Tuesday, August 09, 2016

#Censusmas: Happy Census Night

Today is #Censusmas as the often-humorous (Census.abs.gov.au) ABS Census team declared on Twitter, but incremental improvement when you only have one shot every five years is serious business. The head of Census talks to The Mandarin about switching to online by default.
How the Census moved a nation to online by default

Happy census night. If you somehow missed it, tonight is the night the Australian Bureau of Statistics will conduct the largest statistical collection of information about Australians: The Census of Population and Housing. If you have not missed it, you will know the last week has been marked by ongoing technical difficulties, engaged ABS phone lines and information and privacy fears
The minister responsible for the census, Michael McCormack has argued that filling out a census form with personal details is no different to using social media.
"I note with some humour really that many people are going on Twitter and Facebook making various comments about the Bureau of Statistics, about the census, and about me as well, when in fact wherever they go, it tracks you, on your Facebook account, so I can't really see what the big deal is."
Census 2016: What you need to know

Census: the social compact on de-identified data protects privacy

Census controversy: Senator Xenophon announces plans to withhold name over privacy concerns

Google on #Censusmas

Memories of kommunist regime mentality came flooding back as I read this:

But she learned quickly not to question Murray’s wisdom: “As a public servant you should never question an official government inquiry; that’s a bad thing to do.”

A new federated national digital identity framework is coming in 2017. It will accommodate smaller agencies and won’t be dominated by the big federal players, says the project’s leader.
National digital identity framework prototype only weeks away 
Epilogue: Foreign hackers have deliberately and maliciously attacked the Australian Bureau of Statistics online census form, forcing the bureau to shut down the survey for hours as people attempted to fill in their survey forms. The head of the ABS David Kalisch says there were four separate cyber-attacks on the site yesterday but only the fourth one, which occurred after 7.30pm when more Australians logged in to complete their forms online, caused the bureau to close its system Census 2016 Malcolm Turnbull finds census easy as website crashes ...

via John Quiggin dot com: It appears that, having crashed last night with only about 10 per cent of households having submitted data, the Census website is now off the air indefinitely. It’s hard for me to see how this exercise can be salvaged. Almost certainly, lots of people who tried and failed to fill in their forms last night will be unwilling to do so again, especially in the absence of any coherent explanation for the failure. It’s looking increasingly as if the only option will be to give up and try again in five years time. Coincidentally or not, a ten-yearly census was exactly what the leadership of ABS was suggesting a couple of years ago.
This fiasco seems to have “reform” written all over it, from the new entrepreneurial leadership of ABS to the contracting out of vital functions to the benign/malign neglect displayed by the Abbott-Turnbull government. Peter Martin is very good on this, as is Chris Graham at New Matilda

It's "extraordinary" the ABS took ten hours to to notify the minister and PM of ongoing cyberattacks on the Census, says a former ACCC chair. Leaders always say they 'want bad news in advance'. Inadequate advice to PM contributed to Census embarrassment