Independent Media Centre Ireland

The People need to Boycott Census

category dublin | rights, freedoms and repression | feature author Tuesday March 22, 2011 23:53author by Declan Cullen - None

Boycott Census

featured image
CACI - Providing Software for the Irish Cencus
(and lots of other "defence software")

The people of Ireland should consider a Boycott in relation the upcoming Census in April 2011. The reason I say this is that the company contracted to carry out the Census is CACI UK who are a subsidiary of CACI international which through its various outsourcing has been accused of contributing to the torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib in Iraq, something I myself am not happy about, and it will be one of the reason's why I will not be completing the Census form this time.

The People need to Boycott Census

The people of Ireland should consider a Boycott in relation the upcoming Census in April 2011. The reason I say this is that the company contracted to carry out the Census is CACI UK who are a subsidiary of CACI international which through its various outsourcing has been accused of contributing to the torture of prisoners in Abu Ghraib in Iraq, something I myself am not happy about, and it will be one of the reason's why I will not be completing the Census form this time.

Apart from this being a major reason for non - compliance, the people of Ireland could also make it a vehicle of further protest against the past governments actions and the current governments U - turn on pre - election promises made by Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore, and the fact that they seem to want to continue down the same path of harsh measures as their predecessors.

The completing of this Census could be used as a measure of how blindfully compliant the people of Ireland still are, and that no matter what injustice is heaped upon them, such as cuts, tax increase's, bail outs, etc, that the ordinary people of Ireland are still afraid of standing their ground, and more frightenly, the government knowing this is probably the case.

For anyone, let alone the CSO, to threaten a person with a 25,000 euro fine is nothing more than a financial terrorist. If an ordinary citizen of Ireland did this they could be charged with extortion and jailed, but when its an organisation that has the Irish Governments blessing its absolutely fine.

This Parallel Universe way of thinking and operating in Ireland has got to stop. People can be fined and jailed for not paying for a TV Licence, not having a Dog Licence, leaving a box at a recycling centre, not paying a Toll and a long list of other stupid nonsensical so - called offences.

God forbid you do any of these things because that means you are a real danger and menace to society and we can't have that in a civilised society now can we.

But if you are banker, such as good ole Seanie Fitzpatrick and David Drumm, and you contribute to the collapse of a countries economy, you get to flee that same country with no sanction, no penalty and no charges brought.

Ordinary people have power, but they need to put aside their silly differences, join together, and concentrate on the real threat to their happiness and well - being, the people in power making the the stupid rules and regulations.

Declan Cullen
Dublin 7

Comments (26 of 26)

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author by demographerpublication date Sun Mar 13, 2011 15:45author address author phone

yes the company operating the census may be reprehensible, but they will be receiving a fixed fee for their actions and giving them less data to process by refusing to fill out the census is hardly going to vex them too much. if you want to highlight their complicity in criminality there are surely better ways to do this than skewing a count of the population. this count is used to plan where schools hospitals roads and other essential services are to be placed. the only thing a boycott of the census is going to achieve is that there are not enough schools in certain areas and possibly a lengthy and pointless legal battle which will swallow up more hospital building funds. in relation to the threat of financial coercion, please provide one singular example of anyone who has had the book thrown at them for refusing to fill out the census...

author by Conpublication date Sun Mar 13, 2011 18:23author address author phone

Oh! There is actually a problem here. The company carrying out the census is an American company. Under the USA PATIOT Act in the US (Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001) - The US government has access to all information contained in this company, which is also carrying out the census in the UK.

Scary stuff, Orwell would be rolling...

author by Anonymouspublication date Sun Mar 13, 2011 18:44author address author phone

If they are up to their elbows in shady stuff like that
then who knows what those fuckers would do with your data

and you can be sure that, whilst you or I would be fined for civil disobedience, they wouldn't if it came out that they misused or "lost" our personal info on a laptop.

the people in UK are having a problem with the terms of their census. It seems the terms allow for the transfer of their info to anyone they like who wants it.

check the terms carefully before you spill your guts. And if you must, fill it in as spartanly and strategically as you can get away with. You can be certain that, despite hollow assurances to the contrary, this info will be available to those in power if they want it. They already systematically wangled the power to snoop all your emails and texts for the last three years or more with little or no discussion. In many respects we have probably the worst snoop charter in Europe. Luckily they were somewhat incompetent in it's implementation due to their total ignorance of information technology and it's modern use patterns. Sometimes government stupidity and ignorance has a positive aspect! ;-).. But the attempted government and corporate erosion of privacy and civil liberties continues nevertheless...

