Trust and Transparency – Are You Aware of What Your Privacy Policy Commits You To?


Last week was Privacy Awareness Week (PAW), and we were proud to be registered as partners again this year. PAW is the largest campaign in the Asia Pacific that is designed to raise awareness on issues surrounding privacy, and how personal information can be better protected.

This year’s theme was ‘trust and transparency’, and emphasised how clear privacy practices build trust between individuals and organisations.

Concerningly, this year’s Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy Survey found that “Australians are more likely to avoid dealing with private companies than government agencies because of privacy concerns”.

The Australian Privacy Commissioner Timothy Pilgrim has urged Australian businesses to “strive to meet [the expectation of Australian communities] with a privacy-by-design approach to product, policy and service development.”

Private companies are increasingly expected to take responsibility for protecting their customers’ personal information, with the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme coming into force early next year, and recent cases emphasising the significance of privacy policies.

PAW is an important reminder of our obligations to our customers, and to review our privacy practices.

If you have copied a generic privacy policy from the internet, or haven’t reviewed your privacy policy recently, it may be time to do so.

In particular, it may be pertinent to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are you aware of what your privacy policy commits you to?
  2. Do your practices and procedures actually comply with it?
  3. How often, and how, do you check compliance?
  4. Have you fully informed individuals on how you will manage their personal information?
  5. Do you confirm that you have a client’s consent before disclosing information?
  6. Even if you have consent, how do you ensure you only disclose information where it is relevant to do so?

Where Do You Go Next?

Dianne Gibert is the MD and founder of Service Excellence Consulting (SEC). She has over 20 years’ experience in business consulting, and a particular interest in privacy management. SEC offers workshops, webinars, privacy assessments and other support services. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about privacy requirements, please contact Dianne on 03 9555 3877 or send an email to