Lockheed Martin, arms company, to run UK Census!

January 15th, 2008

The next UK Census will be in 2011. Help us stop it being run by an arms company with close links to the United States government.

What’s the problem?

The process of running the 2011 Census will be contracted out by the Office of National Statistics to a private company.

One of the two contractors in the final round of selection is the arms company Lockheed Martin, 80% of whose business is with the US Department of Defense and other Federal Government agencies.

This might concern you because:

  • The Census rules mean that every household will be legally obliged to provide a wide range of personal information that will be handled by the chosen contractor.
  • Lockheed Martin produces missiles and land mines which are being used in Afghanistan and Iraq and which are illegal in many countries.
  • They also focus on intelligence and surveillance work and boast of their ability to provide ‘integrated threat information’ that combines information from many different sources.
  • New questions in the 2011 Census will include information about income and place of birth, as well as existing questions about languages spoken in the household and many other personal details.
  • This information would be very useful to Lockheed Martin’s intelligence work, and fears that the data might not be safe could lead to many people not filling in their Census forms.

Census Alert is therefore campaigning to stop Lockheed Martin from being given the contract.

The campaign is supported by the Green Party, politicians from Plaid Cymru, Labour and the Scottish National Party, and others opposed to the arms trade and concerned about personal privacy.

We are not opposed to the Census itself. Aggregated, the information collected is important in allocating resources to local authorities and public services.

But personal privacy is important too, and we are concerned that Lockheed Martin’s involvement could undermine public confidence in the process and lead to inaccurate data being collected.

What can I do?
There is still time to stop this happening and we are not calling for a boycott of the Census at this stage.
Before the final decisions on the contract are made, we are asking you to do the following:

Sign our petition opposing arms company involvement in the Census at:
Contact your MP and ask them to raise the issue in Parliament.
Contact your local Councillor and ask them to highlight their concerns about the allocation of local authority resources.

More about taking action on this issue

The 2006 Canadian Census campaign
Lockheed Martin were also involved in the 2006 Census in Canada, and a campaign calling for a boycott was organised by Vive le Canada and supported by progressive MPs in Canada’s parliament.

The campaign did not succeed in getting them removed. But it did achieve its aim of ensuring only civil servants handled the actual data, and a new government task force was set up to monitor privacy during the Census.

[…]

http://censusalert.org.uk/

and so on…

Of course, we on BLOGDIAL do not think you should fill out a census form at all, for many reasons.

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