10.08.2016

Where is the trust? Census DDoS claim faces early scepticism


Only a few short months ago, public trust wasn’t much of an issue for the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Despite Tuesday being the third Census to allow completion online, the scale of the technological failure is at the point where IT security experts are openly suggesting chief statistician David Kalisch is not telling the whole truth about what went wrong.

There’s no evidence to cast doubt on the early-morning statement from the ABS that “the 2016 online Census form was subject to four denial of service attacks yesterday of varying nature and severity”.

On the other hand, informed commentators like RMIT University lecturer Mark Gregory, who was interviewed on the ABC’s light-hearted News Breakfast program this morning, see no reason to believe Kalisch until he provides evidence to back up the statement. He’s far from alone in suggesting the load testing the agency did on the site might have been inadequate, and the online form was not fit for purpose.

FREE membership to The Mandarin

Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.

The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.