CHOICE membership

Electoral Roll Privacy Issues



Something just occurred to me while I was reading another thread on here about the potential privacy concerns that have been raised in regard to the new My Health Record database. Always seemed to me that the ultimate threat to everyone’s privacy and, indeed, their personal security is (or was ?) the electoral roll.

Haven’t had any cause to visit an AEC office in many years. But, as I recall, absolutely anyone could walk in off the street , provide no identification what so ever and find out where another person lived just by glancing at the roll. I know because that’s precisely what I did one once occasion. Maybe it’s changed now ?

I often wondered what the legal situation would be if someone ended up committing a serious offence as against person or property and it could be established that they got the victim’s address off the roll. Presumably, AEC offices have CTV cameras in place these days ?


Still can…

The information available in the electoral roll is possibly classed not dissimilar to that available in the or through online searches.


So, paying for a silent number is pretty much money down the gully trap ?

Most of us only decide to go with the above service because we’ve had problems

Good deal … someone wants to trash your car or kidnap your three year old … … easy… the Federal government will be happy to help !

Obviously, the whole privacy BS is just that … BS !!


The reality is that we all leave a trail of electronic and physical breadcrumbs about ourselves, with very few exceptions.

The electoral rolls are just one. It’s amazing what you can find out about people just doing a Google type search.

I listened to a ‘white hat’ investigator on the radio, who for a fee tracked down people who had ‘disappeared’. Often it was for court judgement debt collection.

He had access to some undisclosed sources that your average person off the street didn’t, but most of what he used was public domain information. According to him, he had a 99+% success rate in finding people.

[When he found them he explained who he was and that their location was obviously known, if they moved they can be found again, so it was in their interest to talk to the people they owed money to.]

The point is, if people want to find you badly enough @baysider, you will be found whether you are on the electoral roll or not.


The second part to viewing the electoral roles is it lists all of the family members living at the same address who are also on the roll.

For some that may not be useful information, for others it may reveal more than you would like. For anyone mildly paranoid you should never use any details pertaining to your elderly parents for security question answers. Having one or more of them living with you opens this up a little.

Given Ancestry is now linking Australian electoral roll details (I have also noted this fact in a related Choice family history topic) as recent as the 1970’s, to public trees in their data base will certainly compromise for some ‘mother’s maiden name’ and ‘place of birth’ type security questions to a resourceful hacker or scammer.

It may be that we can do nothing about the electoral roll needing to be a public record. One thing is certain, we should not use or rely on extended family details in any form to support proof of identity.


So you would be quite happy if someone had an axe to grind with you, decided that they wanted to get even and the first, and only, means of identifying where you live was the electoral role ? No need to spend one cent or devote any other time or effort to other investigative avenues. Just
walk into the AEC, find your address and promptly trash your car …or someone else’s car that’s sitting in your driveway at 3.00 am on a Monday morning. Fine


I’m sorry that this topic appears to have upset you. Did this happen to you?

My post is about the reality of our highly trackable lives, whether we want to accept that or not.

The only people who are not easily found by experienced investigators like the one I mentioned are the ones who live without property, without any government support, without credit cards or bank accounts, etc. That is, totally and completely off the grid.


Who’s going to use a paid investigator to find out where you live if they’re planning to burn down your house ?


I would say that it is, in fact, very dissimilar to information that can not be found in the White Pages for those of us who have had good cause to get silent numbers.


Silent numbers…hhhmmm, just means unlisted number by Sensis. If you have ever used your phone number for any purpose (given it anyone or any company/organisation as a contact number), then it will be potentially out in the wild on the internet.

It is worth googling your address, your name and phone number and if you are lucky, no information will be available online other than from property report companies. Unfortunately today when data is captured left, right and centre by companies, surveys completed, online forms completed etc, there is a myriad of information out there.


