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Electoral Roll Privacy Issues

privacy

#21

Which reminds me of a (fairly) recent incident. An acquaintance was tracked down via Google image search. He’d used an image that’s similar to (but not the same as) one on social media. IIRC, it was for an AirBNB listing. From the listing, it was fairly easy to deduce his location.

The point is that, if we have a life, then we can be found.

The AEC is doing its job. What would you change, exactly, that wouldn’t hamper it?


#22

It’s the law. Not sure what more can be said here.

The unknown unidentified threat - how would one become aware of it given it is unknown and unidentified? probably the same way every unexpected event becomes known, it happens. Bad things happen, the AEC or electoral roll doesn’t cause them, bad people do - they don’t need enablers, they use what they can and if they are desperate enough no amount of hiding or legislative blockers will help - they are not playing by the same rules.

You betray your position by getting personal - this is not cool. If you have concerns about the laws of this country you are best served by engaging with your elected representative in the context of your location. Perhaps you can report back on your findings once you have done so?


#23

Got a busy day. However, I’ll quickly go back and respond to some of your comments.


#24

Yes, it is the law. So was capital punishment and six o’clock closing. And, guess what happened. Those laws were … ?

Your rationale defies the imagination. Are you suggesting that the opportunity that the electoral roll provides for a “bad person” to find out quickly, easily and completely anonymously where you live isn’t an enabler ? How are they going to carry out the kind of actions that I’ve indicated in my previous comments unless they can establish where you live ? How does the presence of your full name and private address on such a readily available resource as the electoral roll not act as an enabler in the situation that I have outlined ? What “rules” are you talking about ? The aforementioned bad people are, in fact,well and truly playing by the rules in regard to establishing where you live by checking your place of residence on a electoral roll because as you’ve already stated that procedure is entirely legal.

The more general, wider point as to whether or not there may, possibly, be other means and sources by which bad people can source the kind of extremely sensitive information about any of us that they get from the electoral roll is a completely separate issue. Most of you here are making statements and expressing opinions rather than sticking to the very specific matter that I raised in my original post regarding the electoral roll.

Just to your final point … perhaps you should make more of an effort to establish whether or not I have, in fact, spoken to my elected representative before you jump to any conclusions. However, since you have raised the matter, I’ll “report back” with my findings right here and now …if you’re interested ? The bottom line was that, like yourself, the local member that I spoke to was unable to provide any credible justification , what so ever, for the obvious security issues that currently exist in regard to the electoral roll.


#25

As outlined above, the electoral roll only contains basic information, name and address of a person which is incormation which is often thought of as public and not private. If such was considered private, then things like posting mail, setting up utilities, paying rates etc etc would not be possible.

The electoral roll is not the easiest way to find out this basic information, as this information will be available on the internet…if one uses the internet, there will be crumbs of information captured through its use. This includes namds and address for things like delifery of online purchases, using phone numbers for security verification purposes, accessing online accounts (social media to financial information) etc. The information available in the internet (inc. Dark web) is far more valuable or security risk than the electoral roll.

There are dozens of websites that allow one to search information which may be present on onesfelf/others for free or for small charge.

If one plans to do something bad, it is unlikely that they will make a special trip to the AEC electoral office to look atthe roll. It n is far more convenient and easier to do it anonymously on the internet.


#26

OK, so the case that you’ve outlined obviously involves someone who was able to be traced because of their online activities. What about those people who have little, or any, interaction with the internet. What would be an easier way for someone to trace the private address of those people if, for example, they are not in the phone book… than by checking the electoral roll ?

The AEC is doing its job under the provision of an Act which should, in fact, be reviewed as a matter of urgency because the current policy is entirely at odds with the general community concern that exists in regard to the security and use of our personal information


#27

How is it even remotely “impracticable” or so difficult to do when all that;s required is simply walking into your nearest, local, suburban AEC office ? You keep talking about all these other ways that are much “easier” and “accessible” . None of them offer the kind of definite, much better chance that you’re going to have of finding out where someone lives simply by checking the electoral roll !.


#28

Anyway, an interesting topic.

Just a tad disappointing that so much time and space has been wasted in your comments by not sticking to the main - indeed, only point that I raised in my original post and the one that I really wanted to focus on.

Must get started. Got a busty day

Cheers


#29

The Electoral Roll is a public record. It’s up to you what’s on that record.
https://www.aec.gov.au/Enrolling_to_vote/Special_Category/Silent_Electors.htm
https://www.aec.gov.au/footer/Privacy.htm
https://www.aec.gov.au/Enrolling_to_vote/About_Electoral_Roll/
https://www.aec.gov.au/FAQs/Electoral_Roll.htm

Have you applied to become a silent elector?


