[LINK] Take privacy personally, urges commissioner
link at todd.inoz.com
Mon Aug 16 20:34:13 EST 2004
Take privacy personally, urges commissioner
Date: August 16 2004
By Cynthia Banham
If Karen Curtis, the new Federal Privacy Commissioner, has her way,
Australians are about to become more assertive and questioning when it
comes to handing over personal information.
Ms Curtis, a former executive in the Australian Chamber of Commerce and
Industry, started in her new role in July, and says from what she's seen,
"there isn't a great awareness in the community about privacy rights".
It is something Ms Curtis wants to change during her five-year term.
Identity theft is set to become more of a problem as advances in technology
allow agencies and businesses to collect - and share - more personal
information so Ms Curtis wants privacy to be a "first order issue".
As yet unreleased results of surveys carried out by the office of the
Federal Privacy Commissioner show only around one-third of Australians know
a Privacy Act even exists.
"That seems to suggest the opportunity to educate and make people more
aware," Ms Curtis said.A more educated public would ask more questions, she
says - "like when they are giving their information to receive a good or
service, they might actually question, 'do I need to give you all this
information, do you really need to know where I live, do you really need to
know my name?"'.
Using different passwords, or "identifiers", for different purposes was
another way people could protect their personal information, Ms Curtis said.
Her view that Australians need to be better educated in their privacy
rights was supported by the small number of complaints received by the
commissioner last financial year - only 1276.
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