New privacy laws that business owners need to be across for 2014

Posted by Verde Group

Published on February 14, 2014 under Latest News

In 2013 the Privacy Commissioner conducted a survey of community attitudes towards privacy. The survey revealed Australians are becoming more concerned about privacy risks and expect companies to effectively safeguard their personal information. 96% of those who participated in the survey said they should be informed of how their information is handled and protected, and if it is lost.

Privacy is an issue that all businesses must now take seriously, not only for the financial consequences, but the serious reputational damage that a breach can cause a company. The new privacy laws being implemented from March 2014 will apply to any business with an annual turnover of more than $3 million and also to those businesses that collect personal information.

There will be a new set of 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) that outlines how business operators must handle personal information of customers. The changes affect how a business can: 

  • Collect personal information from customers and prospects.
  • Handle and process the personal information of their customers.
  • Use personal information for marketing purposes.
  • Disclose personal information overseas.

Those businesses that breach their customer privacy obligations could reap fines of $340,000 for individuals and up to $1.7 million for companies. Under the new law, there is a requirement to allow your customers to opt out of your marketing communications. This is not business as usual because in many instances, the opt out needs to appear in every marketing communication regardless of the channel. That’s every piece of mail, telephone call, email and social media post.

Transparency is the foundation on which Australian businesses will build stronger future relationships with consumers and it is vital to ensure you’re a trusted data custodian.

If you are still not sure whether the Privacy Act applies to your business, visit the Office of The Australian Information Commissioner’s website or speak to your lawyer.