Ecommerce confidential

Canadians are very concerned about the privacy of the data they provide to companies and organizations they deal with, and their concern is increasing as the use of new sales methods like ecommerce grows. Dr. Ann Cavoukian, the Information and Privacy Commissioner for the Province of Ontario, told a meeting in Toronto yesterday that consumers are much more aware of privacy issues than they were in the past.

“Concern about informational privacy in the marketplace has risen in tandem with the rapid development of new technology,” said Dr. Cavoukian. “Consumers not only want goods and services, but increasingly want assurances that the personal information they provide to a business will be kept confidential, unless they consent otherwise.”

Dr. Cavoukian cited several surveys that show just how concerned Canadians are about privacy and security on the Internet. Unless the public’s very real and growing privacy concerns are addressed, electronic commerce will not reach its full potential, she said, stressing that consumer confidence and trust are necessary for e-commerce to flourish.

Companies that are succeeding in online sales already know this, but it is useful reiterate. Consumers will be quick to punish any organization that abuses the trust we give them in the form of personal information. So far, the industry as a whole has a good track record. It’s important that reputable organizations keep consumers well-informed regarding their efforts to preserve confidentiality and security. Those that don’t will suffer at the electronic cash register.