Contract surprise for 2011 census

A FEW days ago I read with amazement that the Lockheed Martin Corporation of the United States has been awarded the £150m contract to gather data for the 2011 UK census. Lockheed Martin is the world’s largest weapons manufacturer.

They make Trident nuclear missiles and they own a one-third share of Britain’s Aldermaston nuclear weapons factory.

Currently the greatest area of growth for Lockheed Martin is in intelligence and surveillance with the company moving into data collection.

To quote their vice-president, “We want to know what’s going on any time, any place on the planet.”

Neither the British nor US governments will make clear whether information gathered by the census falls under the American Patriotic Act but it is clear US companies are legally obliged to pass on to their government any data held by them. Additionally all information out-sourced to the US may be made widely available in that country.

By contracting Lockheed Martin to do this work, what was a perfectly respectable and useful socio-economic activity may now be perceived as part of the security world of intelligence and surveillance.

The US authorities are paranoid about WikiLeaks but are obviously content to have access to masses of UK personal data.

I contacted Stephen Lloyd MP on this issue and I am grateful for his prompt reply and agreement with my views. On December 7 he said, “I agree entirely and will lobby the relevant department.”

I urge readers to contact him and trust we can persuade our government to appoint a peaceful UK company in future years. British jobs for British people and not swell the coffers of a foreign arms manufacturer.

Bill Palethorpe

South Street