Microdata user obligations

Responsible use of ABS microdata

Your responsibilities when accessing microdata, including undertakings, organisation membership, licensing and copyright


Your obligations

Important points to remember when accessing and using ABS microdata: 

  • keep passwords for ABS systems secure
  • use microdata only for statistical or research purposes
  • do not attempt to identify individuals or organisations to which the information relates
  • do not try to avoid, override or otherwise circumvent the mode of access controls in place by the ABS
  • do not attempt to match unit record data with any other list, database or repository of persons or organisations
  • do not provide microdata to anyone without the approval of the ABS
  • your sessions can be audited in any system
  • your entire session is recorded in DataLab
  • you must cooperate with any ABS audit directions relating to DataLab usage, code and output
  • do not capture on-screen information in any way during your DataLab session
  • all DataLab outputs must be cleared by an ABS officer
  • where access to ABS microdata is provided remotely, you must:
    a. access the microdata in a work or private location
    b. protect the screen from oversight by other people, and
    c. use a secure internet connection
  • talk to the ABS if you any questions or concerns about your responsibilities, the microdata or the systems

For a complete list of your obligations when accessing microdata, see:

International access

International access to basic microdata

Basic microdata in MicrodataDownload may only be accessed by Australian organisations and users. International organisations wanting to access specific basic microdata files will be considered on a case by case basis. Contact microdata.access@abs.gov.au if you would like to discuss your project.

If your international organisation is granted access to basic microdata:

  • the head of the organisation (or their delegate) must sign a Responsible Officer undertaking
  • Contact Officers must manage the distribution to approved users and secure storage of the basic microdata within the organisation, and may provide access to users who have signed an Individual undertaking and been approved by the ABS
  • each user must apply for access, sign an Individual undertaking and be approved by ABS before basic microdata may be shared with that user

International access to detailed microdata

The DataLab is primarily designed for access by Australian organisations and users. Access by international organisations will be considered on a case by case basis. Contact microdata.access@abs.gov.au if you would like to discuss your project.

Individuals belonging to more than one organisation

If you belong to multiple organisations you need to apply to access microdata in each organisation. Separate approval must be sought from the ABS for microdata product access under each organisation, as access is granted at an organisational level as well as an individual level.

Leaving your organisation

Once you leave an organisation, you must not access previously approved microdata under that organisation. You must let your Contact Officer or the ABS know you when you are no longer a member of your organisation so that your access to microdata can be removed. You also need to delete, destroy or return to your Contact Officer any microdata in your possession.

Licence provisions, copyright and attribution

Intellectual Property rights in microdata, including copyright, are owned by the Commonwealth of Australia represented by the ABS. Copyright notices appearing on microdata products or on information displayed or printed by the microdata product must not be removed.

Microdata and its output are subject to full Copyright terms. Organisations using microdata are granted a non-exclusive, non-transferable licence by the ABS that allows authorised users to use microdata for statistical or research purposes in accordance with the Undertaking signed by the Responsible Officer of the organisation.

TableBuilder output is licensed under Creative Commons, allowing users to share and transform the material for any purpose.

Publication of data and analysis using ABS microdata or TableBuilder products must attribute ABS as the source of the data. See How to cite ABS sources for advice.

ABS liability regarding microdata

While the ABS has taken great care to ensure that microdata is as correct and accurate as possible, the ABS does not guarantee, or accept any legal liability arising from, or connected to, the use of any material contained within, or derived from microdata. Except to the extent that liability may not be lawfully excluded, the ABS:

  1. makes no warranty as to the suitability or fitness of the microdata for a particular purpose, quality, accuracy or merchantability, and
  2. accepts no liability arising from the use of the microdata.

Further information is provided in the ABS Disclaimer notice.

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