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Census Questioning Raises Privacy Concerns

PERSONAL PRIVACY—AUSTRALIA

January 13, 2012

The Australian reports on the data collection tactics used for the Survey of Income and Housing 2011-12 (SIH) and the privacy concerns subsequently raised by some citizens and privacy activists. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) randomly selects about 15,000 citizens that--when chosen--must by law answer the SIH questions. Failure to comply can result in a fine of $110 per day. One couple interviewed in the report was asked by the ABS to provide pay slips, tax returns, account statements, investment documentation and personal loan details, among other items. The ABS website says, "The information collected...will enable an assessment of the economic and social wellbeing of Australians," but some privacy activists are concerned about how the data is collected, stored and used. (Registration may be required to access this story.) 
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