ABS census was an IT and cyber security disaster waiting to happen - AFR - 11 August 2016

On Tuesday night the Australian Bureau of Statistics asked all households to complete the 2016 Census online. Leading up to the night, spokespeople from the ABS, and some politicians, were making impossible claims guaranteeing perfect security. Claims of being able to deliver perfect security, guaranteeing no data breaches, and no data misuse, are simply not credible. Many of us in the cyber security industry were vocal with our concerns.

Additionally, many privacy experts were very concerned about the ABS starting what amounts to a longitudinal study of individuals by retaining people's names.

The upshot was that many people tried to complete their census online, but the website crashed. I'm not gloating over this failure. No thinking person would object to the census on principle. We know the value of capacity planning based on data; a statement not without irony based on Tuesday night's debacle

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