Friday, 12 August 2016

Privacy advocates demand answers on census fail - open letter

So what's happened to all that data then? People filling out stuff for the census and not being able to submit it for example. What's happened with the data from the 2 million people who were actually successful? Can we even trust this gov with our personal information anyway if they're so incredibly incompetent with anything to do with online?

A number of privacy advocates are demanding answers as to what exactly happened with census fail. It's just not good enough to have misleading stories about a likely non-existent DoS attack. For all we know the hardware simply wasn't built for the traffic. 

Will we ever be able to trust this gov with another online exercise in data collection? I think not. We should mass boycott any new census from the Turnbull gov as they simply can't be trusted with our private data. What are they going to do, bust half of Australia for refusing to have any part of it?
The letter, signed by prominent privacy advocates, academics and journalists, reads: 

The conduct of this year’s census raises serious and pressing ethical, legal, security and technological concerns. These throw doubt on the value of the exercise and the quality of the data collected. 

The Australian government must put the Census 2016 on hold while it consults with the Australian people on the value and ethical ramifications of this and similar mass data-collection exercises. Expert input and advice must be sought to determine best practice ethical, governance and security standards for data collection, use, linkage, storage, and real-world implementation. 

These problems, and the difficulties Australians have experienced in accessing and completing both the paper and electronic forms, make imperative the provision of the following two remedies. 

We therefore respectfully request: 
1. Amnesty for anyone who files a late or incomplete census 
2. An independent inquiry into the ABS’s conduct of Census 2016. This should include a comparison of the ethical and institutional governance arrangements for hard-copy and electronic data collection, storage, linkage and use with international and best practice standards. Community consultation should take place in regard to the appointment of heads of this inquiry, precise terms of reference and timeframes for reporting. Digital Rights Watch  

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