MyCRA Credit Rating Repairs is proud to be a Privacy Awareness Week (PAW) Partner for 2012 which runs 29 April to 5 May. The team at MyCRA hope we can help educate more people on Privacy Issues this week and in doing so reduce the numbers of identity theft cases in Australia. Privacy of your personal information is crucial to prevent identity theft and subsequent credit fraud. This week, through information provided by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and also through our own information, we want to help clarify how Privacy (or lack of it) can affect your credit file and promote safety of your valuable personal information.
This post features a newsletter titled “Privacy It’s All About You” provided by the OAIC which will clarify the origins of PAW and the importance of Privacy in your business, your life and for maintaining your good credit history. Please find full newsletter below:
Privacy: it’s all about you
Privacy Awareness Week (29 April – 5 May) is an annual event during which the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities join forces to remind everyone to take steps to protect their own privacy and safeguard personal information about others that they might hold.
“Privacy is recognised in many countries, including Australia, as a human right,” says Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim. “Serious consequences can arise when someone’s privacy is breached and we all have responsibilities to look after the personal information we handle.”
Organisations and government agencies covered by the Privacy Act must meet responsibilities when collecting, using and disclosing personal information. This includes giving sufficient notice about why personal information is being collected and how it will be used and disclosed.
Businesses covered by the Privacy Act are subject to ten National Privacy Principles or NPPs while most Australian, ACT and Norfolk Island government agencies must comply with eleven Information Privacy Principles or IPPs.
Quick privacy tips for business and government agencies:
• Don’t collect personal information that is unnecessary for your business
• If you do need to collect people’s personal information, tell them why you are doing this, what the information will be used for and how long it will be kept
• Make it clear who will have access to that personal information, including any third parties
• Take steps to destroy or de-identify personal information that is no longer required, subject to other record keeping requirements.
What about you?
When it comes to protecting your own information, Mr Pilgrim is urging all Australians to be increasingly more vigilant about protecting their information.
“You really need to pay attention to what information you are sharing and how it may be used, particularly online and when using smartphones, where personal information is routinely collected and stored by any number of entities.”
Mr Pilgrim says people tend not to think about what information they are giving away or what will happen to it, especially as they make quick transactions online.
Know what’s going on
When your online search history is aggregated with other information you may have shared online, a detailed picture emerges that could compromise your privacy.
Most search engines today track and store details about your browsing habits to help guide you to the information you are seeking. But Mr Pilgrim says that many of us remain unaware of how this happens or where our information may end up.
Different search engines operate in different ways. So if you are unhappy with the way your information is being used by one provider, consider using another.
“I’d encourage people to always use the provider that offers them most control about how their personal information is used,” Mr Pilgrim added.
Similar issues apply to apps: when you download them, you usually agree to your personal information being collected in some way.
“Next time you decide to download an app, take a moment to look at the terms and conditions that set out what you are signing up for, what type of information the app developer is collecting and how it will be used.”
While these kinds of details can be buried in the fine print, Mr Pilgrim says it’s worth making the effort to know and understand what you are agreeing to so your information is not used in unexpected ways.
“Just as in the real world, if you want to safeguard your privacy, you need to pay attention to what information you are handing over and ask companies what they are doing with it.”
Find out more at www.privacyawarenessweek.org/oaic
Stay tuned for more information on Privacy, your personal information and your credit file.
If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, firstly contact Police who will assist you.
If identity theft has affected your credit file (credit fraud) and you need help with removing negative listings such as defaults and clearouts which should not be there, it might be helpful to contact a credit rating repairer to go through your options for credit rating repair.
Graham Doessel, Founder and CEO of My CRA Credit Rating Repairs and www.fixmybadcredit.com.au.