Privacy is vital for good customer relationships

Privacy is an important consideration when businesses are collecting personal and confidential information. 

The Queensland Business and Industry Portal states that educating staff can ensure a culture of security within an organisation where privacy is key. 

On March 12 2014, the Australian government introduced new privacy laws, which include the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012, Privacy Regulation 2013, the Credit Reporting Privacy Code. As part of the amendment Act, the federal government introduced 13 new privacy principles.

Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim emphasised the importance of privacy in Australia in a May 5 2014 press release. Mr Pilgrim said that privacy complaints increased by more than 50 per cent in the 2013 financial year.

In total there were almost 3,000 complaints made to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).

Mr Pilgrim also stated that is important that businesses understand the need for privacy controls in their organisation and making customer privacy a priority. 

“We also  know that a majority of Australians (60 per cent) have chosen not to deal with organisations because they were concerned about how their personal information would be handled,” said Mr Pilgrim. 

“The message is clear that people are prepared to exercise their rights to how their personal information is handled.”

The OAIC state that if you are a small business you may not be required to comply with the Privacy Act 1988. If your business has a yearly turnover of less than $3 million then it does not have to comply with the Act unless it:

  • is a health service provider;
  • is a credit reporting body;
  • is residential tenancy database operator;
  • trades personal information;
  • provides services under a Commonwealth contract, or;
  • report for the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006.

If you are concerned about how privacy is regulated in your business a lawyer can help explain what is needed in commercial agreements and contracts.