A group of concerned citizens who say the government is using the census to get private information about all of us, have been sharing private details of themselves with Facebook, Google, YouTube, Tinder and many other sites, for nearly a decade.
One woman who told Broken News that “the census is the government’s way of spying on us”, admits that she has shared her phone number, work address, age, relationship status (it’s still “complicated” with Hugo from the accounts department) and several hundred photos of herself enjoying a “loose day with the girls” at the races and “a very wild Halloween party” on the social media platform.
The woman, who does not use security settings at all on her Facebook page has also shared dozens of “check-ins” at dozens of cafes near her home, allowing any stranger to know exactly where she lives, as well as her dog’s name, and the fact that she is thinking of leaving her job to re-skill as a personal trainer “because YOLO”.
But she, like many others, are concerned about the privacy of their census forms this year.
“I mean that is private info,” she told Broken News. “You can’t just share that stuff with anyone. The government should be ashamed of itself.”
Another concerned citizen, a man who wanted to be known as John, emailed Broken News to tell us “it’s a disgrace that the census data is being used to get a profile of all of us.”
When we called him for an interview he asked if we could call back because he was busy playing Pokemon Go.
When we pointed out that his security concerns were ironic, given he was playing a game on a GPS enabled smartphone that was recording his exact location, and using a Google account that knew absolutely everything about him, he laughed off our concerns.
“Mate, Pokemon is just a game,” he said. “But I tell you what’s not a game? The government trying to get our private details.”
The call continued. We asked John whether he had any Coles or Woolworths rewards cards, and whether he was concerned about them knowing about all of his shopping habits. John became increasingly irate.
“How did you get this number anyway?” he asked. “This is supposed to be a private number.”
We pointed out to John that he was the one who had contacted us, using the form on the site, and freely giving us his full name, phone number and email address.
“Ok whatever,” he told us, before hanging up.