ABS keeps Census information safe and secure (response to Canberra Times letter 21 May 2016)

Re Canberra Times 21 May 2016 article: I don't trust ABS with my personal data: ex-ABS staffer.

This article quotes a former Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) officer who has not been employed with the ABS since 2007.

Importantly, he has had no involvement in the ABS' careful and considered decision and processes regarding the 2016 Census that included public consultation, engagement with all Privacy Commissioners and the Australian Information Commissioner. This is outlined on our website. Privacy is a fundamental pillar of an official statistical system. The ABS never has, and never will, release identifiable Census data. The ABS has a range of strong security and legislative protections to keep Census information safe and secure. ABS security protections are routinely audited and meet the highest standards of the Australian Government. Participation in the Census is critical to ensure quality data can inform matters of importance to Australia and Australians. The vast majority of people willingly participate and provide accurate responses. Any encouragement of boycotting the Census is encouraging people to act illegally and is deeply regrettable.

Further information on the decision to retain name and address information, how the ABS keeps Census information safe and secure, and how the information is used to benefit Australians can be found on the Census Privacy, confidentiality and security page.

Chris Libreri

General Manager, Census and Statistical Network Services