Recent changes to the Australian Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) will have an impact on all Australian businesses that collect personal information. If you maintain names, addresses, phone numbers and other information about your customers, you will need to be aware of the changes and how they affect you.
The changes to the Privacy Act also:
- create a new set of Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), that apply to both the private sector and the Commonwealth public sector;
- create new rules around direct marketing, requiring greater consent from consumers;
- require that businesses develop and document a privacy compliance program that ensures compliance with the APPs, and adequate privacy complaints handling mechanisms;
- impose full liability directly on Australian businesses for breaches of the APPs by their offshore data storage contractors; and
- allow for civil penalty orders of up to A$220,000 for individuals and up to A$1.1 million for companies that breach privacy laws.
When do you need to start complying?
The main changes to the Privacy Act will come into effect in March 2014, but businesses should start reviewing their policies and procedures straight away in preparation.
How does this affect you?