No it hasn’t changed, and it is unlikely to. According to The Act (Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918) it is an integral part of free, fair and open and accountable elections. It’s been that way essentially ‘forever’ …

If you believe you or your family are at risk because your details can be viewed on the Electoral Roll you can become silent …


I’m familiar with the Act and what it says. But, how does any of this justify the whole business of the AEC giving such easy and undocumented access to someone else’s home address to a complete, unidentified stranger who just walks in off the street ? I mean the reasons that these people have for wanting to look at the electoral roll have absolutely nothing to do with the electoral process. Isn’t the whole point of our privacy laws to protect our sensitive personal information ? What could be more sensitive than our private address ? How does it benefit the electoral process for private, unrelated, total or near - total strangers to be able to find out where each other lives ?


Property searches can often be utterly useless if your primary objective is to find out where someone, definitely, “lives” … which is the only concern that I raised in my post .

So, if it so easy to find out where someone does live by simply googling their name how is that I’ve just done that and there is no mention in the space of twenty page returns as to even what suburb I live in… not my phone name … nor my age … zero … zilch … nothing.

The scenario that I outlined clearly indicated that the party in question has NO information about me except my name. They don’t have phone numbers to assist them in any online search … certainly not a silent number… they don’t even know what suburb I live in

Again, in most cases, the quickest, easiest and most anonymous way in which to find out someone’s address i.e where they live is to check the electoral roll. Most unlikely that anyone who is planning to locate another person for the purpose of committing a criminal act would do so via internet searching.


One also needs to search the dark web. This is where information/data often ends up. If any business/insividual you have dealt with has been hacked, had malware etc, or intercepted, this is where it is likely to end.

I personally wouldn’t search the dark web, as the search may assist in contributing data to the dark side.

There are far easier ways. Looking at one’s mail, do a land title search, ask the neighbours, do a local government search etc etc.

There are also websites like this one which allows searched for a small fee.


So how do you even become aware that someone you have never met … had no personal dealings what so ever … is, in fact, actively stalking you at this very minute and poses a threat to you. And that person just found out where you live by checking the electoral roll - that is the only source of information that they have used. Under these circumstances, what reason and awareness would have that would prompt you to have your name removed form the roll ?


Ph, I’m sure that the AEC would appreciate your dogged efforts to try and justify the obvious, undeniable threat to our personal security with the electoral roll.

This is like trying to communicate with people under water.

Why do these sort of characters that I’m trying to describe to you even have any need to search the dark web ? They don’t have to. That’s the whole point. Even if they do, how does that, in any justify the situation with the electoral roll ?


I beleive there is not an ‘undeniable threat’…there are a lot of publically available information (legally gathered and illegally) available to anyone who choses to do some searches. This information allows many functions of government and society to happen.

In a modern society, one has to expect one is not fully anomyous, otherwise those who wish to do the wrong thing could do so without being identified.

One can search the dark web or solicit a search from the comfort of ones home. To visit ones nearest AEC office takes effort and is harder (looking/reading through pages and pages) than a couple of key strokes.


How are they going to “look at one’s mail” or talk to your neighbors if they have no idea, what so ever where you live ?

Again… you’re all talking about paying fees and getting investigators to do research. As I keep saying the person who’s planning to chuck a brick through your window or spray your car doesn’t have to do any of this … they just walk into the AEC.


Not quite. The AEC doesn’t have any infornation that would identify one John Smith (or your name if there are others with the same name) from another (no photos or other personal information to verify exactly the individual in question). If one decides to throw a brick or pick up a spray can, it is likely they will have to try all the “John Smiths” in the local area/city/country to ensure all bases are covered. The chance of success if better if one has a less common name. This is impracticable, and other searches are far more easy and accessible.

The electoral roll only has names and addresses.


I’m packing it in for the night

But, one final question…

How does any of this…in any way justify the situation that I have outlined in my initial post ? Really din’t want to waste all this space arguing about any other ways in which people can find out your home address, My only point was to do with the actions of the AEC.