The biggest privacy news lately has been about Facebook’s Beacon program. The program was sharing information about purchases made on third-party partner sites with Facebook, even if the user was not signed into Facebook or had deactivated their account. Opt-ing out of the program was a challenge. Facebook, after several weeks has acknowledged their mistake (see above article). As more companies try new forays into online marketing, I expect to see more of these privacy insensitive developments. How can you prevent your organization from making such a blunder? Privacy impact assessments. All new business projects and plans that use or collect data in a new way should be reviewed with an eye for privacy. Ten out of 30 enterprises that I interviewed for research purposes, say that they do privacy impact assessments for all projects, but that still leaves 20 out of 30 who aren’t monitoring their new endeavors. For an idea of what they involve, see how the US government has set up a privacy impact assessment program.

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