What are Your Privacy Obligations as a Business Owner?

What is a privacy policy?

Certain businesses are required by law to have a privacy policy in place in order to protect their personal information, ensuring that confidential and sensitive information remains confidential. Examples of sensitive information include race, religion, health, address, contact details, birth date, bank details, etc. These are all elements of private information that can comprise a person’s identity and personal beliefs.

There are three methods in which you could be required by law to undertake a privacy policy – however, these are of a relatively high threshold; and we strongly recommend that you have a privacy policy in place even if you don’t fall into either of the three categories.

Am I required to have one?

There are three key thresholds which, if you meet, obliges you to implement a privacy policy:

1. Annual turnover exceeding $3 000 000

Since 2002, if your annual turnover is greater than $3 million, as consisting from all income, from all sources, you would be required to have a privacy policy. However this does not take into account the held assets or the capital gains. If this is a fairly new business, you will be required to make projections for the year’s turnover in determining whether you are obligated to undertake the policy.

2. Medical Practice

If your business is a health service, such as medical practitioners, pharmacists or are allied health professionals you would be required to engage in the policy. Particularly because in this field, information such as personal illnesses or hereditary issues might be highly private information to clients.

3. Government Agency

A government agency could include a Commonwealth contracted service provider. Some examples could include Australia post, Cancer Australia, National Blood Authority etc.

As such, if you fall into one of the three categories described you are officially required to undertake privacy policies.

Most small businesses are unlikely to fall within any of the categories listed above, however we still highly recommend it – continue reading to find out why.

Why do I need one?

Start by thinking from your customers’ perspective:

Everyone has privacy concerns especially in these current times of rapid technological advancements and with the prevalence of social media sites and online shopping, privacy and confidentiality has become more of a concern than ever.

Particularly with the increase of available data online, there is an increased potential of fraud or identity theft.

Appreciating customer concerns:

From your perspective, as a small business owner, voluntarily incorporating such a policy would do wonders for the company image. It will easily ensure that customers have faith and confidence in the system, not having to worry about what will happen with their information. In turn, this will surely bring more business through your doors!

So whilst it is not technically required by law for most smaller businesses to engage in these practices, it would be highly recommended to do so to increase customer faith, with little time and monetary expenditure.

How to create a privacy policy:

With LawPath, you can quickly and simply create a Privacy Policy for free today. Create customer confidence and prevent issues before they happen.

Share your thoughts with us and/or let us know whether you will engage in a privacy policy now by tagging us @lawpath and/or #lawpath.
If you have any further questions about whether you need a privacy policy, feel free to call us on 1800 529 728.

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