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Count Me Out

Questions to the esteemed gallery. If you are a Canadian citizen would it bother you to know that Stats Canada has contracted out the software to do it's 2006 census to a foreign company? Would it bother you to know that it was contracted out to a company in the United States, where personal information is considered interesting toilet reading for the federal government? Would it bother you that the company it was contracted out to is Lockheed Martin, a very major defense contractor?

If your answers to some of these questions is "yes", then you should check out the link above. To be honest, I'm not 100% sure how I feel about this. Contracting out the software might be as innocuous as choosing Microsoft Word, but having worked in the software industry in the past, there can be an awful lot of vendor/client interaction that might well lead to data viewed by LM personnel, regardless of any guarantees of StatsCan.

In any case, I give you this link to do with as you please. Let me know what you think, it will help inform my decision, too.

No, no, no. Why would anyone contract something out to the best company for the job, with the best price. Much better to go to a Canadian political cronie for double the cost, and get an inferior product.
Sorry, the Liberals already proved that.

Who knows how it was contracted? I don't, and I expect you don't either. And really, what would be the problem with supporting a bit of Canadian industry, anyway? Most of the government already uses American or Indian software, a little help wouldn't hurt.

Oops, hit return too quick. The real issues revolve around privacy for me; and I'm not comfortable that they are being addressed properly here.

Anyway, as I say in the post, I'm kind of ambivalent about it, but for those that are concerened, there is something that you can do.

What Richard_Cranium is missing is that Lockheed is subject to the Patriot Act. The Government of the USA is going to have full access to all our info because Lockheed is an American firm.

They got the contract a long time ago. This is a big problem.

I'm not 100% convinced that Lockheed will actually have any of our information - according to what I've read, StatsCan awarded them the contract for the software, not specifically to do data collection or processing. The relationship could therefore be analogous to my office using MS Office for word processing and lightweight database work - we bought the software, it's installed locally and no MS personnel gets their hand on anything we produce with it. (At least I really, really hope so ;)

However, with complex software packages there can be a fair bit of vendor support/client interaction and this might result in the transfer of data, or even on-site vendor project personnel.

Whether this results in actual data being trasmitted to Lockheed Martin is an open question that I just can't answer right now.

When I think of 'best price', Lockheed Martin doesn't exactly jump to mind. LM has a luminous history of bribing officials to gain lucrative contracts. I'm not saying that any such tomfoolery went on with this contract, because there is (currently) no evidence to support such a statement. Statcan claims that no outside contractor nor agency will be permitted access to the collected data: the contractors are only there to supply the brick and mortar, as it were. Nonetheless, anyone involved in software development knows that developing large, specialized software packages is an iterative process. LM will likely have a programmer (or a team) working full-time directly with StatCan personnel as the project proceeds, to debug and streamline the product. Claims that LM personnel won't have any data access once collection begins are laughable.

"No no no ... much better to go to a Canadian political cronie for double the cost and get an inferior product. Sorry the Liberals already proved that."

The Liberals were in power when the contract was signed ages ago, you dimwit. Oh but please don't let the facts get in the way of yet another pointless rant...

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