NSW eyes Samaritan Y2K law

NSW eyes Samaritan Y2K law

-- Good Samaritan legislation to assist communication on Y2K could be introduced in Australia, following the US' lead in this area.

The intention of Y2K Good Samaritan legislation is to shield organisations from lawsuits that might arise from the sharing of year 2000 compliance data that later proves inaccurate.

On July 14, 1998, President Bill Clinton announced his intention to introduce good Samaritan legislation in the US to protect companies from liability for sharing information about year 2000 projects and fixes.

The US initiative has met a broadly positive response from analysts, IT managers and project directors in the US.

However, some have expressed fears that the US initiative will leave end users without recourse, as it will shield vendors from lawsuits founded on the basis of the vendors' Y2K disclosures.

Now the Office of Information Technology (OIT), the NSW government agency responsible for developing and driving whole of government strategies for the use of information technology, is considering the possibility of introducing "something similar" here, according to Col Bamblett, year 2000 project manager, OIT, NSW.

Bamblett said that the purpose of such legislation would be to provide "a secure environment for free talking without the threat of litigation hanging over our heads".

Bamblett made the comments at a recent IQPC conference entitled "Year 2000 for the Public Sector" where he was part of a panel discussion on how states and territories could work together to make Y2K compliance easier.

Bamblett said OIT is in the early stages of gathering information on Good Samaritan legislation, and "trying to hasten the process right along".

However, Tony Gates, manager, Y2K project team, NSW government, warned conference delegates that the NSW government had not committed to passing any such legislation, and may decide not to proceed with introducing it.

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