The chapter of the committee report devoted to privacy concerns mentions
the 2006 efforts by the ABS to move to retention of name and address data and
the creation of a ‘Longitudinal Data Set’, and notes the failure of the ABS to
reconcile the differences between the thorough Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA)
conducted by Pacific Privacy Consulting in 2005 and the internal PIA conducted
by the ABS a decade later. The earlier PIA noted that the longer a longitudinal
record is retained, the more possible individual identification becomes.
Given the identified flaws in the 2015 PIA, including that the committee
found no evidence that the ABS consulted with community groups, non-government
organisations or privacy advocacy groups, any changes to the ongoing management
of census data justified by this PIA should be postponed until a more
substantial PIA, along the lines laid out in the committee report, is
conducted. If the changes again fail to withstand such scrutiny, they should
not be implemented.
Such a process will also serve to commence the rehabilitation of the ABS
in the eyes of the public, and begin to restore trust in the institution.
A new independent Privacy Impact Assessment is performed on the changes
to the census within the next 6 months, the outcome of which must determine the
acceptability of the changes made to the management of census data after the
Senator Richard Di Natale
Leader of the Australian Greens
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