It’s a strong message to your customers that your business, regardless of its size, recognises the importance of treating personal information in a secure and appropriate manner. It gives confidence to your customers that you are professional, serious and it is safe to use your website.
Consumer Privacy is being constantly reviewed by legislators in Australia, particularly with the increasing use of the internet for marketing directly to consumers and outsourcing by online businesses to overseas providers. Individual Privacy Policies will need to be updated on websites to keep up and in line with the new requirements.
Some of the things that the legislators are looking at, for example, are the promotion and sale of goods and services to new and existing customers. This will now be more heavily regulated particularly where you hold personal information about an individual in any manner.
You are not permitted to use or share personal information for direct marketing without the individual’s actual permission. There are exceptions to this with the most important requirement being around the ability of the individual/your customer to ‘opt out’.
Don’t get caught out and cop a penalty …
The main issue being debated at the moment is how to deal with cross-border (offshore) disclosure of information. Many websites use offshore hosting, overseas shopping cart facilities and other offshore service providers to provide the required service to their online business. This means that there may be a transfer of personal data to another service provider in another country.
The Privacy law in Australia currently states that an online business must carry out due diligence on any offshore, third party service provider if they can gain access, in any way, to your customers’/visitors’ personal details.
Offshore providers must have, at minimum, the same level and measures of Privacy and security in place as legislated by the Australian Privacy Principles. What is not clear and is still being debated, is whether you need to tell your customers and visitors exactly where your service providers are located and where their private information is held.
Hopefully, this will be clarified nearer to the time that the newest legislative requirements are enacted, March 2014.
There are other Privacy requirements being considered which will likely impact online businesses. In short, if you have any type of business with an online website presence, you need to be aware of the proposed changes in Privacy and ensure your online business is compliant by the time they are implemented.
Remember, the Australian regulators have commenced reviewing websites and have been issuing penalties for non-compliant websites. Ensure you are not one of them. Legal123 provides updates by email for all of our templates when the law changes. So don’t get caught out!