#30

I am not sure where your nearest local AEC office is, but mine (in Brisbane) is in Brisbane CBD. There aren’t any suburban offices in Queensland, only those in Brisbane CBD and regional centres around the state. These regional centres are the local AEC offices for the regional electorates.

For us living in Brisbane, there is significant effort (allow minimum 2 hours) and cost (public transport or parking) to make a trip top the AEC to look at the electoral roll. Such effort is far more than it takes gaining the same information from the internet. If I was a ‘bad person’, I wouldn’t be wasting my time and money to visit a AEC office when the same information can be gained online.

I suppose the real question should ones street address (like the information such as that can be read on the electorate roll at the AEC offices or online) be private information and not be available to others. My answer is no, as it would not be possible to not disclose such information to others to allow one to function/live in a modern society. Most transactions (either in person, indirect or online) with others/businesses needs as a minimum, a name and address as the principal identifiers.

If the AEC is required to withhold all names and addresses, does this support a free and democratic society where one should be able to see who has the right to vote in our country, to ensure open and transparent election processes.

If the AEC is required to withhold names and addresses, should the same apply to local governments (rates and owner searches), the Police (where searches and criminal records can be obtained), state government (land/title searches) etc etc. The same and more information can be gained from these freely or for small fees.

I believe to withhold such information would potentially have a greater effect on society and function than releasing such information in the very remote chance that a ‘bad person’ takes the time and effort to read, record and use the information inappropriately. One also needs to be sure that the only way to gain the such information is from the AEC (which is not the case) otherwise the removal of public records will have no effect on privacy.

However, as highlighted above, if one believes there is a genuine risk to ones own security from a known ‘bad person’ one is acquainted and also is known to peruse the electoral roll with, then there is the option to remove ones name from the electoral roll which on public display. One also possibly needs to hope that the same ‘bad person’ can’t access the internet or know other sources of the same information.

Also, if one changes from a publicly listed number to a privately listed number at some point in time (say due to a risk eventuating), the phone silent number can still be found using websites like this one or others on the net which contain historical and current phone number searches: The only way for a silent number to not be able to be found is for a new phone number to be issued on or immediately after being made silent.


#31

As I am not sure where your nearest local AEC office is, but mine (in Brisbane) is in Brisbane CBD. There aren’t any suburban offices in Queensland, only those in Brisbane CBD and regional centres around the state. These regional centres are the local AEC offices for the regional electorates.

OK. Things are quite different in Melbourne (and, probably, in Sydney as well). Down here there are about 30 AEC offices throughout the metropolitan area. Probably at least one (or more) for each suburban council area

For us living in Brisbane, there is significant effort (allow minimum 2 hours) and cost (public transport or parking) to make a trip to the AEC to look at the electoral roll.

Been quite some time since I’ve driven around Brisbane. But, are you saying that it now takes everyone in the metro area a “minimum” of two hours to make a return trip into the CBD, regardless of where they live ? Surely, you would have to be coming in from the absolute outer limits… somewhere like Lake Manchester (?)… for it to take anything like an hour. ? I used to drive from the Gold Coast into the CBD in about 50 minutes.

If I was a ‘bad person’, I wouldn’t be wasting my time and money to visit a AEC office when the same information can be gained online.

With respect, you keep making suggestions and posting links (which, based on my testing of them, have provided zero results) to places where you believe a would – be offender may, possibly, be able to find the address of his/her intended victim. But , so far, I’m not sure that you’ve really been able to pinpoint one specific source where someone who is planning to commit a criminal offence can, definitely, obtain the information that they need as quickly or as anonymously as they can by simply looking at the electoral roll.

For example, I very much doubt that our potential jailbird would be about to open an account with Info Trak (?) which, apparently, offers a search facility to provide information about people and property ? If you’re planing to trash someone’s car or set fire to their house the last thing you would do is run the risk of being traced by using a website which requires you to register, open an account, pay online and, presumably, verify your identity. I assume that the managers of the site also retain some sort of digital record of searches that have been done and who did them. Surely you would avoid the internet …. entirely if you wanted to track someone down in order to “get even” with them , particularly if there was a much safer way of doing it .

I think you’ll find that someone who, let’s say, lives in Collingwood Park and is quite prepared to drive to Wynnum (a 50 ? K journey) at 1.00 am to commit a crime would be completely willing to travel 30 Ks (in the same direction) to get the address of their victim from the AEC in the city. Bear in mind that this character is on quite a mission. He/she has to find out where someone (who has an unlisted phone number) lives, travel to their home and, at the very least, vandalize their house or car … or even do something much worse such as set fire to the place. We’re talking about someone who is going to put in a LOT of effort to plan, prepare and carry out a crime and to avoid apprehension. Do you really think that they’re going to be concerned about taking a short trip into Queen Street to get the only information that they need in order to commit the crime ? Not only get it but get it safely and completely anonymously ?

