Australian Information Mangement Ethics And Law Essay — страница 2

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businesses and the responsibilities they carry and addresses a possible role for Government in setting the necessary enabling policy framework. The scheme consisted of the three proceeding components: Principles or standards for the handling of personal information; Pocesses for business to `sign on’ to the Scheme, and for promoting and monitoring compliance with the principles; and Mechanisms for handling complaints about breaches of the principles, and providing effective remedies for people affected. (law.gov.au, 1999) Within the above time frame, a considerable amount of complaints and enquiries received by the Privacy Commissioner, in regards to the regular flow of media reports of cases of harm or distress that poor information privacy practices had inflicted on

individuals. For example, Task Force (1997) remarked that there were more than 500 separate `privacy’ items in national newspapers in the first six months of 1997. Consumers wanted to know how the information they give to business will be used, and they want to be confident that their personal information will be protected against misuse. Like wise, Businesses wanted to build loyalty and trust with their customers by assuring them that their information will be handled fairly. They also want to be certain that their competitors will not either undermine the image of their industry, or put them at a commercial disadvantage,by misusing personal information. (Hilvert, 1997 ) Thus, policy makers were compelled by all sectors of society to review and update the Privacy Act 1998. An

amended privacy legislation was introduced to parliament in 1999 to extend privacy protection across the private sector to corporate or unincorporated bodies through to individuals. (law.gov.au, 1999) A dominate feature of the legislation deals with the management of private information. Information privacy concerns the handling of personal information, that is, information about a particular person or information that can be used to identify a particular person. The collection and use of personal information is essential to businesses, non-profit organisations, consumers and government: it is a very valuable resource. But it differs from other resources in two ways. It can be shared and used by more than one person at the same time, and it can be used for an unlimited number of

different purposes (Hilvert, 1997). These characteristics give rise to the fundamental ideas behind information privacy: that organisations handling personal information have a responsibility to do so fairly, and that the subjects of personal information retain some rights in relation to the way it may be used (or collected or stored or disclosed) by others. (Hilvert, 1997) The amended Privacy Act supplies a guide of how private information is treated. Failure to concur to the privacy codes will result in an investigation by the Privacy Commissioner. The legislation will require the Privacy Commissioner review, approve and inforce privacy codes. Also, the Commissioner’s approval of a code will be subject to scrutiny by the federal Parliament, to ensure consistency between

privacy codes. (Review Council, 1995) Despite recent attention to the privacy bill, the Australian common law recognises no general right to privacy. Defamation law and actions for breach of a duty of confidence can apply in a limited range of circumstances, but litigation is slow and expensive and not a realistic option for most people affected by privacy intrusions. (law.gov.au, 1998) However, Australian businesses recognise the importance of information privacy. They want to be sure that there can be a free flow of information in the international trade setting, which requires that our trading partners have confidence that Australia has adequate practices for handling personal information. Businesses and Governments wanting to encourage their customers to use electronic

commerce and electronic service delivery need to assure them that their information privacy will be protected. Survey research for the Privacy Commissioner indicated: “that nearly 80 per cent of people think computers have made it easier for confidential personal details to fall into the wrong hands and that very few believe there are adequate safeguards for personal information kept on computer.” (Mastercard International, 1996) Whether or not these concerns are justified, they obviously affect the willingness of consumers to embrace new technologies that involve the collection and processing of personal information. Adoption of the amended information privacy scheme by Australian businesses would make it easier to convince overseas authorities and consumers that personal