some older but interesting related stuff here:

author by Anonymouspublication date Mon Mar 14, 2011 00:09author address author phone

"the company contracted to carry out the Census is CACI UK"

Where is the evidence for this?

author by Johnpublication date Mon Mar 14, 2011 00:46author address author phone

Yeah, this may or may not be true but you have to provide evidence for what you are saying if you want people to take you seriously. Where is the research that shows this information (re CACI) is true?
Two problems here really, the converse danger is that certain people will believe unsubstantiated facts because they happen to coincide with their worldview and go off on misguided crusades without checking the facts. I should know, I've done it myself.
Anyway, some corroborating evidence please.

author by Andrew Baoillpublication date Mon Mar 14, 2011 01:41author address author phone

The Scottish census is being contracted to CACI (UK), as documented here:

However, the Irish census is being handled, as usual, by the CSO, as documented here:

There is no mention anywhere on this site of the work being contracted out on this occasion, and several references to this project being a major undertaking by the CSO.

The author is either seriously mistaken or trolling.

I'll leave to others to debate the merits of non-completion as a means of 'protest' of marginally related issues, such as broader governmental policy, and only mention that the census is used as a means to assess the expected demand for various services. One item specifically targetted by the 2011 census is information about languages used by those who don't have English or Irish as a first language - this will provide useful information about the needs of immigrant populations. The census also provides information about the future education and health needs of local populations, among other topics.

Related Link:
author by the long shadow - nonepublication date Mon Mar 14, 2011 13:41author address author phone

The Census is being done by the CSO..
They have hired 5000 enumerators to carry it out.- all of these are garda vetted and are bound by the Official Secrets Act..

This is the kind of nonsence thread which drives people away from this valuable site
Cop on to yourself and fill it in.
The info gathered will benefit all of us..
We need to get away from the Jim Corr School of Conspiracy Theories

author by Johnpublication date Mon Mar 14, 2011 14:22author address author phone

From the CSO website ,2nd progress report on last census; The full document is on the link

3.2.1 Census of Population (COP)
Proposals on the final content of the census form were accepted by Government in January
2005 for the 2006 Census and preparations continued throughout the year. A new contract
was signed with CACI UK Ltd covering the printing of census forms and the software
solution to scan and recognise the information returned on the completed questionnaires.
Temporary supervisors to manage the fieldwork were recruited and appointed in the third
quarter of 2005 and arrangements were in place before the end of the year to recruit
approximately 4,500 Enumerators for deployment in March-May 2006 to undertake the

The following is the abstract from the CSOs current tender document for this census. Also a matter of public record

Abstract: The Director General of the Central Statistics Office seeks a
commitment for the supply and support of its Census Forms
Processing system and Enumerator Record Book (ERB) processing
system for use in the processing of the 2011 Census. This includes
the printing of the census questionnaires and ERBs.The services
sought include the provision of the associated software, hardware
and IT related services, including ongoing support and maintenance
of the system necessary to carry out the processing of the Census
of Population in 2011. The services sought also include the
typesetting and printing of the census questionnaires and
pre-addressed Enumerator Record Books to be used in the census
CPV: 72500000.

It is a matter of public record again as to who holds the current tender so this information can easily be obtained by asking the CSO.

Transparency is the key here but we have to look clearly at the situation also. Answers to our questions are often there for the asking but we have to ask them.

Related Link:
author by Soundmigration - date Mon Mar 14, 2011 14:43author address author phone

This is a factual story and apols need to Declan me thinks

the company callin it
IT Solutions specialist CACI has won a 5.8 million contract to process the next Irish Census
11.01.10 - The contract, awarded by the Central Statistics Office in Ireland (CSO), for census printing and data capture services, is for the 2011 Census. This will be the third Census where CACI has provided an automated forms processing solution and printing services for the CSO, having previously managed both the 2001 and 2006 Census projects. For the 2011 project, CACI will be responsible for designing and printing the census questionnaires and enumerator record books, and developing the IT systems that will automate the capture and coding of handwritten questionnaire data from nearly 2 million census forms, totalling more than 47 million pages. Printing will be carried out by DCK Ebrook in Dublin. The system will be managed and operated by CSO staff. The contract further strengthens CACI's expertise in census support services and follows the company's recent success in winning a contract to process the 2011 Scottish Census.
Greg Bradford, CEO of CACI, said: "Completing a national census is a major undertaking for any nation, and I'm delighted that once again CACI is playing a key role in such an important process. This win, and our involvement in the two previous Irish Census projects, as well as the 2011 Scottish Census, demonstrates our strength and continuing success in managing census projects. Both I and the Census Team here at CACI are looking forward to working with the CSO once again"

Gerry O'Hanlon, Director General of the CSO, added:

"We were impressed with CACI's expertise and the high level of professional standards demonstrated in their proposal. I am confident in their ability to help us process the 2011 Census efficiently and I'm looking forward to working with them on another successful census project."

