Survey finds SMEs not prepared for new privacy laws

Despite government and industry efforts to the contrary, one in three Aussie SMEs remain unaware of the changes to the Australian Private Act that come into effect today, according to new survey results.

Despite government and industry efforts to the contrary, one in three Aussie SMEs remain unaware of the changes to the Australian Private Act that come into effect today, according to new survey results.

The survey, conducted by Bibby Financial Servics and CoreData and involving 859 participants from a range of businesses with annual turnover of less than $200,000 to over $50,000 million, was conducted between February 3-14.

 

The changes to the Privacy Act will affect how SMEs use personal information for direct marketing and the disclosure of personal information to people overseas. The survey found that 37 per cent of SMEs are not aware of the changes to the Privacy Act, or their potential impact on their business. On the flipside, 40 per cent believe the changes to the Privacy Act won’t impact their business. Alarmingly, 16 per cent of respondents said that they won’t be making any adjustments in response to changes to the 13 new Australian Privacy Principles (APPs).

 

Respondents from the IT and media industry (36 per cent) were found to have already made changes or to be in the process of making changes in relation to the APPs, as were those from financial and insurance services (36 per cent). Other figures worth nothing from the survey include 40 per cent of micro business owners (1-4 employees) being unaware of the changes to the Privacy Act, compared to 35 per cent of medium businesses (20-199 employees).

 

To help business owners comply with the new privacy laws, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has released this privacy checklist.

 

These findings reinforce the need for SMEs to receive adequate education and work to stay abreast of all changes to relevant legislation and regulations,” Mark Cleaver, Bibby Managing Director, Australia and New Zealand, said. “The Federal Government has launched a Privacy Checklist for Small Business which details what sort of businesses need to comply with the Privacy Act. All SMEs should complete this checklist. If you are still unsure if your business needs to comply, you may need to seek advice from a lawyer.”

 

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