Certainly, if our villain was located in either the Melbourne or Sydney metro areas where, as mentioned above, there are dozens of AEC offices wouldn’t he/she be far more likely to end up wasting a great deal more time and/ or money if they did anything other than simply take a short trip to their local office ?

I suppose the real question should ones street address (like the information such as that can be read on the electorate roll at the AEC offices or online) be private information and not be available to others. My answer is no, as it would not be possible to not disclose such information to others to allow one to function/live in a modern society.

Indeed. I look at it this way… If someone is quite happy for their name and address to be published in the phone book then that indicates that they have no real problems with anyone knowing where they live. If, however, someone has an unlisted number, then that probably suggests that the person in question has some reason (probably a very good one) for wanting to keep their address private. And, for me, this is where we turn back to the issues surrounding the electoral roll.

**Most transactions (either in person, indirect or online) with others/businesses needs as a minimum, a name and address as the principal identifiers

But, these are one to one, personal transactions taking place in situations where we know and can control who is getting this information. In these cases, there are, obviously, legitimate reasons why these parties need our personal details. We know who they are and where they are located, we chose to provide our details to them because it’s in our interest to do so and we know why they need it. Of course, they may, later, betray our trust, breach the confidentiality of our personal information and misuse it.**

If the AEC is required to withhold names and addresses, should the same apply to local governments (rates and owner searches), the Police (where searches and criminal records can be obtained), state government (land/title searches) etc etc. The same and more information can be gained from these freely or for small fees.

I believe to withhold such information would potentially have a greater effect on society and function than releasing such information in the very remote chance that a ‘bad person’ takes the time and effort to read, record and use the information inappropriately.

Well, again, I believe… in fact, I know, for sure, that electoral roll information is used, quite often for criminal purposes. In my case, an acquaintance of mine who was a private detective and, before that, a Melbourne CIB detective for 25 years was able to prove, certainly to my satisfaction, that an attack was made against me after the offender had visited an AEC office.

One also needs to be sure that the only way to gain the such information is from the AEC (which is not the case) otherwise the removal of public records will have no effect on privacy.

However, as highlighted above, if one believes there is a genuine risk to ones own security from a known ‘bad person’ one is acquainted and also is known to peruse the electoral roll with, then there is the option to remove ones name from the electoral roll which on public display. One also possibly needs to hope that the same ‘bad person’ can’t access the internet or know other sources of the same information.

Agreed… However, in my case, I was given no real reason to have any concern about the party who offended against me. In fact, it took some time to even think of a potential attacker or motive. Certainly not a known “bad person” who had it in for me until it actually happened. It all just exploded out of the blue. Also, there’s not much point in being removed from the roll once such characters already know where you live.

Also, if one changes from a publicly listed number to a privately listed number at some point in time (say due to a risk eventuating), the phone silent number can still be found using websites like this one or others on the net which contain historical and current phone number searches: The only way for a silent number to not be able to be found is for a new phone number to be issued on or immediately after being made silent

Didn’t know that. Had a silent number for a long time and tend to change it every few years.

But, here again, the villains can’t find where you live just on the basis of having your unlisted phone number.

Anyway, we’ll leave it there. Been an interesting discussion … for me, ,at least.


#32

Can you give a more specific citation for where The Act says that?

It is my assumption that s90A and to a lesser extent s90B are the relevant sections.

I think the original question is a legitimate question to ask … what public benefit is served in permitting the disclosure in s90A? Would there be other ways of achieving it? If s90A was appropriate when it was added (no idea when that was), is it still appropriate?

At minimum it might be better if someone seeking access to the Roll under s90A had to prove their identity first, and a record made against that identity of what information was accessed. s90 may give the Commission sufficient power to require this but The Act does not force the Commission to consider privacy or potential misuse of the information or to impose any restrictions etc.


#33

Yet you evidently haven’t lodged a silent elector application. Can you rationally blame the AEC for your own negligence?


#34

Does anyone have any experience in successfully doing this? (I don’t.)

The hurdle for a successful application may be too high i.e. only after you have already been a victim of crime.

The AEC says “complete the statutory declaration and explain what you consider the risk to be and why your personal safety (or that of your family) is at risk”. That may be rather reactive.

Victims of Domestic Violence may well succeed - but at some cost to themselves.

People in witness protection may well succeed but then they may have new identities anyway.


#35

In an earlier post you indicated that one can look at the AEC electoral with anonymity…but then someone could prove that anonymity was not possible.

How did the ‘detective’ know that the roll was specifically searched for a particular person and the alleged offender was not checking his/her details were correct, say before an election and ensuring they were in the right electorate on the roll where they currently reside.


#36

@baysider has reportedly had a silent 'phone number for years, yet has evidently not taken similar precautions with the electoral roll. Is avoiding the hurdle a good way to find out whether it’s too high?


#40

#41