It's also not supposed to capture the data of every single person who lives in Australia. It's a snapshot of who is in a residence on that night.
Are your other three kids going to be in another house tonight? Because if so, then their data should be captured on the form for that residence. Census data is captured by residence, not by family.
Hmm. Interesting point @Moxy. I will be at work tonight so I wonder what I do then? Is there some kind of supplementation for people that aren't otherwise in the house but not in another residence? My brain can't remember 5 weeks ago let alone 5 years!
But it would certainly be confusing trying to figure out what to put on the form in this situation. It would be easier if they just asked who the regular children in the household are..
I think this very nerdy article explains the way the data is stored and identifying info is protected pretty well. Also gives examples of the way the data is used.
Since a lot of people can't be bothered clicking on a link, here are some excerpts:
How will the data be used?Census program manager Duncan Young told iTnews the ABS had been dabbling with data integration - where it links Census data with other third-party datasets - increasingly since the 2006 national count, and was finding itself more and more hindered in its ability to produce valuable statistics.
“The linkage process that we had to use previously, after names and addresses were destroyed, was to do probabilistic linkage; linkage based on someone’s date of birth, marital status, and the region of Australia they live in,” Young said.
“Using those kind of characteristics you can do some pretty reasonable quality linkage - we could link at about an 80 percent success rate for the population overall.
“However, it’s significantly less than 80 percent for some population groups, like those that are more mobile and move often, so your ability to produce reliable statistics is poorer. That leads to you either not having information that Australia needs to make decisions, or leads you to have to run extra surveys and collect even more data.”
The ABS’ plan is to turn a person’s name into an anonymous key that can’t be reversed.
Names and addresses will be removed from other Census information after the data has been collected and processed. The two data types will be stored separately from each other, while anonymised versions of names will be stored in another separate database for use in data linking.
The original names and addresses will be destroyed after four years, as compared to the current 18 months.
None of the agency’s researchers will be able to view name and address data while working with other Census information, and addresses and anonymised names will only be able to be used for projects approved by a senior-level committee.
“The change [will allow us to undertake] a whole lot of studies that we can and should do with the Census data to support good policies in Australia,” Young said.
“We have no interest in individuals, and that’s why we can use anonymous keys and take names away from Census data and never put them back. Because we don’t want to know, and we don’t need to know that this is Duncan’s record. We just want to know that Person A here is Person A there.”
At the moment, the agency struggles to track how investments in apprenticeships versus undergraduate degrees versus TAFE traineeships have performed, and therefore whether the country is putting money into the right areas of education.
Young attributes this headache to the mobile nature of many within that student population.
“There’s not a universal student number or any kind of other individual identifier that links people,” Young said.
“So you won’t be able to bring together education enrolment records with Census records to provide insight because a large proportion of that population will have moved.
“But what you can do is use an anonymous key created from a name to link at a lot higher level of accuracy and produce some very quite valuable statistics of people who have studied in one area, and find that say 70 percent end up employed, 20 percent did other courses, and 10 percent were unemployed."
The article said that "None of the notifications received related to disclosure or mishandling of any census data, or to attempts by an external party to expose or steal information.”
The breaches may have been minor, and they were not even by external parties. In 2006, 24 ATO employees were sacked for unauthorised access to individual data. And a study last year showed that 40% of data breaches in Australian organisations were attributed to internal employees.
A breach in ABS could have been as simple as a form going missing. When you consider that they process millions of forms every year, I think 14 breaches in 3 years is really not a big deal at all. Everything needs to be considered in context and with perspective.
But let's assume someone manages to hack into ABS. What will they find? Encrypted info that is irreversible and data about people's employment, education, family and income. Wow, riveting stuff!
More people are susceptible to identify theft or fraud just by having a bank account or credit card.
I requested a paper form, but it hasn't arrived.
Do I wait or do it online?
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