[LINK] Age: 'What to do when they ask for too much data'

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Thu Mar 10 12:43:59 AEDT 2011

Deal or no deal
March 9, 2011
The Melbourne Age Money Section

The national privacy principles declare that companies must be open 
about what information they collect and how it will be used.

But just because a company says it needs information is not, in 
itself, evidence that it does.

In light of that, the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre's Roger Clarke 
offers six pieces of advice to consumers who are uncomfortable with 
the amount of personal details being solicited by an organisation.

-   Always ask why a company wants the information. In many cases,
     the requests are easily explained.

-   If the answer fails to convince you the information is necessary,
     write ''N/A'' on a form where it asks for excessive personal details.
     [I've deletes 'not' from before 'necessary' (telephone interview)]

-   If the company's reason is only partly relevant, provide as much
     information as you deem pertinent. For example, declaring that you are
     over the age of 18 may suffice instead of revealing your birth date.

-   Where a company or organisation's request is excessively broad, read it
     carefully and neatly strike out or reword sections. Clarke suggests
     adding the word 'relevant' in front of the word 'information'.

-   If a company's representative insists all sections must be completed,
     take the form home and mail it back to avoid a confrontation.

-   If a business says it won't accept the document, tell them you want a
     formal internal review before you complain officially to the regulator.

Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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