Putting the BS in ABS

by on 9 August, 2016

You know what really sucks? No, not a vaccum cleaner. Australia’s online census. Minister for small business, Michael McCormack wonders what all the fuss is about. After all, isn’t it no different than handing your personal details over to Facebook – something which millions of Australians voluntarily do?

Well, there are a few differences.

Firstly, Facebook doesn’t put a gun to your head by charging you $180 if you don’t hand over your personal information. However blaze we can be when it comes to divulging personal details online – we at least know that we’re doing it voluntarily and not out of coercion.

But but…. what is free will, really? Does it even exist? How can we see mirrors if our eyes aren’t real…?

Secondly, Facebook doesn’t demand your actual address and it’s easy enough to use a fake name. The truth is that like many of my fellow Gen Y and millennials, I don’t care that much if Facebook collects data about what I like so I can be hit with customised ad campaigns for cat food and dubious memes. I’m more concerned about handing over my name and address, knowing that the information could fall into the Dorito crumb-covered hands of some fedora-wearing hacker bent on releasing the private details of millions purely for the lols. Why not? Its already happened in the past – examples include Xbox Live and even the US Census Bureau which were both hacked. Despite the government’s tough talk about how good their cybersecurity is – and they may well be right, there’s still no guarantee that your details will be safe. This is especially so when the census now holds your information for 4 years rather than 18 months as they did in years past.

In any event – Facebook is a part of the private internet where you can be whoever you want. It’s a magical place where the men are men, the women are foreign men running scams and the kids are FBI agents.  My name is Count Swagula, I live on 666 Pimp St. and Mark Zuckerberg is yet to question these details. I’m not sure how happy the ABS will be with them, though.

Thirdly… Facebook doesn’t pull a Titanic when I need it. As I write this, I’m sitting in front of a screen emblazoned with an error message following a prolonged crash.  I thought Australia was the land of freedom. This truly put the ‘B.S’ in ‘A.B.S’.

Satyajeet Marar is an intern at The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance

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