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Privacy commissioner finds 83% of leading Australian websites non-compliant

Friday, 6 September 2013 | By Vanessa Emilio

In May 2013 the Office of the Australian Information Commission (OAIC) reviewed 50 major Australian websites looking at their website privacy policies.


The privacy policy requirements have recently changed with reforms of Australia’s privacy laws meaning all businesses have until March 2014 to become fully compliant.


The review assessed each privacy policy against three criteria:


  1. Readability – must be easy to read and understand
  2. Relevance – should be relevant to the website and not too long
  3. Accessibility – must be easy to find on the website


The Privacy Commissioner has now released the results of the OAIC review – and they’re not pretty:


  • 83% of the websites had an issue with at least one of the three criteria.


  • 65% of the websites had privacy policies that were too long.

  • 50% of the websites had privacy policies that were difficult to read.


  • Some websites contained provisions for the US or UK, not Australia.


Sadly, these are the results for the “leading” Australian websites – who should be on top of their obligations and not cutting corners!


All online and app businesses need to comply by March 2014


Privacy has been an on-going focus for Australian regulators for the past two years. With the growth of the internet, more regulatory resources have been put into ensuring online businesses meet these privacy obligations.


Included in these online businesses are mobile phone app marketers, who are also required to post privacy policies - much to the surprise of many app developers.


According to the new Australian privacy law, every organisation must have a current and readable privacy policy. You may think visitors to your website will not read your privacy policy but this is a real and current focus of the regulator, so ensure your website complies.


There is no reason to not have a privacy policy on your website as there are inexpensive online templates you can purchase with free updates.


There are only eight months left to ensure you are fully compliant with the new laws, so don’t wait until it’s too late or risk the chance of being fined.