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Australian Privacy Commissioner Launches Census Investigation

Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim has indicated he’ll be heading an investigation into the cyber-attacks that brought last night’s 2016 census to a screeching halt.

Pilgrim released a statement to media this morning advising that “I am aware of the denial of service attacks on the Census 2016 website last night and my staff have been in contact with ABS this morning.”

“I am commencing an investigation of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in regards to these cyber attacks, under the Australian Privacy Act 1988,” he said.

The ABS Chief Statistician David Kalisch revealed this morning that the outages that prevented many from filling out the census were the result of several attempts to sabotage the census by overseas hackers.

According to Pilgrim, “My first priority is to ensure that no personal information has been compromised as a result of these attacks.”


Pilgrim says his office was briefed about the privacy protections being employed by the ABS yesterday.

“My office will continue to work with the ABS to ensure they are taking appropriate steps to protect the personal information collected through the Census,” he said.

It adds to the mire surrounding the 2016 Census – which has previously been faced with criticism and civil disobedience over plans to retain the names and addresses of individuals for four years, instead of the standard 18-months.

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