Australia's tax office loses petabyte of data

Here's a universal lesson in validating data integrity before you change your backup.

Daniel Van Boom Senior Writer
Daniel Van Boom is an award-winning Senior Writer based in Sydney, Australia. Daniel Van Boom covers cryptocurrency, NFTs, culture and global issues. When not writing, Daniel Van Boom practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, reads as much as he can, and speaks about himself in the third person.
Expertise Cryptocurrency, Culture, International News
Daniel Van Boom
Australian Taxation Office

The Australian Taxation Office's website hit a digital iceberg this week, sinking to "not available" status. But the government office now has a bigger problem: It's lost a petabyte of data, reports ITNews.

That's 1,000 terabytes, which is 20,000 dual-layer Blu-ray discs worth of data or roughly 500,000 hours of HD streaming. With all that data, you could watch "Sharknado 3" on Netflix over 333,000 times.

Fortunately, the tax office had a backup system put into place. Unfortunately, the backup system fell victim to the same issue that downed the original network storage system.

"Our primary backup systems, that should have kicked in immediately, were also affected," CIO Steve Hamilton said in a statement. "We understand this is the first time this problem has been encountered anywhere in the world."

However, ATO assured Australians that "no taxpayer information has been compromised."

It's been a tough year for the Australian government on the internet front. The country launched its first online census in August, but the website crashed within hours (thanks in part to "inadequate" testing), leading #censusfail to trend across the country.