The Office of National Statistics promises to keep the information given on the census form confidential. This is seen as a key priority particularly as there is a legal requirement on all individuals to complete a census form.
The protection of confidentiality is thought to contribute to ensuing public trust in the way the information is handled by the Office of National Statistics and also contribute to high levels of public participation the census. For discussion of research in this area in the USA see Singer, E., Mathiowetz, N.A. and Couper, M.P. (1993) "The Impact of Privacy and Confidentiality Concerns on Survey Participation: The Case of the 1990 US Census", in Public Opinion Quarterly, 57.
Though research has shown that privacy is an issue that concerns people, little research, however, has been conducted in the UK on public attitudes to census data confidentiality particularly with respect to effective data use.