Date of Award

1-1-2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business

Faculty

Faculty of Business and Public Management

First Advisor

Dr William Hutchinson

Second Advisor

Associate Professor Dieter Fink

Abstract

The popularity of the Internet has been dramatically increased over recent years. The rapid growth of this technology and its international use has made it almost impossible to regulate the internet. As a result, the Internet has certainly provided freedoms to people and it has led to some abusing systems. Privacy is one of the major issues in the development of Electronic Commerce using the Internet. As an enormous amount of personal information is transmitted to several hosts connecting to the Internet, the information can be accessed by both authorised and unauthorised people. Although it is certain that there are several existing problems of using the Internet for business activities, many organisations have already started using it. It is believed that the Internet provides efficiency and effectiveness for various activities Although much research has been described the business use of the Internet in many countries, these studies have not specifically investigated Australian organisations. Therefore, this research investigates the current use of the Internet by Australian organisations and their associated privacy policies, as a means of seeking their privacy concerns. Using a benchmark provided by Australian privacy commissioners, it evaluates their privacy policies to see how well they are established to protect privacy of users. The study utilises the top 100 Australian large private sector organisations as the sample. The current practice of the sample organisations on the Internet was observed by exploring their Web sites. Privacy policies were also collected from their Web sites. Moreover, a letter requesting corporate privacy policy was sent to each organisation that collects personal information on the Internet. The result showed that the majority of Australian organisations were using the Internet today, but a surprisingly few organisations showed their privacy policy on the Internet. Also, this research showed that many organisations did not actually have a corporate privacy policy. Many organisations are using the Internet without apparent concern for customers' privacy. The organisations proactively involved in the Internet Commerce are more concerned about security side of the Internet. Hence, they appear to believe that the technology itself protects information sent on the Internet. It has become clear that technology by itself does not provide the security needed for users of the Internet as unethical act of authorised parties could harm privacy of individuals. There is an argument that the Internet needs to be regulated. However, the process of international regulation on the Internet has not been started. Thus, it is ideal that organisations proactively protect clients' personal information accessible by the use of the Internet technology. This study looks at the methods of obtaining privacy of individuals and suggests the ideal conduct of organisations.

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