The Green Party has called for a boycott of the UK's 2007 census pilot because it is being run by US weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin. Writing in the New Statesman yesterday, Green Party spokeswoman Sian Berry relayed her alarm that Lockheed, "biggest defence contractor in the world; manufacturer of land mines, depleted …
"short-sighted and irresponsible"
Well the complaint may be a bit OTT, but it raises some good questions. In this case it seems that the information won't leave UK government control - but what of other future projects ? Is there a chance that a future contract may create a situation like that with SWIFT where the contractor cannot legally hand over data, but also cannot legally refuse to give it to the 'merkins ?
Ian Cope said in reply to Berry's article that the boycott was "short-sighted and irresponsible"
And using a US military contractor is not short sighted and irresponsible?
Pot, Kettle, Black.
Shouldn't that be NSA? That would seem to make a lot more sense to me than NASA!
same thing over here
they also had some trouble here in Canada:
Merlin helicopters? I'm pretty sure that there's a whole bunch of folks in Somerset who build Merlin helicopters and are sure they work for Westland, not Lockheed...
True, Lockheed are paying Westland to provide Merlin like helicopters to form the basis of the next US presidential helicopter, but it's still Westland who make the Merlin.
"Shortsighted" is using a United States company to conduct a United Kingdom census.
"Shortsighted" is using a weapons contractor to conduct any census.
"Shortsighted" is actually believing that the information will remain under lock-and-key in the UK.
The SWIFT and airline PNR fiascos show us what the United States government can/will do if they feel like it. And don't think for a minute that the US government doesn't want the census data from every country imaginable. They can easily put pressure on Lockheed (if any pressure is even needed, which I highly doubt it would be) to force them to hand over the data.
Existing laws may allow USA to steal the cenus data
The boycott may well be justified, for a reason not posted, and overlooked by the author.
US anti terrorism laws force all US companies to hand over private personal client data to the US government upon request. Companies are not allowed to reveal that they have handed data over and can be charged with various crimes if they do make such an announcement.
If the UK census data is at anytime transferred to a server on USA soil for any kind of processing, the US government will no doubt take a copy of it.
In Canada, where many data services involve interactions with US servers ... such as central credit card and bank processing facilites on US soil, or contractors to the Canadian government with US home offices and servers centralized on US soil ... the privacy of personal data of all Canadians has been put a risk.
The agreements to a couple of my canadian credit cards, which I have now paid off and cancelled, state that I agree to allow the card company to hand over my personal data to the USA government without my knowledge!
The province of British Columbia has passed a law to ensure that all processing of BC government data by american contractors must be done on canadian soil. Other provinces have enacted similar laws.
You should be scared of Lockheed ... and any other US company that processes your data.
Seriously guys they should write our names on an SR-71 it'd be hilarious lets be open minded here.
USA Holding UK Data
In response to Ken Lord -
"If the UK census data is at anytime transferred to a server on USA soil for any kind of processing, the US government will no doubt take a copy of it."
So does that therefore mean they have a copy of all the DVLA records and other UK Government records that are seemingly stored offshore in the US of A already?
It doesn't take long to find out just how much of our data is really stored offshore (i.e. most of it) because the companies who provide the database storage are also based offshore. Why? Because they're the cheapest, and in uk.gov, money talks.
RE: USA Holding UK Data
I wouldn't be suprised to find that the US government already has access to a whole range of detailed data on UK citizens - after all it already sniffs all of our telephone, fax and email communications via the Eschelon project:
And guess which large US defense contractors are involved with the project:
"One of the main contractors is Raytheon. Lockheed Martin has been involved in writing software for it."
Since the UK government is intimately involved in the project, its almost a certainty that they will providing personal data to facilitate target matching and analysis on intercepted communications. With that in mind, who now wants to vote in favour of ID cards and the "national identity register"?
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