Non-compliance with privacy legislation will "court disaster"

Dun and Bradstreet Australasia's Chief Executive has warned of serious legal and business implications for companies that fail to prepare and comply with federal privacy legislation due to come into force on 21 December.

"If we don't take this seriously and we don't act, we are going to court disaster," claimed Christine Christian, Dun and Bradstreet Australasia's Chief Executive.

Speaking at a Technology Partners Group briefing Christian further stated that there was a risk that if business did not look after this issue, more prescriptive legislation could be introduced.

In addition to the legal risk to business from not adhering to the privacy legislation, without the confidence of customers companies may face difficulty using both traditional direct and Internet marketing techniques to promote products and services.

Christian highlighted the fact that Internet users have already been adopting tactics to avoid privacy incursions by companies: "Because consumers are concerned [about privacy] when they go online, a lot of them are falsifying their information as a form of privacy protection."

Christian's call to action is supported by a recent survey released by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and Dimension Data. The survey indicated that while 67 per cent of companies were addressing the requirements outlined in the Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000, 55 per cent did not currently encrypt sensitive personal information and 40 per cent did not provide customers with access to their own records for accuracy verification or updating.

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