Government News brings word of plans by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to do away with the messy business of talking to people when it compiles the 2016 census.
Tender documents released to the market by the ABS this week have called for bids from technology experts to undertake the Census 2016 ICT Capability Review, a process that will independently scrutinize the agency’s own technology strategy and infrastructure to make sure the eCensus doesn’t get stage fright on a night in front of its biggest audience yet.
While the digitisation delivery of government services is becoming increasingly taken for granted, the sheer scale of making a mainly digital Census a reality is, in technology terms, a gargantuan undertaking that would easily challenge the capacity and resilience of even the biggest private sector organisations.
What makes the undertaking such a big ask is that a very large section of the population – literally millions of people – all pile onto a website at approximately the same time to fill in dozens of sensitive and confidential questions.
The sheer volume of traffic hitting ABS’ servers on Census night has previously been compared to the equivalent of a massive denial of service, a load so big that years of planning and testing are required well in advance of the ‘big night in’ so that services stay up and running smoothly.
Plus with checkboxes no cheeky buggers can write “Jedi” in for religion.