Sample Paper on Privacy in Information Technology


Every human being would wish that his or her privacy respected and that his or her personal life is protected. Humans prefer to have control on who should know what about them and which things should be known about them. Nobody would be happy when everybody can access their information on their private life any time they want. Technological innovations have, however, threatened this authority to control access to personal information. The modern technology has the ability to retrieve information across networks and store them in one place. People all around the world can find the information without the knowledge of an individual. Technical capabilities that allow collection and storage of search trends, telephone conversations among others, have created a real threat to personal privacy. With this emerging threat growing each day, governments are forced to come up with measures that would help reduce the misuse of their citizen’s personal information. The Australian government has laid down strategies, including privacy laws to curb this growing threat to world citizens.

Privacy Law

The Australian privacy law puts emphasis on the protection of personal information of its citizens. This is the type of information that gives more details about an individual for the purposes of easier identification. The Australian law has some set out the principles with laid down outline on how to handle and access personal information, without violating a person’s right of privacy. The privacy law gives individuals more authority of deciding how their personal information is accessed or handled. The privacy law allows the individual to question the reasons why information about them is needed, where it would be used and by whom. Individuals have the right of not identifying themselves, or use a fictitious name. The individual has the authority to demand for the information relating to him or her (“The privacy act”). The Australian privacy law gives individuals the power to stop getting any direct marketing directed to them. A person can also can for any incorrect information about them to be changed and make a complaint about any entity within the APP entities when they have handled his or her information incorrectly.

All the agencies of the Australian government (and the and administration of the Norfolk Island) together with all other businesses and not-for-profit organization that makes turnover of above $ 3 million every year are all have a responsibility under their privacy act. The entities are referred to as the APP entities; APP stands for the Australian Privacy Principles, with very few exemptions. Small business persons who make the same amount per year are also held responsible by the privacy act. Generally, APP entities include the health providers in the private sectors, whether it is traditional health care, therapists or even child care centers (“Australian privacy principles”). Businesses that deal in trading of personal information are also held responsible by the privacy act, commonwealth contractors, credit-reporting agencies and the registered employee unions.

However, the act does not cover government agencies, public hospitals and health centers, people acting on their own and public universities. Public schools and businesses not reaching the $3 million mark annually, media houses, and political parties are also not covered by the act. The advanced innovations in the information technology and the various applications that are associated with it have made great changes in the way people gather and use private information (“The privacy act”). Personal information about anyone can be shared globally within a very short time. This has made the world to re-think of its measures of protecting personal information of their citizens.

Cloud Computing

With the invention of the cloud computing, individuals are now able to get any information on demand online. Cloud computing has formed a parcel of the modern world with their use of services like the webmail, Google maps among others. Users are advised that they should read the privacy policy of various cloud services before signing up to them or even giving any personal information. The information held by such services can easily be accessed by people in other parts of the world. In Australia, the department of communication publishes fact sheets on a regular basis about security and privacy issues related to the cloud computing. The fact sheet shed light on some of the disturbing privacy issues concerning the cloud computing technology (“cloud computing”). Cloud computing raises more concern in privacy issues because it touches on all areas in ICT and users are strongly advised to check whether the platform they wish to interact on meets the benchmarks set out by the privacy act.

Latest revelation by the Australian information commissioner’s office showed Australians are getting more worried about their online privacy. It showed that many Australians also believe that online services like the shopping, dating among others, are the greatest privacy threat to many Australians (“Technology: Australians increasingly worried”, 2013). The personal information of others can be used by organized crimes to carry out ID fraud, data theft, and even financial information theft. Australian people should therefore be educated on how to protect their privacy online and improve their safety.

Anyone from any part of the world has access to the personal information in the social media sites if they are publicly available. This means that even organizations and institutions can see this information and use it wrongly. The Australian privacy law obliges any organization covered in the privacy act to comply with the Australian privacy principles when they collect such information on such platforms. In today’s world, the number of people who conduct their affairs online increase every day (“The privacy act”). Activities like shopping, job search, and application for legal documents, and forms part of the daily routine of the modern man. Non-APP entities are not covered by the privacy act and may use the information they got in a very bad manner. It is therefore the duty of citizens in such a case, to ensure that they protect their online identity.

