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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Senator's privacy nightmare a lesson for all

Now here’s a salutary privacy tale.

During debate in the Senate about the Privacy Legislation Amendment Bill (see item below) Senator Hurley (ALP) recounted her experience in applying for personal income insurance in case of disability through her superannuation provider, the Australian Government Employees Superannuation Trust. The full gory details are here.

In short she had to respond to a series of very personal questions, then read the privacy statement that told her that the management of these matters had been outsourced to the Commonwealth Bank, and that the information could be shared by them with a wide range of others. When she then thought that this was more of a privacy risk than her insurance needs warranted, and sought to withdraw the application and recover her information, she was told that it had already been provided to the Bank, but no one was available as a contact there as she attempted to retrieve the information.

Senator Hurley joins others in emphasising the importance of reading privacy statements before you hand over all that personal stuff to others.

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