They are a US military intelligence corporation that provided contract interrogators to the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, which has become notorious for the human rights abuses committed there.Founded in 1962 as California Analysis Center, Inc (CACI) the company is headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. In 1967 it was renamed Consolidated Analysis Centers, Inc and has been publicly owned since 1968. CACI changed once more in 1973 to CACI, Inc.

The parent company of the CACI group of companies is CACI International Inc, which was incorporated on October 8, 1985.[1]

CACI boasts of its role "pioneering in simulation software". [2]

The company reported $843.1M FY 2003 revenues. [3]

With more than 100 offices in London and Washington, DC, and approximately 9400 employees worldwide, CACI also provides business services such as "marketing systems" that include "profiling online consumers," and a database-driven "consumer classification product to meet the increasing need for precision marketing and more accurate targeting. The latest version combines the places where people live with their underlying lifestyle and demographic characteristics. ACORN covers every street in the United Kingdom and classifies the entire population in postal code level detail." [4] [5]

In 2005, CACI International bought National Security Research, Inc.. [1]

CACI's operations provide a fascinating example of the extent to which the tools and techniques used for military intelligence intermingle with high-level commercial information management.

More at and

The original job description for interrogators is here at Cryptome - one of the webs first whistleblowers sites

Fair play to Declan for raising it

author by Johnpublication date Mon Mar 14, 2011 16:15author address author phone

Yup, I did some digging of my own (see previous post) and feel certain that there is meat to this story. It is good to see information of this nature being backed up with verifiable facts otherwise we are left with rumours and paranoia that it is impossible to act effectively on even if the rumours have truth in them. Have written to the CSO asking about this.
Thanks to Soundmigration for further info.

author by Johnpublication date Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:44author address author phone

My interpretation of things so far. According to the CSO, CACI do not actually have access to the information gathered but they are providing the software.

author by The Shadowpublication date Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:27author address author phone

By simply writing on each page in bold type
Then tick whatever boxes in random order that you fancy.

What busisness is it of a Govt of how many rooms you have in your house,what your religion is[handy I suppose for when the religious nutters or no religionist lot get in for a spot of genocide as happened in Rwanda,Yougoslavia and Germany in the 1930s].Or wether you have a computor??Or what your health is??Seeing that there isnt any opt out clause of any of these questions,I'd suggest putting in the exact opposite information,and let the census office prove it is otherwise.

author by hackerpublication date Fri Mar 18, 2011 21:07author address author phone

why couldn't they just do this off a web server based on pps numbers over a week or something
they'd save a few million

plenty of good unemployed Irish software engineers itching to do something like this

Its all very doable with a half decent website and some cloud computing at the back end to handle the load
Ireland only has the population of greater manchester after all.!

The waste and bureaucracy and old style thinking continues it seems

author by Statistician.publication date Sat Mar 19, 2011 14:40author address author phone

Every business physically counts every single item in its inventory every year or two.

This involves physically counting every item on every shelf and in every office.

This usually reveals alarming(and usually accidental) discrepancies.
(Bean-counting accountants very often don't really know what is going on in a large organisation.)

A Census is a physical audit.

Statistics about Ireland would be meaningless without an actual 10 year physical check of what the statistics are supposed to be telling us.

author by IT Geek.publication date Sat Mar 19, 2011 16:20author address author phone

"Why couldn't they just do this off a web server based on pps numbers over a week or something
they'd save a few million.
Plenty of good unemployed Irish software engineers itching to do something like this."


Bankers were bad enough.

Taking advise from IT geeks in the back office who cannot remember De Morgan's Theorm would be the ultimate nightmare for Ireland.

author by Johnpublication date Mon Mar 21, 2011 21:14author address author phone

Perhaps we should look at the census information as another part of our country's resources and ask the same questions as we would about any of our resources.
Who has access to them? How can we make this access more equitable? How do we stop corporate interests from making use of this resource over and above the needs of the country?

author by CSO employeepublication date Tue Mar 22, 2011 01:02author address author phone

As explained above "CACI do not actually have access to the information gathered but they are providing the software". They are also providing the census forms and the Record Books used by the 5,000 enumerators.

If anyone outside the CSO had access to people's personal details, do you think it would be possible to keep it secret? A lot of people would have to be involved in some sort of conspiracy, with none of them leaking it or even giving the game away when they had a few drinks taken. That's just not believable.

