news The Senate has announced it will hold an inquiry into the much-criticised failure of the Census website on 9 August.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which is responsible for the setting up and running of the site, said it was shut down as a “precaution” following a combination of heavy site traffic, a hardware failure and a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Census night.
In the following days, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull blamed the IT fail on the ABS and its service provider, IBM, saying its job was to ensure that there were measures in place to repel DDoS attacks.
“The fact is that the measures put in place were inadequate. That is the fact,” the Turnbull said.
Now the Senate is to refer the affair to the Economics References Committee (ERC) for inquiry. The ERC will report back with its conclusions by 24 November 2016.
The Committee will in particular focus on the preparation, administration and management by both the ABS and the Government in the lead up to the Census, as well as the scope, collection, retention, security and use of the data obtained.
Arrangements, including contractual arrangements, in respect of the information technology aspects of the Census will also be looked at, as will the shutting down of the Census website on the evening of 9 August 2016.
The ERC will examine the factors leading to the shutdown and the reasons given, along with the support provided by government agencies, including the Australian Signals Directorate.
Privacy concerns in respect of the Census, including the use of data linking, information security and statistical linkage keys are also to be considered.
Other aspects of the inquiry will include:
- Australia’s Census of Population and Housing generally, including purpose, scope, regularity and cost and benefits
- The adequacy of funding and resources to the ABS
- Ministerial oversight and responsibility.
- Any related matters.