As millions of people simultaneously attempted to log in to complete their census forms last night, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) servers failed under the enormous traffic load. The ABS has blamed this on a hardware router failure, a false positive in a monitoring system, and external attackers who were allegedly attempting to overload the servers through a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack occurring at the same time. David Kalisch, head of the ABS, claimed that the servers were taken offline between 7:30 pm AEST, after which time the main social media accounts continued to advise people that there was no problem and to complete the Census forms until 10 pm.
“The public was advised prior to the Census that it would not be a target for attack. The claims made after the event call into question the competence of those who planned the Census, as well as the Minister responsible,” commented Simon Frew, Pirate Party President. “The ABS has already breached the public’s trust by admitting to retaining personal information and enabling the linking of external datasets. They have now made that worse by incompetently allowing the online data collection to fail.”
Despite the serious privacy concerns first raised by the Pirate Party in March, and now shared by thousands of Australians as well as the Greens, Nick Xenophon and Andrew Wilkie, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has continued to forge ahead with the invasive 2016 Census. For the first time the ABS is planning to keep names for four years, linking very personal information asked by the Census questionnaire. Like many, the Pirate Party has raised objections to the collection of identifying information, and now calls on the ABS to declare the giving of “Name” and “Address” optional.
“The ABS has not properly consulted with the Australian public on this new, more invasive version of the Census,” said Simon Frew, President of the Pirate Party. “Names are not required by law according to former Australian Statistician Bill McLennan [PDF], and it is difficult to see how names could help with statistical analysis. Collecting names does, however, increase the danger of privacy breaches for Australian citizens which, given the ABS has been subject to 14 data breaches in the last three years, is particularly concerning. A simple way for the ABS put many Australians at ease is to make it optional for people to give their names and address.”
“Pirate Party Australia is pleased to announce our basic income policy,” said NSW senate candidate Sam Kearns. “Technology is going to impact on work in many ways, abolishing many jobs that currently employ thousands of people. Work will become increasingly uncertain and many people will find themselves without the means to survive. We have a choice as a society, do we want to create an antagonism between workers and the machines that are replacing them? Or do we want to ease the social cost of automation by ensuring everyone has a solid economic foundation that reduces the economic and social damage of people losing their job?”
“The current welfare system is woefully inadequate to deal with these coming changes,” Mr Kearns continued. “Where other parties support people languishing on the dole, barely able to keep their heads above water, we propose granting all Australians a basic income regardless of situation. This will reduce the labyrinthine bureaucracy running our social security system and provide certainty for anyone unfortunate enough to lose their job.”
“Pirate Party Australia is proud to announce that digital rights are central to our campaign in the 2016 Federal election. Campaigning under the slogan ‘Transparency Liberty Digital Rights,’ or TLDR (Too Long Didn’t Read), we aim to reverse the trend of governments operating under an increasingly dense veil of secrecy, whilst subjecting citizens to increasingly intrusive surveillance.” said Lachlan Simpson, Pirate Party candidate for the Victorian Senate.
“The Internet has been under attack from successive governments. The Abbott/Turnbull government has passed a mass surveillance regime and legislation to enable Internet censorship, with the support of the ALP,” continued Lachlan. “We pledge to fight tirelessly for Internet freedom. Pirate Party Australia has an extensive platform on digital liberties and was formed precisely to oppose such attacks on our rights.”
Since 9/11 Australia has passed more than 40 different terrorism related pieces of legislation. These have generally been passed with bi-partisan support and include many attacks on basic human rights. We are now under warrantless mass surveillance, journalists can be jailed for reporting on investigations, citizens can be detained without charge and ASIO can theoretically hack the entire Internet under a single warrant. Continue reading
The Pirate Party has completed it’s pre-selection process and can now announce its candidates for the 2016 Federal Election. In keeping with the Party’s democratic principles, all members were entitled to nominate themselves, and all members were entitled to vote on the preselection of candidates in their state.
The Pirate Party will be contesting for the Senate in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, as well as the House of Representatives seat of Bennelong. The party will receive its own column on the Senate ballot, as there are two candidates for each state they are contesting.
The campaign will be using the slogan “Transparency, Liberty and Digital Rights” or TLDR (Too Long; Didn’t Read in ‘Netspeak) and will be focused on providing an alternative narrative to terror, corruption and surveillance being peddled by the major Parties.