AIIA announces privacy compliance initiative

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has announced its privacy initiative, aimed at assisting the information communications and technology (ICT) industry to comply with new government privacy obligations, which come into effect on December 21, 2001.

The Privacy Amendment (Private Sector) Act 2000 regulates the way private sector organisations collect, use, keep, secure and disclose personal information. National Privacy Principle Four requires organisations to take reasonable steps to protect personal information it holds, specifically through an upgrade of technology and security processes.

The association said the centrepiece of its initiative will be an online privacy toolkit. AIIA member companies will be able to access information on their obligations, as well as assessment tools, case studies and modules to assist with internal staff training.

The group has partnered with Ernst & Young to develop the toolkit, which is due for launch in August.

Peter Frueh, chair of AIIA's taskforce on privacy, said: "While privacy hasn't attracted the same attention as other recent business compliance issues, such as Y2K and GST, it is a very real commercial issue to manage.

"Business must review the potential impact of this new legislation and implement appropriate compliance measures. This is a substantial task and must not be underestimated."

Rob Durie, executive director of the AIIA, said: "The ICT industry plays a unique role in the responsible handling of personal information. Not only must it comply with requirements of the Act in its own right, but it provides the technologies that underpin the handling of most personal information in today's society."

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