Census debacle senate review begins

Census debacle senate review begins

The senate review into the 40 hour online outage that plagued the Australian Bureau of Statistics online platform launch has begun, with contractor IBM conceeding responsibility.

Kerry Purcell, head of IBM Australia opened proceedings by “unreservedly apologis[ing] to the Australian public for the inconvenience,” and said the outage was caused by four distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS).


Given the confidential nature of citizen data safeguards were put in place to restrict any international access to the site, and streamline internal traffic, however IBM Australia’s Michael Shallcross revealed that at least one denial of servive attack appeared to have originated overseas.

This claim has been disputed by experts online, and by Small Business Minister Micahel McCormack, predominantly due to no clear proof of high levels of traffic online. This map, provided by Arbor Networks and Google Ideas, suggests no major online movement into Australia but could be fooled by anyone wanting to hide their tracks.

There was little finger-pointing at international agents, instead it was revealed that the traffic had only entered via one mis-configured router on which the geo-blocking rules were not properly set. This however could have been rectified by a further test, or simply restarting the router.

Presently no individual has been held responsible for the debacle which cost taxpayers an extra $30 million, however the enquiry continues.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed that over 95% of all households participated in the 2016 census, as they prepare results for public reveal of data next year. Nearly 60% of participants chose to use the controversial online response system, despite the extended outage on designated “census night”.


Only a third of all respondents were able to use the online system before the crash. One such respondent, Melbourne resident Brad Kirchner, says the outage certainly hurt his faith in the system.

“It’s especially troubling when you are giving up such personal information […] incidents happen but we need to now our data is safe and our money is well spent.”

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