Australia’s Paperless Census
The Australian government has invested a significant amount of money in creating a do-it-yourself, web-based eCensus, that will save not only the environment, but millions of taxpayer dollars as well.
This makes us wonder, why isn’t America a technological leader when it comes to implementing new census technology? Is it because lawmakers like to see taxpayer money redistributed within their districts to Census Bureau field workers? Is it because lobbying efforts from private firms like Lockheed Martin that have won contracts to work with the Census Bureau?
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has virtualized its server infrastructure to form its own private cloud with the potential to host the 2016 eCensus thus avoiding a $9 million outsourcing contract.
In 2006, the ABS introduced the option of either completing the Census on the traditional paper form or electronically via the Web-based eCensus, which provides the potential for improved data collection and faster processing of the results.
The ABS chose IBM to develop and support its eCensus program because of “IBM’s expertise in Web-based solutions and scalable infrastructure”, but that is changing with the advent of virtualization technology which has provided the opportunity to host the application in house, according to the ABS director of servers, operating systems and storage, Tony Marion
According to the ABS, eCensus information is encrypted at all times while in the system and even IBM does not have the keys required to decrypt the data, but running it in-house would reduce the perception of secure information being managed by a third-party.