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Tinfoil Hats And The Census!

A few days ago Christopher Pyne told us: “I think Senator Xenophon is engaging in somewhat of a tinfoil hat kind of politics when he says that he’s raising doubts about the census.” Then it was the turn of the best minister in the world, Greg Hunt to suggest that various senators had read too many conspiracy theories if they thought that there was any danger of their data being hacked.

Now, while I wasn’t quite as concerned as Xenophon, Ludlam et al about my data being hacked, I did think that it was strange politics to attack them like that. After all, there’d be some swinging voters who’d also have similar concerns. I don’t think that you really win them over by mocking those who are publicly expressing views similar to theirs. It’s not like ridiculing Barnaby Joyce has suddenly caused a rethink among those who believe that climate change is a conspiracy between socialists and the bankers to institute a world government where only gay indigenous whales will have the right to vote.

Of course, there were no concerns about security because as the ABS head, David Kalisch said: “I can assure the Australian population that the ABS has the best security features you could ever ask for.” He went on to use the fact that, even though other government websites had been hacked, the ABS had an “unblemished” record with census data…Which is sort of like me saying that I’m immortal because I haven’t died in the past. (Ok, according to the prevailing Judeo-Christian values. I’d point out that I may have died and been reincarnated many, many times and for my past sins, I’ve been born into a country where a significant number of people voted for Tony Abbott. Who was I? Hitler?)

And as for suggestions that the ABS website might crash well, why would anyone think that.

But crash it did.

Or rather, it didn’t crash. They simply decided to shut it down… Not because it was under attack as the PM suggested earlier today, but because of something called a DOS… Which is an acronym for Denial of Service, and it’s not a hack as such so there was no danger to our data. And not just because most people hadn’t managed to log onto the site. No, there was no danger to our data because the ABS shut down the site so that the data couldn’t be hacked. Which, of course, there was no danger of, because of, well, the ABS had an “unblemished record”, so rather than take a chance that our data might be compromised, they shut it down, because of the DOS. Which wasn’t an attack… Or an attempted hack.

In fact, according to the ABS, it was something to do with Telstra. I mean, there always dropping out, so it must have been them, right?

But rest assured, there’s going to be an investigation and Mr Turnbull is certainly going to get to the bottom… Maybe not of this, but he’ll be soon getting to a sort of rock bottom, if the rest of the Liberals have their way. Of course, we don’t need an INDEPENDENT investigation, because what could an independent investigation find that our investigator couldn’t? We don’t know and we certainly don’t want to find out.

There now, I don’t know why they didn’t just ask me to explain it. My little explanation is a lot easier to follow than the official one. Or ones, given that Turnbull thinks it was an attack, while to quote The Australian: “Michael McCormack, the minister in charge of the bungled census” declared there was no “attack” or “hack” of the ABS online survey but merely an “attempt to frustrate” the collection of data. I’m not sure if “minister in charge of the bungled census” is his official title, but it certainly stops anyone trying to draw any links to Turnbull by calling him “minister in charge of the bungled NBN”, which would be unfair, as this had nothing to do with that. That was a completely different bungle.

It was an non-attack by a person or persons attempting to frustrate, not to break in and we only shut it down in order to stop them in their attempt to frustrate. That sure fixed them.

Now, some of you may have seen this little article doing the rounds on social media.
They’re mischievously trying to suggest that there was no reporting of any DOS activity in Australia last night, but then it was all from overseas and not even blocking all non-Australian internet addresses stopped these overseas non-hackers.


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  1. Steve Laing -

    Come on! You want to know the real story? A big boy did it, and then he ran away.

    But all in all, I believe the term is clusterfluck. And the surprise is that there is absolutely no surprise about it. What a palaver.

  2. king1394

    Hoping that we will hear no more suggestions that elections should be on-line

  3. Rossleigh

    Gee, king1392, why on earth not?
    Apparently, the AEC also have an unblemished record when it comes to this sort of thing…

  4. kerri

    If anyone has “hacked” the census website I truly wish they would publicly reveal Malcolm Turnbull’s census details?

