ATO stalking your social media

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is the first in a line of Federal Government departments to employ a team of data-mining specialists that will analyse your social media for data matching purposes.

The data is captured by complex algorithms, evaluated by analytic experts and then used to alert the ATO to clients it believes could be misreporting income or claiming dodgy deductions.

So what exactly are the robots looking for?

  • The offering of services for cash.
  • A disconnect between your tax return and the lifestyle you are living.
  • Pictures and or video showing you enjoying a holiday when you have claimed this travel as a work-related deduction.


If you’re concerned about your privacy, then now is the time to ensure that your social media security levels are up to standard. A recommended first step is to hide your Facebook and Twitter posts from prying eyes by changing your security settings to ‘friend only’ viewing in the ‘Settings’ area. It is also advised that, to remain outside the reach of robot tracking, you don’t use your full name, phone number or email address on any social media website. 

It won’t be long before similar techniques are employed across all Federal Government departments, including Centrelink. If you have nothing to hide, then you needn’t worry. If you do have something to hide, don’t be stupid enough to post it on social media.

What do you think? Is this new initiative from the ATO a smart way to catch out those exploiting the system? Or are these new measures just another invasion of your privacy?

Read more at The Age

Related articles:
What Australians do online
What if you’re underpaid benefits?
Tax cuts not the short-term answer

Drew Patchell
Drew Patchell
Drew Patchell was the Digital Operations Manager of YourLifeChoices. He joined YourLifeChoices in 2005 after completing his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport.
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