Digital Rehab explores impact on marketing comms that use personal information

New Privacy Laws start today

The privacy reforms today introduced aim to create greater transparency for business and government to disclose to consumers about personal information is maintained, handled and also how it is used.

Todays changes to the Privacy Act 1988 have been heralded as the most significant in more than 25 years and grant greater power to both average Australians and the Privacy Commissioner.

The Australian Government introduced the Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Act 2012 (Cth).

The Act introduces the APPs a set of mandatory privacy principles which replace the National Privacy Principles and the Information Privacy Principles contained in the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).

From a marketing standpoint, the changes represent a tightly defined mandate from which we can operate from. This is demonstrated in APP 7.1 which states: “If an organisation holds personal information about an individual, the organisation must not use or disclose the information for the purpose of direct marketing.” There are however a number of exceptions to this rule, outlined further on in APP 7 – Direct Marketing.

Such exceptions include that there must be some sort of functioning opt out mechanism for all direct marketing communication in line with their technical platform, whether that be an unsubscribe button on email, information about cookies and where not to accept or sending STOP on a txt message.

The use of personal information, what is considered personal information and how you obtain it was one of the key points from the new laws.

Another key aspect to the laws is the inclusion of a “collection statement” of solicited personal information, which marketers should perhaps consider having a tick box for the consumer to agree regarding the use of their personal information to ensure consent.

“The data collection statement is, both a blessing and a possible nightmare for fellow marketers who preside over a database. If well managed, there is a lot that can be leveraged but, get if poorly managed, there is every chance you might run into problems.”

Rule of Thumb is this: if you collect personal information you must take reasonable steps to notify the individuals of how you intend to manage and use data certain matters at or before the time of collection.

The new laws apply to all organisations that collect personal information with a minimum annual turnover of $3 million.

Additional information can be found in the Act.

Written by Alisdair Blackman

Alisdair Blackman is Digital Rehab’s Owner & Principal Consultant and has owned, run and grown 4 successful digital agencies since 1996 and is an online marketing specialist.

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