The ‘stalker state’ census: pointless, out of date and wasteful – and that’s just what the government says about it.
NO2ID  say the census exemplifies the stalker state – an official obsession with documenting our private lives for no good reason and to no good effect. An exercise that was always controversial has been rendered pointless by a more mobile society and by alternatives that produce better quality, more timely information.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude  said last year there were alternatives to the census that could provide “better, quicker information more frequently and cheaper.” Eric Pickles MP reported how councils had been short-changed of government funding from use of out of date information from the 2001 census.
The government knows this, announcing this year’s census will be the last. But despite being an expensive and essentially pointless exercise, the 2011 census :
- will ask the most personally invasive questions ever seen, about you, your job, visitors to your house and where they live.
- will not be confidential – but shared not just across government but to all 27 EU states, and even private researchers .
- will inflict punitive fines of £1,000 for those that refuse the intrusion.
- will cost £480m  to provide – eventually – information that is unverifiable and immediately out of date
Guy Herbert, General Secretary of NO2ID, said:
This census is an astonishing bureaucratic assault on every family’s privacy. The stalker state wants to know who you are, what you do, and now who you do it with – information the government *does not need* to get statistics for planning. It is private information that the government cannot protect, and should not collect.
“If David Cameron and Nick Clegg want to show that they mean their fine words about rolling back the database state, then they will reverse the stealthy changes that have been made to census confidentiality. The government should commit itself to keep census information fully confidential, and to destroy all the raw data when
it has been statistically tabulated, so that it cannot be used for other purposes.
(1) NO2ID is the national, non-partisan privacy campaign against the database state, of which the Identity cards scheme was the most visible part. For more information about other schemes NO2ID is opposing, see www.no2id.net/dbstate.php
(2) See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/7882774/National-census-to-be-axed-after-200-years.html
(3) See linked documents at:
(4) The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007, s39 tore up a 200-year tradition of confidentiality for England and Wales.
Raw census data may now be acquired by the police, the intelligence agencies, immigration authorities, tax inspectors, DWP investigators,
foreign governments or private sector or academic ‘approved researchers’: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2007/18/section/39
(5) More than double the cost of the 2001 census.