In August 2016, the Australian Bureau of Statistics attempted to run the 2016 Census. The Census was plagued by privacy issues and technical mishaps, in what is potentially Australia’s biggest privacy blunder of the year. For the first time since the Census began, the ABS had decided to not only take down your name and address, but also store these details and link them together with other data sets. The Pirate Party would love to explain which data sets now are intrinsically linked to your information, but it turns out that not even the ABS has the answer to this question.
On Thursday 24 November 2016, the Senate Economics References Committee delivered its report on the 2016 Census. The report shows that the ABS ignored the results of a privacy assessment conducted by an external reviewer in 2005, an assessment which showed that retaining names and addresses had serious privacy implications. Instead, they decided to run their own internal privacy assessment in 2015, which surprisingly came to the complete opposite decision. The ABS then concluded on the basis of this self-run privacy assessment, along with a whole three submissions from the public (all of which expressed negative doubts about the retention of names), that retaining names was definitely a good idea.
On 25 February 2017 the Pirate Party is planning on holding a tall ship party on the beautiful Sydney Harbour. The event is to raise money for the running of the Pirate Party and to help fund future campaigns.
“To paraphrase Cicero ‘the sinews of politics is infinite money’, and that’s something we can only dream of having,” said Simon Frew, President of the Pirate Party. “We hope to help replenish our coffers by putting on a ‘Pirate Party pirate party’ on Sydney Harbour. The party will be fully catered, with vegetarian options and alcohol for sale. It will be a fancy dress party so we encourage everyone to come in their best Pirate garb!”
There will be food, drinks and DJs as we sail the Harbour in the late Summer breeze.
When: Saturday 25 February 2017, from 6:30–10:30pm
Where: The Rocks, Sydney Harbour (exact location to be confirmed)
Cost: $110 – Limited tickets so get in quick!
Booking: Book online via pirateparty.org.au or https://www.trybooking.com/Booking/BookingEventSummary.aspx?eid=229796
The Pirate Party urges caution following the announcement by the Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis, that retrospective legislation will be introduced to criminalise the re-identification of de-identified government data. The threat of retrospective legislation may be a ploy to silence critics of the government for discussing flaws in government-published datasets without due process. Consequently, this may prevent anyone bringing security flaws in government practices to attention — including the attention of the Government.
In a media release issued on Wednesday afternoon the Attorney-General announced his intention to introduce new laws aimed at protecting data published by the Government. These changes appear to completely miss their mark, and may in fact criminalise the inspection of datasets for flaws and faults. The broad terms of the proposal could easily implicate any researchers in the field of data anonymity — anyone whose research involves examining datasets for potential privacy flaws.
With fresh moves afoot to remove the words insult and offend from section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, the Pirate Party calls upon Parliament to get serious about supporting free speech.
“Pirate Party Australia is well aware of the risks around state censorship of opinions,” said Simon Frew, President of Pirate Party Australia. “We fought the Internet censorship laws of the Rudd Government and we opposed the Gillard Government’s attempt to extend section 18C in ways that would have banned causing offence on the grounds of religion and political opinion.”
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.”