Power to the Population? The Population Census under Review

Killick, L., Duff, A., Hall, H., Deakin, M. (2016). Power to the Population? The Population Census under Review. In: (Ed.) ACTIS 2015, , () ( ed.). (pp. ). Japan: . IAFOR.

ISSN: 2189-1028


Many regard the population census as the backbone of national statistics. It is also
regarded as a national institution; a data source held in high regard by the academic,
policymaker, historian and genealogist alike. However, technological advances,
pressure on resources and the availability of alternative information about the
demography of the population have led to a recent review of the census.
The results of this review have led the UK to develop a population census that in
future will be conducted online and augmented by data derived from other
government sources, for example, health and social care records, without the need for
explicit consent of the population. It is, therefore, an opportune time to build upon
previous studies relating to privacy and the census and examine the impact that these
confirmed changes to the population census in the UK will have on public perceptions
of the confidential nature of the census, with a particular focus on information
security, privacy and ethics.
This paper will discuss the results of a study examining public attitudes to an online
census, information sharing between government agencies without explicit consent,
and attitudes to private companies processing census data. The census office have
made changes to the census have with limited input from the public and lead us to
question where ultimate power lies? Is it with those making the changes, or those
providing information, to the census?
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Mark Deakin
Professor (Affiliate to CSI)
+44 131 455 2480
Lynn Killick
Research student
+44 131 455 2303
Hazel Hall
Director of CSI
+44 131 455 2760
Keywords: security