Terms Of Use vs Privacy Policy: Website Differences

An analysis of the Australian Financial Review list of the 100 fastest growing companies in 2017 observed that nearly half of the companies surveyed failed to comply with Australia’s privacy laws. This non-compliance reflects a lack of awareness new business owners have regarding critical legal tools that maintain your website’s integrity. Two essential things you need to have on your business’s website are terms of use and a privacy policy.

In this article, we’ll discuss what a terms of use and privacy policy are and how they protect your website, business, and customers.

Terms of use

This legal document will provide visitors with instructions regarding what they can or cannot do on your website. In doing so, terms of use can limit your liability under the law.

A website’s terms of use should cover the following:

    • Any copyright protection
  • Disclaimer of liability – provides visitors with instructions regarding how they should act or should not act.

Outlining how users should interact with your website is crucial in not only legitimising your business online, but also ensuring that it’s used properly.

Privacy policy

All Australian websites and businesses are subject to the Privacy Act 1988 and the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) contained in the Privacy Act. Businesses with an annual turnover of more than $3 million need specific privacy policies. These policies address the collection, usage and storage of personal data.

A privacy policy is a key tool for ensuring compliance with Australian law regarding the management of personal information. It also helps to foster a positive relationship with your consumers by letting them know that you value their privacy.

Furthermore, your policy must include a ‘cookie’ notification clause if your website collects personal information through cookies. If you are unsure or interested in knowing more about cookies click here. Websites that accept online payment must outline how the business and other third-parties providers handle financial and personal data. Even if your business is not required under the Privacy Act to have a privacy policy, it is strongly recommended that you still have one. Further, many overseas jurisdictions require all businesses to have a privacy policy on their website.

Businesses that operate in the UK and EU

Australia’s privacy regulations fall short of the GDPR Privacy Policy recently implemented all across the European Union and the UK. The GDPR policy requires the website to notify visitors and get their consent to use ‘cookies’ to track website behaviour. Meanwhile, Australian Privacy Policy only requires the business to state how the data collected from ‘cookies’ is stored. In other words, active consent and notification are not mandatory. Therefore, an Australian business conducting business in the EU or UK will need to modify their privacy policy to comply with the GDPR requirements.

If you are an Australian business or an organisation that offer goods or services in the European Union or the UK, we can help you become GDPR compliant with our GDPR Privacy Policy.


Terms of use and privacy policies are two important legal documents that modern businesses need to not only appear legitimate, but also actually legitimate. If you have a larger or more complex business entity, you might need to have more than one policy or terms of use for different activities of your business or operation. If you’re unsure of your online obligations, it is worth consulting with a business lawyer.

Don’t know where to start? Contact us on 1800 529 728 to learn more about customising legal documents and obtaining a fixed-fee quote from Australia’s largest lawyer marketplace.

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