Telstra world leader in privacy audit results

Media Release, 12 October 2012

Telstra today released its 1996/97 Report of the Privacy Audit Panel.

The Chair of Telstras independent Privacy Audit Panel, Ms Janine Haines, said that Telstras commitment to the protection of personal information makes the company one of the few organisations in the world to have a formal, structured and audited process aimed at ensuring that unauthorised release of customers personal details does not occur.

"Telstras privacy commitment is a benchmark not just nationally, but internationally," said Ms Haines.

The independent panel comprises Ms Haines and representatives of Price Waterhouse, which Telstra appointed as its privacy auditor, and the Commonwealth Privacy Commissioner.

In its third reporting year, the Auditors 1997 Report states that an awareness of and commitment to the protection of personal data is now virtually company-wide. As a result of the efforts made by Telstra (at both management and business unit levels) over the past three years, the privacy auditor believes a "privacy culture" is developing within the corporation.

The Panel has noted that previous recommendations have largely been fulfilled and that there has been a significant improvement relating to access controls over software-based monitoring tools used in the fault rectification process.

"An important part of our Privacy Protection Policy is an internal privacy compliance program," said Mr Michael Pickering, Telstra Group Manager Corporate Policy.

"The compliance program began in October 1994 and is directed and supervised by Senior Managers," he explained.

"Telstra is very proud of its privacy commitment, and Im pleased that all our business units have already reached or are moving rapidly towards a very high standard of privacy compliance.

"In particular, the subsidiary Telstra Multimedia and the newest business unit, Industry Services, have already implemented internal training programs and strategies that will make all levels of Telstra staff and management aware of specific privacy issues relevant to their aspects of the overall business."

This years Report makes 12 recommendations. Many of the recommendations relate to initiatives in progress - particularly the development, training, and succession plans for Privacy Managers.

Telstras privacy priorities for 1998 are to:

  • continue to extend the privacy compliance program throughout Telstra and its subsidiaries.

  • further develop and refine the use of privacy impact statements to assess privacy issues during the development of new products and services.

  • work with industry groups and the Federal Privacy Commissioner's Office for the development of a Telecommunications Industry privacy code and a national privacy code for the private sector.

Ms Haines said that the way in which companies deal with privacy is an important defining issue for ethical business practices.

"Companies that respect privacy will ultimately reap the benefits of better customer relations, and Telstras commitment to privacy will ensure that it is in line with new European and North American privacy standards," she added.

Copies of the report can be obtained by contacting Telstras Privacy Unit on
(03) 9634 8831 or fax (03) 9634 4552.