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Everything you need to know about privacy. (In Focus: a message from the editors).

Organizations amass a tremendous amount of information about their customers these days. They know their customers' likes and dislikes, buying habits, and any number of other facts. How that information is stored, handled, and used has become a critical business concern for organizations of all types and sizes.

Protecting their customers' privacy--as well as that of their employees--is posing serious challenges to organizations. Indeed, the increasing importance of privacy in the business environment is changing how information is managed. Thus, it is critical that records and information management professionals understand the issues around privacy.

Therefore, it seems only appropriate that we should focus this special issue of The Information Management Journal on the various aspects that have made privacy a leading business concern today. The Privacy Council's Gary Clayton sets the stage with an overview of this critical issue from a global business perspective. In his article, "Safeguarding the World's New Currency," he also offers steps for responding to privacy issues, as well as a summary of privacy-related laws and regulations in countries around the world.

Susan Haller's article, "Privacy: What Every Manager Should Know," provides a slightly different perspective on the topic. She examines the role of the media in bringing privacy to the forefront, as well as the emerging role of chief privacy officers. (J. Michael Pemberton elaborates on this latter issue in his article, "Chief Privacy Officer: Your Next Career?) Haller also briefly summarizes the major U.S. privacy protections currently in place.

Identity theft is quickly becoming one of the most visible privacy-related issues for both individuals and businesses. It is also the subject of Shanna Groves's article, "Protecting Your Identity." Through interviews with several privacy experts, Groves explores various identity authentication techniques, some of which are raising ethical concerns of their own. The article also identifies critical components for any organizational identity management program.

Other aspects of the privacy issue--such as the ethics of database marketing, privacy vs. cybersecurity, and cookie technology--are discussed in this issue as well. Together, they provide records and information managers with a more complete understanding of the importance of this issue from an ethical and business perspective.

Ultimately, how an organization handles its information--how well it protects its customers' privacy--is a critical business issue. As individuals become more aware and more wary about how their personal information is used by businesses, this will become an increasingly important element in their decision-making process.

Similarly, the more aware and attuned to issues such as privacy that records and information management professionals become, the better positioned they will be to play a bigger and more vital role within their organizations.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Association of Records Managers & Administrators (ARMA)
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Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Information Management Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:May 1, 2002
Words:437
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