Microsoft Australia is proud to support Privacy Awareness week which takes place from 1-7 May 2011.

We recognise that privacy is a critical element of a secure computing experience. We understand that technology users have high expectations about how we collect, use, and store their personal information.

With this in mind, we create our policies and processes for designing, developing, and testing to ensure that we:

• Engineer privacy into our products during the product lifecycle.
• Implement privacy-based technology throughout our internal processes.
• Ensure that our global privacy policies are properly executed throughout the company.

In order to create a trusted environment for our users, we develop our software, services, and processes with privacy in mind. We provide the opportunity for our users to opt in or opt out when providing personal information.

We also partner with other organisations and industry professionals to create policies and standards to safeguard the appropriate usage and security of personal information.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner's theme for Privacy Awareness Week this year is: It’s all about you.

In addition, the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities are interested in hearing about your experience of privacy and social media. Take part in their survey.

During Privacy Awareness Week remember the following. You can protect your own personal information by:

• Checking your online privacy settings (don’t forget your social networking profile and your browser settings)
• Thinking about how much personal information you want to reveal before you do; and
• Asking businesses what will happen to your information when you give it to them

If you are handling the personal information of clients or others, protect it by:

• Knowing your responsibilities under the Privacy Act 1988
• Regularly monitoring your information handling practices to ensure they are secure
• Making sure your security systems are adequate and up to date
• Installing firewalls, cookie removers and anti-virus scanners
• Keeping hard copy files in properly secured cabinets
• Restricting file access to staff on a ‘need to know’ basis
• Reviewing your businesses’ privacy policy – is the language plain and simple? Can people understand it?

If you wish to learn more about Microsoft Privacy initiatives, visit the website here