  5. Freethinker

    This is a nice reassurance:

    Dr Mark Gregory, internet security expert at RMIT University, told Ross and John he wasn’t surprised.
    He said the website would remain at constant risk of attack.
    “The information being put through there is a honey pot to any and all hackers,” he said on 3AW Breakfast.
    “And it will remain a honey pot for many years to come.
    “Now that’s been made known this information is being collected through a website, hackers will be constantly trying to get access to that information.”

  6. SGB

    Just how big does the stuff up have to be before the Right of politics realise these people are incompetent.

  7. Carol Taylor

    As someone who is most definitely not an IT expert, I could understand this much (and this opinion came from an IT person), that a DDoS can come from EITHER a deliberate attack OR the system being overwhelmed. This person (sorry, forgotten where I read it) stated that the Census system was set up to cater for one million attempts. His opinion was that it should have been set up for five million based on human behaviour of arriving home, having dinner and now let’s fill out this blankety-blank census. Crazy to consider that the attempts would be spread out evenly over the day.

    My opinion: the ABS was told to keep ‘within budget’ and no excuses..and so they did.

  8. Neil of Sydney

    My opinion: the ABS was told to keep ‘within budget’ and no excuses..and so they did.

    Tooo funny. Your opinion is useless. So if they were given 50 zillion dollars the stuff up would not have happened?

    My opinion- brain dead lefties in the Public Service said no problems. WE can do this.

    My second opinion- lefties are the origin of the unforeseen stuff up

  9. Mark Needham

    Do not blame the Public Servant, they had nought to do with this pile of crap.
    It’s them bloody conservatives, bunch a stupid buggers, think that they can run a country.
    If, Labour, had won the last election, this fiasco, would not be on show.
    Love it,
    Mark Needham

  10. Gangey1959

    @ Steve L. ”Clusterf*ck” is an understatement.
    @ Carol. I think ”they” figured that we all live different distances from work, and some of us even live in different time zones, (as opposed to them all living on some other planet) so that that would equate to a nice even gentle flow if information, because our tea times would all be different by 5-10 minutes or so. they forgot the people working shift work, casuals, the unemployed etc etc who all operate on GMT..
    @ Rossleigh. I thought it was only the NON judeao-christians who got a second swing at life, Anyone vaguely related to jc gets a choice of fire or brimstone. I must have missed that part of bible studies in grade prep. Bummer.
    @ Nos. F*ck up and die. Your lot won, now piss off while the rest of us suffer another 3 years of shit government.

  11. Photontrace

    I’m with Carol Taylor, it was probably some kind of resources issue.
    There will be more of those, regardless of the agency or department trying to serve us in some way.
    I know a lot of public servants go home at night frustrated because they know what they would like to achieve for us, they are simply not allowed the means to do it.
    Thanks for this article, nearly spilled my drink laughing.

  12. wam

    The hackers may have been trying put something in???
    well said syd of lien!!!!
    You were close to the answer. It was clearly labor’s fault. Perhaps cunningly engineered through gillard’s new or old boyfriend????

  13. Carol Taylor

    Neil, re the “brain dead lefties in the Public Service said no problem”. For starters David Kalisch was appointed by Joe Hockey who awarded in the not insignificant salary of $705,030 to be the head of the ABS. As far as your description of ‘brain dead’, I wouldn’t like to comment about Mr Kalisch, but a ‘lefty’..I wouldn’t think so.

    Overseen by Mr Kalisch, the census online was also the work of IBM who as per below were awarded a multi-million contract by the Minister..Joe Hockey.

    IBM was the main technology provider behind the Census website, having won a $9.6 million contract back in 2014 to host and manage the site.

  14. Neil of Sydney

    Dear Moderator

    Why did you delete my comment?

    PS this whole thing is a leftie stuff up. Morally superior humans in the PS said nothing could go wrong. Well everything went wrong.

