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Australian Privacy Commissioner opens investigation into Census 2016 cyber attack

10 August 2016

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.

Based on these reports I am commencing an investigation of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in regards to these cyber attacks, under the Australian Privacy Act 1988.  My first priority is to ensure that no personal information has been compromised as a result of these attacks.

ABS have confirmed that a decision was taken last night to shut down the website in order to protect personal data.

Yesterday I noted that the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has been briefed by the ABS on the privacy protections put in place for the Census. 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.

Timothy Pilgrim PSM
Australian Privacy Commissioner
Acting Australian Information Commissioner