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Making Census

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Rupert Allman | 12:35 UK time, Friday, 21 December 2007

The next census will take place in 2011. The government is about to decide who it would like to carry out the work. It's a big contract and it's subject that we've already looked into in some detail. . But in these heightened times of data security, deciding who gets to contract is also politically sensitive. Given that participation in the census is compulsory, there is growing concern that one of the shortlisted firms is a huge foreign defence contractor. Lockheed Martin is battling it out with T-Systems to provide data capture and storage services for the 2011 Census.

Lockheed were involved in the last census and have gone on record that no information will leave the Government facilities operated by the Office for National Statistics. Nevertheless, suspicions remain about accountibility as well as the role of the US Patriot Act and its impact on those tasked to carry out the survey. Others object to Lockheed on a point of principle.

We've been speaking to ONS Census Director - Glen Watson. How seriously does he take data security?

We also hope to hear from Lockheed and Philip Redfern, retired director from of Office of Population Censuses and Surveys who thinks the census is increasingly intrusive and discredited.

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