Monday, August 8, 2016

Readers write . . .


From Leo M:

Mosquito Brazil . . .


From Sue P, in respect of my comments on the coming Australian Census, one that now requires names and address, although the government says “Trust us, we won’t abuse it and we will only hold it for 4 years” . . .
Hi Otto
The information is held for a lot longer than 4 years as it is then archived. The Act precludes it being disseminated in an identified form but technically this protection only refers to the collation and the reports that are generated (rather than the raw data that might be available in electronic storage) and the information from any individual census outside official reports is protected from non-disclosure for 99 years.

Some of the concerns raised (as you would know and I am in no way teaching you to suck eggs!) have been future government privatisation of data and tracking of ethnic minorities. I am far less worried about that, than data linkage (combining data sets that the government already holds elsewhere including economic ones) and international hacking of the data base now that it will be increasingly electronic and will combine identities with addresses.
I support government, I like it that they have good information to support infrastructure (although they do not always appear to use it!), but being someone who also buys anti-virus software, uses a VPN and regulates what goes out on their social media, I feel uneasy putting so very much of my life into someone else's hands whose database has already been hacked several times. I'll do mine in paper format so at least I have the satisfaction of knowing that if it enters an insecure site it was not my fingers that did the loading
Regards, Sue

From son Thomas, also in respect of the Census, a message from The Guardian at


Census taker visits a Romani family living in a caravan, Netherlands 1925

Census taker, USA, 1940

The word “census” is of Latin origin: during the Roman Republic, the census was a list that kept track of all adult males fit for military service.

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