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What is the Privacy Act 1988?
The Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) was introduced into law at a federal level to protect the privacy of individuals in Australia. It also regulates how Australian Government agencies and some other organisations handle personal information.
The Privacy Act includes 13 Australian Privacy Principles (APPs), which apply to some private sector organisations and most Australian Government agencies. These are collectively referred to as ‘APP entities’. The Privacy Act also regulates the privacy component of the consumer credit reporting system, tax file numbers, and health and medical research.
★ Annual turnover of $3 million or more
★ Health service provider (also includes complementary therapists; child care centres and private schools)
★ You are a business buying or selling personal information (e.g. a customer list)
★ A contractor providing services under a Commonwealth contract
★ The operator of a residential tenancy database (e.g. a real estate agent)
★ Credit reporting body
★ Reporting entity for the purposes of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006
★ Employee association registered or recognised under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009
★ A business that conducts protection action ballots (e.g. a union)
★ Your business is related to a business the Privacy Act covers (e.g. a subsidiary)
★ Business prescribed by the Privacy Regulation 2013
★ Your business has opted in to be covered by the Privacy Act
To check whether you need to comply, you can complete the privacy checklist for small business found on the OAIC website here.
★ The types of personal information you collect (e.g. name, email, phone number, address)
★ How you collect, use and disclose personal information
★ The purposes for which you collect personal information (e.g. marketing)
★ Whether personal information is disclosed to overseas recipients, and if so, which countries
★ The option to remain anonymous or use a pseudonym
★ How an individual can access or correct the personal information you hold
★ Security and storage of personal information
★ Website cookies and third party sites
★ How to make a complaint about a privacy breach
★ How you can unsubscribe or opt-out
- It shows Google your website is more trustworthy and can improve your site’s search rankings
- It shows your website visitors that you will protect their personal information, giving you more credibility
- It makes your website appear more professional
Even if the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) does not apply to your business, it is still a good idea to have one in place. It means that your customers are clear on what personal information you are collecting about them and how you will use and disclose it.
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