Census spies will track every home: Anger at ‘intrusion of vast computer network’

Steve Doughty writes in the Daily Mail:

Every home will be monitored by state ‘tracking computers’ to check if people return their census forms, it has been revealed.

The surveillance network will try to ensure more than 22million households fill in the 32-page forms when the national headcount is carried out in five weeks’ time.

But the checks – part of a £500million attempt to assess the population – provoked protests about intrusion yesterday.

Addresses have been collected from state and commercial sources and recorded on a database, which will be handed over to the Royal Mail and Ordnance Survey for continual updating after the census.

The tracking network – based at a high-tech factory in Manchester – will register immediately when someone returns a completed census form online, as around six million people are expected to do.

It is designed to show up which of the 33million printed census forms have been properly returned within two days of a family or an individual posting one. Failing to fill in the form is a crime which can bring a £1,000 fine.