Serco Group and the Ministry of Transportation

January 6, 2014

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When you hear the names “Halliburton” and “Blackwater,” do you break out in a cold sweat? Then you’re probably too high-strung to hear about the Serco Group. Based in the United Kingdom, Serco is the epitome of the worldwide transnational corporation. When the words “globalization” and “shadow government” appear in dictionaries, pictures of the Serco logo should appear next to the entries. What’s that? You say you haven’t heard of Serco? That’s okay. You’re not alone. The Guardian called Serco “probably the biggest company you’ve never heard of.”

Serco currently provides examination services to the Province of Ontario for the Graduated Driver Licensing program and the Ontario Security Guard Testing Program. Serco holds a 10-year, $114 million contract with the Province of Ontario to operate the province’s DriveTest driver examination centres. These tests include vision, road, and knowledge tests for all persons seeking to become a licensed automobile driver in the province. Not to mention issuing the licenses and creating the databases

Serco also supplies electronic tagging devices for offenders and asylum seekers. In Britain, Serco runs several prisons, a Young Offenders Institution and a Secure Training Centre. It also operates two Immigration Removal Centres. Serco is also responsible for the contracted-out court escort services in the south-east area (formerly a role undertaken by HM Prison Service). In addition, Serco runs Hünfeld Prison in Hesse, Germany. In Australia Serco runs Acacia Prison in Western Australia and Borallon Correctional Facility in Queensland as well as the national contract for immigration detention centres, including Christmas Island and the Villawood detention centre in Sydney. In Auckland, New Zealand Serco runs the Mt Eden remand prison and in March 2012 was awarded the contract to build and operate a 960 bed prison at Wiri. The Serco Group operates all seven of Australia’s immigration detention centers.

Serco holds defence contracts worldwide including the UK Government’s first modern outsourced contract for the maintenance of the UK Ballistic Missile Early Warning System at RAF Fylingdales. Serco also manages the Atomic Weapons Establishment responsible for the design, manufacture and support of warheads for the United Kingdom’s nuclear weapons program. In fact, Serco is in charge of all the UK’s nuclear stockpile from development to decommissioning.

Serco’s holding don’t stop there; they control half of London’s traffic signals and red light cameras, all of Dublin’s, much of the healthcare in the UK, 58 air traffic control facilities and all the state schools in the English towns of Bradford, Walsall and Stoke-on-Trent. In July 2013 Serco was awarded a $1.25 billion contract to manage the Obamacare website. Not bad for a company established in 1929 as a small subsidiary of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) that converted British cinemas from silent film to talkie operations.

The question is do you trust such a massive, powerful and secret organization with all your personal information? Well if you want to drive you have no choice!

In December of 2013 Your Ward News received concrete proof that the Ministry of Transportation was using facial recognition software to biometrically identify each and every single person who has ever applied for a driver’s license in Ontario. This was done without most driver’s knowledge or consent. Using computers to map the faces of all drivers proved to be just as effective as a fingerprint or DNA test. Guess which company helped to create Big Brother’s newest toy since the beginning? For  almost 15 years the Serco Group has been developing and improving facial recognition systems and developing gigantic databases of private information. Halton Regional Police last month were able to use the system to nab a wanted man on the lam for 13 years. The man successfully lived under a false identity for years, but it was when he applied for a driver’s license using his fake name a facial recognition scan came up with a different story.

Imagine a scenario where you’re walking down the street or attending a sports event or shopping at a mall, and your photo is taken by one of several CCTVs, identified, tagged and matched against the driver’s license database of facial templates, without your knowledge or consent. This is an affront to privacy that should not be tolerated.

You may wonder why you never herd of the Serco Group nor the fact they manage the entire driver licensing service on behalf of the province of Ontario. Other then a very friendly and biased 2006 interview Jane Martinson of the Guardian did with Serco’s chief Christopher Hyman (who resigned a few months ago after overcharging government customers) and what is presented in Serco’s own media releases, major media does not want you to know. Forget all the Bilderberg & Illuminati conspiracy theories, Serco is the real boogeyman and it is terrifying how massive their reach and secret their powers.

Astoundingly there was little negative objection to Serco’s contract to the Ministry of Transportation. In fact there was the only critical comment on the entire internet about the deal not published in a Serco or Ontario Government press release, and not used by unions to attack privatization as a whole.

A video entitled “Dirty Serco” regarding the Ontario drivers licensing facilities was uploaded by a user to YouTube. The video was yanked from YouTube and my further attempts to contact the poster via various means including emails, phone calls and chat proved unsuccessful. Your Ward News is currently the only outlet in  Ontario covering all the shady details of the Serco Group.

In September 2013, Serco was accused of extensive sexual abuse cover-ups of immigrants at Yarls Wood prison in Bedfordshire, England at the same time Ireland rejected a tender by Serco when the company was found to be involved in a series of multi-billion pound mortgage frauds in Britain.

A Serco employee revealed that the company had falsified 252 reports to the National Health Service regarding Serco health services in Cornwall after giving countless patients in their care infected blood and causing severe kidney damage.

Serco has a secretive history of authoritarian mismanagement with controlling interests in dozens of diverse sectors and these are the people the Ontario government decided to hand over your privacy too, all done without much of a whimper from the media?

Stand up and take notice!

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