Friday, May 23, 2008

Defence giant could give UK secrets to US spies

Also in this morning's times: MPs warn that defence giant could give census secrets to US spy chiefs

"Personal details from the next census could be disclosed to US authorities if an American defence company wins the contract to run it, the Treasury Select Committee says today. MPs on the committee are demanding that the Government seeks firm assurances that detailed information about the UK population will not be at risk of being handed to US intelligence agencies...

Two companies, Lockheed Martin, the US defence group, and the German telecommunications company TSystems, are bidding for the £450 million contract to run the 2011 Census.

The US Patriot Act allows personal data held by companies in the US to be made available to the intelligence agencies.

Angela Eagle, a Treasury minister, said that if Lockheed won the contract, provisions preventing the removal from the UK of census information would be put in the contract"

Someone should inform the minister that in the US, the PATRIOT Act trumps contract law and any such provisions in the contract wouldn't be worth the paper they were written on.

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