Defending Data

  • Kevin MantonEmail author


This chapter analyses a Whitehall committee chaired by Francis Graham-Harrison and shows how its real function was not, as ministers stated, to report on government computer use, but rather to prepare for Younger’s report. This committee worked both to protect the government’s paper-based data from any oversight that Younger might introduce and to focus attention onto purely technical matters. It is shown how the assurances offered in the report: that computer operators were vetted, that computers were safe and would not be networked to link data, were all known to be false. Edward Heath highlighted the artificiality of dividing computerised and paper-based records; however, this chapter shows how the marginalisation of his interjection demonstrates how attuned government had become to the needs of its data.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LondonLondonUK

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