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Wild Speculation = ID Theft Doom

Gartner, which has a ho-hum reputation for its analysis, can apparently guarantee that information theft, data loss, and the holy grail - of Personal Identification data theft, is taking place in Australia, and that it may be much worse in Australia than in other countries.

The reason for all this speculation? Firstly, it was Gartner's IT Security Summit, conveniently held in Sydney. What better way to scare up new business than to tell the audience that their dirty laundry is being aired for all to see.

Secondly, it is that Australia doesn't have any formalised information breach laws in place, and without these laws it is apparently too difficult to work out who to trust. While there are National Privacy Principals that have been created by the Federal Government, they are not very well enforced. Anyway, most companies and individuals probably wouldn't know what agency would enforce them.

Certainly an environment where reporting on losses is being suppressed is not ideal, and there are practical cases where potential information theft was covered up rather than be publicly disclosed. Australia is not alone in experiencing suppressed information theft and properly enforced Federal guidelines would go a long way towards addressing this problem.

As a smaller market Australia can afford to take the best from privacy and data protection laws from across the globe, including leading legislation in the EU and the United States, before blending and formulating an Australian-specific set of laws that meet the specific needs of the Australian market. Enabling an existing agency or enforcement body to actually enforce and prosecute breaches of the law will be necessary to demonstrate that the law is more than a paper tiger.

An ideal solution will probably lie between where the market is now and where Gartner believes that it should be (complete with their services). Current moves by the Government and Opposition as part of the NetAlert system are misguided at best and will not do much to help the overall Identity theft and data loss issues faced by businesses and consumers.

27 August 2007

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