agencies, out of patriotic duty and for fear of threats to their huge multi-billion pound US Government contracts.
14 January 2011
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) carries out the Census in England and Wales. ONS is using a number of specialist companies to provide specific services for the census. The contract for processing the census questionnaires is not with the Lockheed Martin USA.It is with Lockheed Martin UK which is a UK based subsidiary. The contract was awarded in August 2008 to Lockheed Martin UK as it offered the best value for money in an open procurement scheme, carried out under European law.
There is an exemption under European competition law for public contracts which allows Governments not to open tenders to foreign companies, for systems which have "security" implications.
The contract has created around 1,500 jobs in the UK.
The contract is for £150 million, so that is £100,000 per job created in the UK.
Surely there are much cheaper job creation schemes than that ?
Security safeguards for census data
Concerns expressed about the possibility of the US Patriot Act being used by US intelligence services have been addressed by a number of additional contractual and operational safeguards. These arrangements have been put in place to ensure that US authorities are unable to access census data.
- All data processing will be carried out in UK - no data will leave or be held at any point outside the UK;
That is hard to believe, especially for the Still Secret Online Completion Census 2011 Web Site
- All data is the property of the ONS and only UK/EU owned companies will have any access to personal census data.
No ! It is our data as individual citizens and residents of the UK, it does not belong to the the ONS !
It is intolerable for the ONS or any other Government department to falsely claim exclusive ownership of people's names or addresses or familial relationships or religious beliefs or any of the other answers to the intrusive Census Questions.
Which part of "Only I Own My Own Name" etc. do these bureaucrats not understand ?
- The only people who have access to the full census dataset in the operational data centre will be ONS staff.
Misleading weasel words.
- What about partial census datasets rather than "the full census dataset" ?
- What about once data is copied and sent out of the "operational data centre" ?
- What about the Approved Researchers ?
- No Lockheed Martin staff (from either the US parent or UK company) will have access to any personal census data.
Surely Lockheed Martin staff will have access to the census form optical character reading software and databases ?
- ONS will control system access rights to all data systems;
So what ?
That is not in itself, any guarantee that your Sensitive Personal Data will not be copied and shared without your consent.
- Existing law already prevents the disclosure of census data - it is a criminal offence to disclose personal census data and is punishable by a fine and/or up to two years in prison.
This gives the misleading impression that somehow our Sensitive Personal Data can never be handed over individually or in bulk to anybody else apart from ONS staff.
(1) Subject to this section, personal information held by the Board in relation to the exercise of any of its functions must not be disclosed by--
(a) any member or employee of the Board,
(b) a member of any committee of the Board, or
(c) any other person who has received it directly or indirectly from the Board.
(4) Subsection (1) does not apply to a disclosure which--
(a) is required or permitted by any enactment,
(b) is required by a Community obligation,
(c) is necessary for the purpose of enabling or assisting the Board to exercise any of its functions,
(d) has already lawfully been made available to the public,
(e) is made in pursuance of an order of a court,
(f) is made for the purposes of a criminal investigation or criminal proceedings (whether or not in the United Kingdom),
(g) is made, in the interests of national security, to an Intelligence Service,
(h) is made with the consent of the person to whom it relates, or
(i) is made to an approved researcher.
There is also a "get out of jail free" provision for any ONS bureaucrats or sub-contractors under the amendments introduced by the Census Confidentiality Act 1991:
1 Unlawful disclosure of information
In section 8 of the [1920 c. 41.] Census Act 1920 (penalties), the following subsections shall be substituted for subsection (2)--
(4) It shall be a defence for a person charged with an offence under subsection (2) or (3) to prove--
(a) that at the time of the alleged offence he believed--
(i) that he was acting with lawful authority; or
i.e. this data can and will be handed over, without penalty, to:
- the three UK Intelligence Agencies (MI5, MI6 and GCHQ), the Department for Work and Pensions,
- private investigators working for the DWP hunting down "benefits cheats",
- Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs tax investigators,
- approved Insurance Industry "anti-fraud" investigators / private investigators,
- the Home Office Borders and Immigration Agency,
- the Serious Organised Crime Agency (either for domestic investigations into Serious Crimes, or for these and also for minor investigations if requested by a Foreign Law Enforcement agency under Mutual Legal Assistance treaties,
- Lawyers in civil Court Cases e.g. for Divorce or Libel or Copyright Infringement etc.,
- Local Authority Trading Standards departments,
- Local Authority Environmental Health departments
- etc. etc. etc.
N.B. none of these organisations should be allowed to have access to Census Data, if the idea of the census is to be comprehensive and inclusive of those groups in society who have every reason to fear and distrust the bureaucracy.
- All census employees and contractors working on the census sign a declaration of confidentiality to guarantee their understanding and compliance with the law.
What exactly is the text of this "declaration of confidentiality" ?
- Independent checks by an accredited UK security consultancy of both physical and electronic security are carried out for ONS.
Which "accredited UK security consultancy" has been given this contract ?
For further information, images and interviews:
Press Hotline: 01329 447654
Will any mainstream media journalists bother to question the ONS about these issues, or will we have to do it instead ?