One of the more frustrating parts of the whole CensusFail saga was that on the night of the census, when the ABS knew it had taken the site down to prevent what it thought was a potential data breach, the Twitter account @ABSCensus continued to do its best Iraqi information minister impression and said everything was just fine and people should keep trying.

There were many freedom of information requests filed after the massive bungling of the census. One man, William Summers, filed an FOI request with the ABS to see what, if any, strategy the ABS had for social media communication during the CensusFail and where it all went wrong. The ABS came back to him with a claim that someone just processing all the emails and other documents sent on the night of the census in the communications team would take 61 hours, including 20 hours to find the emails and 41 hours to make a decision on what could be released. For that, Summers would be expected to pay $1020.

Undeterred, Summers decided to crowdfund the application costs, and as of this morning has raised the $1020 required to get the ABS to process the request. We all wait with bated breath for the ABS’s response.

Peter Fray

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