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Govt must clean up its own act

A RECENT audit has shown that government agencies are failing to meet their own privacy requirements.

“Nearly one third of Commonwealth websites still fail to meet the baseline requirement of displaying a privacy statement,” Privacy Commissioner Malcolm Crompton said.

“For government agencies, anything less than 100 per cent compliance is not acceptable.”

In a letter to agency leaders Mr Crompton aired his disappointment at the results of the website privacy audit.

The deadline for agencies to get their websites in order on privacy was set as June 1, 2000, yet the audit clearly shows many government agencies continue to fail their web users.

A third audit was carried out in May-July 2001 to determine if users were provided with sufficient information about the way in which their websites handle personal information.

“It is clear that a number of agencies need to devote more systematic attention to ensuring that their websites comply with the guidelines,” Mr Crompton said.

Only 69 per cent of Commonwealth sites displayed a privacy statement.

Mr Crompton said he didn’t think complying with the guidelines was difficult, but simply involved making the effort and paying more attention to the privacy implications than had been the case to date.

He urged agencies not to underestimate the level of public interest in privacy issues.

The survey indicated that 57 per cent of all Internet users surveyed had heightened concerns about the security of their personal information when using the world wide web.

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