  15. Trevr

    mm!?!?Neil of Sydeney is a proper cluster fuk. Any one for a census, slightly used. L(ting N(asty P(ricks Government guaranteed to fail.

  16. Rossleigh

    Because you’re an idiot, Neil. And abusive and you contribute nothing to society. Why don’t you get yourself a real job?

  17. The AIM Network

    Neil of Sydney, because it was so far off topic we’d need a telescope to see it.

  18. lawrencewinder

    Sigh…. Nell of Sidley has a tanty coz his Rooling Rabble just stuffed up another thing…. Bloody Lefties, always being negative about how the IPA is saving the country from itself….Sigh….

  19. mlitzah

    You are all been too kind. The ABS f*cked it. Simple.

    And Neil of Sydney …… be on your bike son.

    Melissa of the Gold Coast lol

  20. Sean Stinson

    For the record, it is widely accepted that wearing a tinfoil hat acts as a 1-3dB gain antenna for the mind control rays.

  21. paulwalter

    Sean, you got it!! Give him a Smartie.

    Apart from that, another strange effort from Neil, attempting to pass off neoliberal thinking, or the excuse for it, as some sort of leftist plot..

  22. Kronomex

    They screwed it up badly and being a useless excuse of a government with their LNP mates in charge of the many departments, not just the ABS, it’s always somebody else’s fault like naughty hackers from overseas DDoS/DoS’ing their f*ck up. GASP! I just realised that it’s Labor’s fault because they did (well, attempted to do) their census online and their negativity caused the site to crash.

  23. Freethinker

    Neil of SydneyAugust 10, 2016 at 8:36 pm
    My opinion- brain dead lefties in the Public Service said no problems. WE can do this.
    My second opinion- lefties are the origin of the unforeseen stuff up

    How are we going to take this comment serious?
    Trolls should be deleted

  24. Roscoe

    good that they blocked people from overseas, that meant people couldn’t log on using their VPN so their real IP address would be visible

  25. OlWomBat

    To repeat myself from elsewhere … The ABS contracted to IBM to provide a “census solution”. The government stripped the ABS of 200+ staff, slashed the ABS budget and the advice from long-term employees on the risks in implementing an internet-based solution at this time went unheeded. IBM as the technology experts who supposedly set up these things globally did not provide a workable solution – they were the ones responsible for sizing the solution and performing stress-testing. The contract was awarded after IBM’s despite IBM’s failings in Queensland. Perhaps some of the wrath directed at the ABS in general should be directed at those who cut the ABS, the government, signed the contract, relevant government and ABS staff, and delivered an inadequate “solution”, IBM. We, the public paid for this and despite the failure someone is walking off with the money.

  26. diannaart



    The ABS didn’t even have a ministerial head, since the Abbott/Hockey government got all penny pinching – hence the last minute appointment…

  27. helvityni

    It’s all Labor’s fault;

    the horrors in NT’s youth detention centre
    mistreatment of asylum seeker men, women and children on Nauru
    sexual abuse of children by Catholic and Anglican Churches
    domestic violence
    failing education standards
    CC, droughts, floods
    house prices, never mind if going up or down
    increased numbers of homeless
    whatever it’s happening within our Big Banks
    electricity prices

    and now- the census debacle


  28. Jaq

    um… IBM is an LNP donor. No more needs to be said, although for sheer entertainment value this whole cock up has been priceless. Onwards and up wards to another clusterfluck LNP…

  29. Peter F

    At last we now know how much more efficient the private sector is than the public service.

  30. Neil of Sydney

    At last we now know how much more efficient the private sector is than the public service.

    Amen to that. Apparently some PS guy running this is on $700K/year plus 15.4% Super

  31. Rossleigh

    Gee, wasn’t it IBM who were actually running the ICT side of things?
    As always, Neil rushes and takes the same party line as Turnbull.
    But of course, Neil sees the rise of Hitler as the fault of the Left.

    Like I said before, Neil, get a real job. Didn’t you admit before that you’re a paid Liberal troll?

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