There may be a good case for not giving future contracts to CACI because of their involvement with the US war machine, but that's a question of which big IT firm gets our tax euros - it has nothing to do with the content of the census or who gets to see the information received.

The census is a good thing in itself (it will give us information on things like how many habitable houses are empty, the degree to which the Catholic church is losing members, whether people are having more or fewer children, whether or not we are living longer, and more. Not completing the form just makes the data a little less reliable. It also causes hassle for the 5000 people who are getting a couple of month's paid work (they are paid for each complete form returned).

If anyone can show that peoples personal details have ever been shared by the CSO, let's hear about it. Give us facts, not paranoid theories. But I suspect we'll be waiting a very long time, as facts are generally ignored by conspiracy buffs.

author by kevin flanaganpublication date Thu Mar 24, 2011 18:56author address author phone

hi i refused to take the form yesterday and iwill not be taken one anyone doing the same please leave a message and we can get together as for there fine i wont be paying it and i do not support jim corr

author by CAC handedpublication date Sat Mar 26, 2011 03:56author address author phone

"If anyone can show that peoples personal details have ever been shared by the CSO, let's hear about it. Give us facts, not paranoid theories. But I suspect we'll be waiting a very long time, as facts are generally ignored by conspiracy buffs."

Well how would we ever know? Freedom of information request?? Yeah right. We don't exactly have a whistleblowers charter here, the people accessing the data certainly wouldn't tell us openly, and its really just a matter of allowing access to a computer database which is a pretty anonymous act if set up that way.

When dealing with government or large corporate access to information, a good rule of thumb is "if it can be done and it profits / benefits them then they ARE doing it"

Case in point, the US government wiretapping / sharepoint / etc etc

author by newsmediapublication date Mon Mar 28, 2011 05:15author address author phone

Most households will by now have through the letterbox received the 'Hello' census 2011 leaflet.
It lists 10 things to know about the Census 2001.

The 9th listing is the one that most people will feel miffed about but will mostly ignore - yet conversely it is the one single item most people should sit bolt upright about.


Excuse me? No-one, and I mean NO-ONE and I don't give a fiddler's fart about their law or reasoning - NO-ONE TELLS me what to do to suit their requirements.

They can ask, attempt to persuade, educate and request - but nobody but nobody has any damn right to DEMAND compliance with providing information about themselves and make none compliance an 'offence'.

And NOBODY has any right to impose penalties such as massive fines or imprisonment for non-compliance.

The census is 'required' by those who govern and claim they are upholding a free state.

Excuse me ... ?

author by newsmediapublication date Mon Mar 28, 2011 05:21author address author phone

It lists 10 things you should know about the 2011 Census
... of course - i hate typos like this

author by Anonymous Citizenpublication date Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:41author address author phone

I raised the issue of CACI's involvement with the census enumerator that called at my door to deliver the census form. She had not been briefed by the CSO about this issue, but was aware of the debate around CACI from I spoke to her about my concerns about (a) how a company aligned with the US military and its intelligence services and the subject of very serious complaints of involvement in torture could possibly have won the contract with the CSO, and (b) the security of my personal data given that such a firm was involved. She took my details and arranged for her supervisor to call me.

That supervisor (name withheld by me) called me the next day and started to give me a prepared statement from the CSO. It was clear that the statement was based on briefings from CACI and as such was economical with the truth to say the least. I pointed this out to him, and fair play to him, he said he would have someone more senior call me. I said to him that, given CACI's involvement, I would require very strong assurances as to the security of my personal information before I would co-operate with the census.

A week later, a senior manager in the CSO Swords office (again, name withheld by me) called me to discuss this issue. He began by describing the commercial relationship betwen the CSO and CACI and pointed out that the extent of CACI's involvement was the design and printing (which they had outsourced to a Dublin firm) of the census and enumerator forms, and the provision of on-site IT and software support at the census scanning/digitisation centres. He assured me that at no time would CACI personnel have access to any personal data and that all census forms would be handled by direct CSO staff working under the confidentiality provisions of the Statistics Act.

On the basis of his explicit assurance that none of my data would be seen by any employee of CACI, I agreed to complete the census form. While I deplore the decision by the CSO to appoint this organisation to assist in Census 2011, I am impressed at the seriousness with which my concerns were handled by the CSO. My only gripe, other than the appointment of CACI, is the belief that the CSO manager had that there was no way of excluding CACI form the tender process given that they had not yet been convicted of any criminal action. I pointed out to him that under European public procurement legislation it is perfectly possible for state organisations to set ethical standards on public contracts so long as such standards were applied equally to all tender responses.

author by Milonguera Viejapublication date Mon Apr 04, 2011 13:44author address author phone

In Canada the census takes place in May this year and the contractor is Lockheed Martin This company makes cluster bombs, Trident nuclear missiles, supplied guards for Guantanomo Bay and Abu Ghraib, etc etc.

