Reported incident with survey form barcode (Media Release)

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16 September 2017
Embargo: 11:30 am (Canberra Time)
Reported incident with survey form barcode

The ABS is aware of reports of at least one report of a barcode that contains a word that may be offensive.

Deputy Statistician Jonathan Palmer said:

The ABS acknowledges that in issuing 16 million barcodes it did not check and remove words and phrases that may be offensive.

The ABS apologises to the survey recipient and will issue a new form if requested.

The codes were issued using an algorithm generating more than two quintillion combinations (2,000,000,000,000,000,000) of letters and numbers in order to generate highly secure barcodes.

The ABS will check newly issued barcodes.

The ABS would like to remind Australians not to compromise their own privacy and the security of their survey response by publicly displaying  the barcode on the survey materials or the eight digit code used by Australia Post.

Anyone with any concern about their barcode should contact the ABS on its Information Line or website for a new one.