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Benefits of the census retaining names and addresses should outweigh privacy fears

Telecommunications Census Data protection Privacy Australia

By linking censuses through time or by combining other information with the census, many more important policy questions can be answered than if we used one dataset alone.

Former Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) head Bill McLennan renewed the debate over privacy, data linkage and the census when he recently spoke of the major risks involved in retaining names and addresses from the 2016 Census.

McLennan, and the Australian Privacy Foundation, rightly raised privacy concerns about retaining names and addresses on census records for the purpose of linking future census data. However, they ignored the approach’s significant benefits.

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