Stats office deal sparks confidentiality fears
Possible Patriot Act entanglement raises hackles
A union is warning that the privacy of sensitive information could be put at risk by a statistics agency IT deal.
Proposals by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to outsource its IT functions to Fujitsu Services have prompted fears from the civil service union over confidentiality of data.
The Public and Commercial Services Union expressed concerns that plans to hand over work to the company, which is part of the Fujitsu multinational group, may risk the disclosure of private information as a result of the USA Patriot Act.
Under the terms of the Act, companies with operations in the America have to provide personal data to the US government. The union fears this could make UK companies and individuals less willing to provide commercially and personally sensitive data to the high-profile ONS.
Peter Harris, the union's national officer, said: "The ONS produces a range of statistical products that are crucial to the economic planning of both the government and the private sector.
"The department, in turn, relies on businesses to supply their own data on a regular basis, to ensure that its statistics are accurate.
"That requires the contributing businesses to have absolute confidence that the confidentiality of such sensitive information will be protected.
"If the ONS now transfers a large part of its IT work to Fujitsu, there will be concerns about access to this data, which in turn could affect the smooth running of the ONS' business. We are calling on the department to reconsider its plans and to retain this work in-house."
A spokesperson for the ONS said that a final decision on the potential business deal with Fujitsu will be taken on 28 September.
This article was originally published at Kablenet.
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Fujitsu Services in nothing to do with the US
In reference to Jeremy's comment and I am not always one to back up large companies, Fujitsu Services although part of the Fujitsu Group headquarted in Japan has it's headquarters in London and employs well over 10,000 people in the UK. It took over and transformed the ailing british computer firm ICL. Unlike many of it's europoean rivals it does not automatically send all the work off to India to be delivered for peanuts. They also run many of the major systems for Government including the MOD and the Private Sector so I don't see the risk in them managing the systems for ONS.
The Census 2001 itself was made with heavy involvement from Fujitsu-Siemens and Lockheed Martin anyway. Getting worried about it now is shutting the stable door after the entire farm has bolted.
I'd be more worried about the UK's national identity registry. Like the census, only doubleplusgood.
time to stand up to the US
When will someone in our ruling class stand up and say no to handing over any and everything to the states.
Why not only offer the outsourced work to non-multinationals or at least EU only companies.
While we continue to bend over and take in the arse from USA they will continue to think they rule the world, since effectively they do.
Just what is it we rely on the states so much for, that we cannot get elsewhere in the world?