In OZ, CPOs are no-no's

The emergence of Chief Privacy Officers (CPO) in some of the world's largest IT firms is being rejected by Australian organisations, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC).

CPO's just don't rank locally despite the increasing number of companies like IBM and Doubleclick appointing executives to oversee their data privacy policies and initiatives.

IDC's enterprise and Internet software analyst Natasha David said it is doubtful this phenomenon will extend to the Australian landscape although privacy fears by consumers is increasing.

"Our research has shown 44 per cent of Internet users are concerned about privacy when purchasing goods and more than 70 per cent actually checked privacy policies before ordering; this indicates a clear need for some initiatives on privacy in Australia's e-business landscape," David said.

An Australian e-privacy survey by Anderson Legal justifies these fears revealing three quarters of the top 100 Internet sites were being used to collect personal information without informing users.

David believes Australian companies are loathe to add yet another executive member to their teams and are likely to simply delegate the privacy task to an existing employee.

"This is also dictated by the size of companies here compared to their US counterparts; also corporate America is desperate to convince the public it can be trusted with consumer information because there are several privacy bills pending in Congress," she said.

Although Australia's privacy legislation, which will be in place later this year, has faced some controversy David said it is unlikely CPO's will make their way into Australian organisations.

"The IT industry loves a new title almost as much as it loves acronyms but Australian companies produce more generalist executive holders compared to the US," she said.

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