A Canadian website "count me out" promotes creative ways to complete the census which will cost Lockheed Martin money by making automatic scanning of paper returns impossible so that expensive data inputting will be required.

In the UK, census day was 27 March. CACI is the census contractor for Scotland, and Lockheed Martin for the rest. A particular problem in the UK is that boycoting the census would create real problems for local autorities whcih need the data for funding social policies. A blog post called "How to fill in your census form without Lockheed Martin profiting" (and still supplying the social data) by Peace News, went viral within a matter of days after it was posted on 20 March.

This Peace News site is very easy to find. It explained, both in a concise version and in a longer much more detailed version, how people could reduce the profits of Lockheed Martin by filling in their census forms in a certain way, and still provide the necessary social data. All this would equally apply to the procedure run by CACI. All these systems are similar and are easily subverted by making cheap and fast computer scanning of paper returns impossible so that they have to spend a lot of money on manual processing. Making bar codes unreadable and writng NOT neatly in the boxes, making untidy corrections to ticked boxes, etc, is the key.

If you boycot the census, CACI will no doubt still receive its full contract sum, so that a boycot would actually be of advantage to CACI.

author by V for vendettapublication date Thu Apr 07, 2011 13:46author address author phone

Article in the times.

Some nuggets of information about the process which might help those considering naughty civil disobedience behaviour when filling in these intrusive and openly threatening and intimidating forms.

Personally I reckon they are preparing a nice detailed file to ease implementation of a more thorough property tax on the ordinary joe's family homes (amongst other things).

How many bedrooms?? Hmmm... Exactly why does this matter so much in a census? Personally I thought a census was about enumerating people not property?

author by Hackerpublication date Thu Apr 07, 2011 14:11author address author phone

"and the provision of on-site IT and software support at the census scanning/digitisation centres. He assured me that at no time would CACI personnel have access to any personal data and that all census forms would be handled by direct CSO staff working under the confidentiality provisions of the Statistics Act."

Utter PR Rubbish. How can you provide ITand software support without having access to any personal data??

I have worked for years in IT and because your software is operating directly on data, you ALWAYS have full access to the data you are processing. Believe me when there is a stoppage in data processing they don't care (or know) what the tech guy does as long as things get moving again reasonably quickly.

IT workers with more than 2 operational brain cells can take any data they want and do what they like with it. And with such a valuable dataset at stake and CACI calling the shots, believe me, there will be a nice bonus for whoever syphons off the data onto a backup drive.

Get real people. Take it from an IT pro and professional programmer. The client rarely has much idea how the tech works and you can subvert it at will if the price is right and you are that way inclined. I had access to enormous amounts of sensitive data in my time and only my own half decent moral compass prevented me from exploiting it. Nothing else.

Assume lots of people that shouldn't can access your census data. And assume it will be used for purposes that they say it won't. This is Ireland for chrissake. Do you honestly think an Irish politician who would sell out the country to german bank gamblers cares about the individual serfs data security??

author by smooth operatorpublication date Mon Apr 11, 2011 01:21author address author phone

I fully agree with Hacker's views,and I too would urge people to wake up.It is dangerously naive to believe that CACI will not have access to this information,and the drivel written by CSO employee is just typical of the standard nonsense that usually emanates from people who work for the government.V for vendetta raises a very interesting point as regards the property tax that this government (and the last one) have been threatening us with,a property tax I certainly wont be complying with.As someone who is not co-operating with this intrusive census,or with sinister organisations like CACI,I find the views of newsmedia,Kevin Flanagan and a few others very encouraging.

Those of you who haven't co-operated with this census may be interested to read some of the information on Mary Elizabeth Croft's website She has a considerable amount of cutting edge information here as regards court and other situations.She also has a link on her site to her magnificent online book "How I clobbered every bureaucratic cash confiscatory agency known to man".This book is about 96 pages,is free of charge and contains a great deal of very useful information to say the least.Almost all of the book is set in United States and Canada,but the information is relevant to most countries including Ireland.There are also links on the website to interviews given by a bloke called Frank O'Collins which contain information the authorities would rather you didn't know.

After reading and listening to this information you will be armed with some very empowering knowledge,and if agents from the CSO or the government undertake prosecutions against you,they will be skating on very thin ice.The Revenue Commissioners will also think twice before taking you on.It's time we stopped tolerating the arrogance of the Irish government and it's minnions.

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