Census 2011 – would you trust an arms company with your data?

With Lockheed Martin being a lead contractor for the UK’s 2011 census, Geoff Meaden asks if the data collected will really be secure.

2011 UK Census logo

In March 2011 Britain’s once-a-decade national census will be carried out. The aim is to record a wide range of information on every person in every household in the United Kingdom, in order to help guide provision for local and national public services. To this end, the census is compulsory. A little known fact about the census, however, is that the main contract, including data capture, was won by a subsidiary of US corporation, Lockheed Martin, which also helped with the 2001 census.1

Lockheed Martin is the world’s second largest weapons manufacturer2 and makes Trident nuclear missiles for the USA and UK. It also holds a one-third share in the management contract for Britain’s Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston, which is undergoing redevelopment as the government pushes towards replacing its nuclear weapons system. A recent growth area for Lockheed Martin has been “intelligence and surveillance”, and as part of this work the company has moved into data collection. Vice-President, Lorraine Martin is reported to have said, “We want to know what’s going on anytime, any place on the planet”.3 Continue reading “Census 2011 – would you trust an arms company with your data?”