November 20, 2017

How to use a privacy policy at your startup

How to use a privacy policy at your startup

Updated: 8 December 2019

A privacy policy outlines how your  will collect and use information about your customers.

1. Does a small business need a privacy policy?

The Privacy Act covers some small businesses with a turnover of $3 million or less and includes:

  • private sector health service providers. Organisations providing a health service including traditional health service providers, naturopaths and chiropractor, gyms and weight loss clinic, child care centres, private schools and private tertiary educational institutions;
  • businesses that sell or purchase personal information;
  • credit reporting bodies;
  • contracted service providers for a Commonwealth contract;
  • employee associations registered or recognised under the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009;
  • businesses that have opted-in to the Privacy Act;
  • businesses that are related to a business that is covered by the Privacy Act; and
  • businesses prescribed by the Privacy Regulation 2013.

2. Where is the privacy policy displayed?

Online, a privacy policy is usually displayed on websites and apps. In paper form, a privacy policy is sometimes included within terms and conditions or as a standalone policy.

3. What should you include in your privacy policy?

Your privacy policy should cover the Australian Privacy Principles in schedule 1 of the Privacy Act 1988. The principles outline how you will handle, use and manage personal information.

Key principles include:

  • the types of information you will collect;
  • allowing your customers the option to communicate anonymously with you where possible;
  • how and why personal information is collected;
  • use and disclosure of personal information;
  • cookies and web tracking tools;
  • marketing activities;
  • access to and correction of personal information; and
  • how to make a complaint. 

4. Are all privacy policies the same?

No, because most business will collect, use and disclose information differently depending on their business processes.

5. Final tip

As with all legal documents for your startup, they should work for your specific circumstances. If you need help customising your legal documents, contact a good lawyer for startups.

About the author 

Vivian Michael

As founder and lawyer at Michael Law Group, Vivian advises Australia's top entrepreneurs on business and employment matters. Clients benefit from Vivian's commercially focussed and pragmatic legal advice, business experience, and commitment to deliver the best quality business legal services to her clients.

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