SPAM & CHIPS
An introduction to privacy law for smaller businesses
is constantly in the news – often associated with new technology or major
computer systems (hence ‘chips’ J
). And now there are controls over
commercial electronic messaging (‘Spam’) which seem to overlap with privacy
How do these laws affect smaller businesses?
Should not be a major problem, and there is a low risk of penalties, but
businesses should be aware…
More information: www.privacy.gov.au
topics include: Health records; Smartcards and RFID; Workplace monitoring;
Credit reporting; Debt collection; Tenancy blacklists; CCTV and Mobile phone
cameras; Spent convictions; Biometric identification; Genetics and DNA;
Telephone interception; Data-matching, and much, much more. (see www.privacy.org.au
issues still have to be managed, even if Privacy laws don’t strictly apply
…. They may not affect you now, but they are not going away!
Since April 2004 – applies to anyone sending unsolicited commercial E-mail (also SMS/MMS but not phone or fax) – not just in bulk.
Must have prior consent (opt-in). This can either be express or inferred
Consent can be inferred either from an existing relationship (not just a one-off purchase) or from conspicuous publication of the address (but this only allows relevant messages)
All commercial E-mail must identify sender and have a ‘functional unsubscribe facility’ – 5 days to act on a request to stop sending
Major penalties – up to $220,000 ($1.1 million for repeat breaches)
By comparison with the Privacy Act, the Spam Act seems draconian, BUT ….
information: www.acma.gov.au – go
to ‘Spam’ pages
We are all individuals as well as in business – as such we have the same rights as our customers under both the Privacy and Spam Acts to complain if other organizations breach our privacy. Government agencies are also subject to privacy laws – federal or state (see www.privacy.gov.au and www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/privacynsw.
© Pacific Privacy October 2004