Data Privacy

In August last year, a data leak exposed more than 54,000 NSW drivers’ licenses on an open Amazon Web Services cloud storage service. The breach exposed the drivers’ personal information, including phone numbers, addresses and birth dates – all of which were available to the public.

Who should take responsibility for this data leak? According to experts, the source could be a fleet or toll road operator, but no one was able to pinpoint the origin of the breach.

If you’re a business owner, data privacy compliance is something that you should seriously consider. There are certain privacy laws that apply to personal information in Australia, especially your customers’ personal information.

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What is personal information?

Personal information is any data or opinion that identifies a person or makes them reasonably identifiable. It includes:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Email
  • Telephone number
  • Photographs and videos
  • Preferences
  • Date of birth
  • Medical records
  • Bank details
  • IP address
  • Opinions



Why Should You Care About Data Privacy?

There are two main reasons why you should make sure that your business has sound data privacy practices. It’s because:

  • You have a legal obligation to do so
  • It helps establish trust in your business

What Are the Data Privacy Laws in Australia?


If your business has an annual turnover of above $3 million, then you are required to comply with the Privacy Act and its Australian Privacy Principles (‘APPs’).  If you have a lower turnover, you may still need to comply if you:

  • Provide a health service and collect health information
  • Are a Commonwealth contractor 
  • Trade in personal information
Background

The Privacy Act outlines how businesses must handle, use and manage personal information of their customers, particularly:

  • Open and transparent management of personal information
  • Anonymity and pseudonymity
  • Collection of solicited personal information
  • Dealing with unsolicited personal information
  • Notification of the collection of personal information
  • Use or disclosure of personal information
  • Direct marketing
  • Cross-border disclosure of personal information
  • Adoption, use or disclosure of government related identifiers
  • Quality of personal information
  • Security of personal information
  • Access to personal information
  • Correction of personal information





Aside from the Privacy Act, here are the other legislations that govern data privacy:

  • The Do Not Call Register Act 2006 (DNCRA)
  • Spam Act 2003
  • Information Privacy Act 2014 (ACT)
  • Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (NSW)
  • the Information Privacy Act 2009 (QLD)
  • the Information Privacy Act 2004 (TAS)
  • the Information Privacy Act 2014 (VIC)

Data Privacy Best Practices for Businesses

Implementing data privacy practices not only helps with your compliance, but ensures that your customers are protected as well. When your customers are protected, they have more trust in you and will be more willing to do business with you.

Here are data privacy practices that every business should keep in mind:

 

  • Have a Privacy Policy. If you’re going to collect personal information,let the users know what data you are collecting and what you are going to do with it.
  • Anonymise information where possible. If you need to keep information longer than necessary, remove all identifiable data as much as possible.
  • Use the collected information only for the purpose for which it was gathered. Seek consent if possible.
  • Review the third-party apps or software you use and make sure they do not disclose your customer’s personal information.
  • Put security measures in place to protect against online threats and prepare a plan for responding to data breaches
  • Review your privacy procedures regularly.



Why Should You Care About Data Privacy?

There are two main reasons why you should make sure that your business has sound data privacy practices. It’s because:

  • You have a legal obligation to do so
  • It helps establish trust in your business

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“This project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources through the Cyber Security Business Connect and Protect Program.”