How to safeguard people’s privacy
The exponential growth of the Internet and electronic facilities has heightened concerns about people’s privacy. Some governments have tried to address the problem by introducing new privacy laws. Australian legislation in 2001, for example, required most businesses to rethink how they collect and use information about clients and customers. Even if you’re not affected by formal legislation at this stage, it is in your own interests (and those of others) to review the way information is collected and used in your organisation...
1. Review how you collect and use data in your business.
Most difficulties associated with the expected use of personal information can be overcome by obtaining individuals’ consents when any information is collected. The main privacy concern for most people is whether and how their information is being accessed by organisations other than the one undertaking the collection. Be open about planned usage. If, for example, information being collected will be used by a contractor to whom a particular project has been outsourced, individuals should be informed of your plans as they affect the information provider. Individuals have every right to know who has access to their personal information.
3. Appoint a privacy officer in your organisation.
An increasing number of issues will continue to be associated with individuals’ rights to privacy and the ways in which information is collected and used. It makes good sense, therefore, to appoint a person whose responsibilities will include issues of privacy. This person’s role will deal with key issues such as use and disclosure of information, data quality, data security, individuals’ access to and correction of personal information, maintaining individuals’ anonymity, and ensuring individuals’ consents have been obtained for collecting any information considered to be ‘sensitive’.
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