The 2011 UK Census; Is It Tantamount to Spying?


So it’s that time of the decade again, we are getting time consuming application forms posted through our letter boxes as the government conducts its ten-yearly survey of the population. We are obliged to divulge every minute detail of our lives, including, curiously if we have anyone staying over on the 27th of March 2011, to which I was inclined to reply ‘It depends how drunk I get’. In all seriousness, the level of detail required is in fact somewhat disconcerting and I’m surely not the only one who’s been tempted to give minimal , unhelpful answers to open questions like:

Briefly describe what you do (did) in your main job. 
With answers like

Shift some papers, around, drink coffee, make lewd jokes with my colleges and criticise my boss on Facebook


Y’know, just to spite those Tory bastards. Of course that’s not what I do, I’m much more of a tea drinker! It’s this kind of thing that gets me, do those government fat cats really expect us to sped hours of our own free time constructing detailed informative answers to questions like this?! I guess we all have the time now we don’t have jobs, but even watch Jeremy Kyle as got to be more thrilling than completing what is, in effect the longest job application form ever, good god I’ve done enough of those recently (no thanks to you, Cameron).

Not content with asking ridiculous questions like this, the document is also riddled with inaccuracies; The government boldly claims that ‘all your details will be kept secret for 100 years’, how they can be so confident about this as to put it in print is beyond me, unless of course Cameron and his cronies have used all our taxes to discover the secret to eternal life, which may explain the cutbacks.

It speaks volumes about the intrusive nature of such questions, and other more personally probing inquiries like the names and dates of birth of family members as well as their job titles do not have to be answered by people working in organisations such as MI5, the Military, The Prison Service,  and Pharmaceutical research organisations in case their details were to get into the wrong hands. This surely suggests that the security of such information is not entirely satisfactory, but in any case good enough for the rest of us.

The fact that prosecution can result from such omissions is surely some kind of breach of human rights, right? We have the right to freedom of speech, so why not freedom of silence? The fine for not completing the Census is all of one thousand pounds, which makes you wonder if the questionnaire was designed in such a way to persuade a significant enough amount of people elect to pay the fine, thus neatly offsetting the national debt.

The 2011 then is just part of mounting evidence that Britain is the most ‘watched’ country in the world. While governments will of course claim that measures such as the installation of CCTV cameras are being used to fight crime, the fact remains that we are constantly and increasingly being spied on, in every aspect of life.

Being a blogger for Online Spy Shop, an internet store selling various spy gadgets