AMSRO > Privacy Awareness Week 2014

Privacy Awareness Week 2014


Privacy Awareness Week (4–10 May) is an annual event to promote privacy awareness and the importance of protecting personal information.   AMSRO is a PAW partner again in 2014.

On 12 March 2014, the federal Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act) changed. This law regulates how your personal information is handled by Australian Government agencies (not state and territory government agencies) and the private sector, including large businesses, credit bodies (like banks), not-for-profits and private health service providers. Personal information is information or an opinion that identifies you or could identify you. Some examples are your name, address, telephone number, date of birth, medical records, bank account details and opinions about you.

There are a lot of changes to how businesses are allowed to collect, use, disclose and store your information, how people can access or correct your information, and when personal information is allowed to be used for direct marketing or sent overseas. But privacy isn’t just about the law.

A new set of privacy principles. These are called the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) and they govern how personal information must be handled. There are a number of important changes, including in the areas of privacy policies, direct marketing and overseas disclosure of personal information. Enhanced powers for the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).  The OAIC now has greater powers to resolve investigations and promote privacy compliance.

Privacy policies –  It is now a requirement that all government agencies and private sector organisations that are covered by the Privacy Act (which includes Research Organisations/AMSRO members working under the Privacy (Market and Social Research) Privacy Code 2014)  must have a clearly expressed and up-to-date privacy policy.  A privacy policy should include; what personal information is collected, if sensitive information is likely to be collected, if personal information is likely to be shared with a third party, if personal information will be disclosed overseas, how your personal information will be used and disclosed, how personal information is stored and managed, how you can access and correct your personal information, how you can make a privacy complaint.

The 2013 OAIC Community attitudes to privacy survey shows that 60% of young people think that online services, including social media, are the greatest risk to privacy right now.

Did you know that:

  • 33% of Australians say that they have had problems with the way that their personal information was handled in the previous year
  • 74% of Australians are more concerned about their online privacy than they were five years ago
  • 51% of Australians don’t read online privacy policies
  • 70% of Australians think that most or all websites collect information about them
  • 62% of Australians have chosen to not use a mobile app due to privacy concerns
  • 90% of Australians are concerned about their personal information being sent overseas.

When writing your policies and thinking about research respondents consider this, the OAIC’s ten top tips for individuals;

  1. Ask why your information is needed — what are they going to use it for?
  2. Think before you disclose — you may not need to hand out your personal information
  3. Don’t put large amounts of personal information on social networking sites
  4. Check your records — make sure the information held about you is correct and up to date
  5. Read privacy policies — can be boring, but informative!
  6. Don’t leave your personal information lying around — shred old mail and records that are no longer required
  7. Sign up to the ‘Do Not Call Register’ to stop direct market phone calls — visit
  8. Check for encryption and use secure payment methods when shopping online
  9. Tick the ‘opt out’ box on forms if you don’t want to receive marketing communications
  10. Know your privacy rights — visit

AMSRO members work under the Privacy (Market and Social Research) Code 2014 and are bound by the Privacy Act.  For further details contact