Role of the Citizens

People may think that posting about phone number, bank account number, or even home addresses are the only factors that constitute personal information. This is not the truth, since even by just chatting on a social networking site or dating site, one is already supplying his personal information to the outside world. This would be a threat to privacy because such information once they are out, the individual cannot decide on how it would be handled by other individuals acting in their own capacity. A person is therefore supposed to consider online privacy and safety before posting any text or photo online (“Internet, communications, and other technology”). Online audience cannot be controlled, one should ask himself what would happen if the information he intends to post lands in bad hands. Just like the cloud computing sites, social media sites have privacy policies, which should be read by all the users on any specific platform.

A person should check on how the site’s privacy settings could help improve his privacy while online. The person should then limit access to information regarding family so that only family members and close friends can view it. Individuals should also avoid giving out so much information about them that would make them more vulnerable. The information posted should have no consequence to the user whether accessed by other organizations or the employer, that is to say, they information should not reveal too much about the person (“Are organizations allowed to use the personal information”). The information on the profile should be reviewed regularly so that any information that is not appropriate is deleted for the purposes of improving privacy. Highest privacy options should be used and any person who is not a friend should be approved by the user before he can access their profile information. The individuals have the moral duty of protecting the privacy of others; they should not post information about other people, or even use their pictures without their permission.

What Citizens Should Do When A Bad or Wrong Information Is Posted About Them

When something bad is posted online about an individual, he should procedures laid out to make a formal complaint or ask the site owners to remove the information (“What can I do if someone posts information about me”). The individual should then take the matter directly with the person or the organization responsible for the comments or images posted on the social media platform. The person can also take legal action if the post is defamatory, which in this case would attract a fine or even a jail term.

The Australian government recognizes that IT has had major impacts on the lives and businesses of the Australian people. People have adopted the IT to do quality work in their workstations, improve efficiency, and gain quick insights into the trends in various markets. In 2008, the prime minister gave a statement, in which he acknowledged that IT-related threats have been on the increase in the recent past. Some individuals steal personal and business information for their own selfish gains, even intimidating the owners of such information. Organized criminals have taken to the internet to carry out their illegal businesses, especially the identity theft and money laundering activities. The Australian government has therefore made the necessary steps to set up strategies aimed at countering these illegal activities and protecting the privacy of its citizens from such organized criminals.



The privacy laws should be modified to incorporate modern threats to personal privacy offline as well as online. The laws would build on the earlier set of privacy principles, but should put more emphasis to the online privacy and data collections. The new laws should apply to all organizations that deal with the collection and storage of personal information of the Australian citizens. However, this law would not work on its own, but should work closely with other global frameworks of privacy laws relating to online privacy (Paul, F.2014). The organizations that collect personal information online must notify their users when they sign up with them. Such organizations must also explain whether they would collect information on the browsing habits of their user, and the reasons for the collection.

The information officer must ensure that there are reasonable steps to ensure that the organizations give a notification after collection of the information. The organizations should also explain why the notification is made and back it up with evidence. Another strong change in the new law should include a requirement for entities that send the information overseas to ensure that it is not misused (Paul, F.2014). The new law must give the citizens the right to access their information held by private entities such as Facebook, twitter, and Google. These entities are obliged by the new law to such kind information to the owners when needed even though users may have to pay for the retrieval charges wherever applicable. As compared to the freedom of information act, the new laws would be more flexible and up-to date with new online privacy threats.

The reforms should be made to reinforce the powers of the information commissioner. This would give him more authority to place tougher consequences and on matters concerning investigation and review of all applications (Paul, F.2014). The current limited resource at the exposure of the commissioner to make the commissioner’s work more difficult because he has to go to the federal court to penalize the entity. The process is costly and the small office of the commissioner would not afford to make many of such processes.


Are organizations allowed to use the personal information I post on social networking sites? Australian government: office of the Australian information commissioner. Available at <>

Australian Privacy Principles. Australian government: office of the Australian information commissioner.  Available at <>

Cloud computing. Australian government: office of the Australian information commissioner

. Available at < >

Internet, communications, and other technology. Australian government: office of the Australian information commissioner. . Available at <>

Paul Farrell.2014. Internet privacy: how Australia’s new laws will work. The Guardian. Monday 3. . Available at <>

Technology: Australians increasingly worried about online privacy, 48 percent say social media is biggest privacy risk. 2013. Oct 09. Available at <>

The privacy act. Australian government: office of the Australian information commissioner. . Available at <>

What can I do if someone posts information about me on a social networking site that I want removed? Australian government: office of the Australian information commissioner. .Available at <>