Many businesses may not be aware of the 13 new Privacy laws – called Australian Privacy Principles (APP) which replace the National Privacy Principles that apply to businesses. They are expounded on the website of the Office of Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC). For businesses one of the important areas is the changes to credit reporting.
From the OAIC website –
“Changes to credit reporting laws include:
- The introduction of more comprehensive credit reporting, which will allow the reporting of information about an individual’s current credit commitments and their repayment history information over the previous two years
- A simplified and enhanced correction and complaints process
- A prohibition on the reporting of credit related information about children
- A prohibition on the reporting of defaults of less than $150
- The introduction of specific rules to deal with pre-screening of credit offers
- The introduction of specific provisions that allow an individual to freeze access to their credit related personal information in cases of suspected identity theft or fraud
- The introduction of civil penalties for breaches of certain credit reporting provisions
- A requirement for credit providers to be a member of an EDR scheme, recognised under the Privacy Act, to be able to participate in the credit reporting system.
For a more detailed explanation of the credit changes see: Privacy business resource 3: Credit reporting — what has changed
A new mandatory credit reporting privacy code (CR code), developed by the Australian Retail Credit Association, is now registered on the OAIC’s Codes Register and takes effect from 12 March 2014. The CR code binds all credit reporting bodies, credit providers and affected information recipients.
Note, in most circumstances you can request a free copy of your credit report from a credit reporting body.
For further information see our credit reporting reform webpage.
Also significant to small business is to be aware of the Guide to Privacy for Small Business especially if you have turnover less than $3 million, and have a look at the Privacy Checklist for Small Business to get familiar with the collection of private information. Have a look at the list on the Web page for Small Business, as well as A brief overview of The Privacy Act and Small Business — a Snapshot.
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