[Linux-aus] Census data risks - retention and correlation of records

David Lloyd lloy0076 at adam.com.au
Sun Apr 3 18:43:30 AEST 2016

The ABS can and does knock on people's doors and DOES sue people who
don't give it information already; nothing particularly new about that.

And anyone who thinks they don't already keep the data is probably
living in a fairy tale world that involves drugs I don't usually take.

They're just trying to avoid getting embarrassed by an Australian
version of Edward Snowden. Or that white haired person holed up in an
embassy in the UK.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: linux-aus [mailto:linux-aus-bounces at lists.linux.org.au] On
> Of Adam Nielsen
> Sent: Saturday, 2 April 2016 2:28 PM
> To: linux-aus at lists.linux.org.au
> Subject: Re: [Linux-aus] Census data risks - retention and correlation
> records
> > > Your responses are completely anonymous. Unlike say, an upcoming
> > > nationwide census. But that's a different topic ;-)
> >
> > Is this something we should respond to, in our broader role? It's
> > really an 'open' issue, it's kind of the opposite of data freedom in
> > sense, but it is about data privacy...
> It's freedom in the sense that I'm free to keep my code and identity
> private if I choose to, but apparently I'm not free to keep my
> information private if the ABS come knocking.  I'm sure people
> be so keen on free software if part of that freedom meant you were
> free to have the full name and home address of every person who ever
> contributed to a project.
> Not that this is all that new, I didn't know the ABS could compel you
> share all your personal information either, and now that I know this,
> much less happy about the whole census in general.
> <http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/inquirer/pushing-the-limits-
> of-privacy/story-e6frg6z6-1226240259101>
> > I am quite unhappy about (a) the change in policy and (b) the lack
> > consultation in the change.
> >
> > For those who are unaware - the ABS now intend to retain your
> personal
> > information (previously destroyed) *and* correlate it with other
> Thanks for the links, I didn't realise this change had taken place
> Now I'm not so keen on answering the August census honestly, in
> protest.
> Maybe this year instead of everyone putting Jedi Knight as their
> we could all write "Private" and skip as many questions as possible.
> There is already some expectation of widespread civil disobedience
> because of this change, and perhaps this is the only way to get the
> message across.
> The fact that the ABS could still literally knock on your door and
> you to share this info along with the bank statements and other
> paperwork to prove its correctness still doesn't sit easy with me
> I would have no problem at all if there was a choice involved, but as
> as it becomes mandatory I have a big problem with it.
> > An ABS census hack would be the most comprehensive identity theft
> of
> > all time...
> I wonder how we can make that happen...?  Part of me would love to
> see all that data go public to prove that no system is perfect and
> who thinks so is a fool, but the fallout from it would be disastrous.
> > It is just too risky to provide key personal information on every
> > single Australian in a database that could be exploited by staff or
> > hackers, and there really is no good reason to do so. The ABS should
> > return to their previous policy of destroying personal identifying
> > data and only retaining census data itself.
> The only good that could come of it is making identity theft easier to
> clean up after.  It can be a headache now trying to prove you weren't
> one who applied for that credit card, but if every second person has
> their identity stolen then that process might at least become easier!
> Cheers,
> Adam.
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