chapter 4

Privacy — Data Protection

Personal Info

Defined

Information or an opinion that identifies an individual or allows their identity to be readily worked out from the information. It includes such things as a person's name, address, financial information, marital status or billing details.

—Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Whether you conduct business online or offline, you have access to personal information about your customers. Privacy is important to them, and it is becoming harder for them to protect in an increasingly digital marketplace.

Data protection laws in Australia do not directly apply to all types of businesses. You're only subject to the Privacy Act if you have an annual turnover of more than $3 million.

Small business owners may, however, opt in to the privacy standards to show the public that their customers’ privacy is important to them. Although the laws may not be mandatory for you, it’s still wise to understand the rules. Being a company that respects privacy is viewed favorably by the public.

OAIC

Provided Tools

(i) Explanations of privacy laws.
(ii) Checklists to understand what applies to you.
(iii) How complaints are handled.
(iv) Privacy fact sheets.

The best way to protect yourself, gain consent and inform your clients is to implement a well-designed privacy policy. The link to this document should be visible and accessible on your online store.

Any promises you make in this policy create a contract to which both you and your customer are bound. You need to be conscious of your privacy policy to make sure you comply with the promises you make. Some of the information that needs to be provided is actually controlled by the e-commerce platform you choose (such as storage or security). When deciding on a platform, pay attention to how they integrate their privacy policy, and see what sort of guidance they provide for preparing the clauses for your own policy.

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner is an excellent and interactive resource for informing yourself about privacy legislation in your country. In addition to clearly labeled information, there are checklists that will lead you in the right direction.

Respecting your consumers’ personal information can help build a strong and competitive foundation to your customer relations.

Privacy Policy Generator

Coming up with your first privacy policy can be challenging so we've created a handy tool that generates your own, custom privacy policy with the click of a button.

Click here to get started.

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5. Business Structures

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